In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

A classic lazy-man dish using canned corned beef.

caribbean cornedbeef recipeA combination of being tired, lazy and hungry forced me into our pantry to find something quick to eat with the leftover rice we had from the night before. I not much of a breakfast person, but when lunch time comes around I need to get some food in me. I work from home (have done so the past 11 years now) so I have the convenience of  eating well if I want to. Today all I wanted was something fast, but I wasn’t ready to sacrifice on taste. There was Mr. Hereford corned beef staring at me, as if it was saying “I dare you”…

This dish takes me back to when we owned a “parlor” (like a variety store) in Trinidad and late at nights the local drunks and bachelors would come calling on us to sell them a can of corned beef or Vienna sausages so they could have a quick meal. Even though we had closed for business hours ago and were in bed (our house was at the back of the store). I still remember telling my brother to shut up and pretend we’re not hearing them.

You’ll Need…

1 can corned beef
1 medium tomato chopped
1 medium onion sliced
1 scallion sliced
1 hot pepper sliced (remove seeds to control heat) I used a habanero pepper
dash black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ketchup
1/4 bell pepper – optional (sliced thin)

Heat a pan on medium heat, then empty the contents of the can of corned beef into it and break it apart. The original way I’ve seen this done is to heat some oil in the pan first, but since I’m trying to get back in shape I’m holding off on amount of oil and fatty stuff I use.

fast corned beef recipe

cooking canned cornedbeef

corned beef and rice

The corned beef itself is very fatty, so basically there’s no real need for oil. The next step is to prepare the onion, pepper, tomato, scallion and bell pepper. Normally bell peppers and scallions are not used as this in it’s original form is very rustic. But not only do I like the added flavour, I like using up the stuff I have in the fridge when I cook, so it doesn’t waste. Then toss everything into the pan with the corned beef and hit it with a dash of black pepper. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Don’t cover or you’ll risk everything going soggy and into a “mush”. BTW, this is cooked on a medium heat and is good 5-7 minutes after adding all the ingredients.

ingredients for cooking cornedbeef

trini cornedbeef

recipe for cooking trini style corned beef

trinidad corned beef

caribbean cornedbeef recipe

This dish is only complete for me with sliced cucumber on the side as in the pictures below. Besides rice, this can also be enjoyed on sandwiches, as a topping for crackers, roti, sliced bread.. even stuffed in pitas.

trinidad cornedbeef and rice

Trini cornedbeef and rice

Do you have a different way of making this? Leave me your comments below as I’m always looking for different ways to prepare the dishes I grew up on and I’m sure everyone else would love to learn different techniques.

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happy cooking


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  1. Shamiza
    December 6, 2018 / 5:50 am

    I make this dish without tomato or ketchup. I add casareep instead, it gives it color and flavor. I make stew cabbage on the side with it and we eat the together on rice. It’s delish.

  2. Abena
    July 26, 2018 / 11:33 am

    This was a Friday evening or Saturday quick meal at my house…sometimes I would add cabbage, other times corn and/or peas and carrots…..have you ever tried coconut milk…da bomb, a friend from Tobago introduced me to that when we were both students in Toronto and in need of a back home flavor.

    • Abena
      July 26, 2018 / 11:35 am

      ……oh forgot to add….try to get the dish as dry as you could, taste best with a nice grainy rice or pasta if you prefer.

  3. Tee
    July 5, 2018 / 3:35 pm

    This is my Winter favorite. When I lived in New York my roommate from Trinidad taught me how to make it. Being a single person I’ve learned to make adjustments. I buy a small bag of cole slaw so I can take the cabbage and carrots and add to the dish, its kinda like a stir fry. but really good!!

  4. Nonny
    April 1, 2018 / 10:38 am

    I thinly slice a small head of cabbage and add it to mine and make it corned beef and cabbage. Yummy Delicious!

    • Nonny
      April 1, 2018 / 10:47 am

      Forgot to mention, after adding the cabbage cover the pan and let the cabbage cook until it’s soft.

