Everything we recommend is independently selected. We may earn a commission if you buy through our links.

Cuisine TrendsFood & Grocery

Pastrami Vs Corned Beef: What Are The Differences?

Jacky Chou

Many people think that pastrami and corned beef are the same deli meat because they have quite similar appearances.

They are both products from beef, too. But actually, pastrami and corned beef have many differences. Today, this article will show you how these two types of meat differ from each other.

Stay tuned and find out the answer in this article!

What Is Pastrami?

Pastrami is a type of cured and smoked meat that has been around for over 150 years. The word “pastrami” actually comes from the Romanian pastramă which means pressed or dried meat, and it is believed to have gained popularity in America thanks to Jewish immigrants who brought their own recipes with them.

Today, both beef and turkey can be used when creating pastrami and the process typically involves curing the meat with salt after it has been seasoned with spices such as garlic powder, black pepper, coriander seeds, and more.

After this, the meat is placed into a steamer where it continues to cook at low heat for several hours before being cold-smoked by using woodchips such as oak, almond, and fruit trees. Finally, the pastrami is placed in a steam bath or hot water to reheat before it is sliced and served on rye bread.

Pastrami originated in Eastern Europe when people find a method to preserve meats. This meat becomes popular after the immigration of Jewish immigrants came to America in the late 19th century. Pastrami is the perfect lunch meat to serve with sandwiches.


What Is Corned Beef?

Corned beef actually has its origins in Ireland and was first created back in the 15th century when Irish immigrants moved over to Great Britain and brought their version of pickled beef with them. The process behind creating corned beef involves curing beef brisket with salt which helps preserve the meat while adding flavor at the same time.

Soon after this process begins, nitrates such as saltpeter are added which help protect the meat from any bacteria that may be harmful while also giving it a reddish color during the cooking process. After the meat has been cured, it is then placed into a pot of water and boiled for several hours before finally being allowed to cool completely.

Corned beef is also deli meat made with the salt-curing process. At the first step of the process, people will simmer beef brisket cuts in the brine. After a long brining, the meat has an amazing tenderness and attractive pinkish hue. People will cook it slowly before serve or store.

Corned beef is a traditional dish on St. Patrick’s Day and usually pair with sliced cabbages. Besides, like other deli meat, corned beef is also great stuff for sandwiches.

Corned beef
Corned beef

Differences Between Pastrami And Corned Beef

There are several differences between pastrami and corned beef including whether or not they are actually cooked or just warmed through during the serving process. Another difference comes down to the spices used in the curing process which gives each item on the menu its own unique taste. Pastrami usually uses peppercorns while corned beef uses more traditional seasonings such as salt, bay leaves, allspice, sugar, and ground cloves.

When it comes to texture there can also be slight differences depending on where you go but you’re likely to find the pastrami a bit moister and more tender when compared with corned beef. In terms of taste, it’s hard to go wrong with either item on the menu though you may want to experiment a little before going down one route or another.

1. Origin

The first difference between pastrami and corned beef is their countries of origin. While pastrami originated in Eastern Europe, corned beef comes from Ireland.

2. Cuts of meat

To make pastrami and corned beef, people use beef. But each comes from a different part of the cow.

The meat used to make pastrami is meat from the navel. This is the area near the cow’s belly, so pastrami has more intramuscular fat.

Corned beef comes from the beef brisket which is close to the cow’s chest.

3. Seasoning

After the brining process, there are many spices used for seasoning pastrami. They are aromatic spices like black pepper, garlic, coriander, etc.

On the other hand, people cook corned beef after the brine without seasoning it. Therefore, even though these two types of deli meat look alike, they have different flavors.

4. Cooking method

The cooking method is also a difference between pastrami and corned beef. After the brining process, people will boil corned beef then slice it to serve.

Pastrami will go through a smoking process in many hours with hardwood chunks. Then, steaming is the final step before serving this deli meat.

Some Of The Best Recipes With Corned Beef

1. Corned beef and cabbage casserole

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • Cooked corned beef: 250g, diced
  • Cream of mushroom: 250ml
  • Cabbage: 600g, shredded
  • Onion: 15g
  • Dry mustard: 5g


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C while chopping the onion.
  2. Mix the cream of mushroom, dry mustard, and chopped onion in a bowl. Put the cabbage and corned beef into the bowl and stir well.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a baking pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the mixture.
  4. Use aluminum foil to cover the baking pan, put it in the oven, and bake. After the first 30 minutes, check and add water to the casserole if it is dry. Then continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Serve with bread or rolls.

