Tender Braised Swiss Steak

Tender Braised Swiss Steak

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
456 Calories
23g Fat
13g Carbs
49g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 456
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 136mg 45%
Sodium 890mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 10mg 49%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 676mg 14%
*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 each, about 6 steaks

  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock, or beef broth

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including the liquid

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tender Braised Swiss Steak ingredients

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

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

    Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil until it is almost smoking, then gently add 2 or 3 of the steaks. The idea is not to overcrowd the pan. Brown one side for about 4 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.

    steak cooking in a dutch oven

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. Add the onion to the fat in the pan and cook for a few minutes until translucent and slightly golden brown.

    Add the onion to the fat in the pan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. 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.

    add flour to the onion mixture

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. 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.

    Add the diced tomatoes and the stock to the onion mixture

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  7. 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.

    return the browned steaks to the sauce and arrange them so that they are covered by the liquid

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  8. 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.

    Tender Braised Swiss Steak in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Loren Runion