This paper presents a numerical study of plastic hardening models used in the stress, strain, and fatigue life simulations of a pipeline elbow under operating pressure and cyclic in-plane bending. To determine more accurate stresses, strains, and fatigue life of the elbow in cyclic loading, the material plastic hardening response and the Bauschinger effect need to be considered properly in the numerical simulation. The isotropic, kinematic, and combined isotropic/kinematic hardening models are, thus, evaluated in the elastic-plastic finite element analysis (FEA) of a benchmark beam. On this basis, those plastic hardening models are applied to simulate the elbow under combined loading of constant internal pressure and cyclic in-plane bending. With the FEA results and selected fatigue models that are commonly used in the pipeline industry, fatigue life of the elbow is predicted for each hardening model. As such, the appropriate plastic hardening model and fatigue life model to predict fatigue life of the elbow are determined.