If you like, you can add shredded cheese to the casserole for about 5 minutes before finishing cooking.

Corned beef and cabbage casserole
Corned beef and cabbage casserole

2. Reuben stuffed chicken

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • Chicken breast: 2 pieces
  • Corned beef: 150g
  • Swiss cheese: 2 slices
  • Sauerkraut: 140g, drained
  • Caraway seed: 10g
  • Olive oil: 60ml
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C while chopping the corned beef.
  2. Slit the chicken breast to form a pocket. Stuff half of corned beef and 1 cheese slice into each chicken breast. Then, divide the sauerkraut and put it into the breasts. Rub the outside of the breast pockets with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds.
  3. Then heat your olive oil. Sauté the breasts until both sides turn golden brown.
  4. Transfer the chicken breasts into a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot with some dressing.
Reuben stuffed chicken
Reuben stuffed chicken

3. Reuben sandwiches

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • Rye bread: 8 slices
  • Softened butter: 60g
  • Russian dressing: 50g
  • Swiss cheese: 8 slices
  • Corned beef: 350g
  • Sauerkraut: 140g


  1. You need to use a knife to spread butter on one side. On the other side, spread the Russian dressing. Put the cheese, corned beef, and sauerkraut on half of the slices. Place the remaining slices on top of each sandwich with the dressing side down.
  2. Medium heat a pan. Put the sandwiches in the pan. Cook your cheese melts as well as both sides of the sandwiches turn golden brown.

Some Of The Best Recipes With Pastrami

1. Italian Salad with pastrami

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • Salad greens: 350g
  • Pastrami: 4 slices
  • Cooked ham: 140g, diced
  • Italian cheese: 70g, shredded
  • Tomatoes: 200g
  • Italian salad dressing: 70g
  • Salad croutons: 100g
  • Sliced pepperoni: 100g


  1. Cut the pastrami into strips and chop the tomatoes.
  2. Put the salad greens, pastrami, ham, tomatoes, pepperoni into a large bowl. Then, add Italian salad dressing into the bowl and mix well.
  3. Divide the mixture into 2 plates, top with shredded cheese and salad croutons.
Italian Salad with pastrami
Italian Salad with pastrami

2. Pastrami rolls

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • Cream cheese: 180g
  • Blue cheese: 120g, crumbled
  • Cooked pastrami: 12 slices
  • Dill pickle: 12 spears


  1. Mix well cream cheese and blue cheese until they form a smooth paste.
  2. Spread the cheese mixture on one side of each pastrami slice. Then, put on each slice a pickle spear. Roll up and cut each roll into 4 pieces. Serve with rye and salad.

3. Mushroom Pastrami Hoagies

Ingredients (for 3 servings)

  • Butter: 25g
  • Pastrami: 400g
  • Fresh mushroom: 250g
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 medium red sweet pepper
  • 3 hoagie buns
  • Garlic: 3g
  • Provolone cheese: 6 slices


  1. Preheat the broiler and slice the mushroom, onion, and sweet pepper.
  2. Heat the butter in a stockpot. Put the onion, mushroom, and sweet pepper into the pot and stir well. You need to cook from 5 to 7 minutes. Add minced garlic, salt, and pepper, mix well.
  3. Split the buns. Layer the sliced pastrami, cooked vegetables, and cheese on each bun. Put the buns on the baking sheet and broil until cheese melts and the bun turns golden brown. Serve hot.
Mushroom Pastrami Hoagies
Mushroom Pastrami Hoagies

Final Thoughts

Via this article, you have known more about pastrami and corned beef. Though they look similar, they are two different deli meat. Which one do you like? Let Spice Kitchen + Bar know your preference by leaving a comment. Thank you for reading!

Jacky Chou

4 thoughts on “Pastrami Vs Corned Beef: What Are The Differences?”

  1. Wow, incredible weblog layout! How long have
    you ever been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.
    The whole glance of your site is wonderful,
    as smartly as the content! You can see similar
    here sklep online

  2. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains.
    If you know of any please share. Kudos! You can read similar article
    here: Najlepszy sklep

  3. Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins
    to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get
    my website to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.
    If you know of any please share. Many thanks! You can read similar article here: Scrapebox AA List

Leave a Comment