Salisbury Steak and Cooking with Mom

I learned something new last week.  It’s always fun to cook with Mom–even when you are all grown up (and then some!).  A couple weeks ago, we had three generations “up north” and I asked my Mom to pass along one of her recipes–for Salisbury Steak, an old family favorite. 

Salisbury Steak, Served

Salisbury Steak, Served

Salisbury Steak is a patty made from seasoned ground beef in a rich mushroom gravy.  It was invented  in the 1800’s by a Dr Salisbury who was an early proponent of eating low carb for weight loss.  And to think Dr Atkins gets all the credit!

Lots of Mushrooms...

Lots of Mushrooms…

Salisbury Steak simmering in gravy

Salisbury Steak simmering in gravy

As soon as they heard about my dinner plans, my kids were ecstatic.  They’ve always preferred their grandma’s food, and I’ve never figured out why.  My theory is that they associate her cooking with an era where food was based purely on flavor.  Back in the days before we started nudging out fat and sugar and inserting extra fiber and veggies.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did sneak beets into a chocolate (beet) cake once, so I may have it coming.  I’ve now learned to tell my kids if I am making a recipe of my mother’s–the defenses drop immediately.   making-salisbury-steak-1

This was the first time I ever made Salisbury Steak and I was glad I tried it with my mother since there were a few secrets she was able to pass along, First, she uses “soft” bread crumbs, which are made from fresh bread grated with a cheese grater or chopped up in a food processor.

Then she chops the onion quite fine, almost minced.  Yup, she had to rechop my chopped onions.making-salisbury-steak-2

She typically mixes the whole thing up in a food processor.  Since I have a fairly rudimentary kitchen “up north” I learned that hand mixing works great too!

Browning Salisbury Steak

Browning Salisbury Steak

We always use organic grass fed beef from a farmer a couple hours away. I like to visit the source of my food whenever I can–it just feels better to know where my food has been.   And grass fed beef has less overall fat while maintaining a better omega-3/omega-6 ratio (more info here).    Not surprisingly, dishes made with ground grass fed meat don’t seem quite as heavy to me.

Salisbury Steak for dinner

Salisbury Steak for dinner

Hmm, perhaps I did sneak a little extra health into this dish after all! 


Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak, seasoned ground beef patties in a rich mushroom gravy, turns hamburger into a family pleasing meal. For everyday or special occasions.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 346 kcal


For the patties

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup firmly packed soft bread crumbs from ~ 3 slices bread
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons eggs lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons oil or more as needed for frying
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

For the gravy

  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon onion soup mix
  • 1 quart sliced mushrooms


  • Mix ingredients for patties (can be done by hand or in food processor) and form 6 patties about ½ cup each . Brown in oil with 1 Tablespoon butter added. Remove patties from pan and set aside. If there is more than a few tablespoons of oil in pan, partially drain oil leaving brown bits for gravy.
  • Add flour to remaining fat in pan. Cook for a minutes, then gradually add beef broth, stirring with a whisk to thicken.
  • In a separate pan, place mushrooms in 1 Tablespoon butter, add salt and sautee until well-browned.
  • When the gravy reaches the consistency of thin gravy, add back patties and mushrooms to the pan. Simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes or until patties are cooked through.


This is often served over noodles or mashed potatoes.
Keyword heritage

10 thoughts on “Salisbury Steak and Cooking with Mom

  1. grace

    i didn’t know the history of salisbury steak, i always just associate it with tv dinners. 🙂
    this looks MUCH better!

  2. lena

    hi inger! strangely, for some reasons, i think many of us do agree that mom’s cooking is always the best..tho my mum seldom cooks, i do always find that her food taste so much better than mine! i’m sure you hv gathered a lot of useful tips from your mom watching her cooking. That looks super delicious! oh yes, thx for the link to the bundt cakes, the food librarian really has so many bundt cakes and it’s all so beautiful..and all the different pretty bundt!

  3. Choc Chip Uru

    Aww this is sweet! I love to cook with my mum too, and yes, for some reason, her cooking is always better 😀
    Love this wonderful looking salisbury steak! What a delicious recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Louise

    Ah the days of Salibury Steak and lots of “unwholesomeness” I still think those meals were wholesome in memory:) I love that you dug right in to mix that meat Inger. I still mix meatballs and meatloaf that way and now it looks like Salisbury Steak too:)

    How sweet of your Mom to share her recipe. I have a feeling I know the secret to why “Grandma” food is always better. Because…there’s no other love like grandma love and it radiates from fingers to toes, lol…Thank you so much for sharing this special family recipe Inger…Please thank your Mom too:)

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