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How to Make Cube Steak Tender

February 1, 2021

Americans love meat.
According to research, the only country in the world that eats more meat than America is Luxembourg. That’s because we love all kinds, even unique cuts.
If you think of yourself as a “meatatarian," then you need to give cube steak a try despite what you may have heard.
Cube steak is a beautiful cut of meat because it is relatively inexpensive while still providing an exquisite taste. However, if not cooked properly, it can be rather tough.
Keep reading to learn all about cube steak and how to make it as tender as possible with simple recipes.

What is Cube Steak?

Let’s start with the basics. This meat comes from the hind end or shoulder of the cow. Butchers can make it from just about any part of the cow, but these two portions are the most popular because they are tougher.
Once the meat has been removed from the cow, the butcher will run it through a tenderizer. Once this is complete, you will notice small indentations on the meat, which gives the cube steak its recognizable look.
If beef is not your thing, you may be able to find variations made from elk, deer, or pork instead.

Making Tender Cube Steak

The butcher will have run the cut through a tenderizer before purchasing. However, if you do not prepare it right, you may negate that tenderizing work.
Try these techniques to make sure that your cube steak recipe is not working against you.

In the Skillet

One of the most popular ways to cook cube steak right is in the skillet over medium-high heat. All you need to do to get great results is to follow this simple recipe:

  • First, season the meat with salt and pepper.
  • After that, you need to get your large skillet ready by heating a tablespoon of olive oil. Once it is hot, place the cube steaks in the pan. 
  • Make sure that you do not crowd the cube steaks in the skillet. If you do not give each enough room, you will be more likely to overcook it and make it tough.
  • Cook each steak for two or three minutes on each side at medium-high heat, making the total time anywhere between 4 to six minutes.
  • Check that the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be sure that it has been thoroughly cooked.
  • Once you have done that, your steak is good to go.
  • Consider serving it with some hearty vegetables to round out your simple cube steak meal.

Making Chicken Fried Steak

Another popular way to prepare cube steak and make it tender is to follow a chicken fried steak recipe.
To do this, you must bread and fry it. Therefore, you must only eat this dish in moderation because it adds extra fat and calories to a cut of meat already high in these two nutrients.
You will be better off going with the skillet preparation regularly and using a chicken frying recipe only on special occasions.

Cube Steak and Gravy

Adding gravy to your recipe can keep your steak tender, and it’s the ingredient that makes this dish truly comfort food.
Here are your options:

Slow-Cooked with Gravy

Consider using a slow cooker to gradually heat your cube steak in beef broth over many hours without having to worry about it.
To follow this recipe, you will still need a skillet; however, you will not heat it as long as the recipe above. Cook the cube steak in oil for only about a minute or two on each side.
After you have browned the meat:

  1. Move it into the slow cooker.
  2. Let it cook on low for six to eight hours to end up with perfectly tender cube steak.
  3. Once the slow cooker finishes cooking it, top it off with some delicious gravy to take your dish to the next level.

Pan-Fried with Gravy

You could also add gravy to a pan-fried cube steak recipe to increase its delectability.

Consider giving this recipe a try:

  • First, coat the meat in a mixture of salt and pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and flour.
  • Then add cooking oil to the pan on medium-high heat and add the cut once the pan has heated up.
  • After cooking the cube steak for five minutes on each side, take it out of the pan, place it on a plate, and cover that plate with aluminum foil.
  • Now it is time to turn your attention to making the gravy.
  • Using the same pan, add ranch mix, beef broth, and onions. Heat this mixture until the onion becomes translucent.
  • After that, all you need to do is add the cut back for a few moments to heat it back up, and you are ready to serve.
  • Consider pairing with mashed potatoes to create a hearty and full meal.

Storing Cube Steak

Once you have cooked your amazingly tender cube steak recipe, you might be wondering what to do if you have any leftovers.
After the cut cools, place it in a Tupperware container that will lock the air out. Then you can choose to put it in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it in the next few days, or you can put it in the freezer if you think you might not get to it for a bit longer.

Reheating Cube Steak

When you are ready to enjoy the rest of your delicious meal, there are a few ways to go about reheating it.

In the Microwave

While this method is the simplest, it also holds the most significant potential for drying out your steak. Be careful not to overheat your cube steak. It is best to heat it in short increments and test the steak after each one.

On the Stovetop

To use this method, you will start much like you did when cooking the steak:

  • First, you will add olive oil to a skillet.
  • Once it has warmed up, add your cut.
  • Carefully watch your steak and flip it every minute until it is to your liking.
  • While this may take a tad longer, the moisture savings may be worth it.


Just because cube steak is inexpensive does not mean that it cannot make a tasty meal for your family. With this versatile cut of meat and the right recipe, you will cook a filling and delicious dinner of comfort food while staying within your budget.

Brooks Hitzfield

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