Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on March 8, 2015

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Do you find this weird? Is it strange that one day, out of no where, a recipe lands in your inbox again? Embedded in a post that plows ahead as if there had been no lapse at all? Happy Sunday, because that’s where we are!  When I found out my peeps over at the #SundaySupper Movement were hosting a retro event, I decided to jump right back in. Heather over at HezziD’s Cooks and Books is hosting, and I’m bringing the ultimate retro comfort food–Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy–along with a tale that begins with the Civil War, detours through Richard Simmons’ Anatomy Asylum, and ends with the recipe right here on this page. OK, maybe things are getting a little weird. 😉

Certainly thoughts of Salisbury steak do not conjure up, at least for me, images of Civil War era health food–especially if you were a product of the 60s or 70s, when TV dinners were quite the novelty and the ultimate splurge for both the busy parent and the Sesame Street set. If it wasn’t fried chicken, it was Salisbury steak, tucked into a divided foil tray, where the main dish, along with potatoes, a veg medley, and a dessert all co-exist without ever mingling. I imagine this is not what Dr. James H. Salisbury had in mind when he invented the dish back in the 19th Century. After conducting his own studies, Dr. Salisbury concluded that a diet high in animal protein was best, and his steak made of finely minced meat was the centerpiece, thus creating one of the very first fad diets.

So how does Richard Simmons fit in?  Funny enough, it was a combination of Salisbury steak, along with a nudging mother, that led to an epiphany for Richard–how long would it take to burn off his dinner? Ultimately, he decided calories were not something to fear but rather something to respect. Richard, not being a fad diet kind of guy, went on to become one of the most popular health and fitness gurus around, and I had the honor of working at one of his Northern California Anatomy Asylums.

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

What you can’t see here are all the fabulously bright 1980s leotards, tights, and leg warmers!

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean
Penny, my then mentor and now long-time friend, showed me the ropes of teaching aerobics.

While the Salisbury steak is not really a health food, as Richard surmised, it’s not all bad either. Just start with some lean ground beef, and there’s really not much else to it. I try to keep the patties on the thick side, so they don’t accidentally overcook. This version was adapted from an old Campbell’s Soup recipe, adding an extra layer of melt-in-your-mouth onion goodness. Variations are fun too, whether you want to toss in some mushrooms or a splash of red wine, this hearty fare will satisfy any family. Just add your favorite mashed potatoes, maybe a tossed salad on the side, and this easy meal is on the table in no time!


Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

This dish is super easy, and adding the extra onions really makes a difference.  Start off by sauteing the onions in the olive oil until they start to brown.

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Add the beef patties, brown on both sides, then stir in the remaining ingredients to make the gravy. Cover and simmer until done. Easy peasy.

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Serve with some mashed potatoes to soak up some of that yummy gravy.

Here’s the printer-friendly version:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simmered in a gravy of caramelized onions, this Salisbury steak dinner is a hit every time.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 10½ oz can condensed French onion soup, divided
  • 1½ lb 85% lean ground beef
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup catsup
  • ¼ cup water (or dry red wine)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and saute, stirring continuously, until they begin to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ⅓ cup of the soup with the beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper. Once thoroughly combined (you may need to use your hands for this), divide the meat mixture into six equal parts and shape into oval patties.
  3. Push the onions to the edges in the skillet and add the patties.
  4. While the patties are browning, in a small bowl, combine the remaining French onion soup with the rest of the ingredients. Once the patties are browned on both sides, stir the soup mixture into the pan, deglazing/scraping any stuck bits from the bottom. Cover and cook over low heat for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until done.


Let’s get this retro party started–seriously! Bookmark this page, and let it be the launching pad for your next shindig. For those of you in warm weather, maybe a retro garden party could be your theme. Snowbound? No problem, go old school ski lodge with your theme. The possibilities are endless, and #SundaySupper has you covered, from appetizers and cocktails, to desserts and everything in between. Heck, even my Salisbury steak above can be turned into meatballs for a cozy winter appetizer!

Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:

Made in the Shade Main Dishes:

Swell Side Dishes:

Dreamy Desserts:

The Bee’s Knees Beverages:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee March 8, 2015 at 2:55 am

Those photos of Richard Simmons are so great! And so is your recipe. Such a classic dish.


Hezzi-D March 8, 2015 at 3:24 am

I’m not a fan of the Salisbury Steak I usually see but I love that you made it with onion gravy. Now that sounds good.


