Hamburger Stroganoff

One of my favorite recipes on this site is our beef stroganoff made with strips of top sirloin that have been fried in butter. In the recipe several commenters offered their takes on the dish, including making it with ground beef instead of top sirloin strips. The main advantage of ground beef is clearly budget, and if worked properly you can also have wonderful flavor. First, get ground chuck. Chuck is the shoulder cut of beef, the shoulder muscles being well worked from the grazing action of the steer. More muscle action equals more flavor, and a tougher cut of meat. Chuck is notoriously tough as a steak (ask my father who used to try to cook chuck steaks in his poor bachelor days), but one of the most flavorful parts of the animal. Grinding the meat tenderizes it, but the flavor is still there. Second, take the time to properly brown the meat. In other words, don’t stir it! Just let it cook, on relatively high heat, until well browned, before giving it a stir. The browning is what gives you the flavor. Use the cooking of the onions and mushrooms to scrape up any of the browned bits, and deglaze the pan to get the rest. It’s also important to salt while you cook. If you get to the end of this recipe and it’s dull, it’s because you haven’t salted it enough. Experiment with the spices if you want. A little ground nutmeg can give it a lift, as well as tarragon.

Hamburger Stroganoff Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

You can substitute the sour cream and lemon juice for a cup of full-fat plain yogurt (room temperature). Do not allow to boil.

Ingredients

  • Butter
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (can substitute button mushrooms), sliced
  • 1/3 cup of dry sherry, dry white wine, or water
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika or more to taste
  • 8 ounces egg noodles

Method

1 Put a large pot of salted water (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water) on to heat, for the pasta.

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2 Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in the pan and swirl it around. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan generously with salt. Working in batches as not to crowd the meat (crowding it will make it hard to brown), break up the ground beef and add it to the pan. Sprinkle the meat with salt. Do not stir the meat, as stirring will prevent browning. Once the meat is well browned on one side (a couple minutes, depending on how hot the pan), use tongs or a fork or a metal spatula to flip to the other side. Once that side is browned as well, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan and set aside. Continue to brown the meat in batches, adding a teaspoon of butter to the pan with each batch if needed, and salting the pan and the meat, until it is all browned. Remove meat from pan. Drain excess fat from pan.

3 Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pan. If you are working with very lean meat, you may not have any residual fat in the pan. If this is the case, you'll want to add in a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to the pan. Cook the onions, scraping up the meat drippings, until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from the pan (add to the meat).

4 Depending on the cooking times of your particular brand of pasta, this is likely a good time to add the pasta to the (should be now) boiling, salted water.

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5 While the pasta is cooking, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, increase the heat to medium high. Add the sliced mushrooms. Sauté until nicely browned (about 4 minutes). Add the sherry (or dry white wine or water) to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Let the sherry reduce by at least a half, then lower the heat to low.

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6 Remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the sour cream and paprika until smooth. Return the pan to very low heat, and not let the sour cream boil (or it may curdle). You may add a few tablespoons of water to the mixture to thin it out a bit at any time. Stir in the lemon juice, and about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt (taste). Stir in the meat and onions. Stir in the chopped parsley. Add more salt, pepper, and/or paprika to taste.

7 Keep the stroganoff on warm heat until the noodles are done cooking. When the noodles are ready (al dente) drain.

Serve the stroganoff on top of egg noodles.

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51 Comments

  1. Kate

    Hi Elise! This looks really great – I am a big stroganoff fan, and am always happy to have a new version to try. Sadly (and sorry if this is sacriligious!) I just can’t stand mushrooms, so I always substitute baby peas for the shrooms whenever I make a stroganoff and it works really well. Thought I would pass that along if anyone else is mushroom-challenged like me! Thanks again for the post.

    Great tip, thanks! ~Elise

  2. Kevin

    I’m trying to cut back on red meat; any thoughts on how well this would work with ground turkey as a substitution?

    Ground turkey doesn’t have as much flavor as ground beef, so you would probably need to up the spice level – more paprika, and maybe some additional spices and herbs too, like nutmeg or tarragon. ~Elise

  3. Mar

    I love stroganoff! My mother would always make it with red wine so the sauce ended up with kind of an orange tint, and when you bit into the mushrooms they had that delicious wine flavor

  4. pat

    This IS a great recipe, one we’ve enjoyed for years but I’ve overlooked it lately. Thanks for the reminder! The addition of a spoonful of coarsely ground dijon mustard will zing it up a bit- even along with the sherry which is a MUST have. Thanks for your inspiration and creativity!

