Need dinner in under 30 minutes? This smothered steak recipe is quick, filling, super easy, and uses some of the most inexpensive cuts of beef available.
Southern Cream Gravy or Gluten-Free Gravy
We’ve been doing this meat gravy for years and years. It’s a great southern comfort food. When we don’t want to have the time or energy to make steak fingers, we’ll take tenderized cube steaks, round steaks, or deer steaks and make smothered steak instead.
For years, I made the gravy with flour and milk, until I had to learn to make it gluten free. That said, this recipe will include both the gluten-free gravy option and the old-fashioned cream gravy option.
What Do You Need to Make This Smothered Steak Recipe?
The list is fairly simple:
- Tenderized Cube steak (aka gravy steak) or top round steak
- Optional substitutes include: deer steak, ground beef, ground turkey, etc.
- Salt and black pepper
- Corn starch or All-purpose Flour
You’ll also need a large skillet. I use a cast iron skillet. An electric skillet would work as well.
Just a tip, if you use cast iron, you’ll need to wash the skillet as soon as you’re through with it. If the gravy dries, it’ll be harder to remove and it’ll take off some of the seasoning in the process.
A full printable recipe card with ingredients and instructions is included at the end of this post.
How Do You Make Smothered Steak?
Start by cutting your tender steak up in chunks. You can do this in the skillet or on a cutting board.
Oft times, my deer steak is so tender I just tear it apart with my fingers. If I use ground meat, I crumble it apart in the skillet.
Next, season and brown your meat in a large skillet over medium high heat. You’ll want to make sure all the water is cooked out of the meat/skillet as well.
Cream Gravy Options
Now for the gravy…
Gluten-Free White Gravy
For gluten-free gravy, you’ll want to drain all grease from the skillet. Next, add milk to your skillet until your beef steak chunks are covered.
In a separate cup, add corn starch, pour in water, and stir until the corn starch is dissolved.
Once the milk is hot and bubbly, pour in your corn starch mixture, stirring constantly. The rich gravy will thicken quickly.
If it doesn’t, repeat the cornstarch-water process until the desired gravy thickness is reached. If it’s thicker than desired, add a little more milk or water to thin the gravy down.
Southern White Gravy
Once your meat is done, reduce your fire to a low heat and gather all the browned meat to one side of the skillet.
Next, tilt your skillet so the grease accumulates on the opposite side of the pan. If there’s not enough grease, you can add bacon grease or butter to the skillet.
To the grease, add a couple spoonfuls of flour and stir to make a rue. Add just enough to soak up the grease but not enough to make a thick paste.
If you get too much flour, add a little more butter or grease to the mix to thin it back out some. This consistency is part of what determines whether you have lumpy gravy or not.
Next, gradually stir your milk into the rue until meat chunks are covered. Turn your fire up to medium heat and stir your savory gravy continually until it has thickened.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Smothered Steak Recipe FAQs
“My country gravy is too thin. What do I do?”
You’ve got a few of choices.
- Option 1: Cook the gravy down until it thickens
- Option 2: Add a small amount of flour to a cup, then add water, and stir until the flour is blended in. Add a few spoonfuls of gravy to the cup and stir until well blended. Next, stir your flour mixture into the cream gravy. Continue stirring until gravy thickens.
- Option 3: The gluten free option. Add a small amount of cornstarch to a cup, then add water, and stir until the cornstarch is blended in. Next, your cornstarch mixture into the cream gravy, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until gravy thickens.
“My gravy is thicker than I like. What is the best way to thin out this simple cream gravy?”
If your gravy is thicker than you want, add water (or milk) and stir until you reach the desired consistency.
“What if my steak isn’t tenderized?”
If you don’t have a meat tenderizer to run your steak through, you can always take a few whacks at them with a meat mallet.
“What side dishes do you serve with smothered steak?”
Smothered steak goes great over mashed potatoes or rice. (Cauliflower mash would work as well.) Biscuits are great for sopping too. We also will serve up a vegetable or two like green beans, carrots, and/or black-eyed peas alongside this yummy recipe.
“Do you have a good biscuit recipe to go with the smothered steak recipe?”
Sure do! You can find my great-grandmother’s easy drop biscuit recipe here. No rolling or cutting of dough required. 🙂
“What do you do with leftover smothered steak? How do you store smothered steak?”
I’m a leftover lover, and this smothered steak recipe stores great in a sealed container in the refrigerator. The southern style cream gravy (not gluten free) will also freeze pretty well if you need to go that route.
“How long does smothered steak last in the fridge?”
Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, this smothered steak will keep about 3 to 4 days.
“How do you reheat this meat gravy?”
You can either reheat it in a pan on the stove or in the microwave. Typically, I spoon my smothered steak onto some mashed potatoes, pop it all in the microwave, and heat them all together at once.
Just a note, the gravy option that uses flour reheats better than the cornstarch option. The cornstarch option can be a little clumpy, but it still tastes great. I like thick gravy so it works fine for me.
“What kind of milk should I use to make this homemade smothered steak recipe?”
Personally, I use whole milk, but skim, low fat, or 2% milk would work just as well. In fact, you could even use half milk and half water.
That’s All Folks
I hope you enjoy this quick dinner recipe that’s great for the whole family. Feel free to leave a comment and let us know which gravy style is to your liking and what are your favorite sides to go with this southern recipe.
Other Recipes to Try
- 1 lb cube steak or round steak (or ground meat)
- Approx 1 - 1. pint Milk
- 3-4 tbs cornstarch or all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut steak into bite-size chunks. (If using ground meat, crumble in skillet.)
- Season and brown meat in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook out any excess water as well.
Gluten-Free White Gravy
- For gluten-free gravy, drain all grease from skillet.
- Add milk until meat chunks are covered.
- In a separate cup, add corn starch, pour in water, and stir until corn starch is dissolved.
- Once milk is hot and bubbly, pour in corn starch mixture, stirring constantly. Gravy will thicken quickly. If it doesn’t, repeat the cornstarch-water process until the desired gravy thickness is reached. If gravy is thicker than desired, add more milk/water to thin it down.
Southern White Gravy
- Once meat is done, reduce fire to low heat and gather all meat to one side of the skillet.
- Tilt skillet so grease accumulates on the opposite side of pan. If not enough grease, add bacon grease or butter to the skillet.
- To the grease, add flour and stir to make a rue. Add just enough to soak up the grease but not enough to make a thick paste. If too much flour added, add more butter/grease to thin it back out. This consistency is part of what determines whether gravy is lumpy or not.
- Gradually stir milk into the rue until meat chunks are covered. Turn fire up to medium heat, and stir gravy continually until thickened.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve up over mashed potatoes, rice, or biscuits.
If the gravy is too thin,
- cook the gravy down until it thickens OR
- Add a small amount of flour to a cup, then add water, and stir until the flour is blended in. Add a few spoonfuls of gravy to the cup and stir until well blended. Next, stir your flour mixture into the sausage gravy. Continue stirring until gravy thickens. OR
- Gluten free option: Add a small amount of cornstarch to a cup, then add water, and stir until the cornstarch is blended in. Add cornstarch mixture into the cream gravy, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until gravy thickens.
If your gravy is too thick, add water (or milk) and stir until desired consistency is reached.
Store any leftover smothered steak in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.