Swiss steak is made by pounding or “swissing” a cut of round steak to make it tender. Crockpot swiss steak tenderizes the meat even more by slow cooking it in a delicious tomato sauce.
Swiss steak first showed up in recipe books around the 1930s. It became popular as a way to serve less desirable cuts of meat by tenderizing them first. Now, swiss steak has become a family favorite comfort food, and a classic slow cooker recipe.
With the addition of potatoes and vegetables, this meal is a great pick for the instant pot. Simply set it to cook in the morning, and come home to perfectly cooked food. I like to serve this swiss steak over rice, or with a warm dinner bun for a simple, filling meal.
Easy Tips for the Best Slow Cooker Swiss Steak
- Cut the meat into bite sized pieces. This is important if you are cooking the swiss steak with vegetables like eggplant or green pepper. If the meat is in smaller pieces, all the food will cook at the same pace.
- Add liquid when cooking frozen meat. 1 cup of liquid like water or stock will prevent sudden temperature changes. This ensures the meat stays tender as it cooks. Keep in mind that frozen meat requires an extra 2 hours on HIGH or 4 hours on LOW heat.
- Brown your meat beforehand. You can brown your meat in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker. This gives the meat more flavor, and helps drain excess fat.
- Keep meat away from the sides. Always make sure your meat isn’t touching the sides or lids of the slow cooker. This will cause parts of the meat to overcook, and get tough. You can create a barrier for the meat by adding potatoes or vegetables to the crock pot first.
- Cook the potatoes first. Vegetables like potatoes take longer to cook than meat. Therefore, they need to be added to the slow cooker first. I place the potatoes on the bottom and around the edges to help them cook.
Herbs and Spices
- Add fresh herbs and spices last. The flavor of fresh herbs and spices will fade during long cooking times. Add these seasonings later in the slow cooking process to preserve their flavor. You can add dried herbs early on, since their flavor grows over time.
- Adjust seasonings as you cook. During the slow cooking process, flavors often develop over time. It’s best to start slow with the seasonings, and add more flavor as you go.
Crock Pot Swiss Steak Recipe
- Prep Time20 min
- Cook Time6 h
- Total Time6 h 20 min
- Brown the Steak
Heat your oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the round steak in flour, then add it to the skillet. Cook steak for about 5 minutes, or until both sides are browned.
Once the meat is browned, remove the steak from the skillet and drain any excess fat.
- Add Vegetables to Slow Cooker
Take your chopped carrots, potatoes and onions and add them to the bottom of the slow cooker. This ensures the vegetables will get enough heat to cook through. I also do this to prevent the steak from touching the sides, where it can overcook.
- Add Steak and Tomato Sauce
Add the browned steak to the slow cooker, on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the steak. Pour the can of diced tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce over the meat.
- Slow Cook
Cover the crock pot with the lid. Cook the swiss steak on high for 6 hours, or on low for 10 hours. Do not lift the lid to check on the swiss steak, as this will release all the trapped heat.
Swiss Steak Alternatives and Variations
If you have trouble finding swiss steak at the grocery store, you can make your own. Buy a thicker cut of steak and tenderize it yourself with a tenderizer mallet. Most butchers will also have a tenderizing machine, so they can do this for you.
Try Different Vegetables
I like using canned tomatoes because you can get different varieties, like spiced or stewed tomatoes. I also recommend experimenting with different vegetables in the slow cooker. Some of my favorite additions to this recipe are mushroom, bell pepper and peas.
Flavoring the Sauce
The sauce gives your swiss steak all the flavor, so be creative! Oregano and basil are wonderful additions to help give the sauce more depth. You can also reduce the liquid from the canned tomatoes and add 1/2 cup of beef broth instead.
For a more robust, tangy flavor, try adding 1 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce to your swiss steak. Adding mushroom soup powder can also help boost the flavor.
What to Serve With Swiss Steak
- Many recipes serve swiss steak with a side of mashed potatoes. Since this recipe already has potatoes added, I recommend serving it in a bowl with a dinner roll.
- For a filling family meal, you can serve it over top of a starch like rice, or buttered egg noodles.
- For a lighter option, this hearty dish pairs nicely with a light green salad, or a mayonnaise coleslaw. You also can’t go wrong with a side of steamed vegetables, like broccoli or green beans.
- And of course, this swiss steak recipe is also absolutely delicious eaten just on its own.
Storing And Freezing Crock Pot Swiss Steak
If you make a big pot of slow cooker swiss steak, it’s likely you’ll have plenty of leftovers. The USDA recommends that leftovers like stew should be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days maximum. This swiss steak keeps best when stored in a sealed container.
If you want to keep a batch of swiss steak longer than 3-4 days, store it in the freezer. Leftovers are good for about 3-4 months in the freezer. Swiss steak can be kept in an airtight freezer bag or in an airtight container.
- 27.4g Fat
- 59.6g Carbs