Salisbury Steak is a juicy, perfectly seasoned beef patties, seared until rich brown, then cooked in a delicious brown onion gravy flavored by the beef's juices, caramelized onion, garlic, and other natural flavor-enhancing ingredients.
To make this true comfort food in whichever manner you prefer, I am sharing the stovetop version using a skillet and the crockpot version for this delicious Salisbury Steak recipe.
This hamburger steak recipe is an inexpensive dish, you can use cheaper beef cuts, and it will taste amazing because the combination of ingredients will add mind-blowing flavor!
Watch the video tutorial and the step-by-step images to guide you through the cooking process!
Visiting the USA opened my eyes to new adventures and new delectable dishes. Salisbury Steak is one of those dishes that will truly stay with me forever!
Why you ask? It’s not because it tastes incredible, nor is it because it’s quick to make and ready within 30 minutes. It will stay memorable to me because it wasn’t what I expected!
It is also budget-friendly to add a cherry on top of all these things that make this dish scrumptious! Plus, you can prep it ahead for later.
Trust me; this is the ultimate comfort food. And one of the classics you just have got to try making at home! It is one of my favorite ground beef recipes.
Easy Salisbury Steak is a pleasant surprise
If you’ve never heard of Salisbury Steak before or seen a picture of it, you’ll probably assume it’s a thick cut of steak.
Whenever I go to a restaurant, if I come across a dish on the menu that sounds unfamiliar, I usually prefer ordering it – my curiosity gets the better of me! And sometimes, it’s the best surprise ever!
That’s what happened the first time I had Salisbury Steak, I hadn’t heard of it before, and I was in the mood to have a steak. So, I thought to myself, why not give it a go? Maybe, I’ll discover a new flavor for a steak.
Oh boy, was I in for the best surprise ever! I was delighted with what was served before me. I saw a thick piece of meat covered with brown gravy on a bed of creamy mashed potato. Oh heaven, it looked so good.
But when I cut into it, I realized it’s ground beef!! I was shocked, my brain wasn’t ready for that switch, but I couldn’t stop having it. It was honestly like a burger, but not.
The beef patty was perfectly seared; it looked like a steak at first glance, and the thick gravy did a great job disguising it and enhancing the flavor.
What is Salisbury Steak?
So, what exactly is a Salisbury Steak, and why is it called that? In 1888, an American Physician named Dr. James Henry Salisbury introduced this dish.
He believed that humans were meant to eat meat and that vegetables and starchy food were the main culprits behind mental illnesses and heart diseases.
And so, Dr. Salisbury promoted a meat-centered diet, which became popular in the USA since, at that time, meat was affordable.
Later, during the Great Depression, this was a great alternative to ‘real’ steak and a cheap option for all families going through its consequences.
Easy Salisbury Steak is made using ground beef combined with seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic, and other ingredients to form and bind the patties that prevent them from shrinking while cooking, like eggs and breadcrumbs.
These beef patties are given an oval shape and then like a steak, seared from both sides on high heat until it forms a brown crust. The gravy consists of onion, garlic, seasoning, and a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch.
What You Need to Make Salisbury Steak Recipe at Home
There is Worcestershire sauce in this easy Salisbury Steak recipe, but I have previously made this dish many times without it. So, you can safely omit the Worcestershire sauce and still achieve a great-tasting dinner.
Instead of beef bouillon, I have used chicken bouillon. I’ve found that Salisbury steak gravy tastes better using chicken bouillon.
If you don’t use bouillon, I will show you how to substitute it with chicken or beef broth or stock later in this post.
One of the things I love the most about this recipe is that the ingredients are incredibly budget-friendly! All of this while making sure it doesn’t sacrifice flavor – win-win, I’d say!
Read along to know everything you’ll need to make these delicious steaks at home.
To make the patties, you’ll need:
Ground beef: This is the magical ingredient we’ll transform into the best steaks you’ve ever had! Preferably, you should opt for 93% lean. It’ll make the dish more flavorful and the texture more tender.
Garlic and onion: These two add richness to the dish and make the flavors pop! Many people opt for garlic and onion powder but trust me, it’s not the same.
Bread crumbs: This will prevent the patties from shrinking while frying them.
Egg: It works with the breadcrumbs to help the patties maintain their shape and seal in all the flavor.
Sauces: The three sauces you’ll need for this recipe are mustard, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. They genuinely add depth of flavor to this delicious comfort food. If you are not fond of Worcestershire sauce, use soy sauce instead or omit it entirely.
Spices: Black pepper is the only spice you need to make this incredibly tasty dish. Half a teaspoon is all you need!
Chicken bouillon: If you don’t have it, add three tablespoons of chicken stock instead.
Oil: I have used olive oil, but you can go for a flavorless oil like corn oil or sunflower oil. For more flavor, you can use both butter and oil.
To make the gravy, you’ll need:
Large onion: I generally use red onions because, in my house, everyone likes its taste, but you can use yellow onion in this recipe instead since it’s sweeter and get caramelized faster.
Garlic: Go for fresh garlic; it will add the right flavor to your dish. Garlic powder can be used instead, but it doesn’t pack flavor like fresh garlic.
All purpose-flour: It makes the gravy thick and creamy, but you can use cornstarch instead. If you decide to use cornstarch, mix it with the water to make a slurry before adding it.
Water: Use room temperature water. Hot water will cook the flour quickly, and you might have lumps in the gravy.
Chicken bouillon: You can use beef bouillon instead, but I prefer adding chicken bouillon in this Salisbury Steak recipe. If you don’t want to use bouillon, substitute water with chicken broth (or beef broth) to keep the measurement the same.
Seasonings: Black pepper and salt are needed to season the gravy.
How to make Salisbury Steak? (Stovetop Version)
If you can make meatballs and meatloaf, you can make this hamburger steak! The steps are straightforward and super simple to follow along:
How to Make the Patties:
Mix the ingredients: In a bowl, mix the ground beef with the patty ingredients mentioned in detail in the recipe card below. Do not over-mix, or the meat will get tough.
Form patties: Form 4 oval shape patties and make them as thick as a steak.
Cook the patties: Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and then add oil. Increase the heat to high at this point. Add the patties to the skillet and fry them. Your goal here is to sear the patties, have brown patches on both sides of the patties, and not cook them. Sealing the patties this way allows the juices and flavor to get trapped inside them, and this is how you get a tender and delicious Salisbury Steak.
Rest the steak: Keep the Steak patties aside and cover them with aluminum foil once seared.
How to Make the Gravy:
Sauté onions: Some oil should be left from frying the Salisbury steak. If not, add a little oil to the pan. Add butter to the oil and when it melts, add the onion and fry until light brown.
Add the remaining ingredients: Add the rest of the ingredients for making the gravy, except water. After a minute of cooking, add the water and stir quickly to prevent lumps from forming.
Add the seared patties: When the previous mixture comes to a boil, place the seared patties in the sauce and let it simmer until the gravy is thick and the patties are thoroughly cooked. The larger the patties, the more time it will take to cook. In general, if you make 4 equal size patties from the amount of ground beef mentioned in this recipe, it should cook for 12 minutes in the gravy while cooking on medium-low heat and 5 to 8 minutes on medium heat.
Check for temperature: If you want to know exactly how long to cook the patties, then a cooking thermometer ensures the patties' internal temperature reaches 157F/70C.
Ready to serve: Serve with mashed potato, plain rice, or noodles.
How Do I Cook a Salisbury Steak in a Crockpot?
Cooking a Salisbury Steak in a crockpot is just as easy as cooking it on a stove! It all depends on your personal preference. Here’s how to make the crockpot version of this recipe:
Mix ingredients and form shape: Mix all the patty ingredients in a bowl—form oval shape patties.
Sear patties: In a pan, add oil, and when hot, fry the patties and sear both sides; this will take around 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Searing is essential since we capture the juices within the patties, which some will release in the crockpot while cooking.
Place onions in the crockpot: Spread the onion slices at the bottom of the crockpot.
Place patties: Next, place the seared patties on the onions.
Prep liquids: Mix 1 ¾ cup boiling water with half chicken bouillon, garlic, black pepper, and salt.
Add liquid mixture: Pour the previous mixture over the patties and onion. Cover the crockpot and cook on slow for 5 hours.
Remove patties: After 5 hours, remove the patties and keep them aside.
Making the gravy
Turn up the heat: Turn the crockpot to high.
