Authentic Cracker Barrel Hamburger Steak Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide

Authentic Cracker Barrel Hamburger Steak Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide

Cracker Barrel is renowned for its delicious and comforting home-style cooking. One dish that has stood the test of time and remains a favorite amongst diners is the Hamburger Steak. This classic dish is a delicious blend of ground beef seasoned with savory spices and served with a rich onion gravy. It is a hearty and satisfying meal that can easily be recreated at home, thanks to this step-by-step guide.

If you've ever wondered how to make the perfect Cracker Barrel Hamburger Steak, look no further. This article will guide you through the process, ensuring that you achieve the same authentic taste and flavor as the restaurant. With easy-to-follow instructions and readily available ingredients, you'll soon be enjoying a plate of juicy and flavorful Hamburger Steak right in the comfort of your own home.


Cracker Barrel is renowned for its delectable and comforting dishes, with their hamburger steak being a fan favorite. Surprisingly, recreating this enticing recipe in the comfort of your own home is simpler than you might imagine. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to make Cracker Barrel's irresistible hamburger steak.


A Flavorful Blend

Before diving into the cooking process, it is crucial to gather all the necessary ingredients for Cracker Barrel's hamburger steak. This meal's rich and harmonious taste originates from a well-curated combination of various elements. From the ground beef to the array of essential seasonings, we will cover everything required to achieve the perfect blend of flavors in this beloved dish.

High-Quality Ground Beef

One of the key components to mastering the art of the delicious hamburger steak lies in selecting the finest, high-quality ground beef available. The success of this recipe significantly hinges on the choice of ground beef. We will delve into the intricacies of the best type of ground beef to use, while also highlighting the importance of freshness and the ideal fat content. By carefully selecting the right ground beef, you can elevate the taste and texture of your hamburger steak to extraordinary heights.

Secret Seasonings

Cracker Barrel's hamburger steak boasts an exquisite flavor profile that keeps customers coming back for more. The secret behind this exceptional taste lies within a unique blend of seasonings, closely guarded by Cracker Barrel. However, we have managed to uncover some of these well-kept secrets. Throughout the article, we will divulge some of the specific seasonings that contribute to the overall taste and aroma of the dish. By incorporating these secret seasonings into your own cooking, you can replicate the distinctive flavors that have made Cracker Barrel's hamburger steak such a cherished delight.

Cooking Process

Patty Preparation

To achieve the perfect texture and shape of the hamburger steak, proper patty preparation is essential. Here are the steps to form the patties.

Start by combining ground beef, onions, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Once the mixture is combined, divide it into individual portions to form the patties. It is recommended to shape each patty into a round, flat disc about 1 inch thick.

A useful tip is to make a slight indentation in the center of each patty using your thumb. This will help the patty retain its shape during cooking.

After shaping the patties, place them on a plate or tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Chilling the patties helps them hold their shape better while cooking.

When it's time to cook, preheat a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil to the pan to prevent sticking.

Place the chilled hamburger steak patties on the hot pan, ensuring that they have enough space to cook evenly. It's best to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can cause steaming instead of searing.

Cook the patties for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they reach your preferred level of doneness. For a medium-rare patty, aim for an internal temperature of around 145°F (63°C).

Once cooked, remove the hamburger steak patties from the pan and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Cooking Techniques

Cracker Barrel's hamburger steak is cooked on a stovetop, utilizing the direct heat for optimal flavor. Pan-frying is the recommended cooking technique, and here are some tips to achieve an excellent result.

Start by selecting a skillet or frying pan that provides even heat distribution. A cast-iron pan is ideal for its superior heat retention and ability to create a nice sear on the patties.

Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil or butter to the pan. This will prevent the patties from sticking and add flavor to the cooking process.

Once the pan is hot, carefully place the hamburger steak patties onto the skillet. Keep in mind not to overcrowd the pan, as this may reduce the searing and browning effect.

Allow the patties to cook for around 4-5 minutes on each side. Avoid pressing down on the patties while cooking, as this can result in the loss of juices and a drier steak.

For a more well-done patty, you can cook them for an additional 1-2 minutes on each side. However, be cautious not to overcook them, as it may lead to a tougher texture.

Once the hamburger steak patties are cooked to your desired level of doneness, remove them from the pan and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting period helps to retain the juiciness and tenderness of the meat.

Making the Signature Sauce

Cracker Barrel's hamburger steak is often accompanied by a delightful signature sauce that enhances the overall flavor profile of the dish. Here's how you can make this delectable sauce at home.

To make the signature sauce, you will need ingredients such as ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, horseradish, brown sugar, and vinegar.

In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk until well blended. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste preferences, adding more or less of each ingredient as desired.

Once the sauce is mixed, refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. This resting period allows the sauce to develop a richer taste.

After chilling, the sauce is ready to be served alongside the hamburger steak. It adds a tangy and slightly sweet element that pairs perfectly with the hearty flavors of the meat.

Spoon the signature sauce generously over the hamburger steak or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce. Either way, it will elevate the overall dining experience and leave your taste buds satisfied.

By following these steps, you can recreate the Cracker Barrel hamburger steak recipe at home, complete with perfectly formed patties, cooked to perfection using the best techniques, and accompanied by a mouthwatering signature sauce. Enjoy this classic comfort food dish with your family and friends, and savor the delicious flavors that Cracker Barrel is known for!

Serving Suggestions

A well-rounded meal includes the perfect side dishes. Here are some recommendations on what sides to serve with Cracker Barrel's delicious hamburger steak:

Sides to Accompany

To complement the rich flavors of the hamburger steak, we suggest serving it with creamy mashed potatoes. The velvety smoothness of the potatoes adds a perfect contrast to the hearty beef patty. You can also consider steamed vegetables as a side dish. The vibrant colors and crunchy texture of fresh vegetables create a balanced and nutritious accompaniment to the main course.

Presentation Tips

Enhancing the visual appeal of your hamburger steak adds to the overall dining experience. Here are some simple yet effective tips to beautifully present your Cracker Barrel hamburger steak:

1. Garnishing Ideas: Spruce up the plate by adding a touch of freshness with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley or green onions over the steak. This adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

2. Plating Techniques: Arrange the hamburger steak creatively on the plate. You can place it at the center and surround it with a ring of mashed potatoes or steamed vegetables. This not only adds visual interest but also allows for easy portioning.

3. Sauces and Drizzles: Elevate the flavors by drizzling a savory sauce over the hamburger steak. A classic mushroom gravy or a tangy steak sauce can take the dish to the next level. Be sure to serve the extra sauce on the side for dipping or pouring.

Leftover Ideas

Don't let any leftover hamburger steak go to waste! Here are some creative suggestions on how to repurpose the leftovers into new and delicious meals:

1. Hamburger Steak Sandwich: Place the leftover hamburger patty between two slices of toasted bread or buns. Add your favorite condiments, lettuce, tomato, and cheese to create a mouthwatering burger-like sandwich.

2. Hamburger Steak Salad: Thinly slice the leftover hamburger steak and use it as a protein-rich topping for a fresh green salad. Add other ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and croutons for added texture and flavor.

3. Hamburger Steak Hash: Chop the leftover hamburger steak into small pieces and sauté it with diced potatoes, onions, and bell peppers. This hearty hash makes for a comforting and filling breakfast or brunch option.

These leftover ideas ensure that you can enjoy the deliciousness of Cracker Barrel's hamburger steak in a new and exciting way, even after the initial meal.

4. Adding Flavor to the Hamburger Steak

Now that you have prepared the juicy patties and cooked them to perfection, it's time to elevate the flavor of your Cracker Barrel hamburger steak. While simplicity is key in this classic recipe, a few extra ingredients can take it to the next level.

A. Sautéed Onions and Mushrooms

Nothing complements a hamburger steak better than the rich and savory combination of sautéed onions and mushrooms. Start by thinly slicing a large onion and a handful of button mushrooms. In a skillet over medium heat, melt a tablespoon of butter and add the onions and mushrooms to the pan. Cook them until they become tender and caramelized, releasing their delicious flavors.

This aromatic mixture can be served on top of the hamburger steak, adding a burst of sweetness from the onions and a delightful earthiness from the mushrooms. It not only enhances the taste but also adds a textural contrast that will make each bite more enjoyable.

B. Homemade Gravy

Nothing beats the homemade touch of a rich and savory gravy drizzled over your hamburger steak. To make the gravy, start by melting two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in two tablespoons of all-purpose flour to create a smooth paste, known as a roux. Let the roux cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.

Next, slowly pour in one cup of beef broth and one cup of milk, whisking continuously to avoid any lumps. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens and comes to a gentle boil. Season the gravy with salt, pepper, and any additional herbs or spices of your choice, such as garlic powder or thyme.

Pour this delicious homemade gravy generously over the hamburger steak, allowing the flavors to mingle and the meat to soak up all the savory goodness. The silky texture of the gravy will add an extra layer of indulgence to your already mouthwatering dish.

C. Melty Cheese Topping

If you're a cheese lover, why not take your Cracker Barrel hamburger steak to the next level by adding a melty cheese topping? As the hamburger steak finishes cooking, place a slice of your favorite cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss, on top of each patty. Let the heat of the meat melt the cheese, creating a gooey and irresistible layer of deliciousness.

The melted cheese will add a delightful creaminess that pairs perfectly with the seasoned patties. It will also provide an extra richness that will take your taste buds on a delightful journey. Once the cheese has melted to your liking, transfer the hamburger steak to a plate and watch the cheese stretch with each bite.

All of these additional flavors and toppings will elevate your Cracker Barrel hamburger steak recipe, turning it into a mouthwatering feast that will impress your family and friends. From the sautéed onions and mushrooms to the homemade gravy and melty cheese, each element brings its own unique touch to the dish, making it a true crowd-pleaser. Enjoy the delightful combination of juicy patties, flavorful toppings, and a comforting gravy that will leave you craving more.

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