  5. Mark
    March 18, 2018 / 2:48 pm

    Love this recipe. It’s become part of my staple diet. As much as I love it, gonna add a bit of fenugreek. Just think it will fit well.
    Thank you

  6. kristal
    June 13, 2017 / 12:39 am

    im a trini so I’ve curried it with potatoes ( i know so cliché ) lol

  7. Alex
    May 1, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    Mix it in with macaroni or it goes well with dumplings as well great quick fix for dinner ….

  8. leanne
    February 4, 2017 / 10:18 am

    we use peppers sweetcorn all purpose curry garlic ginger curry powder chopped tomatoes salt and pepper in ours

  9. ann
    January 7, 2017 / 9:27 am

    My husband Rudy is bajan he sometimes puts a little curry powder in this dish and it tastes good

  10. Miranda
    January 6, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Bully Beef!!!! We make it w/ garlic, onion, scotch bonnet, tomato, & fresh thyme. Serve it w/ left-over rice & fried plantains…maybe a few eggs

  11. Linda
    November 26, 2016 / 2:06 pm

    Not bad but I’ve never done mine like this and I’m from the Caribbean. Just a word of advice, that brand has the most sodium for canned corned beef.

  12. Cordelia Lewis
    February 20, 2016 / 11:47 pm

    I love cornbeef and Mac and cheese,salade,or I cook rice,my sons love to make sandwiches with the cornbeef.I made cornbeef cake almost like fishcake,just the way you make the salf fish cake ,the same way you make the cornbeef cakes

  13. Louise
    January 24, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    I’m really happy to see this because I have never seen corned beef cooked like this outside of Mauritius, and most people I mention this recipe to find it strange. We always made it very basic with onions and hot green chillis fried in garlic and ginger, and the mashed corned beef added to it. Usually ate it with crusty bread, sometimes with pasta.

  14. December 4, 2015 / 11:07 am

    They don’t make the cornbeef like the way they used to make it. “Long Time” the cornbeef when you cooked it, it had a nice smell and there were no fat at all, it would fry nice and crispy, like sugar cake and was very red in colour. Unlike today’s cornbeef, where it smells bad and when cooked its very soggy and contains a lot of fat.

  15. Julie Dictter
    October 3, 2015 / 3:23 pm

    I remember this delicious dish. However, my mom would also add cabbage to the recipe. The best!

  16. PK
    September 3, 2015 / 3:48 pm

    Iv always used butter to fry garlic ginger and onions in before adding the beef and tinned tomatoes. I use proper fragranced basmati rice and depending on how I feel I put rice on the side or add it when cooked to the complete dish right at the end. Stunning.

  17. Rachel
    August 13, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    Hi Chris

    As a West Indian corn beef is a comfort food. My Mum would season the corn beef – onions, sweet pepper, pepper sauce, add some ketchep. She would boil a handful of elbow macaroni and then add the cooked macaroni to the seasoned corn beef. Then she would add one egg that was beaten in enough milk which she would add to the corn beef mixture. Place the corn beef mixture in the bottom of a greased baking dish and top with seasoned mashed potatoes. You may add some cheese to the mashed potatoes if you like. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Basically shepherd pie but with corn beef. You can add carrots if you like. We would have that with a nice green salad and fried plantain.

  18. Greg
    July 26, 2015 / 4:03 pm

    True to the spirit of the dish, I made a few substitutions based on what happened to be in my fridge. I didn’t have any habaneros, ketchup or scallions, so instead I used chipotles, marinara sauce, and some finally chopped green beans (more for the sake of using them up than an honest attempt to replicate scallions…) respectively. I really like how it turned out – the flavour was fresher than I was expecting, and the chipotles gave me precisely the level of heat I wanted. Would definitely make again!

  19. Harcourt Bethel
    July 15, 2015 / 1:20 am

    In the Bahamas we do it the same way, BUT with added tomato paste and served with grits… we call it “Fire Engine”

  20. Mother peppa
    June 12, 2015 / 11:31 am

    I use it the same way too but I also add a can of sweet corn or sweet peas to make it stretch you can also use a can of mixed vegetables. And call it Christmas lunch . Kids love it

  21. Nonny
    June 2, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    I cooked the dish exactly by your recipe and it was excellent. The next time I cooked it I put an Irish spin on it by adding a head of shredded cabbage a few sprigs of thyme and a dash or two of soy sauce. Very delicious! I can’t spot making it.

    Thanks Chris

  22. Jenny Ming
    April 14, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    I find corned beef to be very versatile and it can be combined with any time of vegetables. I use bora (chopped finely), grated carrots, frozen corn kernels and green beans along with the other seasonings. Sometimes I would use a can of red beans. If using it for breakfast then I would scramble the eggs and corned beef together, with the seasonings of course.

  23. doraima
    April 12, 2015 / 11:10 pm

    Dried Filipino corned beef recipe. I sauteed little oil, onions, garlic and tomatoes until these are translucent. Then put the corned beef until the corned beef is cooked like almost well done. Season with salt and pepper. Then I cook some steamed rice, or sometimes I put it with garlic fried rice. I even add some sunny side up egg with semisoft yolk. Boy, this is really yummy. comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    I read other responses, and find it interesting that we had similarities in preparation, and other different. Cooking Lazy corned beef has reached in other places and countries too.

  24. Victoria Shmyr
    February 7, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    I just made your lazy corn beef recipe for the first (cooking Caribbean) and on my goodness, absolutely love it. I also added some Caribbean spice with roasted garlic, and it made it hotter, cause I didnt have any hot peppers. Thank you so much, the next recipe im going to try is your pelau recipe, looks delicious.

  25. January 31, 2015 / 9:02 pm

    This is so simple and delicious. Growing up in Tobago and being well taken care of by my mom, I just wished she would have kept me in the kitchen with my sisters. When I came to the U.S.A. At age 13 till recently I Tried to create the corn beef taste my mom always had me wanting more but I was adding seasonings, water, bunch of ketchup but it never satisfied my taste. With your site my my everything I had growing up is made available to me. Made this two times now and my kids give me that same look I would give my mom. haha. I am a pro at this recipe now and its all thanks to you. Made it tonight again. this time 2 cans instead of 1. The food is gone however.

  26. Cathy
    November 11, 2014 / 10:31 pm

    A friend from Tobago’s recipe uses thin sliced onion, green pepper, one hot pepper sautéed with canned meat until soft. Add one can red kidney beans and chopped cilantro. Add cumin to taste. So delicious and different!

  27. GEENA
    September 3, 2014 / 10:33 am

    I am puerto rican. I learned to make it 1 can tomatoe sauce/ 1 can water. sofrito. (onions, peppers, cilantro, and sweet ajices blended) a bit of adobo since corned beef is already kind of salty. An envelope of Sazon. Corned beef chopped up and mashed in the pan, mix all ingredients let cook with the lid on low. Make french fries on the side. Incorporate into the Corned beef when cooked. Served with white rice and hot corn on the side.

  28. Urban
    April 6, 2014 / 1:39 am

    I grew up in St.kitts and I surely remember my Auntie cooking many ways of preparing and using canned Corned Beef in various Dishes as well often Breakfast and Dinner. Corned Beef and Bake(Bread), Corned Beef and Mashed Potatoes, Corned Beef and Mac/Cheese, Corned Beef Mashed Potato Pie(Corned Beef sandwich layered on top mashed potato baked in oven). I know I forgot some others. But few things take me right back home mentally as in making Corned Beef dish.

    I like my Corned Beef also made with chopped Cucumbers vs just the Cucumbers on the side. When I use Corned Beef out the can one the things I do us to just use a knife and scrape off the excess fat around the beef edges as it came out of the can so a little less fat in the dish since the beef has enough as it is.

  29. William Tutai
    January 23, 2014 / 4:41 am

    Man in the pacific we do it the same but we sometime eat it with coconut cream or corn beef with spaghetti in a can is magic…yumo…. 🙂

  30. Tam
    January 9, 2014 / 12:43 pm

    Recently, hubby and I have been doing corned beef a little differently. We’ve actually been adding some turkey kielbasa sausage and sliced okra gumbo mix with our onion, garlic, scallion and scotch bonnet pepper. Serve it over a bed of white rice. YUMMY!!!! We usually do it for dinner and will stretch for lunch the next day.

