Salisbury Steak

Juicy, beefy patties served in a rich, savory mushroom and onion gravy, Salisbury Steak is an American classic perfect for a stick-to-your-ribs weeknight meal.

Salisbury Steak is an American classic comfort food with a really interesting origin story. It actually started out as a health food and was prescribed by Dr. Salisbury, hence the name, to soldiers during the Civil War.

It has since lost its status as a health food. But boy does it ever bring comfort and satisfaction at the dinner table.

Salisbury Steak topped with a mushroom and onion sauce, with mashed potatoes on a white plate.

What Is Salisbury Steak?

Essentially a cross between meatloaf and a hamburger, Salisbury Steak is made of ground or minced meat, typically beef, that’s mixed with spices, condiments, and often a panade – bread or breadcrumbs that have been soaked in a liquid.

The mixture is shaped into round or oval patties and fried. And it’s always served with a gravy. Sometimes just a simple brown gravy and sometimes a mushroom gravy but always a gravy.

What Is A Panade?

I mentioned that Salibury Steak recipes often include a panade, which is bread or breadcrumbs that have been soaked in some type of liquid. This is one of the recipes that includes a panade. I think it’s an important addition as it helps to keep the patties moist. The liquid that I use most often is buttermilk, which also adds a nice flavor and balance to the dish.

Making a panade is really simple. What’s most important is that the bread has soaked up as much liquid as possible. To accomplish this, allow the bread cubes to sit in the liquid for several minutes, 5 should do it, and then smash them with the back of a spoon or with your fingers.

How To Make Salisbury Steak

While the bread cubes are soaking in the liquid, I like to mix up the slurry for the gravy. Since I’ve measured the broth into a measuring cup, I generally just add the cornstarch to the measuring cup and whisk it into a nice, lump-free slurry. A quick note – the cornstarch will settle out while preparing the rest of the ingredients so make sure that you give it another good stir before you add it to the gravy.

After the panade and the slurry are prepped, you’re ready to combine the meat mixture. This is much like making a meatloaf or a hamburger. All of the patty ingredients go into a large mixing bowl, including the panade. Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and shape into round or oval patties. My preference is oval because it looks more like a steak. Using a butter or table knife, create 3 – 4 diagonal lines in each of the patties. These don’t have to be too deep maybe 1/8-inch. This is purely an aesthetic thing. I think if makes them look a little like steaks that have been grilled. After all, we eat with our eyes first.

The steaks are now ready to go into the skillet. I like to use a cast iron skillet, but a nice big heavy stainless skillet will work just as well.

Heat the oil over high heat until it is shimmering and then add the steaks. I typically fry the first side for about 6 minutes. You want a nice browning to occur. Once that’s achieved, flip the steaks and cook on the second side until the internal temperature of your preferred doneness is reached.

Here’s a list of temperatures for your reference:

  • Rare – 120˚ – 125˚F
  • Medium-rare – 130˚ – 135˚F
  • Medium – 140˚ – 145˚F
  • Medium-rare – 150˚ – 155˚F
  • Well-done – 160˚F and up

Remove the Salisbury Steaks from the skillet to a clean plate.

I’m a fan of a rich mushroom and onion gravy to serve with my Salisbury Steaks. After the steaks have been transferred to the plate, turn the heat to medium and add the onions. You want to cook them until they’re translucent and just start to take on some color at the edges, about 5 -6 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid. At this point, add the butter and continue to cook until the mushrooms have browned lightly. Add the ketchup, stirring to make sure that it’s distributed throughout and cook for about 30 seconds.

Turn the heat to low and add the slurry liquid – remember to stir the slurry again before adding to combine any of the cornstarch that has settled out. Add the Worcestershire sauce and cook until the gravy has thickened.

Add the Salisbury Steaks and any of the liquid that has accumulated on the plate to the gravy and simmer until the steaks have been heated through. I always serve my Salisbury Steaks with my Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes.


Salisbury Steak

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


Juicy, beefy patties served in a rich, savory mushroom and onion gravy, Salisbury Steak is an American classic perfect for a stick-to-your-ribs weeknight meal.


  • 2 slices fresh bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes, about 1 1/2 cup unpacked

  • 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk

  • 2 cups broth, beef or chicken

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef

  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup

  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, divided

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 cube beef bouillon, crumbled (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 Tbsp. butter


  1. To make the panade, in a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Soak for 5 minutes.

  2. While breadcrumbs are soaking, combine beef broth and cornstarch in a measuring cup or medium bowl, stirring to create a smooth, lump-free slurry. Set aside.

  3. At this point the bread cubes should have soaked up most of the liquid and are ready to be smashed with the back of a spoon or your fingers.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, panade (breadcrumb mixture), ketchup, mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and bouillon.

  5. Using your hands, mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

  6. Divide the beef mixture into 4 equal parts and shape into oval patties. Score each patty diagonally with a knife 4 times. Do not cut through the patties.

  7. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering.

  8. Fry the patties until browned on one side, about 7 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the second side is nicely browned and the internal temperature reaches your desired doneness*. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.

  9. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion slices, cooking until they become translucent and just start to brown, about 5 – 6 minutes.

  10. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to release their liquid, about 1 minute. Add the butter to the skillet and continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes more.

  11. Stir in the ketchup and cook for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low.

  12. Stir the beef stock slurry mixture to incorporate any cornstarch that may have settled to the bottom. Add to the skillet and stir to loosen any bits on the bottom of the skillet.

  13. Add the Worcestershire and simmer until the gravy has thickened.

  14. Return the patties and any juices that accumulated on the plate to the skillet. Simmer until just warmed through.

  15. Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite vegetable side.


*Temperatures can be found above in post.

Salisbury Steak

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