Coca Cola Brisket

Coca Cola Brisket Recipe

This is one of those recipes that really sort of defines the cliche “more than the sum of its parts.” Tasting is understanding.–Sara Roahen and John T. Edge

LC Way More Than the Sum of Its Parts Note

We have to agree with the authors of this book–this brisket is way more than the sum of its parts. And although we appreciate there being only four parts to this recipe, we’ve witnessed about as many different ways to tweak it as there are cooks who’ve made it. Some spice the beef with a dry rub. Or swap ketchup for chili sauce. Toss a heap of sliced onions to the pan. Strew chopped carrots, potatoes, or sweet potatoes around the brisket. Marinate the brisket in a couple cans of Coke overnight before draining and proceeding with a new can of Coke. Slather the final roast with barbecue sauce and return it to the oven, uncovered, for a few minutes. Or, well, we could go on, but you get the idea. Go ahead and make it your own.

One last, but very important, thing. If you’re being observant for Passover, you’ll want to be mindful of seeking out kosher-for-Passover Coke. But we bet you already knew that.

Special Equipment: Faith

Coca Cola Brisket Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 3 H, 25 M
  • Serves 8 to 12


  • 4 to 6 pound beef brisket, visible fat untrimmed
  • 1 12-ounce can Coca Cola
  • 1 envelope dried onion soup mix (yes, seriously)
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce (may substitute ketchup)


  • 1. To make the Coca Cola Brisket in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

    To make the Coca Cola Brisket on the stovetop, preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C).
  • 2. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels, if desired, to remove any moisture. Place it in a nonreactive roasting pan or a glass baking dish just large enough to fit the brisket.
  • 3. Mix the Coke, chili sauce, and dried onion soup mix in a bowl and pour it over the brisket. Cover the baking dish or roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the brisket until tender, about 30 minutes per pound, figure 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of your brisket.
  • 4. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the surface of the pan juices and discard. Pour the defatted pan juices into a gravy boat or, if a thicker consistency is desired, pour the juices into a saucepan and simmer until reduced slightly.
  • 5. Trim any visible fat from the brisket, then thinly slice it against the grain. Pile the slices on a platter and pass the warm pan juices on the side.

Slow Cooker Variation

  • This four-ingredient recipe just got even simpler. Place the brisket in the slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the brisket. Cook on low for 9 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board to rest. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. If a thicker sauce is desired, pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to the desired consistency. Slice or shred the brisket and serve with the sauce.

    [Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow-cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.]
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Mar 26, 2012

Until I bought the ingredients for this recipe, I had never bought a packet of onion soup mix in my entire life. This recipe seemed so improbable to me. It is one of those things I just never would have made if it hadn’t been sent to me to test. But there it was, and it would be easy, if nothing else. I was really surprised that this turned out to be a solid brisket recipe. In the finished dish, I could not discern the Coke, the chili sauce, or the soup mix. Thank goodness. I ended up with a tender brisket in a mysterious, savory sauce. When I took the brisket out, I let it rest for a few minutes, and I put all the liquid into a gravy separator. I used the degreased liquid as a sauce to spoon over the brisket. It was thin, but tasty. This is one of those recipes that challenges all your assumptions about what can make good food. We’re told to avoid processed food, eat with the seasons, and so on, and that is, for the most part, what I do. Coke and soup mix are seasonless and as processed as you can get. But don’t let that scare you away. Your guests will never know.

Testers Choice
Karen Depp

Mar 26, 2012

This is an easy, delicious summer or winter dish that will end up as a great do-over in sandwiches or cold off the plate. One bowl to mix it all up, then into the oven it goes. I did line the baking dish with the foil so there was no clean-up. After it was done, I ran the brisket under the broiler to crisp up the fat layer that I had NOT trimmed off, per the instructions. I put it in the pan fat side up, with a scattering of chopped green onion that a friendly neighbor had delivered fresh from her garden. I reduced the liquid by half and passed it at the table for those who wanted some sauce, and found that it added a dimension that’s different from the usual brisket marinades I’m accustomed to eating.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Mar 26, 2012

This recipe really could not be any simpler—unless you make it in a slow cooker. After placing the brisket in my 6-quart slow cooker, I poured the sauce over the meat and set the cooker to low. Nine hours later, I had a fork-tender, pull-apart brisket complete with sauce. While the meat rested, I skimmed the fat from the surface of the pan juice and poured the sauce into a saucepan. I then simmered it for 15 minutes and it reduced nicely. Then I pulled the beef apart and added it to the sauce. It was slightly sweet with a savory depth that was amazingly delicious. We ate the leftovers in sandwiches the next day and they were marvelous. This is perfect for dinner after a long work day, a game day party, or any occasion. Truly a spectacular and simple dish!

