We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.
Corned beef is made from brisket that has undergone a brining period before being cooked. This particular product became associated with Ireland in the 17th century, after the Cattle Acts – two sets of English laws that prohibited the Irish exportation of live cattle to England. The sudden abundance of cows, combined with Ireland’s low salt taxes, meant the country was uniquely placed to produce corned beef. Through both trade and colonialism, the product subsequently became popular around the globe.
Canned meat was introduced to the United States during the early 19th century. It was not long before enterprising individuals were producing canned corned beef products on American soil. Canned corned beef’s popularity fluctuated over the subsequent decades, with technologies such as refrigeration and improved supply chains causing demand for canned goods to fall.
In recent years, however, canned corned beef has experienced something of a renaissance, due to a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the global economic downturn. With this new-fangled popularity in mind, we have collated 12 of our favorite canned corned beef brands, with the hopes of inspiring you to try this ever-reliable kitchen cupboard staple.
Libby’s is one of the best-known brands on this list, with a notoriety earned through the company’s long history. Founded in 1868, Libby’s very first product was canned corned beef. As an early purveyor of canned corned beef, Libby’s benefited from being one of the first popular canned corned beef brands, allowing it to maintain a leading position in the market up to this day. The company has also become iconic through its use and patent of the classic tapered can – the square shape which allows the corned beef to be removed in one piece — which is now synonymous with this product.
Libby’s retains its popularity, both in its U.S. customer base and internationally, through a mixture of nostalgia and enduring quality. One customer highlighted this on Amazon: “The family favorite pasalubong ‘gift’ back home in Asia! My grandma would display these in her China cabinet & would only be serve on special occasion, like Christmas morning or when we get to visit her during school vacation. The taste is still the same as I can remember 30 light years ago.”
Libby’s ability to maintain its standards to this day is a testament to the integrity of the brand. This feature ensures that Libby’s canned corned beef will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Palm is a New Zealand canned corned beef brand that uses the country’s own premium quality beef in its line of products. The origin of the meat is not the only way Palm sets itself apart; the canned corned beef also has a different texture from other brands. Instead of the usual minced, almost paste-like texture, Palm’s corned beef looks and feels like fresh shredded meat.
Palm sells numerous varieties of canned corned beef, including corned beef with onions, barbecue-flavored corned beef, and Halal corned beef. Many of these products boast the term “with juices” on their labels, an indicator that this brand does not suffer from the crumbling dryness that affects others on the market.
The combination of a juicy, whole meat-like texture and solid flavor profile makes Palm a popular corned canned beef product both in the U.S. and beyond. One customer highlighted why they liked it on Amazon: “It is nicely shredded like a beef roast and it has a nice juice with it. It is like a beef roast one might shred. And it’s tender too. I really like it and will be ordering it again next week. I very seldom give 5 stars but for my tastes, it was perfect. I think it’s worth the extra bit of money.”
Hereford was founded in 1915. As another heritage canned corned beef brand, Hereford is known to rest on its laurels. Yet, the company has always been quick to move with modern consumer trends. This is best typified by Hereford releasing healthier versions of its classic corned beef, including products with 25% less sodium.
Low-sodium canned corned beef that has both great flavor and texture remains a rarity in today’s market. Hereford’s product is a leader in this niche, gaining the brand some avid followers, as this review highlighted on Amazon: “Not too fatty, not too salty. For canned corned beef, this is excellent. Loved it. Low sodium options are still difficult to find, even with the current awareness of the health benefits of a lower sodium diet. So, it was good to find this. Will definitely order again.”
For those seeking more texture in their corned beef, Hereford also sells a chunky version of its flagship product. This chunky canned corned beef is perfect for cooking with. It can even be used as the central ingredient for dishes like corned beef croquettes.
The quality of the beef directly influences the caliber of canned corned beef products. Unfortunately, some brands see canned meats as an opportunity to pass off subpar beef. Ox & Palm is not one of these brands. Instead, this Australian company only uses high-quality meat from grass-fed Angus cattle in its canned corned beef. Angus cattle produce beef that contains more marbling than the meat of other breeds.
This extra fat makes the beef more flavorful and juicy, traits which are expressed in Ox & Palm’s canned corned beef. One customer explained this on Amazon: “This is not your regular South American produced corned beef variety. We are used to this brand from our times in the Philippines, where this brand is a super popular breakfast item … It is indeed chunkier and juicier than the more compressed stuff we are usually find inside the traditionally trapezoidal cans here in the U.S.A. Not less fatty, though. It’s a nice product.”
Grace is a Jamaican company that sells regular, halal, and reduced salt halal canned corned beef products. Each of these products contains a significant amount of beef. In the company’s reduced salt and halal corned beef, 120 grams of raw beef are used to make 100 grams of corned beef. This beef is also mixed with salt, sugar, and sodium nitrate.
Although Grace’s canned corned beef is currently produced in Brazil, management at Grace has shown interest in making the corned beef in Jamaica itself. CEO Don Wehby said this to Jamaica Observer: “It would be great if we could deliver to our consumers ‘Grace Bully Beef’ manufactured in Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica. We recognise that innovation requires thinking outside of the box and because we prioritise local production and pursue every opportunity to do so, I have asked the innovation team to look at what it would take to produce corned beef at Grace Food Processors.” Until this time, Grace continues to consistently inspect its Brazilian production facilities, ensuring the highest standards are always maintained.
As a company founded in the late 19th century, Princes has proven itself able to adapt to the times. While technology has often been the driver of change in this food manufacturing company, Princes’ most recent adaptation has been an increasing focus on sustainability.