  31. Diana S
    October 10, 2013 / 5:06 am

    I am from the Bahamas we add potatoes, thyme, onion, green pepper, hot pepper and tomato paste. We call it “fire engine”

    • William Tutai
      January 23, 2014 / 4:42 am

      Love the name …

  32. Anna
    October 2, 2013 / 6:42 pm

    I use the corned beef with cabbage shredded with all the same seasoning you used and serve it on white rice or a bed of noodles…. Really good even grate some pumpkin into it also…. Try it. Super meal. Ok. Thanks anna

    • Manuela
      December 11, 2014 / 3:22 pm

      I am from Trinidad, I add the cabbage and cilantro. My secret ingredient is Menudo (dried spices in a pack). Actually use it in all my dishes, stir fry veggies, stew meats, and on eggs, is to die for!!

  33. Val
    August 12, 2013 / 3:48 am

    Onions, garlic, a little curry powder an black pepper, add chopped Tomatoes from
    the tin then put in the corned beef. A few minutes before your ready to turn of the stove add some sweet corn. That’s how I like it *wink*

  34. Jen
    July 18, 2013 / 11:56 am

    Bajan recipe: onions. Tomatoes, ketchup, Barbados hot sauce and fresh thyme.

  35. pokwang
    July 6, 2013 / 7:44 am

    I sauce mine with garlic and onion then add the corned beef and a cup and a half of h2o. when it boils I add in sotanghon or rice noodles(??) and shredded cabbage season with salt n pepper.

  36. chrissy
    April 8, 2013 / 6:48 am

    Hi Chrisc
    In Jamaica we call it bully beef, otherwise known as 'poor man food'. I cook it like you, but first cook up the seasoning, onion, tomato etc…. In hot pepper sauce, Then add corned beef, breaking it up, and a must is thyme.once cooked through I add sweetcorn. It's good in jacket potato, with rice or mixed op with pasta.

  37. Gary
    April 1, 2013 / 9:49 pm

    We add green peas or thinly sliced cabbage to the corned beef and onions. We eat this delicious dish with paratha roti and pepper sauce.

  38. Craig
    March 21, 2013 / 6:16 pm

    I'm already on the the newsletter list but had to comment on this: Chris you may have the caribbean sunshine pepper…but we have the best Beef in the world.


  39. Sha
    March 7, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    Put in the corned beef as a block and let it melt in with the gravy.
    After about 10-15 minutes stir to conbine but not overly mix.
    When the grease rises to the top into a small pool, this dish is done and just needs the final addition of eggs before you shut the stove off.
    Empty the grease and crack the eggs whole into the stew. When the eggs start to cook you can stir the eggs to separate into the stew.
    Serve with steamed rice, yami or my favorite boiled yucca/cassava.

  40. Sha
    March 7, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    Recipe from friend from Ghana –

    1 onions sliced from top to bottom so you have 8-10 wedges
    2 tomatoes sliced from top to bottom so you have 8-10 wedges
    1 can corned beef
    1-2 tsp of curry powder or 1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 TBL tomato paste
    salt and pepper
    African pepper to taste (cayenne pepper will do) – dish can be mild to spicy (spicy is nice)
    2-3 eggs

    Cook on Medium/High Heat
    – Put enough oil in pot to cover and boil onions.
    – When onions become somewhat clear and start to golden, add tomatoes.
    – Add curry or nutmeg, pepper and very little salt. (Canned corned beef has salt; you can add more salt at the end if needed).
    – When tomatoes break down from the cooking, add 1 – 2 TBL tomatoes paste and stir to mix in.

  41. Rissy
    February 12, 2013 / 8:00 pm

    I am going to cook some of this good stuff tonight when I get home. Thinking I will also be boiling some corn as well. Like you said, use the stuff up in de fridge so it don’t waste…

  42. Lydia
    January 16, 2013 / 7:28 am

    i tried this recipe last night and it was nothing short of amazing!! i decided to make a casserole with spaghetti and my dad and boyfriend loved it..the corned beef itself when prepared was heavenly, even without the excess oil! thanks Chris, loved this recipe and will for sure be doing it again!

