Food Guide

Discover the Surprising Reason Why Corned Beef Smells Like Egg – Unveiling the Mystery Behind This Unusual Aroma

 Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product that has been seasoned with various spices and flavorings.

It can be made from brisket, round steak, silverside and other cuts of beef.

This meat is believed to smell more like eggs than anything else.

This doesn’t make any sense at first glance because the two items don’t even look alike!

Let’s take a look at why corned beef stinks and how you can keep your house from smelling like it too!

Why Does Corned Beef Smell Like Eggs?

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While some foods can give off an unpleasant smell when boiled, such as eggs or cabbage, corned beef is one food item that has a distinct and very different odor.

Instead of smelling like something we would rather not be eating, this meat often smells more like eggs than anything else.

There are several possible explanations for this phenomenon.

Due to the Curing Process

Corned beef is a type of preserved beef that has been cured with spices and brine.

It was originally created to preserve meat before refrigeration, but now it’s used as a delicious meal.

Corned beef smells like eggs because the curing process uses sodium nitrate which breaks down into nitrite and subsequently forms nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide, which has a distinct smell, is also responsible for the pink coloration of cured meats such as hams and bacon.

In fact, corned beef would taste much more like eggs if it were not for the pickling process that changes its flavor over time.

Due to Sulfur Compounds

One explanation is that the beef itself contains sulfur compounds which combine with hydrogen sulfide gas to produce a rotten egg-like scent during boiling

Spoiled Meat Due to Improper Packaging

What most people don’t know is that corned beef can have a very strong, eggy smell to it after sitting out in the fridge overnight.

This smell doesn’t come from eggs but rather from bacterial growth that occurs when meat sits too long without being refrigerated properly (or even worse – outside the refrigerator).

Is It Safe to Eat Corned Beef That Smells Like Eggs?

Corned beef is a type of preserved beef that has been cured with spices and brine.

Nitrous oxide used in the curing process has a distinct smell which resembles eggs or even cabbage! This can make corned beef taste off.

Although corned beef with an eggy smell is still safe to eat, be sure to check your meat thoroughly for this scent before cooking it up!

Eggy smell in corned beef is often caused by too much salt or not enough cooking time.

To get rid of the eggy smell, remove the meat from the brine and rinse it off before rinsing it with boiling water.

If you are still experiencing an eggy smell after these steps, then your meat may have spoiled and should be thrown out.

How to Get Rid of Eggy Smell in Corned Beef

Rinsing the Meat Thoroughly

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Eggy smell in corned beef is caused by the presence of alkaline phosphatase, which is found naturally in meat, and the meat does not have enough cooking time.

To get rid of the eggy smell, remove the meat from the brine and rinse it off before rinsing it with boiling water.

For those who have more time, soaking the corned beef for 24 hours in a solution of vinegar and water might also help.

This will make your corned beef more appetizing to eat!

Adding Other Ingredients 

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When you boil your brisket, add about two tablespoons of vinegar per quart of water and four cloves of garlic.

The acetic acid found in this type of vinegar will help eliminate that lingering eggy flavor by breaking down protein molecules and binding them together into non-tasty compounds.

This will help to clear out the smell and also add more flavor to the meat.

After boiling, let cool and rinse with cold water three or four times before cooking again if desired.

Storing the Corned Beef Properly

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The smell of egg is due to the breakdown of protein in the meat during storage at high temperature.

If you refrigerate your corned beef immediately after opening it, this process will stop and your corned beef should no longer smell like eggs.

If you store your meat at room temperature or above (which can be more convenient), then try microwaving the sealed package on high heat for 30 seconds before refrigerating it.

The Bottom Line

Eggy smell in corned beef is a problem that many people have faced at some point.

This can be a frustrating experience because it leaves the meat smelling pretty awful and less appetizing.

The next time you cook corned beef, follow these steps so that you can eliminate this odorous issue before it ruins whatever dish you’re preparing!

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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