Tender Braised Swiss Steak

Swiss steak
Brian Hagiwara / Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
414 Calories
21g Fat
12g Carbs
44g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 414
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 1556mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 44g
Calcium 54mg 4%
*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.)

Swiss steak is a braised beef recipe traditionally made with thick pieces of beef round, although you can also use chuck shoulder steak. The point of this dish is to use a tough cut of meat (such as mock tender steak), as a couple of hours of slow braising will tenderize it very nicely. In the Deep South or in the U.K., this beef presentation is also called smothered steak.

Although the Swiss steak name of this dish sounds like it hails from the European Alpine country, it does not. It is named for the tenderizing process of "Swissing." Some Swiss steak recipes call for using thinner cuts of meat which are run through a meat cuber or "Swissing machine," which is how cube steak is made for the purpose of tenderizing it. This type of mechanical tenderizing helps break up the connective tissue, making it easier to chew.

But this mechanized process is not necessary since braising is going to tenderize the meat anyway. Also, since using a cuber requires thinner cuts of meat, you do not want that. It takes away from the succulent, satisfying result you get with a thicker steak.

Beef round, if you are not familiar with it, is a cut of beef that comes from the rear leg and rump of the animal. As such, it gets a lot of exercise, which makes it tough, because the more exercise a muscle gets, the more connective tissue develops around the muscle fibers.

Some recipes call for you to dredge the meat in seasoned flour before browning it and then braising it, which only browns the flour, not the meat. Instead, directly brown the meat. It develops a lot more complex flavors than merely browning the flour.


  • 2 pounds beef round steaks (5 to 6 ounces apiece, around 6 steaks)
  • 2 ounces cooking oil
  • 1 large onion (peeled, halved, and sliced)
  • 2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes (plus the liquid)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels.

  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil until it is almost smoking, then gently add two or three of the steaks. The idea is not to overcrowd the pan. Brown one side for about four minutes (you want a nice, dark crust), then flip and brown the other side. Set aside the browned steaks and repeat until you have browned them all.

  3. Now add the onion to the fat in the pan and cook for a few minutes until translucent and slightly golden brown.

  4. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and incorporate until a thick roux forms. Lower the heat and cook the roux for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until it takes on a light brown hue. Do not let it burn.

  5. Now add the diced tomatoes and the stock. Season to taste with ​kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the bay leaf and simmer the sauce for about five minutes or until it starts to thicken.

  6. Next, return the browned steaks to the sauce and arrange them so that they are covered by the liquid. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.

  7. Braise for about an hour and a half or until the meat is extremely tender. Serve each steak with a generous portion of the sauce.