One of the leading sustainability issues facing Princes, and other canned corned beef producers, is how the meat is sourced. Like many other brands, Princes sources meat from Brazil, the largest exporter of beef in the world. To ensure the brand’s meat comes from sustainable sources, Princes only buys meat from approved Brazilian suppliers that sell cattle that can be traced back to farmers. This is part of the company’s efforts to recognize deforestation caused by the industry.
Princes’ products have retained their flavor through company changes, as this customer highlighted on Amazon: “This corn beef is undoubtedly the best … You have to pay for the best but it’s well worth it. Having eaten it for over sixty years I LOVE IT. I’ve tried most of the corn beef manufacturers out there but there is no comparison to this.”
Instead of just offering traditional canned corned beef, food brand Hormel also sells canned corned beef hash. This product includes potatoes, alongside chunks of corned beef. The inclusion of potatoes, as well as other ingredients, transforms corned beef from an ingredient to a meal in itself — and one that is incredibly quick and easy to prepare. Although versatile, most customers prefer to serve the corned beef hash at breakfast, alongside eggs.
As corned beef hash includes other ingredients, suppliers need to take ingredient ratios into account. Thankfully, Hormel gets its ratios bang on, as this customer indicated in their review on Amazon: “loved the mix of corned beef and potatoes, most brands have too much potatoes to meat ratio, this is about even, also better taste than the rest. it is very easy to prepare, and does well (holds together) when cooked to slight crispiness. NONE of the competitors hold up when cooked. recommended as a quick, meaty and filling breakfast option.”
Iberia’s canned corned beef is produced in Uruguay, another South American country that has developed a reputation as a cattle farming powerhouse. Like many of the top canned corned beef brands, Iberia’s product comes packed with natural juices. This ensures that Iberia’s canned corned beef is never dry or tasteless.
As with all brands, Iberia’s corned beef is extremely versatile. It can be cooled, sliced, and served in sandwiches or used as an ingredient in the many ways to prepare canned corned beef. This is likely thanks to the product’s balanced, intense flavor.
One customer highlighted Iberia’s versatility on Amazon: “I usually prepare my own corned beef for Saint Patrick’s Day but did not this year since I was not having any guests. I bought this to have with cabbage, potatoes and corn muffins. I used half the can of corned beef for that. The following day I sliced the remaining corned beef and lightly pan fried it. I put a slice on a potato roll with mayo and mustard and it truly was delicious. I’m definitely looking forward to having it again.”
While never outlandishly expensive, the price of canned corned beef brands does vary significantly. Fortunately, cheaper brands are not necessarily inferior, as exemplified by Walmart’s Great Value canned corned beef, which retails at under $4 (at the time of writing). While much cheaper than other brands, Great Value canned corned beef doesn’t only match the big-name brands in terms of quality, it surpasses them.
One customer expressed this sentiment in a review posted on Walmart: “I am really happy that I purchased this corned beef. It tastes much better than the big brand names that I usually buy. It is not near as salty.”
Great Value also produces a corned beef hash that is even more affordable: one 14-ounce can costs less than $3. Such low prices on brilliant products make Great Value, Walmart’s line of in-store products, many people’s favorite canned corned beef brand. It’s worth trying.
As a leading food company, Goya sells many iconic products. Among these is the brand’s canned corned beef which, like many other items featured on this list, is made in Brazil. Goya’s canned corned beef has similar sodium levels as other top-quality brands, such as Libby’s, with 550 milligrams per serving. This gives Goya’s corned beef a delightful taste that is suited to making a variety of dishes. One customer highlighted this on Amazon: “Superior to other canned corned beef. Great addition to rice mixes and to noodle mixes. Also to beef ramen.”
Unfortunately, Goya does not sell a reduced sodium canned corned beef option at this time. This means those who are looking to reduce their salt intake should reach for other brands when the desire for canned corned beef hits them. For those not watching their salt intake, however, Goya offers a delicious product that is available in many major grocery stores in the U.S.
Although many people view canned corned beef as a cheap product, premium options — at premium prices — do exist. Priced around $6.50 per 12-ounce can, at the time of publication, Excelsior canned corned beef is one of these premium options.
The majority of canned corned beef brands use brisket. In contrast, Excelsior’s product is made from chuck, a cut of beef that is renowned for its high-fat content and subsequently deep flavor. These qualities transform Excelsior’s canned corned beef into a brilliant product, packed with an unrivaled flavor that justifies its higher price.
Through careful preparation, the team at Excelsior has ensured the product does not taste overly fatty. This makes it very versatile, as this customer indicated on Amazon: “It’s not too salty or really fatty like other brands that I have tried. I make corned beef hash quite often with it … I have also made reuben sandwiches with sauerkraut, russian dressing and melted swiss cheese. You can’t beat real corned beef but the taste of this product is real close. I even tried mixing it together with leftover hard boiled eggs (from Easter) added some mayo, celery and made corned beef egg salad, it came out really tasty.”
Chef-mate, a brand owned by Nestlé, has eschewed traditional canned corned beef in favor of making a canned corned beef hash. As well as potatoes, this product includes onions, further transforming the corned beef into a rounded meal.
Chef-mate is also one of the few brands that sell its corned beef hash in large, 6-pound 11-ounce cans. Being able to buy Chef-mate’s corned beef hash in such large quantities is a huge draw for some consumers, as indicated through this review that was posted on Amazon: “This is just amazing!!!! We are true southerners and we know great Corned Beef Hash when we eat it … And let me tell you this is amazing. Great price and you can make some many meals out of one can. Give it a try you will not be sorry you did. I can not say enough good things about this item.”