Best Salisbury Steak Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Salisbury steak makes an easy, cozy weeknight dinner. One whiff of the rich ground beef and savory mushroom sauce will bring the whole family to the table!

Updated: Jun. 10, 2024

We think it’s high time for Salisbury steak to make a comeback. The classic recipe (over a century old!) is retro comfort food at its finest. It’s hearty, quick and pretty darn foolproof. Since it’s made with ground beef and pantry ingredients like canned mushrooms and bouillon, it’s economical, too.

If you’ve only ever eaten the TV dinner version, you’ll be delighted by the robust flavor of the real thing. Plus, it’s a fun way to change up your ground beef recipes when you want something besides a burger or pasta.

What is Salisbury steak?

Despite the name, Salisbury steak isn’t actually steak. It’s a well-seasoned ground beef patty sauteed and served in a rich onion-mushroom sauce. The patty itself is similar to a hamburger, and, in fact, some people do call this dish “hamburger steak.” While we think of it as comfort food today, it was actually invented as a health food back in the 1800s, when Dr. Salisbury proposed a meat-heavy diet for good health.

Salisbury Steak Ingredients

  • Ground beef: The star ingredient in any recipe for Salisbury steak is the beef. When buying ground beef, we usually look for a fat-to-lean ratio in the mid-range, such as 70/30 or 80/20. You can definitely get away with leaner beef in Salisbury steaks since the gravy will add plenty of moisture.
  • Butter-flavored crackers: Cracker crumbs help bind the ground beef mixture and absorb fat and juice as the steaks cook, preventing all that flavor from escaping. Crush the crackers with a rolling pin, or crumble them up between your fingers.
  • Egg: A large egg mixed with the beef and crumbs acts as a binding agent and adds flavor and moisture.
  • Aromatics and seasonings: To build flavor into the patties, you’ll add minced onion, rubbed sage, salt and pepper directly to the beef.
  • Canned mushroom stems and pieces: Mushrooms taste great with beef, and using canned makes it oh-so-easy. You can use fresh instead. Just plan to saute until tender before adding the gravy ingredients to the pan.
  • Butter: A rich, creamy gravy starts with a generous knob of butter.
  • All-purpose flour: Thicken the gravy with a spoonful of all-purpose flour or substitute an alternative to thicken gravy, such as cornstarch.
  • Bouillon cubes: Dissolve bouillon cubes into water for a quick, satisfying broth. If you prefer, substitute beef broth.
  • Browning sauce: Browning sauce is a caramel-colored gravy enricher made from concentrated vegetables and seasonings. It adds a boost of smoky sweetness to the gravy.
  • Mashed potatoes: To soak up the rich sauce, we suggest serving the steaks over a bed of hot mashed potatoes.
  • Parsley: To give your steaks a classic diner feel, garnish your plates with parsley.

Directions

Step 1: Make the patties

In a medium bowl, combine the egg, cracker crumbs, onion, salt, pepper and sage. Add the beef, and mix well. Shape into two patties.

Step 2: Cook the steaks

In a medium skillet, cook the patties until browned, four to five minutes per side. Drain off the excess fat. Remove to a platter, and keep warm.

Step 3: Make the gravy, and add the steaks

In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms in butter for two minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the water and bouillon, and cook, stirring until the gravy is smooth and thickened. Add the browning sauce, if desired, and stir until the sauce is a uniform color.

Return the patties to the gravy, and cook, uncovered, over low heat until heated through, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Step 4: Serve

Serve the steak over mashed potatoes with plenty of gravy and mushrooms. If desired, sprinkle with parsley.

Recipe Variations

  • Change up the seasonings: Many seasonings taste great with ground beef. Add a dash of ketchup to the patties for sweetness and moisture, or swap out the browning sauce for Worcestershire sauce. You could also add flavorings to the patty, such as a dash of cayenne pepper or a couple of minced garlic cloves.
  • Make it gluten free: To serve a gluten-free Salisbury steak, substitute gluten-free crackers or breadcrumbs in the patties, and use cornstarch or potato starch to thicken the gravy. You should also ensure that the bouillon and browning sauce are gluten free.
  • Skip the mashed potatoes: Try plain rice, a rice pilaf, slabs of Texas toast, baked potatoes or polenta instead.

How to Store Salisbury Steak

Leftover Salisbury steak should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat the patties and sauce together in a covered skillet over low heat.

Can you make Salisbury steak ahead of time?

Yes! Salisbury steak is a great make-ahead meal. Prepare and cook as instructed, then allow the steaks and gravy to cool fully before placing them in an airtight container in the freezer. Salisbury steak should keep well for up to three months in the freezer. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.

Salisbury Steak Tips

How do you keep Salisbury steak from falling apart?

Make sure to mix the egg and cracker mixture well and shape the patties tightly to prevent this Salisbury steak from falling apart. The egg and crushed butter crackers are both binding ingredients, so they should keep the steaks firm and intact.

What can you serve with Salisbury steak?

Some of our favorite side dishes that go great with Salisbury steak, such as classic mashed potatoes, will help soak up all that rich gravy. We also like serving a vegetable side, such as roasted broccoli and cauliflower, string beans or carrots. Or just serve with a leafy green salad.

Watch how to Make Best Salisbury Steak

Best Salisbury Steak

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon browning sauce, optional
  • Hot mashed potatoes
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine egg, cracker crumbs, onion, salt, pepper and sage. Add beef and mix well. Shape into 2 patties.
  2. In a medium skillet, cook patties until browned, 4-5 minutes per side; drain. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, saute mushrooms in butter for 2 minutes. Stir in flour; blend well. Add water and bouillon; cook and stir until smooth and thickened. Stir in browning sauce if desired. Return patties to gravy and cook, uncovered, over low heat until heated through, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve steak with mashed potatoes. If desired, sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition Facts

1 steak: 581 calories, 37g fat (17g saturated fat), 250mg cholesterol, 1960mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 41g protein.

Finding the best Salisbury steak recipe is hard! I remember enjoying it often when I was growing up, but when I decided to add it to my recipe collection, I wasn't able to find it in my modern cookbooks. I came up with these ingredients on my own and experimented until it tasted like the dish I remembered. —Faye Hintz, Springfield, Missouri
Recipe Creator