Old Fashioned Swiss Steak

This recipe for Old Fashioned Swiss Steak (what I like to call Smothered Swiss Steak) is pure comfort food at its finest. It’s at the top of my list for when there is a chill in the air, and I’m looking for something warm and cozy for supper. This Swiss Steak is fork-tender and smothered in a beefy tomato gravy filled with tender bell peppers, onions, celery, and mushrooms. I like to serve it with a scoop of mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice. (And if you love fall and winter comfort food, try my recipe for One Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff.)

Old Fashioned Swiss Steak

Now you can prepare this Swiss Steak recipe by simmering it on the stovetop, but I like to braise it in the oven for a few hours. Because when it’s cold and blustery outside, it just makes my kitchen extra warm and inviting to have a pot full of something delicious slow-cooking in the oven. Also, can I just say that while these Swiss Steaks are in the oven simmering away, the whole house will be just amazingly fragrant with the aroma of home-cooked goodness!

But I do tend to think of this recipe as something a bit old-fashioned (in a really good kind of way). This dish is something from my childhood, that my mom or grandma would prepare for supper on a cold fall or winter evening. Back in those days, growing up in Pennsylvania, fall was just magical to me (and still is to this day!) Hearty, warming foods were standard fare on those crisp autumn, after-school evenings, and were definitely a part of the magic.

Aside from being a nostalgic kind of recipe, though, I think it’s also a bit old-fashioned because I use cubed steaks for this dish, a cut of beef that I really don’t see too often in modern recipes.  I really believe these steaks deserve a revival, though, because when properly cooked low and slow, cubed steaks are just oh-so-tender. And as an added bonus, they are also typically very inexpensive. Often I can find cubed steaks on sale for less than the price of regular ground beef. But if you can’t easily find cubed steaks, just go ahead and substitute thin-cut top-round steaks.

Let’s talk about the ingredients for Swiss Steak (it’s a long list, but don’t be intimidated because these are all basic ingredients)

All-Purpose Flour – Used for dredging the cubed steak before browning. It helps create a crispy coating and also thickens the sauce as it cooks.

Salt –  Enhances the overall flavor of the dish and balances the other seasonings.

Ground Black Pepper – Adds a mild spiciness and complements the other flavors in the dish. If you can grind your own black pepper, all the pepper. 

Garlic – What can I say here but flavor! I use both granulated garlic and fresh garlic. 

Cubed Steak – The main ingredient, typically cut from round steak, is pre-tenderized. You can also use regular round steak that has not been tenderized.

Oil – Used for browning the cubed steak before simmering to achieve a nice sear. I tend to use avocado oil, but you can use whatever high-temperature cooking oil you prefer. 

Onion – Adds sweetness and flavor to the dish, forming the base of the sauce. I like a sweet onion like Vidalia, but any onion of your choice will do. 

Celery – Gives the dish a lovely flavor and adds texture to the gravy.

Green Bell Pepper – Offers a slightly tangy and fresh flavor to complement the other ingredients. If you absolutely don’t like green peppers, any color of bell pepper will work.

Cremini or White Button Mushrooms – Provide an umami-rich taste and add a meaty texture to the dish. I think fresh is best here, so skip the canned mushrooms.

Tomato Paste –  Concentrated tomato flavor that thickens the sauce and adds a rich, savory element.

Canned Diced or Stewed Tomatoes – Adds more tomato flavor and a texture to the gravy. 

Beef Broth – Provides a rich base for the sauce and enhances the beefy flavor.

Worcestershire Sauce – More flavor!

Dried Thyme – An herb that complements the flavors in the dish and adds a subtle earthiness.

Sugar – Balances the acidity of the tomatoes and other ingredients, bringing out the flavors.

Celery Seed (optional) – If used, it contributes a mild celery flavor and complements the fresh celery in the dish.

Water + Cornstarch – Combined to create a slurry that thickens the sauce to the desired consistency.

How do I make the best Swiss Steak?

  • Choose the Right Cut. For Swiss steak, it’s best to use a tender cut of beef. My preference is cube steak but you can also use regular round steak. These cuts are ideal for slow cooking and will become fork-tender when prepared correctly.
  • Season Generously. Don’t be shy with seasoning. Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper (I also use thyme but feel free to use any other herbs and spices you like.) This will add depth of flavor as it cooks.
  • Keep the steak moist. Ensure there’s enough liquid in the pot to keep the meat moist and tender throughout the cooking process. If it begins to look dry, add a little bit of water to the pot. 
  • Patience is the secret ingredient. Be patient and allow the steak to cook low and slow until it is tender. This slow-cooking method allows the meat to become tender and allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • Check for Doneness. Cook the Swiss steak until it reaches the desired level of doneness. The meat should be fork-tender but not overcooked. You can check the doneness by piercing the meat with a fork – it should easily pull apart.

If you try this recipe for Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak like Grandma made, I hope you love it. And follow me on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post. 

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Smothered Swiss Steak

Old-Fashioned Smothered Swiss Steak

  • Author: My Homemade Roots
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


These Smothered Swiss Steaks are so tender and covered with rich and beefy tomato mushroom gravy.


Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 pounds cubed steak (cut into serving-size pieces if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or other high-temperature cooking oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced or stewed tomatoes (or use 1 pint of home-canned tomatoes)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch celery seed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of water + 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Add steak, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.
  2. On the stovetop, heat oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven (or other heavy, oven-safe pot) over medium-high heat. Brown steak in oil on both sides. Remove steaks to a plate.
  3. To the same pot, add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook and stir for 6-7 minutes, or until vegetables are beginning to soften. If needed, add a little extra oil. Add garlic and tomato paste, and cook for 1 additional minute.
  4. Stir in diced tomatoes, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, sugar, and celery seed. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula to release all of the flavorful bits. Return steaks to the pot, making sure they are covered by the gravy.
  5. Cover and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender. At this point, remove the pot from the oven and place it on the stovetop. Remove the steaks to a plate, leaving the gravy in the pot.
  6. In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water into a paste; stir into gravy. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously, until gravy has thickened. Serve steaks with gravy, and mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or cooked white rice.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • C Austin
    July 16, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Oh, my! This looks so delicious! I haven’t made Swiss steak since I was a newlywed, and that’s been 35 years ago! Not sure why, because we loved it. Instead of using the oven, I think I’ll try the crock pot. (Too hot in Florida for the oven.) Looking forward to making this week!

    P.S: Found my way here through Meal Plan Monday. So happy you shared!

    • Melissa
      July 16, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      I sometimes make it in the crock pot, too, especially when it’s hot out. I hope you enjoy!

      • Lea
        June 29, 2022 at 9:12 pm

        My mom used to simmer this in a skillet on the stove top and make it that way. But she called it smothered steak and not Swiss steak.

        • Melissa
          June 30, 2022 at 8:05 pm

          It sounds like the same basic recipe. You can definitely simmer it on the stove like your mom made it instead of using the oven (especially to keep the heat down in the kitchen during the summer.) And the “Swiss” part of the recipe is kind of funny because it doesn’t refer to the country but rather the way the steak (usually a round steak) is mechanically tenderized by the butcher by punching holes in it, like with cubed steak. So you can just use a regular top or round steak for the recipe, too.

  • Stacy
    July 23, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    If I use the crock pot as mentioned…how long should it cook? 2-3hrs on low?

    Thanks. This looks wonderful. I’ll use the oven in the winter but for summer I would rather use the crock pot.

    • Melissa
      July 23, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      I would allow 3-4 hours in the crock pot because you’ll want it to be fork-tender.

  • Miz Helen
    August 31, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Your Smothered Swiss Steak looks amazing, I am ready to enjoy this plate of goodness right now. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday,447 this week. Hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Melissa
      September 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Thank, Miz Helen for always having me at your link party! Have a great holiday weekend!

  • antoinette cristallo
    September 9, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    I’m confused by the instruction to: CUBE STEAK, CUT TO SERVING SIZE PIECES……I thought cube steak is about the same size as a hamburger patty….and there is no need to cut into pieces….Please clarify that instruction. Thank you.

    • Melissa
      September 9, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      Sometimes cube steaks come already cut to size but sometimes they are quite large. If I have a large piece of steak, I cut it into a small portion. If they are already small, there is no need to cut them further. Hope that helps.

    • Cheryl Miller
      November 14, 2023 at 12:46 am

      I just bought some very long big tenderized steaks for this recipe. I have seen them smaller though.

      • Melissa
        November 16, 2023 at 12:25 am

        Yes, they do very in size. You can always cut them down into smaller portions.

  • maryann J DeMuynck
    September 16, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Of course the recipe is different but I use cube steak for Salisbury steak. Growing up in lower Michigan if you went to a mom and pops diner that is how it came. Banquet style is what we used to call poor man’s steak. It didn’t have the chopped onions in it as it does now but were put into the gravy.

    • Melissa
      September 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      That sounds delicious! I will have to try the Banquet-style Salisbury steak! My husband also grew up in lower Michigan – I will have to ask him if he remembers eating it that way. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jerry Mansfield
    March 7, 2020 at 4:14 am

    I’ve been making Swiss Steak for 50 years and this is the best I’ve ever made! We both love it and the leftover were still just as awesome! Will never use another recipe!!

    • Melissa
      March 8, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Bobbie
    May 15, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Swiss Steak has always been a favorite dish that my grandmother made me as a child. When I saw this picture, my heart swelled and I thought of my grandma instantly!

    I am anxious to try your recipe, and think of my Grams!

    Thank you!

    • Melissa
      May 16, 2020 at 9:47 pm

      Your comment just made my day! I hope you try the recipe and that it is even close to as good as your Grams’!

  • Kathi
    June 8, 2020 at 2:54 am

    This turned out teriffic. I did make one change – I cooked it in my electric pressure cooker for 20 minutes and omg was it ever tender and quick. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Oh – and nix on the peas – I did sauted in bacon string beans.

    • Melissa
      June 10, 2020 at 2:47 am

      I’m happy to hear it turned out well! The pressure cooker is a great idea!

  • Shannon
    June 14, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    This is a new family favorite recipe. Everyone cleaned their plates and it was so easy!

