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How to Turn Corned Beef into Pastrami in an Instant Pot

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Do you know How to Turn Corned Beef into Pastrami in an Instant Pot? I always enjoy good pastrami on rye, and now I proudly make my own pastrami. Can take up to 2 days to make but so, so worth it!

Have you ever eaten Pastrami from a Jewish Deli?

I used to work for a Jewish family and from time to time, especially with special events, our Boss ordered food from his favored Jewish deli in town! My oh my, the best of the best, I have never before or since had such outstanding Pastrami. I have a feeling that I need to get in touch with my ex-Boss, we are both retired now, but should find out the name of the Deli and treat ourselves to that awesomeness of pastrami on rye topped with mustard as its enough to make almost anyone swoon. I am salivating just thinking about this delicacy.

Pastrami is a food usually made from beef brisket, and sometimes from lamb, or turkey. The raw meat is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. Like corned beef, pastrami was originally created as a way to preserve meat before the invention of refrigeration.

What’s the Difference Between Corned Beef and Pastrami? They’re both brined cuts of beef, but that’s where the similarities end

Is a Reuben made with corned beef or pastrami?

If you want to get technical, a Reuben sandwich made with pastrami is called a “Rachel”.  A classic Reuben is always made with corned beef! It is easy to see the confusion though, as both sandwiches are so delicious!

Yield: 12-15 portions depending on size

How to Turn Corned Beef into Pastrami in an Instant Pot

an image of sliced pastrami on a bed of lettuce

I always enjoy good pastrami on rye, and now I proudly make my own pastrami. Can take up to 2 days to make but so, so worth it!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Rest Time 12 hours
Total Time 15 hours


  • 2½ – 5 lb. corned beef brisket
  • 2 tbsp of liquid smoke
  • 2-3 tbsp of freshly ground black peppercorns (I used a coffee grinder)
  • 2 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar
  • ½ tbsp of garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp of ground mustard powder


  1. Rinse brisket under cold water for 1 minute.
  2. Pat dry and brush all over with the liquid smoke.
  3. Place the trivet (handles facing up) and 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot.
  4. Rest the brisket on the trivet fat-side up.
  5. Secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 60 minutes.
  6. While the corned beef brisket is cooking, mix together all 8 of the dry spices in a bowl until well-blended, and then transfer onto a large plate and spread it out.
  7. When the pressure cooking is done, allow a 15-minute natural release and then follow with a quick release.
  8. Use the handles of the trivet transfer the brisket to a plate and let cool for 10 minutes.
  9. Dab the brisket with a paper towel to remove excess liquid, then transfer it to the spice lined plate (the pastrami) by rubbing in all the spices on the plate ensuring that it is completely covered, and then securely wrap it in foil and refrigerate for a minimum 12 hours and up to 2 days.
  10. This allows the corned beef to truly undergo a metamorphosis into pastrami!
  11. Remove the pastrami from the fridge and, while still wrapped in foil, allow it to come to room temperature for 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 145 degrees.
  13. Open the foil around the pastrami with the fatty side facing down (the top of the pastrami should be fully exposed), creating a cradle/wall around the perimeter of it to keep any fat or seasonings from dripping while cooking.
  14. Once the oven is heated, place the foil-bottom pastrami directly on the middle oven rack (not resting on a baking sheet) and place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack to catch any fat drippings or spices that may fall off the pastrami while cooking.
  15. Cook for 60 minutes.
  16. Place the pastrami on a cutting board, discard the foil and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
  17. With a good knife, cut into thick slices and serve on some Rye Bread with some pickles and/or coleslaw


Prepared, tried, and tested by Melanie from The Recipe Hunter: Tried and Tested Recipes from Home Chefs 

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 1385Total Fat 87gSaturated Fat 35gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 41gCholesterol 501mgSodium 233mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 137g

EsmeSalon provides approximate nutrition information for your convenience and as a courtesy only. Please note that all nutrition data is congregated by online calculators. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe, and we strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but can not guarantee or provide any assurances regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own estimates based on the ingredients used, and by using your own and preferred nutrition calculator. The author(s) of EsmeSalon are not dietitians or nutritionists. Any recommendations shall not be construed as medical or nutritional advice. You are fully responsible for any actions you take and any consequences that occur because of anything you read on this website. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease. Please consult your health care provider regarding any health-related decisions.

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Another Corned Beef recipe to try out

Colgin Liquid Smoke, 16.0 Ounce
Colgin Liquid Smoke, 16.0 Ounce
Cutting Board Set, 3 Pack Kitchen Coloured Chopping Boards Set with Non-Slip Feet and Juice Grooves Easy Grip Handle Easy to Clean Dishwasher Safe
Cutting Board Set, 3 Pack Kitchen Coloured Chopping Boards Set with Non-Slip Feet and Juice Grooves Easy Grip Handle Easy to Clean Dishwasher Safe

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