Frugal Winter Comfort Food: Hamburger Steaks with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

These short days and long nights call for my favorite frugal winter comfort food: hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy! My guys always love this meal on brisk winter days when something warm and filling really hits the spot. It’s like a hug on a plate!

hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy served with a green salad with peppers set with a white table cloth, blue drinking glass, and a blue and white striped cloth napkin - Frugal Winter Comfort Food: Hamburger Steaks with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy - Life Full and Frugal

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Poor Man’s Steak

Hamburger steaks are sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s steak.” But you know what? You can take something really simple and relatively affordable like ground beef, and make a really delicious and comforting dish!

I don’t even add any fillers to my hamburger steaks. Salisbury steaks are similar, but they usually do include fillers like onions, bread crumbs and Worcestershire sauce. They also include eggs as a binder. But if you buy good, quality meat, you don’t have to add anything but salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder to make super tasty hamburger steaks.

hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy garnished with chopped fresh parsley - Life Full and Frugal

Local, Grass Fed Beef from Three Board Farm

In the fall, my husband and I purchased a freezer full of beef from Three Board Farm. It is run by a sweet family that raises grass fed beef and pasture raised chickens. It was an investment, but I love that it blessed a local family with a beautiful mission to bring back regenerative farming practices. Our cow lived a wonderful life, raised with care and passion only possible on a small scale farm.

We had it processed at a local facility called McCain’s, where my cousin is apprenticing as a butcher. What an honor to bless people in our community with our investment! And my heart is so very grateful to have a freezer full of really good, quality, grass fed beef!

Homemade Chicken Stock is the Secret Ingredient for the BEST Gravy

Without a doubt, homemade chicken stock is the secret ingredient that takes a simple hamburger steak, and makes it thing of flavorful beauty. Sierra has a fantastic tutorial for the easiest way to make homemade chicken stock in your crockpot over night.

I needed a quick stock to make gravy, so I used a tray of chicken wings in a stock pot for loads of flavor and nutrition. This allowed me to use the stock for my gravy within just a couple of hours of it simmering on the stove. The leftover stock will go in the freezer for future frugal winter comfort food! 

Frugal Winter Comfort Food: Hamburger Steaks with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

How to Make Hamburger Steaks:

  • Form hamburger patties, making sure to flatten them well so they don’t form a ball while cooking.
  • Season the burgers generously on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Brown the hamburger patties in a cast iron skillet until cooked through in the middle. 
  • Set aside on a plate until the gravy is made. 

How to Make Mashed Potatoes:

  • First, peel the potatoes. I used 3 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, but use whatever you have! 
  • Next, rinse the peeled potatoes, then cut them into cubes. Place cubed potatoes into a large pot and fill it with water until the potatoes are covered. Boil until tender. When you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork or knife, drain the potatoes. 
  • Next, return the drained potatoes to the large pot, adding in half a stick of butter and half a cup of sour cream.
  • Finally, add salt and pepper to taste and mash them to your preferred consistency. Some people like really smooth mashed potatoes, but I prefer a little more texture. 
  • Lastly, cover with a lid and make the gravy.

How to Make the BEST Gravy with Homemade Chicken Stock:

  • Homemade chicken stock is the secret ingredient that makes this such a nourishing and comforting meal. Begin by making stock, either in a pot or follow Sierra’s instructions for crockpot chicken stock.
  • Next, place a large cast iron enamel pan on medium heat and melt half a stick of butter.
  • Once the butter is melted, add 1/3 cup of flour and stir with a whisk, forming a paste. 
  • You will need to work quickly at this point. Once the butter and flour form a paste, add in 1 cup of chicken stock at a time, whisking constantly. 
  • Continue adding stock and whisking until you have the desired amount of gravy and the consistency you desire.
  • If the gravy doesn’t thicken, add a little more flour to a bowl, then whisk in just enough chicken stock to make a loose paste, then whisk into the pot of gravy. 
  • Finally, add the cooked hamburger steaks to the gravy and allow them to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy!
hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy served with a green salad with red and orange bell peppers  - Life Full and Frugal

Bonus Recipe! Honey Fermented Garlic Vinaigrette!

This comforting meal wouldn’t be complete without something green! I whipped up a quick salad to serve with these hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy. However, this simple salad got a probiotic boost with my Honey Fermented Garlic vinaigrette. Check out our post on how to make your own Lacto-Fermented Garlic Cloves in Raw Honey


  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice 
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp.  Dijon Mustard
  • 2 TBSP Fermented Honey (from the jar of lacto-fermented garlic cloves)
  • 2 TBSP Raw Honey
  • 2 Cloves of Lacto-Fermented Garlic 

Spices for the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Thyme
  • 2 tsp. Basil

Place all ingredients in a bowl or quart jar. Blend with an immersion blender until fully incorporated and emulsified. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour everything into an upright blender. If the vinaigrette is too thin, add more olive oil. Enjoy this probiotic infused dressing over salad, on sandwiches, or as a marinade! 

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Hamburger Steaks With Mashed Potatoes and Gravy:

frugal winter comfort food inspiration: hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy - Life Full and Frugal


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