  1. Lauralee Hensley says:

    I’ll have to try this. I remember eating Coke A Cola BBQ Baked Chicken as a kid at church functions as this was our great Soprano Opera Like Singer in the choirs favorite pot luck item to bring to church functions. My mom got the recipe from her finally after asking numerous times. She started making it at home. The whole family loved it, even Dad, who didn’t like to eat poultry, since he had to kill them as a young boy for his mom’s home business. When my mom passed away it was one of the recipes I was going to grab from her recipe box. Alas, time had faded the ink so badly I couldn’t read it, as well as most of her recipes. I kick myself sometimes for not copying her recipes when I was younger.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Oh, Lauralee, we can almost feel your disappointment. Perhaps someone else out there has the same recipe and is willing to share?

    • Carol S says:

      I can’t help wanting to let you know that brisket is actually beef…were you thinking it is actually some kind of chicken or am I not understanding your reference? I also have missed out on recipes from my grandmothers and mother…we just don’t think when we are younger!!

      • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

        I think Lauralee is hoping someone may have a recipe similar to this brisket recipe, but for beef. Anyone? And Carol S, yes, it’s so sad to miss out, if only we knew then what we know now….

    • jeannie says:

      Here’s a recipe for Lauralee that I found online. I haven’t tried it myself.

      Chicken breasts or pieces
      1 c. Coca Cola
      1 c. barbecue sauce
      Salt and pepper to taste

      Skin chicken; arrange skillet. Pour coca cola and barbecue sauce over chicken. Let come to a rolling boil; lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.

      • David Leite David Leite says:

        jeanine, thank you.

        Lauralee, please know we haven’t tested this, so we can’t vouch for it–but we would love to hear how it worked for you!

  2. Carin says:

    I have a similar recipe that I’ve been making for years–it’s become such a tradition that my family won’t hear of trying a new one! My recipe: Take one packet of onion soup mix, mix it with one can of whole berry cranberry sauce and half a can of water, pour over brisket, cover the baking pan tightly with foil and bake at 325 for 3+ hours, depending on the size of the brisket, until very tender.

    Sounds awful, but it’s amazing!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Thanks, Carin. We had the same thought before making the Coca Cola brisket, and boy, were we wrong, so we’re not going to cast stones!

  3. Sherry says:

    My aunt has forever cooked her brisket exactly like this – sooo good! Of course the cola, chili sauce and dried onion soup mix were always by Coca-Cola, Heinz and Lipton. “Never cook with diet soda or you’ll get garbage!” she would always say. Once in a while she’d substitute Dr Pepper and it was just as good. The brisket was made the night before so it would cool in the fridge, and for all the fat to float to the top which was scraped off the next day before slicing it and then rewarming it in the remaining sauce for sandwiches made with bakery dinner rolls. Again, sooo good! I’ve never cooked a brisket any other way and never will – why?


    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Sherry, thanks for sharing your memories. Yes, yes, how we recall those brand names. And yes, yes, we concur, when you have a recipe for brisket–or anything, for that matter–that works so well, why do it any other way?!

  4. zanne says:

    Ok, I just made this yesterday. I only had a 1.6 lb piece of brisket so I made half the sauce mix and only used about 75% of that. At first I was really turned off by the smell of the gravy/sauce mix (Coke, onion soup mix and chili sauce). I thought it would be a disaster, but since it was a small cut of meat, not too painful. Well, I’m now eating this brisket every chance I get. Wow! This is great stuff. I have made brisket other ways, with more prep/ingredients, but this is the one I will go to.

    Chunks of this will be good in a faux chow fun recipe that I do – beef, onions, oyster sauce & tamari, shiitake mushrooms, all together with rice noodles. Yummy. I also think this will be good in soft tacos etc.

    Of course, this all depends on me not eating all of it before it can be used for other dishes. I’ll do a much bigger brisket next time so I can freeze some.


