I believe it’s universal knowledge that corned beef sandwiches are one of the best comfort foods out there!
From savory lunches to lazy brunches to hearty dinners, corned beef sandwiches make for a fulfilling meal no matter the occasion, especially when you consider all the different toppings you can play with.
Things get even more interesting when you decide to get creative with the add-ons.
The good news is:
You don’t have to wonder what goes on a corned beef sandwich.
There are dozens of toppings to test, each offering unique tastes, textures, aromas, and visuals.
Today, I’ve put together a list of 17 sinfully delicious toppings to help inspire your next corned beef sandwich recipe.
The Best Corned Beef Toppings
Toppings for corned beef sandwiches are endless.
While many say “don’t mess with the classics”, I believe all is fair in food — as long as it’s tasty!
Here’s a list of delicious corned beef sandwich topping ideas to get you started.
1. Smother with Irish Spicy Sauce
Ready to wow your taste buds? Then add some Irish spicy sauce to your corned beef sandwich.
The creamy texture and tart flavors of this sauce will balance the briny meat with mild heat and a hint of sweetness.
2. Trickle Some Cranberry Sauce
I know what you’re thinking, but just hear me out.
Cranberry sauce has a sweetness and tartness that delightfully cuts through the hearty, salty, and spicy flavors of corned beef.
It also brings a splash of color and goes particularly well with hot sandwiches.
3. Pair with Eggs
Balance out the intense flavors of corned beef in your sandwich with the mildness of eggs.
I like the buttery and fatty flavor of the yolk in sunny side up eggs.
The frying also adds a pleasant nutty taste.
4. Spread Olive Tapenade
To make this glorious tapenade, mix together finely chopped olives, giardiniera, roasted red peppers, shallot, and garlic.
Then, season with olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried basil and dried oregano.
You’ll end up with a flavor-loaded paste that tastes salty and briny — an ideal way to highlight corned beef.
5. Add Avocado Slices
Among the uncommon yet best corned beef toppings, you’ll definitely come across avocados.
These fruits offer a creamy, buttery texture and a nutty, earthy flavor that blend flawlessly with the salty and spicy taste of the meat
Not to mention, avocados are good for you!
6. Venture with Kimchi
Inspired from Asian cuisine, kimchi is one of my all-time favorite corned beef sandwich ideas whether hot or cold.
The fermented concoction of cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger, horseradish, and red peppers introduces a range of flavors to complement the briny meat.
Similar to when you serve corned beef and cabbage, you have a match made in heaven, really.
Similar to sauerkraut, kimchi is sour, umami, tangy, and spicy.
7. Cover with Blue Cheese Sauce
I think a corned beef sandwich will take very nicely to blue cheese, especially in sauce form.
The characteristic pungent flavor is an effective complement to the briny meat.
Mix blue cheese with a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk.
Then add some salt, pepper, and lemon juice to season the sauce.
8. Coat with Russian Dressing
With its distinct spicy flavor, Russian dressing is a terrific answer to what goes on a corned beef sandwich.
It has a complex flavor profile thanks to its ingredients, which typically include mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, horseradish, paprika, garlic, and onion powder.
Russian dressing is a main part of the Reuben sandwich that also uses corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread. Talk about yummy!
9. Spread Sweet Potato Paste
There’s nothing quite like the starchy, sweet flavor of sweet potato to balance the salty, savory, and spicy flavors of corned beef.
A layer of sweet potato taste won’t only add a bright orange color to your hot or cold corned beef sandwich, but it’ll also give it a creamy texture and boost of nutritional value.
10. Glaze with Brown Sauce
Among today’s toppings for corned beef sandwich, brown sauce is one that deserves some more appreciation.
Easy to make and flavor-packed, brown sauce complements meat nicely with a tart, sweet, and peppery taste.
11. Pile on Cider Caramelized Onions
I love my corned beef sandwiches smothered in caramelized onions.
The savory richness and the hint of sweetness resulting from the reaction are just strong enough to break the salty and spicy flavors of the corned beef without overpowering them.
12. Scoop some Pineapple Salsa
If you want an unconventional topping for a cold corned beef sandwich, how about pineapple salsa?
I know it sounds weird, but just trust me on this.
Pineapple salsa will deliver a shot of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors all together.
It’ll also introduce a chunky, juicy texture along with some fun colors that’ll really elevate your meal.
13. Freshen with Apple Coleslaw
It’s pretty common to top a corned beef sandwich with coleslaw, but you can add a fresh kick to your meal by adding some apples to the equation!
Along with your regular coleslaw veggies, throw in some shredded or diced green or Gala apples.