Deanna Samaan March 8, 2015 at 6:07 am

My mom would buy those frozen tv dinners and salisbury steak was always a favorite! These look so much better!!!!!!!!!!


Tammi @Momma's Meals March 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

I can’t believe I never had my first salisbury steak until I met my husband cooked by his grandmother and I never made my first salisbury steak until this past year! I love your version but I love your photos better!!!


Diana @DandelionGreens March 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

What a fun story… and delicious recipe! Nice presentation as well 🙂


Liz March 8, 2015 at 10:11 am

Such cute old photos!!! And your salisbury steak looks fantastic—pure comfort food!


Gabriela March 8, 2015 at 10:46 am

How great to see that you posting again! Toby often mentions a Salisbury steak recipe that he used to make years ago — we will have try your version.


Anne Papina March 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

Thanks! I’ll have to give you a call later. Toby may have made something similar–this recipe has been around for years and originated on a soup label!


Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm March 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

Salisbury Steak and Richard Simmons…..that really is a blast from the past.


Anne Papina March 9, 2015 at 7:22 am

and somehow there was an actual (albeit loose) connection between the two lol


Sue Lau March 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I think when I was a kid salisbury steak was my favorite tv dinner (now there’s retro for you) and I think it came with mashed potatoes, corn and a brownie. All inside it’s little space ship aluminum foil container. LOL I know so much better now that I have grown up and tasted real food from scratch. Haha! Thanks for sharing!


Anne Papina March 9, 2015 at 7:21 am

I remember really really liking that warm brownie! Sometimes I’d eat it first just to make sure it was still warm!


Mary Ellen March 8, 2015 at 10:32 pm

These look delicious! One of my favorite comfort foods….


Laura March 8, 2015 at 11:01 pm

This Sunday Supper is my first in ages too, and I think only my 3rd blog posting at all since my second was born last year. I also haven’t thought of salisbury steak in years and now think it is something that will go on my meal plan for next week. I forgot how simple and delicious this is and like you said made with lean meat isn’t too bad for you.


Anne Papina March 9, 2015 at 7:20 am

I definitely think you need to give this a whirl! How does it feel to be back?


Cindys Recipes and Writings March 9, 2015 at 9:08 am

What a great retro meal! Glad you included the burn off the calories info! How fun was that! 😉


shelby March 10, 2015 at 1:51 am

Your version looks way better than the tv dinners of the day for certain! 🙂


Valerie Cathell Clark March 10, 2015 at 5:40 am

I’m cracking up over your post! Richard Simmons! I had leg warmers too!! This dish so reminds me of childhood and looks even better than what I remember! I think I’m forced to make this for my kids; they would LOVE it!


Anne Papina March 10, 2015 at 9:22 am

I think there’s a box somewhere downstairs that contains my flashy dance burgundy legwarmers with sparkly golden threads woven throughout!


tanya March 10, 2015 at 10:43 am

This looks great! I might make this for dinner this week. Thanks for the recipe 🙂


Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen March 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Yum yum and MORE yum! This is a retro food that has never gone out of style at my house 🙂 yours is gorgeous!!


Julie @ Texan New Yorker March 13, 2015 at 11:54 am

I’m so thrilled to see you back to Sunday Supper!! I love your post too. Amazing story. 🙂

I’ve never made salisbury steak at home, I’ll have to rectify that soon! Love it!


Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook March 13, 2015 at 12:38 pm

I had salisbury steak for the first time fairly recently – and loved it. I like that your gravy is an onion gravy, I’ll have to give this version a try.


tanya May 28, 2015 at 2:44 pm

This looks so good. This is exactly what I was craving for dinner. Maybe I’ll make it tomorrow night.


Anne Papina June 10, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hope you enjoyed it! That gravy really works well with some smashed potatoes too :-9


plasterers bristol June 10, 2015 at 12:15 am

mm this sounds rather tasty and something new to try. Thanks for sharing this recipe.



Anne Papina June 10, 2015 at 10:13 am

Hope you enjoy! It’s good solid comfort food around here 🙂


John September 5, 2018 at 4:39 am

Delicious recipe.


Anne Papina October 3, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Glad you enjoyed it!


ANNAHEN August 16, 2019 at 3:56 am

Delicious recipe.


Jaime November 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

Ahh! A classic. I remember eating this when I was a kid but haven’t had it in years. I’ll give it a go and I’m sure it’ll be as delicious as I remember it.


Anne Papina November 23, 2019 at 9:22 am

Thanks! I know it’s not pretty, but it is quite good!


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