Salisbury Steak Meatballs

Salisbury steak meatballs with garlic gravy

My Salisbury Steak Meatballs smothered in garlic gravy on top of buttermilk mashed potatoes is just about the dreamiest meal I can imagine. Dig out your cast iron skillet, this is going to be good!

Salisbury steak meatballs on mashed potatoes in a cast iron skillet

Omg I can’t shake my January cold/flu/whatever. I’m in the stage where I’m coughing every x-number of seconds and annoying myself and everyone around me. It’s to the point where I’m either hacking, blowing, or moaning. Not pretty. But oddly, it’s given me an voracious appetite for comfort food, so my January health kick (fresh fish, salads, grain bowls, smoothies) has to yield the floor to some serious comfort recipes…

This is the kind of meal that has me salivating and watching the clock from mid afternoon until dinner when I can finally indulge. Even though I’m sick as a dog I mustered the energy to throw these together because I needed to sink into the couch at the end of the day with a plate of these on my lap. The meatballs are soft and pillowy, the gravy is super rich and garlicky, and the mashed potatoes are creamy with a tang from buttermilk. Just what the doctor ordered 🙂

Salisbury steak meatballs with garlic gravy

Salisbury steak is a throwback to the last century, sort of like a glorified hamburger with gravy. Making it into salisbury steak meatballs was a natural. Boomers probably remember it as a special restaurant meal, Millennials have probably never tasted it. The flavors are totally worth reviving ~ there’s lots of garlic that’s been slow sautéed until it’s golden brown, a little dry sherry to deglaze the pan, beef broth, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce in that yummy gravy.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs in a skillet over mashed potatoes

5 helpful tips for working with ground beef

  • Choose ground beef with 20% fat for burgers, meatloaves, and meatballs. The fat makes it tender and flavorful.
  • Because it’s ground, ground beef is subject to quick spoilage. Plan on using your package of ground beef within 2 days of purchase, or freeze. A change in color from bright red to duller brown does not indicate spoilage, however.
  • If you need to thaw ground beef, either put it in the refrigerator overnight, or use your microwave on the de-frost setting. Turn the meat often so it thaws evenly. You can also thaw frozen ground beef by submerging it in a bowl of cold water, weighing it down so it stays submerged. This will take about 30 minutes. Note to meatball lovers ~ I only use fresh ground beef for my meatballs, frozen and thawed meat doesn’t have the same great texture.
  • Treat your meat gently! Don’t over-handle ground meat, it becomes tough. When I need to mix meatballs or meatloaf I break apart the meat before adding it to the bowl, and scatter my ingredients over it, that way it mixes together quicker.
  • Go for brown, not gray! Whether it’s for tacos, burgers, or meatballs, make sure you get a good sear on your meat, that means a hot pan or oven, and no touching until you see that color.

a tray of Salisbury meatballs ready to bake

A useful technique for cooking perfectly round meatballs ~

  • I like to form the meatballs with a scoop so they’re all evenly sized. Then I arrange them on a baking sheet and bake them at 350F until they reach 160F inside. They come out nice and browned, evenly cooked, and perfectly round. (If I’ll be cooking them further in a sauce I’ll pull them out a little before they’re done.)  Then I can add them to whatever sauce or gravy my recipe calls for.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs in garlic gravy over mashed potatoes

Salisbury steak meatballs with garlic gravy
3.67 from 30 votes

Salisbury Steak Meatballs

My Salisbury Steak Meatballs smothered in garlic gravy on top of buttermilk mashed potatoes is just about the dreamiest meal I can imagine.  Dig out your cast iron skillet, this is going to be good!
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 24 meatballs
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 pound ground beef, 20% fat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup very finely minced onion
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

garlic gravy

  • olive oil
  • 10 large cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced or minced
  • 3 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 15 ounce can beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  • fresh thyme or parsley


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • To make the meatballs, break apart the meat and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can do this by hand as well in a big bowl.)
  • Add the rest of the meatball ingredients over top and blend just until everything is evenly combined, don't over-mix.
  • Use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to portion out the meat and roll into round balls. Set the balls on a baking sheet, you should have approximately 24 meatballs.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and register 160F inside.
  • Meanwhile make the garlic gravy. Lightly coat the pan of a large skillet (big enough to fit the meatballs) with olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, slowly, for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Adjust the heat so that the garlic doesn't burn or brown too quickly. When the garlic is nice and soft and golden, add the sherry and cook until the liquid is reduced.
  • Separate out 1/2 cup of the broth and mix with the cornstarch, set aside.
  • Add the rest of the broth to the pan and stir to combine. Bring up to a simmer, and add the cornstarch mixture to the pan, stirring constantly. When the gravy thickens, season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add a splash more Worcestershire if you like.
  • Add the meatballs to the pan and cook together until they're hot.
  • Serve the meatballs and their gravy over buttermilk mashed potatoes, garnished with fresh thyme or parsley.

Cook's notes

I served my meatballs over buttermilk mashed potatoes ~ if you are making from-scratch mashed potatoes, use buttermilk as your liquid when mashing. If you are using instant, use half buttermilk and half water as the liquid. Note: don't allow the buttermilk/water to boil when heating for instant mashed potatoes, just bring it to a gentle simmer.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make these Salisbury Steak Meatballs Your Own ~

  • Serve them over buttered noodles.

  • Make them a little bit smaller and serve them as cocktail meatballs.



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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Andi Holcomb
    December 20, 2020 at 11:20 am

    5 stars
    Made the Salisbury Meatballs last night and oh my goodness…………hubs kept making yummy noises and gave it the thumbs up. I really liked the mashed potatoes with buttermilk. That was a great tip – move over, milk & butter! I’m not ashamed to say I had this meal once again for breakfast this morning…… The garlicky sauce is out of this world – thanks for another fabulous recipe Sue!

    • Reply
      December 20, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      Haha, I can just imagine those yummy noises!

  • Reply
    Patricia Grodberg
    April 10, 2020 at 4:33 am

    perhaps a dumb question, prepared mustard or dried? I’m a vegan cooking for meat eaters. Would lover to give them some comfort food while we’re on quarantine!

    • Reply
      April 10, 2020 at 7:59 am

      I use regular mustard in the jar. Hope everybody loves them 🙂

  • Reply
    February 26, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    I mistakenly cooked these meatballs at 400, instead of 350. Good thing I’d made them bigger than suggested, as they were nearly at 180 degrees after 20 minutes. Regardless of my inattention to detail, they were truly delicious.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      I’m so glad they survived Chris, I have an old stove that is constantly messing me up on temperature, so I can relate 🙂

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