  43. Jennifer
    November 10, 2012 / 4:29 pm

    I usually fry up the seasoning including a sprig of thyme before adding the corned beef. After adding the corned beef I squeeze a little mustard and ketchup and let it fry real good. At the end squeeze a half of lime and enjoy over rice or in a roll.

  44. Maraea
    October 11, 2012 / 4:03 am

    This is an easy and delicious way to use up anything in your fridge. I use onions, garlic, whole or chopped canned tomatoes, green peppers, kidney beans, and chilli, then serve with jasmine rice. Yummy comfort or hangover food!

  45. Eve
    October 8, 2012 / 8:50 am

    I just made this last weekend! I use red peppers, onions, tomatoes, ketchup or tomato paste, shredded cabbage, parsley & thyme. Sometimes add a dash of soy sauce & hot sauce. I sauté the veggies first then add the corned beef. This time round didn't have rice or bread so I added a can of white beans as well -delicious! Also, I started using the New Zealand canned cornbeef instead of Hereford – I find it's less salty & has a better texture & flavour.

  46. Kecia
    October 7, 2012 / 7:14 am

    Hi Chris, I do mine basically the same way without the tomato, tomato sauce instead with onions, garlic and green pepper. Let it cook down and throw it over rice and instead of your cucumbers I have fresh bananas on the side. Very yummy. I have to try it for breakfast also with eggs over medium, sounds like a plan for something to do with the leftovers.

  47. Janis
    April 9, 2012 / 8:35 pm

    My mother made a similar recipe but with the addition of lots of garlic,fresh thyme, more ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and chop the corned beef into small pieces before adding to the fried onions etc….cook till it's soft and delicious…that's the way I used to make it years ago before salt became a health issue…

  48. Sarah Larrier
    February 8, 2012 / 10:58 pm

    I make it with diced boiled potatoes, when done slice hard boiled eggs on top, finger licking good.

  49. Keva Hylton
    February 7, 2012 / 2:11 pm

    i include shredded cabbage

  50. Richard
    October 9, 2011 / 1:45 pm

    my mom used to make this quite often now i use it for sandwiches for work.
    Great tasting and simple recipe..Thanks Chris

  51. Angela
    September 11, 2011 / 11:14 am

    Hi Chris. Thanks again for taking me back to my roots.

  52. May 30, 2011 / 7:35 am

    Everyone should have a few canned meat recipes on hand. This recipe really makes canned meat sound delicious. Not only is it a quick lazy meal but here where we have snow it can be a meal you can pull out of your pantry with using some dried veggies and spices. Also if you have had bad weather where your electric has been out for weeks! So my advice print this out keep it and store up on canned meat.

  53. Val
    April 4, 2011 / 2:58 pm

    Yours sound delicious, however I add some sliced cabbage to my ingredients before adding the corned beef…

  54. Kerrven
    March 8, 2011 / 5:53 am

    thanks this turned into my midnight snack thing

  55. Clair
    January 6, 2011 / 10:00 am

    The way I do mine is half a red, green and yellow pepper diced. 1 onion diced, 1 beef cube (oxo) a few tomatoes, cpl old spring onions, garlic, black pepper, curry powder & fry until softish. then add my corn beef with a splash of ketchup. once all that is done i add a little boiling water and cook again and then add little more boiling water untill i get the desired consistency. Serve with basmati Rice and sweet corn. LUSH MAN!

  56. Nickus
    November 25, 2010 / 10:04 am

    This is very simple and nice. Makes a great meal after a hard day of work. All you people out there should try this. Thank you.

  57. Sarafina
    August 12, 2010 / 9:49 am

    Hi Chris,

    I really enjoy your recipes. Corned Beef. I make it almost the same way you did.
    What I do though is, I mash the corned beef. Cook the seasonings seperately, I add "tomato paste" with the onions, thyme, lots of garlic, sweet pepperwhen they are almost finished cooking. A little boiling water and then I add the corned beef. I do cover it though for about 5 minutes and mix well. Yummy yummy.

  58. July 15, 2010 / 11:18 pm

    You are reading my mind! My column this week is about canned corned beef and that is going to be my post on Saturday as well! Will definitely link to your post.

