This easy homemade Salisbury Steak is an updated version of the classic TV dinner. Made from scratch (no canned soup) ground beef patties simmer in a rich mushroom and onion gravy. Serve the dish with a side of mashed potatoes for a cozy, comforting and family-friendly meal!
Salisbury Steak Recipe
Salisbury Steak is a blend of ground beef and other ingredients, shaped into patties and served with gravy or brown sauce. The classic American comfort food dinner gets its name from James Salisbury, a physician and chemist who advocated for a meat-centered diet to promote health during the late 19th century. The doctor invented a version of this dish to nourish wounded and ill Civil War soldiers, so it's been called "Salisbury Steak" since 1897!
Some modern recipes can be prepared in the slow cooker or baked in the oven, and many of these options include condensed cream of mushroom soup or packets of seasoning mix. By contrast, this homemade Salisbury Steak recipe is made from scratch on the stove top with just one skillet. It's not difficult, so if you can spare a few extra minutes of prep, this simple Salisbury Steak recipe is the way to go!
What is the difference between Salisbury Steak and Hamburger Steak?
There's really not much difference between Salisbury Steak and Hamburger Steak. In fact, the terms are often used interchangeably these days. If you want to get really specific, though, a Salisbury Steak typically contains more fillers (such as bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or oatmeal), while a Hamburger Steak traditionally includes only ground beef, salt and pepper. Since ground beef is the main ingredient in Salisbury Steak, and ground beef is often called "hamburger" in this country, a Salisbury Steak is really just a type of Hamburger Steak.
What about Swiss Steak?
Salisbury Steak should not be confused with Swiss Steak, which is another popular old-fashioned dinner. Salisbury Steak is made with ground beef that has been shaped into patties, while Swiss Steak is made with actual steak. For Swiss Steak, the beef is rolled or pounded and then braised in a pot of stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, or other similar sauce.
Salisbury Steak vs. Meatloaf
I like to think of Salisbury Steak as miniature meatloaves that are smothered in mushroom and onion gravy. In fact, I used my family's favorite meatloaf recipe as the base for this easy Salisbury Steak! If you enjoy a classic meatloaf, then you're sure to love this similar dish.
How to Make Salisbury Steak from Scratch
With a rich red wine gravy, fresh mushrooms, and sliced onions, this homemade Salisbury Steak is a major upgrade from the classic frozen TV dinner. Served with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, rice or even cauliflower mash, the hearty and flavorful ground beef recipe will fill you up and keep you satisfied. It's a cozy, comforting meal that's particularly appealing on chilly evenings.
Ingredients for Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
- Ground beef
- Quick oats
- Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Tomato paste
- Beef broth
- Red wine (or additional beef broth)
Step 1: Prepare Patties
In a large bowl, gently combine beef, oats, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk.
Shape the meat mixture into 4 separate ½-inch thick oval patties and place them on a parchment-lined tray. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
Step 2: Brown Patties
In a big skillet, brown the patties on both sides. They don't need to be cooked through at this point, because you will return them to the skillet with the gravy later to finish cooking.
Step 3: Make Salisbury Steak Gravy
To make the gravy, start by softening the sliced onion in butter.
Add the mushrooms and salt, then cook for 5 more minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and flour (this will thicken up the gravy), and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Gradually pour in the broth and wine, stirring constantly until everything is incorporated. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Step 4: Finish Cooking Patties
Return the browned patties to the skillet with the gravy. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 12-15 more minutes (or until the patties are cooked through).
What to serve with Grandma's Salisbury Steak Recipe
This classic comfort food deserves equally delicious, cozy sides. Here are a few dishes that go well with Stove Top Salisbury Steak:
- Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Southern Buttermilk Biscuits, or Easy Drop Biscuits
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese, Southern Baked Mac and Cheese or Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- Jiffy Corn Casserole
- Skillet Cornbread or Corn Muffins
- Rice or egg noodles
- Garlic and Parmesan Cauliflower Mash
- Arkansas Green Beans with Bacon or Amish Green Beans with Brown Butter
- Creamed Peas
- Make Ahead Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Potatoes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Southern Collard Greens
- Easy Broccoli Casserole
- Apple and Butternut Squash Casserole
- Cornbread Stuffing
- A simple green salad dressed in Buttermilk Dressing
You can assemble the patties in advance and keep them covered in the refrigerator overnight. You can also freeze uncooked patties for up to 3 months!
Have leftovers? Wrapped properly, the cooked patties and gravy will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 days.
You can freeze the cooked Salisbury Steak and gravy, too. Package in airtight containers and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat the patties and gravy in a skillet over low heat, just until warmed through.
Variations -- Homemade Salisbury Steak
- The tomato paste and red wine add richness to the gravy. If you don't want to cook with alcohol, you can substitute additional beef broth for the wine.
- Chicken Salisbury Steak Recipe: Substitute 1 lb. of ground chicken for the ground beef. Do not use ground chicken breast, which is very lean and will dry out when cooked.
- If you prefer ground turkey Salisbury Steak, substitute 1 lb. of ground turkey for the ground beef. I don't recommend using ground turkey breast, because it's too lean and will become dry when cooked.
- Double the recipe to feed a larger family. There is quite a bit of gravy in this dish, so you really only need to double the patties. I recommend browning the 8 patties in batches so that you don't overcrowd the pan. Once browned, you can add them all to the skillet at once to simmer (just make sure that you're using a very large pan).
Tips for the Best Salisbury Steak Recipe
- Use your hands to gently combine the meatloaf mixture. Be careful not to over-mix the meat, or it will become tough and dry.
- I use 85% or 90% lean ground beef, which works well to keep the patties moist and juicy without adding too much grease to the gravy. Extra-lean ground beef has a tendency to dry out when cooked.
- I prefer quick oats in this recipe because the oatmeal blends right into the beef mixture and you don’t even know it’s there. You can substitute with old-fashioned rolled oats, but the larger, coarser oats will add more texture to the patties.
- Chill the patties for at least 30 minutes before browning. If the meat gets too warm while you’re forming the patties, the fat may melt and smear. This causes the fat to separate from the lean meat, so that more fat drips off during the cooking process and yields a dry, dense steak. The chilling time also helps the meat hold together so that your patties don’t fall apart.
More Ground Beef Recipes You'll Love
- Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Beef Stroganoff Casserole
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Spinach and Ground Beef Casserole
- Tamale Pie
Homemade Salisbury Steak
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ¼ cup uncooked quick oats
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ cup milk (I use 2%)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 16 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- ¼ cup red wine (or sub with additional beef broth)
- In a large bowl, gently combine beef, oats, Worcestershire, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and milk. Shape into 4 ½-inch thick oval patties and place on a parchment-lined tray. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the patties until browned on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate.
- Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir in tomato paste and flour; cook for 2 minutes. Gradually pour in the broth and wine, stir constantly. Bring to a simmer.
- Return the browned patties to the skillet. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 12-15 more minutes, or until the patties are cooked through. Taste and season the gravy with salt and pepper, if necessary.