Make slurry and add it: Mix ¼ cup water with 11/2 tablespoon cornstarch. Pour this mixture over the sauce in the crockpot and mix well. Cook until the gravy is thick.
Add patties back to the crockpot: Return the patties to the crockpot and gently cover with the gravy.
Ready to serve: Serve with mashed potato, plain rice, or noodles.
Quick Note: We use cornstarch in the crockpot version instead of flour because it needs to cook first to remove the raw taste, which won’t be possible in a crockpot. The flour will need a longer time to thicken the gravy.
How to store Salisbury Steak?
In the fridge: You can place the leftover in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Keep in mind that the gravy is made of flour, and the texture of the gravy will get thicker when refrigerated.
To heat this dish, add two tablespoons of water to it and heat it on the stove or in a microwave. If heating on a stovetop, make sure to stir the gravy. When heating in a microwave, stop the heating process after a few seconds, stir the gravy and continue heating.
In the freezer: Place the leftover in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw the frozen Salisbury steaks, place it while frozen in the microwave and heat it for a few minutes. Bring it out of the microwave, stir it and then microwave it for a few minutes until thoroughly heated.
Can I freeze the Salisbury Steaks to use later?
Of course, you can! You can make the patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper after shaping them. Place the baking sheet with the patties in the freezer for 2 hours, and when the patties are completely frozen, place them in a Ziplock bag and freeze.
Please note: You can freeze fresh ground beef, but you can’t freeze previously frozen and thawed ground beef. It is harmful to your health. So, if you plan to make the patties and freeze them make sure to use fresh ground beef!
Variations for this Recipe:
- Use ground turkey instead: This is traditionally a beef recipe, but you can use ground turkey instead if you prefer. It also adds a different flavor variation to change things up a bit!
- Make meatballs instead: This recipe is perfect if you want to make meatball versions of it instead! It still tastes amazing and can be a great way to change things if you feel like it.
Other Dinner Recipes You’ll Love:
The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe: Learn how to make the best creamy mashed potatoes recipe at home to impress your family! It’s creamy with a velvety texture, and I have added an ingredient that will make an extra something to the flavor. It’s perfect to go with your delicious Salisbury Steak gravy.
Pepper Steak with Onions: Want a steak with a twist? Pepper Steak is tender and juicy slices of steak mixed with peppers and lots of onion in a silky and flavorful sauce. This recipe will teach you how to make a stovetop and a crockpot version!
Fall Off the Bone Lamb Shanks: Tender Lamb Shank, smothered in a luxurious silky-smooth gravy, is is simple to prepare and is full of flavor from the spices and vegetables. This dish is an elegant and family favorite dinner that won’t take much time to prepare.
Salisbury Steak with Delicious Gravy
FOR THE SALISBURY PATTIES
- 400 gm ground beef
- ¾ tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon onion minced
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- ½ cube chicken bouillon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large egg
FRYING THE BEEF PATTIES
- ¼ cup olive oil or any cooking oil
FOR THE GRAVY
- 1 large onion
- 2 garlic minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon all-purpose – flour
- 1 ¾ cup cold water
- ½ cube chicken bouillon
- Black pepper
- Salt to taste
MAKING THE SALISBURY PATTIES
- In a bowl, add all the beef patties ingredients and mix well to combine.
- Form oval-shaped patties and make them as thick as a steak cut.
- In a hot pan, add olive oil. Fry the patties until brown (not burnt) from both sides. Keep aside.
MAKING THE GRAVY
- In the previous hot pan, add two tablespoons of butter to the remaining oil.
- Add the onion and fry until light brown.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except the water and stir well for at least two minutes on medium heat. Or until the raw smell of flour is gone.
- Pour the cold water while stirring; when the sauce bubbles, add the beef patties.
- Cook the patties in the sauce until the sauce turns into a thick gravy, and this might take 5 minutes on medium heat. Always check on the patties and the sauce to void burning it.
- Serve the salisbury steak hot with mashed potatoes or plain rice.
- You can use ground lamb instead of beef.
- The post above mentions how to cook this dish in a crockpot.
- This post was first published in 2018. I have updated the post with more information and a video. The recipe remained the same.
- You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or make your own.
- Instead of chicken bouillon, you can go for 1 ¾ cup beef broth or chicken broth. Omit the water and the bouillon from the recipe.