    • July 18, 2010 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks so much for the link back. read the article and the news – congrats!

  59. ann
    June 11, 2010 / 11:13 am

    Hi I fry my onions and spring oinions first dont forget the garlic!! then break up the corned beef combine and add tomato puree knob of butter to finsh (yummie) with rice and steamed or fried gorgettes and plaintain on the side Try the mixture in a Jacket potatoe for barbies sometimes i put it with a pasta sauce and serve with spaggetti soory forgot to mention corn as side dish The other way i use the basic mash potatoes form into nice sized balls poke a hole in middle fill with basic misture seal hole egg wash bread crumb if liked pop into oven and brown serve with nice green salad and they can be pr- prepared and popped into fridge till you want them keep well for a day Happy eating

    • June 17, 2010 / 1:57 am

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your take on this. That one with the mashed potato sound slike a killer dish. Will have to give it a try. i usually refry leftover mashed potato with corned beef as well. I cook some onions, then add the potato and after a few minutes I add the corned beef. Cook until you get a sort of crust and you're done. BTW I use left over corned beef as cooked above. That's usually my breakfast.

  60. Fred
    April 15, 2010 / 11:38 pm

    I usually saute the onions,hot pepper and tomato first,add the corned beef,cover briefly,then add some ketchup..
    Sometimes I let it cook until it's a little crisp(when I not too hungry 🙂

    • April 17, 2010 / 11:20 pm

      Fred, that's the way I grew up knowing how to make this. However, I've had to change ways, since I'm trying to cut out some of the fat/oil in my diet. Thanks for sharing.

  61. Teresa
    April 12, 2010 / 8:47 pm

    I am a "curry lover" so I like to curry mine! 🙂 I would curry everything if I could!

    • April 17, 2010 / 11:19 pm

      WOW! This is a first for me, as I've never had the curry version. maybe we can get you to share that way of preparing this? Thanks for stopping by Teresa.

      • Ray
        April 6, 2011 / 3:15 pm

        yup curry is nice bro,im from the bahamas and cornbeef is a delicacy

  62. shammi
    March 31, 2010 / 12:43 am

    Hey ,,great website!! Man i make mine wid same but wid extra pepper ,cilantro, scrambled egg and fry bake……

    • March 31, 2010 / 11:33 am

      Extra pepper is how my daughter wants me to make it with. Still not sure how that chile handles that heat. Fry bake is the way to go.

      happy cooking


  63. March 27, 2010 / 6:13 am

    Mine is prepared with minced onion, bell peppers (if available), and fresh thyme. Seasoned with freshly ground black pepper. Accompanied with sunny side up!

    • March 30, 2010 / 12:51 pm

      With sunny side up.. got try that soon.

  64. Dawn
    March 26, 2010 / 9:18 pm

    My corned beef always has lots of Trini ketchup (watery American ketchup won't do) and a piece of butter at the end. Thanks for sharing your recipe though. Have a great weekend!

    • March 30, 2010 / 12:51 pm

      Dawn.. the funny thing is when we're in Trinidad our daughters complain about the ketchup. We usually pack our own from here to take down.

    • dacha68
      March 14, 2012 / 9:40 pm

      You know Dawn, that is so true about the American Ketchup. I always end up bringing up a bottle of Matouks ketchup from Trinidad – along with the obligatory pepper sauce and mango kutchela – for friends when ever I travel. The next thing they ask for is cheese from Trinidad. Regular shop cheese. amazes me that they don't have that in the U.S.

  65. Marskie
    March 26, 2010 / 11:19 pm

    Yap, I have another recipe of this corned beef our filipino version. Ingrediants are lots of diced garlic, sliced onion and sliced potatoe into dice cubes also you will need a little amount of soy sauce. Simply Saute all the ingredients and add the corned beef and springkle some salt and pepper. You can stuff it on your sandwich or have a steam rice, yumm!

    • March 30, 2010 / 12:47 pm

      Sounds great. We also have one with potato as well. basically we cook some potato slices in oil garlic and onion, add salt and hot pepper. Allow that to cook until tender. Then the last 5 minutes or so we add the corned beef.

      thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      happy cooking


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