Pan-Fried Cube Steak

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Have savory steak any night of the week with Pan-Fried Cube Steak—a budget-friendly recipe that takes only a few ingredients to prepare a hearty meal.

Pan Fry Cubed Steak featured image

I try to spoil my family as often as possible—what can I say? I love ’em! Most of the time I show my love by cooking them their favorite meals. Maybe it’s a guy thing but they all seem partial to steak. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the budget to show that much love every day of the week. Luckily, there is cube steak.

Cube steak comes from the top round or top sirloin, so it’s a tougher cut of beef. That’s why it is mechanically tenderized before hitting the shops. It’s an economic way to serve up steak without having to take out a small loan at the bank before hitting up the butcher’s. I also like that the recipe is short but sweet (or savory, I suppose, is more appropriate). No need for special sauces or spices. Everything I need is already in my kitchen. Heck, everything I need is already on my kitchen table!

Despite being a simple and humble cut of meat, you can do a surprising amount with it. While you can serve it up as an entree alongside your favorite side (more on that later), you can also use it in a sandwich, slice it up for a stir-fry, fill up fajitas with it, or dice it up and use it in a soup (though this last one may be more of an option when trying to decide what to do with leftovers).

Try this recipe and you’ll see, for so little time and effort (and money), you get so much out of the cube steak!

How Do I Know When the Steaks are Done?

With steak, you have a bit more leeway when it comes to required cooking times, which is good considering I have a family who each like their steaks done a certain way. I always keep my meat thermometer nearby to assign a number to it and take the guesswork out of it (when I’m busy in the kitchen, I find I easily lose track of how long each steak has been in the pan for). It is recommended the steak reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145°F for medium-rare, 160°F for medium, or 170°F for well-done. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can judge by looking at the steak. Once it has developed a golden-brown crust, it should be about ready. You can also press gently on the meat. You’ll want to remove it from the heat before it gets too tough, which is a sign you’ve overcooked it. One other thing, as I mention below, cutting into the steak before it has had an opportunity to sit interferes with the redistribution of its juices, so it’s really in your best interests to invest in a thermometer.

Ingredients

  • 4 beef cube steaks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
Pan Fry Cubed Steak ingredients

How to Make Pan-Fried Cube Steak

Step 1: Season the steaks with the salt and pepper then pat the meat so the seasoning sticks.

Pan Fry Cubed Steak steps

Step 2: Place a heavy-based skillet over MED-HIGH heat and melt in the butter.

Pan Fry Cubed Steak steps

Step 3: Add the steaks to the hot pan. Cook for 4–5 minutes.

Pan Fry Cubed Steak steps

Step 4: Flip the steaks over and cook for another 4–5 minutes, until cooked through.

Step 5: Let the steaks rest for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!

FAQs & Tips

Can I prep the steaks ahead of time?

Sure. In fact, read the question below where I talk about marination. Attending to your steaks just 15 minutes ahead of time will result in more tender meat.

Why must I let the steaks rest?

Letting them rest after a tough day’s work in the pan gives the residual heat to finish cooking the steak evenly throughout. It also lets the juices redistribute, so try to avoid cutting into the steak beforehand.

Do I need to tenderize the meat?

One characteristic of cube steak is that it is mechanically tenderized before you even set your sights on it; however, it can prove a particularly tough bit of meat so it may require additional tenderizing. Use a mallet to pound the meat on both sides before cooking.

Do I need to marinate the steaks?

You don’t need to, but as I mentioned in the question above, cube steak can be tough. Marinating it will break down the proteins and make for a more tender meat. Use something acidic—yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar—and let the steaks sit for 15 minutes to an hour. Not a long time but it will definitely make a difference.

How do I store the steak?

Let the steak cool then store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can wrap it in plastic or aluminum or you can put it in an airtight container; either option is good. To reheat, get out your trusty pan and warm the steak up on LOW. Remember, you’re not looking to re-cook the steak, you just want to warm it back up. You can freeze the steak for up to 4 months. I usually wrap it first then put it in a freezer-safe bag. I’ll later let it thaw overnight in the fridge. You can also microwave it on LOW, though I prefer the pan so I can also add any gravy I might want with it.

Is there a gravy you recommend?

Yes, in fact, there is. My Mushroom Gravy makes a great sauce for my cube steaks and Salisbury steaks. It’s an easy recipe that shouldn’t take up too much time; you can attend to it while you let the steak marinate.

Pan Fry Cubed Steak featured image

Serving Suggestions

If you’re looking for a gravy, I recommend my Mushroom Gravy in the FAQs section, but if you’re hoping for something more substantial, you should try Boursin Mashed Potatoes. Along with the gravy, these squashed spuds could be a meal unto itself. It’s almost iconic. For a veggie, serve up Roasted Brussels Sprouts, which taste great with or without the gravy. Last, this Cornbread, Sausage & Pecan Stuffing is a filling and flavorful side (it’s up to you whether you include the sausage).

Pan Fry Cubed Steak featured image
Pan Fry Cubed Steak featured image

Pan-Fried Cube Steak

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 246 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 beef cube steaks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Season the steaks with the salt and pepper then pat the meat so the seasoning sticks.
  • Place a heavy-based skillet over MED-HIGH heat and melt in the butter.
  • Add the steaks to the hot pan. Cook for 4–5 minutes.
  • Flip the steaks over and cook for another 4–5 minutes, until cooked through.

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 0.1gProtein: 23gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 195mgPotassium: 383mgFiber: 0.04gSugar: 0.01gVitamin A: 118IUCalcium: 28mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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