If you haven’t checked out any classic Amish country recipes before, you should definitely take some time to peruse some old recipe books or talk with friends and family to see if they’ve got any classic suggestions. We first tried poor man’s hamburger steaks when we were driving around Philadelphia with family and stopped in at Reading Terminal Market when there was an Amish vendor there. There was something about the gravy-covered hamburger steaks that was so simple, yet so comforting and fulfilling that we knew it had immediately become a recipe we would try to recreate on our own and would end up coming back to again and again.

The two components here are the steaks themselves and the gravy that covers them so nicely. These aren’t your typical hamburgers, people; there’s nothing dried out about them, and the flavor you’re able to pack into them is so, so good.

The trick here is to use crushed saltines and milk to both add flavor (crackers) and keep the mixture moist and tender (milk). Throw in whatever seasoning you like, then dredge ‘em a bit in flour and sear them for even more flavor. Once that’s done, a quick and easy white gravy that also helps lock in moisture while they bake is the final touch to this dish. This is a classic, delicious and affordable recipe to have on hand for family dinners. You’ll love it and so will everyone else!


45 minutes

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups saltine crackers, crushed (1 sleeve of crackers, roughly)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Gravy:
  • 2 (10.75 oz.) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed cream of mushroom soup, whole milk, then stir in freshly chopped parsley. Set aside.
  3. In a separate, large bowl, combine ground beef, crushed saltines, milk, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powders, and cayenne, then season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Using your hands or two forks, combine ingredients until just mixed. Gently form into even-sized patties.
  5. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour (or more, as needed) in a shallow dish and dredge all patties.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and, once very hot, sear patties on both sides until golden brown. You may need to work in batches. Insides will still be undercooked.
  7. Transfer browned patties to greased baking dish, then evenly top with gravy and cover dish with aluminum foil.
  8. Place baking dish in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through.

Recipe adapted from Sweet Little Bluebird