How To Cook Cube Steak So It’s Not Tough

How to cook cube steak

Preparing your own steak at home can be an awesome experience but there are concerns that have to be addressed. How to cook cube steak so it’s not tough is a regular question since cube steak is a tough cut of beef.

To learn more about the ins and outs of proper cube steak preparation, be sure to read on and learn more.

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How to cook cube steak without it getting tough?

Cube steak is often chosen by many because it is less expensive, without any sacrifices being made from a taste standpoint.

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While the lower pricing point that is associated with these steaks is certainly a selling point, home chefs will have to know how to cook it properly.

Otherwise, they could be left wondering why their meals are leaving something to be desired with tough cube steak.

Properly Preparing Tender Cube Steaks

Yes, the butcher will typically run the cut through a tenderizer ahead of your purchase. That does not mean that our job is done.

That’s why the time has come to take a closer look at the different styles of preparation that an at-home chef can employ when they are ready to get started.


Broiling is typically recommended for cube steaks, as a means of preserving tenderness. To get started, turn the broiler on high.

Spray the broiler pan and the rack with nonstick cooking spray. Season each side of the steak before placing it on the rack.

Position the pan on the broiler’s top rack. Broil the steak for five minutes and do not turn it.


Use medium-high heat and follow the simple steps for delicious skillet-prepared cube steak. Use salt (Lawry’s is always a good choice) and pepper to season the meat.

Garlic powder is another excellent seasoning choice. To get the skillet ready, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil. Those who are looking for healthier alternatives that can also preserve moisture have a number of options to choose from, including sunflower oil and walnut oil.

Put the cube steaks in the pan once it has had the chance to heat up. Don’t overcrowd the skillet, though. Otherwise, the steaks might be undercooked.

Each steak should be cooked for at least two to three minutes on both sides. Medium-high heat is best, which will bring the total time up to four to six minutes.

In order to be sure that the steak is fully cooked, the internal temperature will need to have reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The steak should be good to go at this time.

Cube Steaks With Gravy

Gravy is a natural choice for a recipe of this kind. It is a great way to ensure the tenderness of any meat that is prepared and also makes it into a form of comfort food. Best of all, there are two different options to select from:

Pan Frying

Gravy is a wonderful addition to any pan-fried cube steak recipe. By offering the proper amount of room in the pan, tenderness is increased and delectability never falls by the wayside.

To get started, the meat must be coated. Salt and pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and flour can be combined in these instances. Turn the heat onto medium-high and cooking oil.

Place the meat in the pan once it has had a chance to warm up. Cook the cube steak for five minutes on each side. Remove it from the pan, place it on a plate and cover the plate up with aluminum foil.

Now, it is time to make the gravy. Take some ranch mix, beef broth, and onions and heat the mixture until you can see through the onions. Add the cut back to the pan for a few moments and you are good to go.

Slow Cooking

In addition to pan-frying, a slow cooker can also be used to prepare tender cube steak. Slow cookers allow at-home chefs to gradually heat the cube steak in beef broth over the course of several hours, without all of the usual hassles.

A skillet is still needed for this recipe but it will not take as long as the previous recipe shared above.

  • The cube steak is cooked in oil on each side but only for a period of one to two minutes.
  • Once the meat is browned, it is time to move it into the slow cooker.
  • Give it six to eight hours to let it cook on low.
  • As soon as the slow cooker is finished, this is when the gravy is added.
  • Make sure you have sides that complement the steak – and can be eaten together

Is cubed steak supposed to be tough?

Sometimes, there is a common misconception that certain cuts of steak are “supposed” to be tough. This stems from the fact that cubed steak is made from pure muscle.

The marbling that would normally provide natural tenderness is not present. Cuts like brisket and cubed steak are expected to be tough – but can be made tender with cooking technique.

The cube steak might be made of leaner pieces of meat, but that does not mean we cannot maximize the tenderizing process.

The tenderizing mallet that is used in these instances will break up the tougher connective tissue, making cooking simpler for the at-home chef. Without preparation, marinades, juices, or added fats, these steaks tend to remain tough.

Pointers For Cube Steak Storage and Reheating

This is the part where some will wonder what recourse they have for their leftovers. After all, steak is delicious but what happens when it is time to put it away? Won’t the cube steak become tough?

These are legitimate questions but fortunately, there are ways to avoid toughening up your leftover cube steak and we are more than happy to provide a helpful guide.


Once the cube steak has been prepared, it is time to address any potential storage concerns before they have a chance to become bigger problems. It is always better to be proactive than reactive in these instances.

In other words, it is much easier to keep an existing tender steak in its proper condition than it would be to re-tenderize later on.

For best results, choose a Tupperware container that is going to keep all of the air out. From there, place it in the fridge until you are planning to eat it again.

On the other hand, those who think that they may not have the chance to eat it anytime soon will usually opt for the freezer instead.


Reheating can be tricky, as it causes many of us to end up with leftover cube steak that is every bit as tough as what we were looking to avoid.

There are a few different ways to reheat the cube steak, though. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common methods and how they can be utilized.


The microwave is the go-to in these instances but as many already know, it can also be a one-way ticket to a dried-up piece of steak if you are not fully careful.

In many instances, cube steak will dry up in the microwave because of excessive reheating increments. This is why shorter microwaving times are best. It is imperative to test the steak after each of these increments as well.


The stovetop is usually going to offer up better results than the microwave. It’s a simple method that allows an at-home chef to retrace the steps that they took when they first cooked the cube steak.

Olive oil is added to the skillet in the same manner that it was when the steak was first prepared. Once the pan has been given the chance to warm up, the cut can be added. The onus now falls onto the chef to carefully watch the steak while it is being prepared.

Flip the steak each minute until it has been prepared to your liking. This method is going to take a bit longer than the microwave but the end result is more than worth it. You are far more likely to enjoy the proper tenderization when you rely on the stovetop over the microwave.

Additional Tenderizing Tips

Some may not have a tenderizing mallet on hand and that is okay. There are knives that can be used for this process that are located right in your own kitchen.

Use a cutting board and add a bit of flour. Salt and pepper is great, too. Use a large, serrated knife to pound the meat if you do not have a tenderizer on hand. The indentations that should be left behind are at least 1/8″ deep.

Once this has been done, flip the meat over and repeat the process on the other side. This allows those who do not have access to a tenderizing mallet to use their cube steaks for any recipe.

The same goes for anyone who is purchasing their cuts from locations that may or may not have access to the proper tenderizing equipment.

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