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These quick-cooking steaks bring comfort and a tasty dose of nostalgia

Kelly Song, America's Test Kitchen on

These thinly pounded steaks smothered in a rich, flavorful gravy are quick to come together. Minute-steak recipes originally used high-quality cuts of beef (most commonly sirloin) that were hand-pounded and flash-seared in a hot skillet. In some cases, the dish has evolved to include more affordable cuts of beef; here we prefer top round, bottom round, or eye round.

We found that soaking the pounded steaks in a simple baking soda solution allowed these cuts of beef to remain succulent and tender after searing. We patted the soaked steaks dry and coated them in flour, which helped absorb excess liquid and promote additional browning while searing.

True to their name, the steaks cooked through in 1 minute per side, developing a golden-brown exterior and tender interior. After setting the steaks aside to rest, we built a sauce directly in the same pan. Our savory beef and mushroom gravy recalls the classic preparation of minute steak, with the addition of shallot, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, and fresh thyme for additional brightness and complexity.

Minute Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

Serves 4

4 (6-ounce) top-round steaks, trimmed

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, chopped fine

8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin


1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Using meat pounder, pound steaks to even 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Whisk water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl until salt and baking soda are dissolved. Add steaks and toss in water mixture until coated and no liquid pools at bottom of bowl, about 30 seconds. Let sit for 15 minutes.

2. Pat steaks dry with paper towels (do not rinse steaks before drying). Spread 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish. Working with 1 steak at a time, dredge steaks in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer steaks to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add two steaks and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer steaks to prepared rack and tent with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining two steaks.

4. Melt butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat (no need to wipe skillet clean before adding butter). Stir in shallot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, Worcestershire, mustard, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer, stirring often, until gravy is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer steaks to serving plates and spoon gravy over steaks. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and serve.

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