Pressure Cooker Salisbury Steak

The Classic School Lunch “Mystery Meat” Updated For The Pressure Cooker!


This one brings back memories of sitting in the “cafetorium”, enjoying one of the rare occasions when I was allowed to buy “hot lunch” at school.

I am not even sure if I used to enjoy the school lunchroom’s salisbury steak. What I did enjoy was not having to take my embarrassing lunchbox to school.

Ah yes, the lunchbox. I remember it as if it were yesterday…

When I was in first grade, my mother saved up enough trading stamps (I am sure most of you don’t remember that concept) to order a lunchbox for me to carry my lunch to school. Since they were out of the one that was ordered, they sent what they believed was a suitable replacement.

When the delivery man arrived, I waited with anticipation as my mom opened the package and presented me with a pink-accented lunchbox with a fake picnic basket pattern, with a pink handle and pink butterflies on the lid and inside, and there on the front, emblazoned in an ornate script typeface was the word “Debutante”.

Ok, now I know that I am super-old, since I was able to find the lunch box online, in the Smithsonian Institute of all places. I will probably be joining it there soon. I hate to date myself like this, but maybe it will help you to understand why I was scarred for life by this particular lunchbox.


Image from Smithsonian Institute Website, click image to go to site

I asked my mom what this word meant, since I was just in first grade and had not yet had a lot of exposure to debutantes. I am not sure if she actually gave me an answer. I seem to recall a lot of stammering on my mother’s part, followed my refusal to be seen in public with such a thing. In order to appease me, my parents went to the store to buy some Con-tact Paper (you may not remember that either, but it is actually still made), a self-adhesive covering often used to cover shelves and other things. The general rule was, if it is ugly, cover it with Contact Paper. In fact, I had a couple awkward years where I think my parents were considering wrapping my face in it. Anyway, my folks selected a manly dark woodgrain to cover my lunch box with. So, instead of carrying a frilly pink lunchbox, I carried what appeared to be a small rumpus room (the covering looked similar to the ugly wood paneling that everyone was covering their basement walls with where I grew up).

Anyway, I was always thrilled when my Mom would hand me two quarters in the morning (geez, I’m old, 50 cents for lunch?), to buy a hot lunch, which was often salisbury steak, with the obligatory mashed potatoes and either peas or corn.

Whether I actually liked it then or not is irrelevant, because it is now one of the ultimate comfort foods for me. So let’s make some!


Mix together 2 pounds of ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika and a teaspoon of dried parsley. Mix with your hands until everything is blended, do not over mix.


Divide into 4-6 ovals. I made 4, and I admit they were kind of huge, but I was hungry.


In a couple tablespoons of oil, brown the steaks on both sides. Depending on the dimensions of your cooker, you may have to brown a couple at a time. I just barely could fit mine in my Fissler. It is ok if you overlap them when it is time to put them under pressure, but don’t crowd them when browning.


Remove them to a plate, then sauté three onions (halved, then sliced). Cook until they just start to take on a bit of brown color.


Add in 3 cloves of pressed garlic and sauté for another minute or two.

Add the meat back to the pressure cooker pot.

Now, add some salt and pepper, 2-1/2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce and 1 tablespoon Beef Flavor Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 2-1/2 cups beef stock for the water and BTB). Add a little salt and pepper.

Place top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 8 minutes.

While dish is cooking, mix one tablespoon corn starch with one tablespoon water until smooth.


When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Be very careful, there is always a chance some of the liquid may spray out the vent.


Remove the meat to a plate. Put the gravy over medium heat. Do not bring to a boil. Stir in the corn starch mixture and stir for one to one and a half minutes, until thickened. Do not get too aggressive with the stirring, too much and the gravy may get thin again.

You can also cut them in half the long way and have 8 decent size portions.

Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles and peas or corn.



Pressure Cooker Salisbury Steak
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-8 servings
The school lunch classic made quicker in the pressure cooker
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 medium onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Beef Better Than Bouillon (you can use 2-1/2 cups of beef stock instead of water and BTB)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley and 1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire Sauce
  2. Mix together with hands until just blended
  3. Form into 4-6 oval patties
  4. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat
  5. Brown the patties on both sides (you may have to do 2-3 at a time, depending on the diameter of your cooker)
  6. Remove meat to a plate
  7. Sauté onions until they just start to pick up a little brown color (5-7 minutes)
  8. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two
  9. Add the meat back into the pan
  10. Add the other tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, the water and 1 tablespoon of Beef Better Than Bouillon (you can use 2-1/2 cups of beef stock in place of the water and BTB)
  11. Add a little salt and pepper
  12. Cover pressure cooker and turn heat to high
  13. Bring to high pressure
  14. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 8 minutes
  15. While dish is cooking, mix together 1 tablespoon corn starch and 1 tablespoon water
  16. When time is up, take pressure cooker from heat
  17. Let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes then do a quick release
  18. Remove the meat to a plate
  19. Place gravy over medium heat
  20. Stir in the corn starch mixture, don't bring to a boil
  21. Stir gently for 1-1/2 minutes, don't stir too vigorously as it could make the gravy get thin again
  22. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary
  23. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles and corn or peas


10 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker Salisbury Steak

  1. going to serve with rice, and see how that goes, too hot to cook on the stove. sounds like a hardy meal, and a salad on the side, with fresh tomatoes from my garden. Thanks for the great idea

  2. I’ve been experimenting with an old pressure cooker I picked up and stumbled upon this page while looking for an old-school Salisbury Steak recipe. I am making this for dinner. We must be about the same age, because my Mom bought my lunch box with Green stamps as well. However, we had a Green Stamp store where we lived and I got to pick mine out in person. It was a snazzy red plaid affair. I promptly dropped and shattered the thermos on my first day of school and was devastated. Being a kid in the Sixties was kind of dicey. Glass shards in your milk, swallowing mercury if you bit a thermometer too hard, chewing mass quantities of Aspergum and baby aspirin, tetanus from a jagged metal edge on your Easy-Bake Oven…The hazards were myriad, but we somehow made it to adulthood.

    • Hi! I hope the recipe turned out well. It’s nice to hear that someone is still using a stovetop pressure cooker. Everyone seems to be jumping on the electric bandwagon these days. I broke a few of those thermoses in my day as well. And I remember my Erector Set, which was basically a box of jagged pieces of metal.

  3. I was having a bad day, and in looking for a Salisbury steak recipe online for my pressure cooker, found your site. I read your story and I am not only making this tonight, but I no longer have the blues…GREAT story! I can relate btw.

  4. Step 6 and 17 are identical – are you supposed to put the meat BACK in the pressure cooker, along with the onions/gravy mixture? It appears the pressure cooker is really just used to cook the onion gravy, or am I reading the directions incorrectly?

    • I apologize for the error. It was correct at the top but not in the printable recipe. It has been corrected and the meat is now added back in at step 9. Thanks for letting me know.

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