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How to make Salisbury steak, an American classic

This is a simple recipe you can make yourself

Ground beef
Polatdover / Pixabay

An iconic American classic, Salisbury steak is a savory and hearty dish guaranteed to satisfy any meat lover. Made from affordable ground meat, Salisbury steak is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for family meals. While many people might be familiar with Salisbury steak from frozen dinners, a home-cooked Salisbury steak is at a completely different level of flavor and deliciousness. Keep reading for the best Salisbury steak recipe.

Raw hamburger patties on a plate
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Salisbury steak or hamburger?

Although the two dishes might look similar, Salisbury steak is quite different from American hamburgers. Salisbury steak was created in the mid-1800s by James Henry Salisbury. A physician, Dr. Salisbury created the dish in an effort to make an affordable, high-protein meal for Civil War soldiers. Both Salisbury steak and hamburgers evolved from Hamburg steak, a German dish.

The differences between hamburgers and Salisbury steak can be attributed to the addition of breadcrumbs, buns, and gravy. The American hamburger is served in a bun with a ground beef patty that’s made without breadcrumbs or herbs (although this can vary by region. For example, the slugburger of Mississippi includes breadcrumbs as a way of stretching the meat). However, Salisbury steak includes breadcrumbs, onions, and seasonings mixed directly into the meat. A proper Salisbury steak also isn’t complete without a rich, brown gravy, which will often include mushrooms. This brown gravy is thickened with flour and poured generously over the Salisbury steak.

Although Salisbury steak is a historic recipe, modern cooks can jazz up the dish with the addition of different spices or herbs. Try using different mushrooms like portobello or shiitake for a different flavor profile. For aromatics, add freshly chopped parsley or roasted garlic.

Salisbury steak from The Forked Spoon
The Forked Spoon

Skillet Salisbury steak

(By Jessica Randhawa, the creator behind The Forked Spoon)

The Forked Spoon is a recipe blog focused on family-friendly recipes covering different diets and cuisines. Every recipe on the blog is inspired by creator Jessica Randhawa’s travels and culinary experiences.

For the Salisbury steaks


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil

For the onion and mushroom gravy


  • 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley (to garnish)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, mustard powder, and black pepper. Mix well to combine and shape into six to eight equal-sized oval-shaped patties.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the entire surface of the skillet. Add the patties (you may not be able to cook all the patties at one time — work in batches as needed), and cook until browned and sides are crispy.
  3. Flip the patties and cook on the other side (approximately 1-2 minutes on each side).
  4. Remove patties from the skillet and set aside on a clean plate. Repeat with any additional patties as needed.
  5. As soon as the Salisbury steak patties have finished browning, return the skillet to medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are soft and golden.
  6. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle the onions and mushrooms with the all-purpose flour. Stir continuously to remove any lumps.
  8. Slowly stir in the broth, whisking continuously to remove any lumps that may have formed. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the gravy starts to thicken (approximately 10 minutes). Stir often.
  9. Tuck the Salisbury steak patties back into the gravy and cook until the patties are cooked to desired doneness (approximately 5-10 minutes), gently stirring the gravy around the patties every few minutes.
  10. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve patties topped with mushroom sauce. Enjoy!
Mashed potatoes
422737 / Pixabay

What sides go with Salisbury steak?

Salisbury steak is a hearty dish that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Here are some ideas to consider, categorized to help you choose.

Classic comfort sides

  • Mashed potatoes: This is a favorite for soaking up the delicious gravy. You can make them creamy or opt for a lighter option with mashed cauliflower.
  • Mac and cheese: Another comforting option.
  • Egg noodles or rice: Simple and neutral, these two sides allow the Salisbury steak to be the star.
  • Roasted vegetables: Choose from options like carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus for a colorful and healthy accompaniment.

More adventurous sides

  • Creamed spinach: Rich and flavorful, creamed spinach adds a different textural element to the meal.
  • Sauteed green beans: A quick and easy side dish with a bit of a crunch.
  • Potato gratin: Fancy up your potatoes with a decadent gratin.
  • Loaded baked potato: For a heartier meal, a loaded baked potato is a great choice.
Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
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