6 Amazing Corned Beef Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Corned beef substitutes come in many forms that you may require if you run out of this salty and popular ingredient.

Corned Beef Substitutes

Finding corned beef substitutes isn’t too difficult, although the unique flavor profile of corned beef makes it difficult to perfectly mimic. Corned beef is made from beef brisket and is associated with Irish culture – St. Patrick’s Day, in particular. This processed and salt-cured meat is often served cold or used as a sandwich filler. It also crops up in some traditional recipes for casseroles, pies, and soups. It has a unique taste due to the spices with which it is made. However, when corned beef isn’t available, there are other meats and veggie options like pastrami, roast beef, ham, turkey corned beef, and fish that will tick the right boxes of consistency and flavor. [1]

Corned beef and cabbage on a white dish

Corned beef and cabbage, a traditional Irish dish Photo Credit: Shutterstock


This rich and salty meat can make an excellent alternative to corned beef in sandwiches, or in a cold meat spread with dressings and chutneys.

Roast Beef

If it’s a beef flavor that you’re after and you have time on your hands, you can simply go the whole way and roast a piece of raw beef. The leftovers can be eaten cold for several days after cooking.


Ham is another deli meat that can work well in a cold spread or a sandwich, although it has a lighter and less rich flavor and texture than corned beef.

Turkey Corned Beef

A slightly healthier choice than traditional corned beef, turkey corned beef contains less fat. However, you won’t need to sacrifice flavor, as this alternative is made using the same spices as standard corned beef and offers quite a similar taste. [2]

Raw cuts of beef on a white background

Beef is a source of high-quality protein and nutrients. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Fish can offer a similar consistency and texture to corned beef. It also is a good alternative for some elements of taste, providing a similarly salty flavor. Fish can be a decent replacement for corned beef in sauce and soup recipes. 

Vegetarian Options

There is a wide range of vegetarian products on the shelves these days. Vegetable protein rolls or sausages made from soy or wheat are sometimes seasoned with corned beef spices. Try a roll or burger when you’re looking for a vegetarian substitute in a sandwich or a cold spread, and TVP (small soya chunks) if you want to substitute for corned beef in a recipe. [3]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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