Nothing beats a grilled Ribeye steak—or does it? For some people, the very best beef dish they can conjure up is a cube steak braised in a rich gravy. Thicker and denser than Salisbury steak, a juicy cube steak is easy to whip up any night of the week in an oven or on the stovetop. There’s no need to fire up the grill to get great flavor and texture from this cut of meat. Prepare a hearty dinner any time of the year with this easy beef cube steak recipe.
What is Cube Steak?
It’s not named cube steak because it comes in a cube. Instead, the name is taken from the texture that the surface of the steak has after physical tenderizing. Most cube steaks today are mechanically tenderized, resulting in a very distinct cross-hatched look. It’s easy to mistake cube steak for ground beef, but this isn’t a patty formed from processed meat. Instead, it’s a solid cut of beef that’s been tenderized to make it easier to cut no matter how you cook it.
Where Does Cube Steak Come From?
This steak tends to come from slices of the top round or bottom round roast. This section of meat comes from the rear of the cow, receiving plenty of exercise. It has a good flavor but tends to toughen up during cooking. The aggressive tenderizing that gives cube steak its distinct look also keeps it easy to cut and chew. Cube steak isn’t quite as soft as a patty made from ground beef, so you’ll still need a knife to slice it, even after cooking in gravy.
Chicken Fried Steak is one of the standard cube steak recipes, but it isn’t for everyone because it requires lots of hot oil and a sticky batter. For the easiest cube steak dinner, you’ll just use your oven or stovetop to slowly roast it, then simmer it in gravy for a tender and flavorful result. You can make mushroom or onion gravy just by adding those ingredients to the recipe below, or swap out the red wine for another strongly flavored liquid like unsweetened black coffee. Cube steaks cooked this same way except using teriyaki sauce instead of gravy are amazing when served with sautéed green peppers over rice. Play around with the seasonings to put your own twist on this cube steak recipe.
Pro Tips and Tricks
You can soak the cube steak in milk for overnight or a few hours in order to soften it and add juiciness. No need to rinse it before cooking if you’re not adding any batter or breading to the surface. Keep the temperature relatively low and cook the meat slowly, setting aside 1.5 to 2 hours for the entire process. Rushing the cube steak with higher heat will only toughen it. Season the Cube steak before cooking even if you plan to add plenty of salt to the gravy during the second stage of cooking. Unseasoned steak won’t produce as much flavor for the gravy if it’s not at least sprinkled with salt and pepper before you start. Make sure you take the time to bring the Cube steaks to room temperature before you begin cooking them. This results in the most flavorful and tender meat in the end. Since these cuts tend to be thinner than most other steaks, you’ll find they only take about 10 to 15 minutes to warm up.
What to Serve With Cubed Steak
Mashed potatoes are an obvious pairing, especially considering the amount of gravy this recipe produces. Add in some roasted garlic and heavy cream for truly rich mashed potatoes. Roasted potatoes or steak fries can also work well for a flavorful potato alternative to the classic. Rice is another tasty starch to soak up the gravy from the Cube steak. Corn on the cob pairs perfectly with Cube steak in all of its forms. For green vegetable sides, try green beans, steamed broccoli, or creamed cauliflower. Fresh spinach salad is a nice cold side dish that pairs well with this kind of beef. Try some yeast dinner rolls or cornbread on the side to round out the meal and dip in the gravy. Other interesting side dish pairings include:
- Classic oyster stuffing
- Coleslaw, especially with broccoli florets added
- Baked macaroni and cheese
- Scalloped or au gratin potatoes
- Oven-roasted vegetables like onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes
- Steamed fresh asparagus.
Tips for Smoother Gravy
Strain any homemade broth or drippings before using them to make gravy. While the solids in the drippings won’t hurt your gravy, they can make lumps form as the roux clings to them. If you use another cut of beef for drippings, you may end up with more fat than you want for gravy. Let the drippings sit in the refrigerator until it’s cool enough to skim the fat off. You can also use the beef fat to replace the butter in the gravy recipe for extra flavor if you do this, but it’s not necessary for most Cube steaks since they don’t tend to have a lot of fat.
Cube Steak Recipe
Bake up some Cube steaks in their own flavorful gravy or simmer them on the stovetop for a dinner everyone in the family will love.
- 2 pounds of Cube steak, approximately 4 to 6 steaks
- 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and/or ½ yellow onion (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of high-heat oil
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/4th cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper
- 32 ounces of beef broth or stock
1. Let the Cube steak come up to room temperature, then sprinkle each with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan on the stove, then sear the steaks for 1 minute on each side.
3. *If using the mushrooms and/or onion. Saute the mushrooms and onions until they’re starting to brown if using them.
4. Layer the meat (and onions and mushrooms if using them) in a Dutch oven or roasting pan with no rack in it.
5. Use the cast iron pan to melt the butter. When it’s starting to turn slightly brown, mix in the 1/4th cup of flour and the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Keep stirring this mixture regularly so it cooks slowly over medium heat until it is a nutty brown color. Whisk in the beef broth a little at a time until you get a smooth gravy.
6. Pour the gravy over the steaks in the roasting pan or Dutch oven.
7. Cook the Cube steaks at 300 degrees F for 2 hours with a lid on the pan, letting the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving.
For cooking on the stovetop, simply simmer the meat in the gravy for 1 hour in a covered pot and check for tenderness. Continue cooking for up to another half hour until it’s nearly fork tender.
How to Serve & Store
Serve on a plate with plenty of gravy poured over the steak and any starchy side dishes like mashed potatoes. Refrigerate in a plastic food container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Cube steak is a great comfort meal for the whole family. Serve up a mix of vegetable and starch side dishes so there are plenty of pairings with the rich gravy. Put a new twist in your same old weeknight dinner routine by swapping out Taco Tuesday or Salisbury Steak Saturday for a Cube steak dinner that will win rave reviews at the dinner table. Try cooking it up in the crockpot as well so the meat has plenty of time to cook slow and low over the course of a day.
- 2 lbs cube steak, approximately 4-6 steaks
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms and/or 1/2 yellow onion (optional)
- 2 tbsp high-heat oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 32 oz beef broth or stock
- Let the Cube steak come up to room temperature, then sprinkle each with a pinch of salt and black pepper
- Heat the oil in a cast iron pan on the stove, then sear the steaks for 1 minute on each side
- *If using the mushrooms and/or onion. Saute the mushrooms and onions until they’re starting to brown
- Layer the meat (and onions and mushrooms if using them) in a Dutch oven or roasting pan with no rack in it
- Use the cast iron pan to melt the butter. When it’s starting to turn slightly brown, mix in the 1/4th cup of flour and the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Keep stirring this mixture regularly so it cooks slowly over medium heat until it is a nutty brown color. Whisk in the beef broth a little at a time until you get a smooth gravy
- Pour the gravy over the steaks in the roasting pan or Dutch oven
- Cook the Cube steaks at 300 degrees F for 2 hours with a lid on the pan, letting the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving