Skip to Content

How to Make the Best Jewish Brisket Recipe

How to Make the Best Jewish Brisket Recipe? Just follow this foolproof recipe for Jewish Brisket which always produces great results. It certainly proves that following a recipe works!

Note: This post was written December 27, 2011. I think it was the 5th post I published. The recipe remains as good today as it did then. Here are some new pics, but the writing remains the same, though I did add some additional tips!

There are many things one can say about brisket, but dull is not one of them.

Brisket is a piece of meat that just keeps on giving. Think about it.

You’ve got your bbq, your stews, your Jewish versions, your Southern versions and you can even grind it into hamburger or use it in soup.

Well, you see what I mean.

brisket meat with red sauce on top in a white pan.

Why This Best Jewish Brisket Recipe With Onions is So Amazing

In our house brisket, well Jewish brisket, was always the most talked, debated? about subject of the dinner table.

Was it sliced correctly (no, not usually), whose fault was it, (usually dad’s, because my mother didn’t have faults), was it dry, (no, usually mushy and stringy due to being sliced wrong).

Well, hopefully you get the picture.

Thus, I think it is easy to say, that this Jewish beef brisket recipe-may only have 5 people eating it, but there are 6 opinions offered on how to slice and bake it correctly.

Cooking a Jewish brisket allowed for several variations.

Was it the onion soup version, the tomato soup version, the Coca Cola version or was it just made up?

Potatoes or carrots or both, and what about celery?

Yes, brisket, is always something to look forward too.

And just for the record my mother assures me, that she now has a wonderful Jewish brisket recipe from Williams Sonoma.

Go figure. Where was it when we were kids?

And that brings me to Hanukkah. Yes, the festival of lights. A special occasion.

The night where the house smells like oil and one hopes that the smell of brisket masks the odor of your personal fast food restaurant.

Hence, also the need for cinnamon applesauce.

This year one night of Hanukkah happened to be the night of my birthday, so we were lucky enough to add a chocolate cake to the mix.

Which somehow leads us back to this Jewish brisket recipe, which was made a day before the big celebration (OK no guessing, it wasn’t THAT big.)

brisket with red sauce on top in a white pan.

Expert Tips For Making This Jewish Brisket Recipe

1. It is important to plan ahead when you make brisket. Brisket is easier to slice after it has been chilled and of course it leaves less to do, when you are frying all those latkes. It also gives you an opportunity to get out the electric knife. Yahoo! So please…make the brisket the day before and serve it the next day!

2. Slicing a brisket can be tricky. Always slice the brisket against the grain. Always. Or it falls apart into strings. And yes, the grain can change directions, so be aware.

3. Brisket should be served with gravy. My mother never made gravy to go with brisket. She always just poured the pan juices over the top. That has changed in our family. We always serve our brisket with gravy. This isn’t a traditional gravy. It is merely all the onions and pan juices blended together with an immersion blender. How simple is that?

And if by chance you overcooked your brisket, this onion umami will save it!

My Discovery of This Recipe

Now hopefully you are thinking what I’m thinking; how to avoid all those brisket dilemmas?

In my house I felt the need for a consistent and uncomplicated brisket.

One that was soothing to eat and heavenly to smell.

Something that would fill my senses with warmth and goodness and love. (Yeah, getting a little sappy here.)

Well, I needed a new brisket recipe-one that would always turn out the same, taste the same and not cause the cook tsuris (trouble).

And for that recipe (which I discovered when my children were just five), and many others, I have Ruth Riechel to thank.

Yes, December, 2005 Gourmet, My Mother’s Brisket, saved this mother’s life.

That good, that easy, and that satisfying.

Don’t change it, just eat it. You’ll thank me, I promise.

Jewish brisket is a must-have dish for any Jewish occasion.

Jewish brisket is a dish that is often served for Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year – and Passover dinner.

It is often featured weekly for a traditional Shabbat dinner.

This popular main course has been passed down through generations of Jewish families and is a staple in Jewish cuisine.

brisket with red sauce on top in a white pan.

Why brisket? Well, brisket comes from the front half of the cow, the chest, which makes it Kosher.

Brisket is a tough cut of meat.

It also, or at least used to be, an economical, inexpensive cut of meat.

Last, but not least, one can put it in the oven in a large pot and cook it low and slow where it transforms into a tender and savory dish.