The sweetness and tang of this coleslaw offer a mouthwatering flavor profile for a cold corned beef sandwich on a warm day. The added crunch is a bonus!.
14. Couple with Baby Arugula
Some baby arugula leaves on top of corned beef can really transform the sandwich.
Other than the bright green color, the peppery radish-like flavor of arugula matches the salty meat beautifully.
Also, these leaves hit your palate with a wasabi taste that’s savory and spicy, which highlights the brininess of corned beef.
15. Drizzle with Pomegranate Port Wine Sauce
I love the twist of zingy freshness that pomegranate adds to meats.
The distinct sweet and tart flavors of pomegranate couple flawlessly with the briny taste profile of the corned beef.
For even more depth, try making pomegranate port wine sauce.
The wine adds notes of fruitiness, butteriness, nuttyness.
To wrap it up, I like to sprinkle some pomegranate seeds onto the corned beef sandwich.
16. Stack Fontina Cheese
A cheese topping is among the most common corned beef sandwich ideas, but not many folks use fontina.
Try it and you won’t be disappointed — the characteristic nutty and savory flavors of fontina cheese will come through the spiciness of corned beef like a dream!
Fontina cheese is especially fantastic for hot corned beef sandwiches as it melts great into a cozy blanket over the briny meat.
17. Layer with Caramelized Apple
Last but not least, why not top your corned beef with a few slices of caramelized apple?
Like onions, caramelized apples add a sweetness that nicely breaks up the spiciness and sourness of the meat.
But being apples, they offer an additional tartness that complements the meat’s savory beefy flavors.
The soft and chewy texture of the caramelized apples also adds perfect richness to the sandwich.
What Goes on a Corned Beef Sandwich: The Perfect Companion
Whether you go for fruity, spicy, cheesy, or savory toppings, your corned beef sandwich will be a hit.
But for the whole meal to be a smashing success, you need to pair it with the right side dishes.
The following are some of my favorite side dishes that go great with a corned beef sandwich.
We all know fries go amazingly next to a corned beef sandwich, but what about a little more depth?
Roasted potatoes are also tasty to munch on with your corned beef sandwich, and they’re a lot healthier as they’re oven-baked.
You can use regular potatoes, but I prefer red potatoes.
These hold their shape better when cooked because they’re smaller, lower in starch, and higher in moisture.
Dice the red potatoes then coat them with some butter and sprinkle some chopped garlic and parsley.
Let them roast in the oven and you’re good to go!
Blanched green beans
Simple and super healthy, blanched green beans go great with corned beef.
Their texture is soft and crispy whereas their vibrant color is an invitation to eat!
Drizzle your green beans with a little butter, some lemon juice, and chopped almonds.
These flavors combine so well with the earthiness of the beans.
Not to mention, the almonds provide extra crunch.
Another option for a healthier side dish to pair with corned beef sandwiches is glazed carrots.
Not only are they super easy to whip up, but glazed carrots also add a pleasant pop of color to the meal.
Flavor-wise, glazed carrots cut through the salty and spicy flavors of the corned beef with just the right amount of sweetness.
These tender glazed carrots are the result of letting carrot coins or sticks simmer in a mixture of butter and brown sugar. Sprinkle with bits of parsley to finish.
Carrots are slightly sweet by nature, but adding a glaze gives them extra depth and makes them even sweeter to balance out the intensity of the meat.
Creamy potato salad
This is a delicious and filling sidekick for a corned beef sandwich if you’re feeling extra hungry and craving a big, comfort meal!
Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and celery along with your favorite pickles and herbs.
Then, stir in diced potatoes (boiled first!) and you’ll end up with a creamy, rich potato salad that perfectly complements briny corned beef sandwiches.
Toppings can completely alter the flavor, appearance, and texture of your corned beef sandwich.
The same is true for what to put with your sandwich – see Reuben sandwich sides ideas here!
If you’re not sure what to put on a corned sandwich, today’s list will give you the push you need to try different options.
You can also check out our similar toppings for pastrami sandwiches here!
Feel free to experiment with non-traditional flavors — you may just stumble upon your new favorite topping!
What to Put on a Corned Beef Sandwich: 17 Quick & Tasty Ideas
- Irish Spicy Sauce
- Cranberry Sauce
- Olive Tapenade
- Avocado Slices
- Blue Cheese Sauce
- Russian Dressing
- Potato Paste
- Brown Sauce
- Cider Caramelized Onions
- Pineapple Salsa
- Apple Coleslaw
- Baby Arugula
- Pomegranate Port Wine Sauce
- Fontina Cheese
- Caramelized Apple
- Choose your desired toppings.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty toppings to complete your meal!