    And Sherry, those were exactly the brands I used! :-}

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’re virtually high-fiving you right now, Zanne! Thanks for chiming in, thanks for given the brisket a chance, thanks for making us crave brisket RIGHT NOW…

  5. David Leite says:

    I have to say I was a big doubter when it came to this recipe. It just seemed too odd to work. But it did–exactly as promised. Go figure. We used ketchup instead of chili sauce, which I will change the next time. It was a bit to sweet for me, but The One and our guests absolutely, 100% loved it.

  6. Becky Brown says:

    Has anyone done this with Diet Coke?

  7. Jessica says:

    Oh…I have got to try this recipe! I’ll definitely include my Coca Cola cake for dessert!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hah! Love it, Jessica. Just love it. Let us know what you think….

    • Jessica says:

      Made the brisket last night for dinner, and my husband and I almost devoured it. Since we’re empty nesters, I bought a 4 1/2-pound brisket. Considering how much we enjoyed it, I don’t think we’ll get more than one more meal out of it! I served it with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli. John called it a Mad Men dinner—especially when paired with a Manhattan. With the exception of using Trader Joe’s Cola instead of Coke, I followed the recipe verbatim. I can’t wait to make it for friends, but I don’t think that I will tell them the ingredients until after they’ve tasted it. I found myself hesitant to take the first bite. And then the first few bites were spent trying to discern the different flavors and their influence. Too distracting for me. I recommend this recipe for those looking for a true comfort meal during a Midwestern winter!

      • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

        Terrific to hear, Jessica! Although I dare say, though you’re correct in that this is perfect for winter, we’ve found ourselves craving it spring, summer, and fall, too…curious to learn if you’ll feel the same. Many thanks for letting us know.

  8. Nina says:

    Before I tried to make this brisket I was a terrible cook. I had zero confidence and I was intimidated by cooking. I love brisket and the holidays were coming. I wanted to do something special for my family. I Googled this recipe, made it, and it was a HUGE success. My family could not get enough. It was gone in minutes! They were so impressed! This recipe opened the doors for me. I am now a much better cook and I have discovered a love for cooking. THANK YOU for this recipe! I used the chili sauce and when the brisket was cooked I added some barbecue sauce and put it back in the oven for just two minutes. I 100% reccommend this brisket! Sooooooo goood!! And yes, the Coke and onion soup mix works !!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Nina, we can ask for no better comment from a reader. Not ever. We’re thrilled to hear this and grateful that you shared it. As you’ve learned, the fault lies not necessarily in us, but in our recipes. Some are simply better, more tried-and-true, than others. That’s exactly why we test each and every recipe prior to posting it on the site—we realize it’s an investment of your time, your ingredients, your expectations, and, if you’re cooking for others, your reputation! We look forward to hearing what you decide to try next….

  9. Stacey says:

    This is my Jewish grandma’s recipe. Fun to find it here!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Swell, Stacey! Funny how recipes have the ability to conjure so many memories, isn’t it? So tell us, were there certain occasions when she would always make this? Or just whenever?

  10. Elliebelle says:

    Has anyone tried this with Diet Coke? I live with diabetics and am interested in trying it.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Elliebelle, we haven’t tried it with Diet Coke but perhaps one of our readers may have made this substitution. Anyone?

  11. Lori says:

    I have used a 12-ounce can diet Dr. Pepper and 1 cup ketchup over 4 chicken breasts. So good. I also used reduced sugar in the recipe and didn’t miss it. Try it.

  12. Sara says:

    I used 1/2 ketchup and 1/2 gochujang, threw in an extra onion and whoa, deliciousness!! I ended up cooking the meat over 9 hours but it didn’t matter, it’s pull-apart tender. You really can’t go wrong with brisket, right? Great recipe!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Niiiiiiiice, Sara! And while no, you really can’t go wrong with brisket, there are definitely gradations of just how well you can go, and sounds like yours ranks among the upper echelon. Lovely work! Thanks for sharing…!

  13. Carlee says:

    Hi. We’re from Adelaide, Australia, and were looking for a different brisket recipe & came upon this one. It didn’t look too good in prep but now it’s cooked it’s absolutely amazing!!

  14. Quinn says:

    I’ve got this in the crockpot right now, possibly starting a new Christmas tradition! Have to say, mixing up the onion soup and Coke was…alarming. Without all the strong testimonials, I would be worried about wasting the biggest chunk of meat I have bought in months. But you all are totally convincing! I believe! :)

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