  • Richard
    June 14, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Turned out great – will definitely make again.

  • Tracy Tuten
    October 14, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    I cooked this tonight and it was delicious! The only change I made was to leave out the celery because husband is not a fan. I used brown sugar and increase it to 2 tablespoons instead of white sugar. I cooked it in my iron skillet and put aluminum foil over the top when I put it in the oven.

    • Melissa
      October 28, 2021 at 5:36 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Tracy!

  • […] These bone-in chicken breasts (also called split chicken breasts) are made in the slow cooker, and turn out juicy, tender, and flavorful every time. Serve them as a main dish accompanied by your favorite sides. Or shred them to use for casseroles, tacos, or soups. As an added bonus, you can remove the meat and put the bones right back into the slow cooker to make a healthy batch of homemade bone broth. So if that sounds good to you, and you’re wondering exactly how to cook split chicken breasts, then please read on! And if you want to know more about cooking old-fashioned cuts of meat, then check out the recipe for Smothered Swiss Steak.) […]

  • Steven
    July 26, 2022 at 1:05 am

    just made in cast iron skillet with a lid got from my mom. best recipe i have used so far, my dad even ate a full serving- that says a lot, he is very finicky

    • Melissa
      August 2, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      I am so happy to hear that you and your dad liked the recipe! It’s a favorite in our house, for sure.

    • Melissa
      August 2, 2022 at 4:52 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that you and your dad liked the recipe! It’s a favorite in our house for sure!

  • […] Today I’m celebrating more summer produce with this Pennsylvania Dutch Creamed Cucumbers recipe. This recipe is for what some might know as old-fashioned creamy cucumbers and onions. Freshly sliced cucumbers dressed in a creamy sour cream sauce, it’s a simple dish you can put together with ease.  And it makes a crisp and refreshing side dish for almost any meal. Try serving it with chicken breasts, burgers, or swiss steak! […]

  • […] Melissa Binig, recipe creator at My Homemade Roots, says Swiss steak is the ultimate comfort steak dish, which reminds her of her childhood in Pennsylvania.get her recipe my homemade root. […]

  • […] food steak dish, and it makes her nostalgic for her childhood in Pennsylvania. Get her recipe on My Homemade Roots.Chef K.C. Gulbro has worked in the dining industry for decades, and currently owns two restaurants […]

  • […] food steak dish, and it makes her nostalgic for her childhood in Pennsylvania. Get her recipe on My Homemade Roots.Chef K.C. Gulbro has worked in the dining industry for decades, and currently owns two restaurants […]

  • Christine
    November 12, 2022 at 2:41 am

    This looks really good please send me the website thank you

  • […] This One-Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff is a quick and easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for busy weeknights. This classic comfort dish is made with tender ground beef, mushrooms, and egg noodles in a rich sour cream sauce. And it’s not only delicious, but it’s also a great way to save time and effort as it is cooked in a single pot, reducing dishes and cleanup. It’s perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner or a comforting meal on a cold winter day. And if you love comfort food dinners, check out my recipe for Old-Fashioned Smothered Swiss Steak. […]

  • […] Melissa Binig, recipe creator at My Homemade Roots, says Swiss Steak is the ultimate comfort food steak dish, and it makes her nostalgic for her childhood in Pennsylvania. Get her recipe on My Homemade Roots. […]

  • Kathy
    June 20, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    I made way too much gravy! Ideas to transform this wonderfulness into a new dish would be really appreciated

    • Melissa
      June 20, 2023 at 10:52 pm

      In our house, having extra gravy is a good problem to have! Let’s see…How about using it as a gravy for meatloaf or as a sauce for meatballs? Or you could saute some ground beef and combine it with the gravy and some macaroni or egg noodles for a “goulash”. I think you could add broth and use it as a base for vegetable soup. Come back and let me know how you end up transforming it.

  • Freeda Hunt
    August 9, 2023 at 1:17 am

    Thank you for posting this Swiss steak recipe. I have been looking for a recipe more like my Mother and Grandmother made, but, this is the first one that looks like it! I haven’t had it for about 20 years. Can’t wait to try this! It sounds so good! Thank you so much.

    • Melissa
      August 10, 2023 at 3:07 pm

      I hope you’ll come back and let us know how it turned out!

  • Alice Monroe
    September 11, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    I cooked your swiss steak last night in the crock pot. It was delicious. My husband loved it too. It will definitely be cooked often at our home from now on. Thanks for sharing!

    • Melissa
      September 12, 2023 at 6:18 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for leaving a rating and letting me know!

  • Marsha
    December 1, 2023 at 1:56 pm

    This Swiss steak recipe took more prep than I usually do but it was WILDLY popular when served. Thanks for the luscious recipe.

  • Esmé Slabbert
    December 1, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    Super delicious for sure, I love it and will make it for hubby soon.
    I linked up this week with = Puff Pastry Milk Cake and Easy 6 Ingredient Intensely Chocolatey Puddle Cakes
    Hope you will join us M-S SeniorSalonPitStop and W-S #WordlessWednesday. You will find it under BLOGGING


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