Many Jewish brisket recipes are slow-cooked with tomato paste, brown sugar, and other ingredients to create a flavorful and tender dish.

My mom’s brisket was similar and often she used to throw a packet of Lipton’s onion soup in as well.

But there are many ways to make brisket and this simple Jewish brisket recipe never fails to impress my guests.

The Big Question – First or Second Cut

People often ask if I use the first cut or the second cut of brisket.

Beef brisket is cut into two cuts.

The first cut or the flat cut is the leanest which is what I prefer.

It is also more costly because it has less fat, whcih makes it easier to slice.

The second cut – the point cut or the deckle contains more fat. If I were making bbq on the grill I would probably prefer the deckle because the fat keeps it nice and moist.

My father would have definitlely preferred that too, because he always ate the fat off of my meat that I carefully trimmed away.

With this cooking method, I add water to the brisket and cover it, which takes the place of the fat and keeps the brisket moist.

brisket with red sauce on top in a white pan.

Ingredients for Jewish Brisket Recipe

  • Whole brisket (about 5 -6 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • Onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic cloves
  • Water
  • Olive oil

How to Make Jewish Brisket With Onion Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large pan, casserole dish or a large Dutch oven, and heat in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  3. If your brisket has too much fat, now is the time to trim it. Then season the brisket with salt and pepper, and garlic powder. I do not measure. Just remember that brisket can handle a lot of seasoning.
  4. Place brisket in the Dutch oven or pan fat side up, and cook for 30 minutes until browned, uncovered.
  5. Slice the onions and saute in 2 T of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until soft and beginning to turn golden.
  6. Turn heat down to medium and cook the onions until golden and caramelized – about 20 minutes.
  7. Add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 1 more minute.
  8. Add the three cups of water to the pan and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour the onion mixture over the top of the brisket after it has cooked for thirty minutes.
  10. Place lid on the Dutch oven or aluminum foil over the pan, leaving either somewhat ajar, so the steam can escape.
  11. Cook for 3.5 hours, adding more water as necessary. (I have never had to do this.)
  12. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour.
  13. After cooling, remove the brisket from the sauce and scrape all onions back into the pot.
  14. Wrap brisket in foil and refrigerate overnight.
  15. Place the onion gravy mixture in a large 4 cup measuring cup and chill overnight. In the morning scrape off the fat. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender to make the gravy. You should end up with 3 cups so if you don’t have quite enough add water to make up the difference.
  16. Preheat oven to 350.
  17. Place chilled brisket on a cutting board and with a sharp knife slice against the grain into thin slices. An electric knife makes this quite easy.
  18. Add a bit of gravy to an oiled pan. Place sliced brisket on top and cover with the rest of the onion gravy. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes before serving.
brisket with red sauce on top in a white pan.

Cooking Brisket in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Brisket can be cooked in a slow cooker or instant pot.

Frankly, I prefer the oven for the best flavor. However if you want to try it, be sure to adjust the cooking time appropriately.

As with pot roast, brisket which is loaded with muscle fibers must be cooked for a long time.

The good news is most of it is hands off time.

What To Do With Leftover Brisket

My family loves leftovers, so I always try to plan ahead.

Beside making bbq brisket sandwiches, I also use any leftover potato kugel, the brisket and some more onions and maybe mushrooms, and chop it up and make hash.

You could even fry it in chicken fat.

Honestly, this is the best brisket recipe I know of.

This tender brisket with lots of pepper and garlic, that makes its own savory sauce, is a family recipe I’ve made since my children were 5 years old.

Other Jewish-Inspired Recipes You Might Enjoy

kasha varnishkes with truffle oil.

Kasha Varnishkes

noodle kugel sweet.

Not My Mama’s Noodle Kugel

Passover Food.

All of My Passover Dishes

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Jewish Brisket

Jewish Brisket with Onion Gravy or My Mother’s Brisket (but not really)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 4.5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 810 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Jewish


Jewish Brisket with Onion Gravy turns out perfect every time!



1 5-6 lb brisket, well trimmed (fatty briskets are for BBQ)

1 t salt divided

1 t pepper divided (I usually add more, because it is good when it is peppery)

Garlic powder to sprinkle

3 T oil, divided

3 large onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic minced

1 t paprika


Pat brisket dry and season with 1/2 t salt and pepper and garlic powder. It is really hard to over season brisket. Place 1 T oil in Dutch oven and heat in a preheated 375 oven for 10 minutes. Place brisket in oil, fat side up and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Saute onions in remaining oil in a large skillet, until softened and beginning to turn golden. Reduce heat to medium and cook until deep golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, paprika, and remaining salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Spoon over brisket. Place lid on Dutch oven leaving it a bit ajar. Bake for about 3 1/2 hours until tender. Add more water if necessary during cooking, but this has never happened to me.

Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour. Remove brisket from sauce, scraping any clinging onions back into the sauce. Wrap brisket in foil and refrigerate overnight. Pour gravy from pan into a 4 cup measuring cup. Fat will rise to top overnight. Remove. The next day use an immersion blender to puree gravy until smooth. You should have at least 3 cups, if not add more water.

The next day slice brisket into thin slices, if possible, with an electric knife. Make sure to slice against the grain or your brisket will be stringy. Place some gravy into the bottom of a pan and then place brisket on top of that. Cover with rest of gravy and then seal pan with foil. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes. This will serve 8-10 people.


Most of the above times are not active cooking times.

Please eave a day for the brisket to chill overnight.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Tuesday 5th of December 2023

This recipe look both easy and delicious. I am an onion fan! One question. Once you seal the pot or pan, do you lower the oven temperature? 375F seems very high for a long cook in the oven. Generally, once I have browned the meat, added the onions, and sealed the pot/pan, I would lower the temp to 325F. What do you think of this?


Sunday 10th of December 2023

@Sandra, Yes. Cook it at 325 degrees for approximately 50-60 minutes per pound. I also made a different recipe which suggests making it the day before and then slicing it cold the next day. It was perfect.


Tuesday 5th of December 2023

Sandra, all I can say is that I've made it this way more times than I can count. I know your way is the traditional way, however I have never lowered the temp when making this and it has always turned out great for us!

Barbara Berman

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Loved your recipe. Will try it soon. My mother used garlic salt, then covered with raw onion slices made into rings. Then covered with a whole can of jellied cranberry sauce. Open can at both ends, then slice over brisket, overlapping slices. Add a little water. Cover with foil. Bake at 350.. Onions and cranberry make a nice sauce.


Thursday 27th of July 2023

Your mom's sounds fun, too! Might have to give it a try also!


Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

The one absolute truth here is that if there are 5 (Jewish) people in a room there are 6 ways to make Jewish brisket. Never mind the bbq or soup uses. I have never met a brisket at any Jewish table that I didn't love, and not one of them -- not one -- was made the way I make mine. As for that, I am lazy, so no browning of meat or onions. But at the end, the onions and meat outsides are thoroughly carmelized. I lay the brisket in a pan big enough to hold it and what's to follow: more onions than you think decent, sliced and piled in layers. Meat and onions have been seasoned with salt and pepper. Either make your own sauce of tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, or just go ahead and use ketchup. Same thing. Dollop lots of it on top of the onions, moisten with water, broth, wine or any combination. Cover as tightly as you can. Unfortunately I can only accomplish that with heavy duty aluminum foil (which I use as sparingly as I can, and then re-use until it falls apart.) Roast at 375 for a few hours -- 2 1/2 more or less. Remove from oven, uncover, slice when it's cool enough. Put it back in the oven, covered, and roast until it's falling apart soft. 30-45 more minutes. Refrigerate, remove fat. Heat. Eat.


Wednesday 23rd of February 2022

Great idea! So many ways to get to the same place-a really good brisket!

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)

Sunday 20th of December 2015

Happy Hanukkah Abbe. I have to admit, when Hanukkah starts, I'm always jealous I'm not Jewish! :) I've only made one brisket in my life and it was in the oven. I like your fatty tip, for the grill. I wonder if mine was fatty? Anyway, I've been dying to make another and this sounds like something I'd love to try. Thanks for sharing.


Sunday 20th of December 2015

Your brisket sounds tasty, Abbe, and I love the debates that accompany each one. These discussions are as big a part of a holiday's traditions as are the decorations. My family never argued at a holiday feast but they sure did discuss the food! Although I've never cooked a brisket, the thought of all of those wonderful sandwiches sure is tempting. Yum!