How to Make Juicy Steak Fingers with Ground Beef

Steak fingers are a classic American comfort food that can be found at many fast food chains and restaurants across the country. Who doesn’t love biting into a crispy golden brown exterior revealing tender and juicy steak inside? While steak fingers are often made from sliced steak, did you know you can also make delicious steak fingers at home using ground beef?

Ground beef is an affordable and readily available meat that offers a lot of versatility in the kitchen When shaped into fingers and cooked to perfection, ground beef transforms into tasty little morsels loaded with beefy flavor The key is starting with high quality 80/20 ground beef and using a few tricks to keep the steak fingers moist and tender.

In this article, I’ll share my proven step-by-step method for how to make incredible steak fingers with ground beef. You’ll learn tips on shaping and cooking the meat, as well as how to create the ideal crispy coating. I’ll also provide my secret recipe for creamy white gravy – the perfect dipping sauce for steak fingers. After following these easy instructions, you’ll be able to enjoy restaurant-quality steak fingers in the comfort of your own home. So let’s get cooking!

Ingredients Needed

To make about 15-20 steak fingers, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 lbs good quality 80/20 ground beef
  • 1⁄2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

For the Gravy:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Shape the Ground Beef

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, panko breadcrumbs, egg, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Use your hands to mix everything together well.

  • Shape the beef mixture into finger shaped pieces about 1⁄2 inch thick and 3-4 inches long.

  • Place the shaped fingers on a baking sheet or plate. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to help them firm up and hold their shape better.

2. Bread the Steak Fingers

  • Place the flour in a shallow bowl or dish. Working in batches, toss the chilled steak fingers in the flour to coat both sides. Shake off any excess.

  • Optional: For extra crispy steak fingers, bread them twice. After coating in flour, dip in egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water), then coat again in flour.

3. Fry the Steak Fingers

  • Pour oil to a depth of 1-2 inches in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium high heat to 350°F. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

  • Working in batches, add breaded steak fingers to the hot oil without overcrowding. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.

  • Transfer cooked steak fingers to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess grease. Season with salt right after frying.

  • Repeat with remaining steak fingers, allowing oil to come back up to temperature between batches.

4. Make the Gravy

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.

  • Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until gravy thickens.

  • Season gravy with salt and pepper to taste. For extra richness, stir in a splash of heavy cream.

  • Transfer gravy to a bowl and serve alongside hot crispy steak fingers for dipping!

Cooking Tips

Follow these tips for the best results when making steak fingers with ground beef:

  • Use 80/20 ground beef which has enough fat to keep the fingers tender and moist after frying. Go for fresh, good quality beef whenever possible.

  • Chill the shaped fingers before breading to help the coating stick better and hold its shape during frying.

  • Double bread the steak fingers for extra crunch by dipping in egg wash between the flour coatings.

  • Fry in batches at 350°F oil temperature to ensure exterior gets crispy before interior overcooks.

  • Let oil come back up to temp before adding more fingers for even cooking. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

  • Season immediately after frying while the exterior is still hot and crisp.

  • Make sure to whisk the gravy frequently as it simmers to avoid lumps. Stir in a splash of cream at the end for rich, creamy flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Steak fingers are delicious on their own for snacking or as an appetizer. But you can also create a complete meal by pairing them with sides like:

  • French fries or tater tots – aka the classic “steak finger basket”

  • Coleslaw or potato salad

  • Biscuits or dinner rolls

  • Vegetable like corn on the cob, green beans, or broccoli

For an indulgent treat, serve the steak fingers open faced on slices of Texas toast, smothered in gravy. Talk about comfort food heaven!

However you choose to enjoy them, these crispy steak fingers with creamy gravy are sure to become a new family favorite. So fire up that skillet and get ready to fry up some fun!


Should I use breadcrumbs or flour for coating?

I prefer using flour only for a super crispy and light exterior, but you can use a combo of flour and panko breadcrumbs too. For extra crunch, try double breading with flour, then egg, then more flour.

What cut of steak works best?

Ground sirloin or ground chuck both make good steak fingers, but I recommend 80/20 ground beef for the best flavor and moisture after frying.

How long do the shaped fingers need to chill?

At least 30-60 minutes in the fridge so they firm up enough to coat and fry without falling apart. Overnight chilling is fine too.

Is it better to pan fry or deep fry?

Deep frying yields the crispiest exterior, but pan frying in 1-2 inches oil works well too. Just don’t crowd the pan and maintain 350°F temperature.

Can I bake the steak fingers instead?

Baking won’t get them as crispy, but you can bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. They’ll still taste great!

How do I reheat leftover steak fingers?

Place in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes until warmed through. You can also re-fry them for a few minutes to recrisp the exterior.

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