Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak

Old-fashioned Swiss steak with peas and carrots

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 14 mins
Total: 2 hrs 34 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
804 Calories
52g Fat
25g Carbs
60g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 804
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 52g 67%
Saturated Fat 20g 101%
Cholesterol 197mg 66%
Sodium 524mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 60g
Vitamin C 18mg 91%
Calcium 91mg 7%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 1068mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although many might think Swiss steak comes from Switzerland, in reality, the name comes from the "swissing" technique for tenderizing meat. Tough cuts of meat go through a mechanical tenderizer, or a swissing machine, and come out the other end with cube-shaped indentations. If you can't find it in the supermarket already packaged that way, use thick steaks and thin them out with a tenderizing mallet, or ask your butcher to do it for you. They might have the machine and can provide you with beautifully tenderized steaks.

Our take on the classic Swiss steak starts on the stove and finishes the meat in the oven. The steak is portioned, tenderized, and slowly baked with onions and tomatoes for a full-flavored and filling dish. We tenderize our meat using flour, which helps create a crust and thickens the tomato sauce. If there are any guests with wheat allergies, simply skip the flour and reduce the sauce as much as possible before serving, so it's nicely thick. Alternatively, you can use a cornstarch slurry at the end to obtain a thicker texture in your sauce.

For a classic Swiss steak meal, serve with green beans and mashed potatoes.

1:20

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Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pounds boneless chuck steak, or bottom round

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 medium onions, quartered and sliced

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, more as needed

  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, undrained and chopped

For Thickening the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, as needed

  • 1 tablespoon water, as needed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Swiss Steak recipe ingredients

    The Spruce

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F/165 C.

  3. Trim fat from steak.

    Swiss steak
    The Spruce 
  4. Season the meat with pepper and salt. Add a good amount of flour on a cutting board and place the steak on it. Sprinkle more flour over the meat and pound it with a meat hammer to tenderize. Continue to turn, flour, and pound until most of the flour is used and the steak is nice and flat and feels spongy to the touch. Set aside.

    Swiss steak pounded thin, seasoned, and floured

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  5. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. 

    Vegetable oil in a pan

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  6. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the sliced onions. Cook, constantly stirring until the onions are translucent and lightly browned, for about 10 minutes. Remove the onions to a dish with a slotted spoon.

    Onions cooking in a hot pan with oil

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  7. If needed, add another tablespoon of the remaining oil to the pan to cover its bottom.

  8. Cut the steak into 6 pieces and place them in the hot oil. If your pan isn't big enough, work in batches until all steaks are brown on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side, and there is no pink showing. If needed, use the remaining tablespoon of oil between each batch.

    Swiss steak cut into six piece and browning in a hot pan with oil

    The Spruce

  9. Place the onion on top of the steaks, add the canned tomatoes, and cover the pan. Place the meat in the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the steaks are tender.

    Swiss steak recipe with tomatoes and onions in a pan

    The Spruce

  10. Remove the steaks, tomatos, and onions to a hot serving platter

    Cooked Swiss steaks on a serving platter

    The Spruce

  11. If the remaining sauce is too thin, place the pan over medium heat. Combine 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir the mixture into the sauce until no lumps remain. Simmer the sauce until well thickened.

    Swiss steak tomato sauce

    The Spruce

  12. Pour the sauce over steaks.

    Swiss Steak recipe
    The Spruce
  13. Enjoy!

What Is the Difference Between Salisbury Steak and Swiss Steak?

A Salisbury steak is made from ground beef that's formed into a patty, and Swiss steak is actually steak. Additionally, Salisbury steak usually has a gravy that consists of beef broth, and Swiss steak is known for being cooked with tomatoes and onions.

Tip

You may also see this steak cut referred to as "cube steak," because it's a cut that has been run through a mechanical tenderizer called a meat cuber or swissing machine that leaves little cube-shaped indentations in the beef as it's been compressed.

Variations

Here are a few additional ingredients you can add to the recipe, or substitutions that will also make a wonderful dish:

  • Use canned stewed tomatoes instead of the regular canned tomatoes.
  • Add 1 cup of sliced celery to the onions when browning, and then add the tomatoes.
  • Add 1 minced clove of garlic to the onions just before adding the tomatoes.
  • Season the sauce with a dash of oregano and a teaspoon of celery flakes.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste along with the tomatoes if you'd rather not thicken it with flour.
  • Add 1/2 cup of tomato juice or low-sodium beef broth when making the final sauce if you'd like a thinner and juicier consistency.
  • For a totally hands-off experience, make this in the slow cooker.