Swiss Steak

Monday 1 March 2021

This classic Swiss Steak recipe has been a family favourite of ours for as long as we can remember. It is something my mother used to make for us, something I made for my own children and something we all still enjoy. 

Swiss Steak is made with pieces of rump or round steak, pounded and cooked in a rich tomato sauce until it is fork tender.  This is pure and simple comfort food. Prepare to fall in love.

Now there are pobably as many swiss steak with tomatoes recipes out there as there are women who love to cook!  Each will have an element of similarity to each other. 

This vintage steak recipe is one that we have been cooking in our family for what seems like forever and I can assure you that it is rich and delicious.

Swiss steak is a method of slow cooking what is normally a tougher cut of beef, such as a round steak, until it is fork tender.  Usually in a lush tomato sauce. 

Pounded and braised, you just cannot get any more delicious of a supper entree than this one! Its quite simply the best.

I am not really sure why it is called Swiss Steak, because there is certainly nothing to do with Switzerland in the recipe. Its a misnomer I expect.  At its very simplest, it involves browning a tough piece of meat and then braising it either in the oven or on top of the stove, until it is meltingly tender.

I have done it both ways myself. In the oven and on top of the stove. Both ways are perfection.  
There are also as many ways of doing this as there are cooks.  My ex mother in law used to do hers with plenty of onions and tomato soup, and baked it in the oven. My mother always used onions and canned tomatoes, and cooked it on top of the stove. Both were excellent.

Two basic keys to the success of this dish lay in the pounding of the meat and in the slow braise. Both are elementary to this dish.  

As a young girl I would love it when my mom would let me pound the steak. She had a lovely meat pounder that she used.  For many years I did not. I always used the edge of a bread or side plate. It worked wonderfully. 

I use a dedicated meat pounder now.  Use the dimpled side of it so that it really gets the flour into the meat. You want to pound and pound, adding flour, until the steak can no longer absorbe the flour you are pounding in to it. 

I cut the steak into serving sized pieces, seasoning them all over with salt and black pepper. I then pound, and pound and pound. This is key.  I believe the pounding helps to break down the tougher fibres in the meat.

The flour helps to create a nice brown crust on the meat and create flavour in the braising liquid. It won't stay on the meat, it kind of dissolves into the gravy, helping to thicken it. I like to brown it long and slow over a moderate heat. 

Once all of your pieces are pounded and browned, you can add your liquid and other ingredients. Onions are a must. I always add plenty of onions, but you can also add sliced peppers, mushrooms, shallots, etc. They will help to flavour the gravy.  

You also want to use a good tinned tomato. I tend to use the chopped tinned tomatoes in tomato juice these days. My mom always used just plain old whole tomatoes in water, but she didn't really have a choice, that's all there was.

My sister likes to use stewed tomatoes, which have onions and peppers in them, and sometimes herbs. I just use plain chopped tomatoes in juice, but a good one.  Cirio are my favourite.

You can leave it old school with just tomatoes and onions and perhaps some peppers and really not add much of anything else. But I do always add a splash of something like Worcestershire Sauce, and sometimes some chili sauce or horseradish to give it a bit of zestiness.

I cannot begin to tell you how very delicious this is.  It is incredibly so, and such a simple thing too.

Can you see how very tender that meat is? It literally melts in your mouth. Normally I would serve it with a nice fluffy mound of buttery mashed potatoes. That is our side dish of choice. Today I had none, but some baby new potatoes. 

One must make do with what one has these days and be glad of it. New potatoes, simply boiled and buttered it was along with some mashed swede. It was delicious. Comforting. Lovely. 
Life doesn't get much better than being able to sit down with and enjoy a tasty plate of this. It is truly the BEST.


Swiss Steak

Swiss Steak

Yield: 6
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mincook time: 2 Hourtotal time: 2 H & 15 M
This was one of our favourite meals when I was growing up, and again, when I was bringing up my own family. My kids still request it when I have the opportunity to cook for them.


  • 1 1/2 pounds of beef rump or round steak, cut into serving size pieces
  • 1/2 (70g) cup flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 large spanish type onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups canned chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


  1. Season the pieces of steak with salt and pepper and pound the flour into them with the edge of a bread plate, or a meat pounder, pounding on both sides and pounding until no more flour can be absorbed by the meat. This step is what makes the meat meltingly tender.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet and brown the pieces of steak on both sides, removing as done to a plate. Once all the steak is browned, sauté the onions in the drippings along with the garlic.
  3. Return the steak to the skillet along with the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce . Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer at a very low temperature, covered, for about an hour and a half, to two hours, until the steak is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened.


The above recipe is by no means rigid. Feel free to add your own twist to it, perhaps a dash of balsamic vinegar, or a squirt of tomato catsup or brown sauce. I sometimes add a dash of horseradish, and some sliced peppers, or even some North American Chili sauce. That's what makes comfort food comfort food. It is an indelible print of our souls.

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Swiss Steak

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  1. Hi Marie,
    I used to makes Swiss steak {in the slow cooker} all the time when my children were small. But somewhere along the way, I lost the recipe and I have been looking for another. This one sounds delicious! I have copied it into my recipes and I hope to make it soon. I haven't been able to eat steak in a very long time because of a health issue. But I remember how tender the Swiss steak was and I knew I could eat it if only I could find the right recipe. I know my hubby and I will really enjoy it. Thanks so much for sharing, and stay well, Marie.

    1. We love this Sandi. I really hope you make it and that you do enjoy it! You stay well also! xoxo

  2. My this looks rich and delicious...will have to try it out. I love thick rich sauce like this appears!!
    Elizabeth xoxo

    1. Its very good Elizabeth. I hope you will try it! xoxo


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