Pan Fried Cube Steaks with Simple Pan Sauce: Quick, Affordable & Flavorful Recipe

Pan Fried Cube Steaks with Simple Pan Sauce: Quick, Affordable & Flavorful Recipe

Cube steaks are cuts of beef, usually from the top round or top sirloin. They get their name from the distinctive cube-shaped indentations made by a meat tenderizer. The process of tenderizing breaks down the tough fibers, making the meat more tender for cooking. Typically, you find this cut pre-tenderized and ready for quick cooking methods like pan-frying.

Benefits Of Choosing Cube Steaks

Cube steaks offer several benefits. They are cost-effective compared to other tender cuts like ribeye or filet mignon. These steaks cook quickly, making them perfect for fast meals. The tenderizing process enhances the texture, ensuring a tender and flavorful bite. Their versatility lets you pair them with various sauces, sides, and seasoning profiles.

Essentials of Pan Frying Cube Steaks

Choosing the Right Pan

Select a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan. These materials distribute heat evenly, ensuring consistent cooking. A pan with a non-stick surface reduces the chance of steaks sticking. Choose a size that allows for adequate spacing, ensuring steaks sear rather than steam.

Oil and Temperature Tips

Use oils with high smoke points, like canola oil or grapeseed oil. These oils withstand high temperatures without burning. Preheat the pan to medium-high heat before adding the steaks. Ensure the oil is hot enough to create a sizzle when the meat hits the pan. Overcrowding the pan lowers the temperature, leading to uneven cooking.

Step-by-Step Guide to Pan Fried Cube Steaks With Simple Pan Sauce

Preparing the Meat

Start by taking cube steaks out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before cooking, so they reach room temperature. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture, ensuring a good sear. Season both sides of the steaks with salt, pepper, and any preferred spices. Optionally, tenderize further by scoring the surface with a knife.

Cooking Techniques

Use a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan for even heat distribution. Add a high-smoke-point oil like canola or grapeseed oil to the pan and preheat on medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Place the steaks in the pan without overcrowding. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a crust forms. Avoid moving the steaks during cooking to achieve a proper sear. Transfer them to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Making the Simple Pan Sauce

After removing the steaks, lower the heat to medium. Use the same pan, add a bit more oil if needed, and sauté minced garlic and shallots until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of beef broth, scraping up the browned bits. Add 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp of Dijon mustard. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Finally, stir in 2 tbsp of butter until melted and smooth. Pour the sauce over the warm steaks and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Side Dishes to Complement Cube Steaks

Pairing the right side dishes enhances the meal’s balance and flavor. Consider these options:

  • Mashed Potatoes: Offer a creamy contrast to the crispy, pan-fried texture of the cube steaks. Use Yukon Gold potatoes for a buttery finish.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, or green beans add color and nutrition. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Garlic Bread: Provide a crunchy, aromatic addition to soak up the pan sauce.
  • Salad: A fresh, mixed greens salad with a tangy vinaigrette cleanses the palate.
  • Rice Pilaf: Seasoned rice pilaf adds a delicate, herby counterpoint to the rich sauce.
  • Plating: Place the cube steak centrally on the plate, drizzling the pan sauce generously over the top.
  • Sides Placement: Arrange side dishes around the main protein, ensuring they don’t overshadow it.
  • Garnish: Add a sprig of fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme, for a pop of color and freshness.
  • Use of Colors: Ensure a vibrant mix of colors on the plate – for example, bright vegetables against the rich, brown steak.
  • Dinnerware: Use clean, simple plates to let the food stand out. White plates provide a classic look that highlights the dish’s colors.


Pan-fried cube steaks with a simple pan sauce offer a delicious, affordable, and quick meal option that’s perfect for any occasion. By following the tenderization process and essential cooking tips, you can transform these humble cuts into a mouthwatering dish. Pair your cube steaks with complementary sides like mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a fresh salad for a complete meal. Remember to plate thoughtfully, using garnishes and vibrant colors to enhance the presentation. With these insights, you’re well-equipped to create a satisfying and visually appealing dinner that will impress your guests and family alike.

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