  5. Susan

    I used to make stroganoff with ground beef when I worked and had to quickly get dinner on the table for the family. It was so popular with the kids that I’d make a big batch and use it as a sandwich filling too. It’s the same consistancy as sloppy joe filling and tastes so good on garlic toasted buns…and over rice, or mashed potatoes or as a base for shepards pie. It’s a tasty time saver.

  6. Maggie

    I just made hamburger stroganoff last week after looking at tons of recipes. This recipe looks sooo much better than the ones I looked at.

    Where did you find those extra-wide noodles?!?!?

    Found the noodles at Whole Foods, it’s a house brand. ~Elise

  7. clara

    Do you think this would freeze well? I’m looking for good recipes to freeze for a friend with new twins.

    If I were to freeze this, I would either make it without the noodles and freeze, or I would mix the noodles in with the stroganoff and then freeze. ~Elise

  8. Tracey

    If it seems like there isn’t enough salt, just add a quick swirl of soy sauce. It will add both salt and an additional “beefy” flavor.

    I make a quickie stroganoff-type dish using ground beef, onions and a can of cream of mushroom soup. It is something really easy and my teenage boys were working on mastering it. The boys forgot to season along the way, and that’s when we learned about the swirl of soy. We made up for the lack of salt by using the soy sauce. It was absolutely wonderful. Now it’s one of our standard ways to season.

    I agree that salting along the way is best, but I still make sure I add the swirl of soy. It just adds a wonderful depth without the fear of oversalting.

  9. Susan Hannum

    Made this last night, and it was a huge hit… I think the best tip was about not stirring the ground beef while it was cooking… would definitely make this again!

  10. Annie

    I’ve made vegetarian versions of a similar stroganoff over the years – one with soybeans, the other, which I prefer these days, with seitan.

  11. Tracy Sparrow

    I made this tonight. I substituted shallots for the onions, and it was delicious. Mine didn’t look like the picture though…it was way whiter in color? I don’t know why…
    Anyway, thank Elise for the great tips on browning in batches and salting the meat. It really contributed to the flavor. You are at the top of my personal yahoo page, and I always get so excited to see every new post and recipe! Thanks Elise!

  12. Tracy Sparrow

    I figured out why my stroganoff was white instead of the golden brown it should have been- I used TWICE as much sour cream! Nice math skills, huh? Anyway- I will make this again with the correct amount of sour cream. Thanks!

    It will still be on the white/grey side. I shot the photo in very warm light, which cast a warm glow on what is otherwise a rather unappetizing grey dish. ~Elise

  13. Chuck

    I made this recipe per the instructions. Mine too was very white and very bland. Pictures look pretty, but not a good recipe.

    If bland, you need to add more salt, pepper, and paprika. Check your paprika to make sure it isn’t dead (old paprika loses its flavor). ~Elise

  14. Cole's Mom

    I made this but substituted sour cream with yogurt — I have seen this done, but somehow, my version always seems to separate and I get watery curdles instead of creamy sauce. Should I be taking the pot entirely off the stove?? Is it the heat that is causing my stroganoff to be soupy? Otherwise it tasted pretty yummy…

    Thanks for any advice!

    Part of the problem is the cold yogurt being mixed in with the hot dish. I’ve adjusted the recipe to say to use “room temp” yogurt/sour cream. Good idea to remove the pan from the heat before adding the yogurt (I added that step too). You don’t want the yogurt getting anywhere near boiling, or it will curdle. It also may help to drain the yogurt first of any liquid, before you use it. ~Elise

  15. Sara

    I made this recipe last night and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY. The sauce was just right – rich and full of flavor! I think the key is not mixing the ground beef and then taking advantage of the brown bits in the bottom of the pan in addition to seasoning to taste. This will definitely be a new family favorite. Thank you!!

  16. Leann

    I made this on Sunday – it was/is delicious. My husband and I both loved it. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  17. starbuck811

    I remember my mom making this when I was a kid and she added garlic to the meat and onion mixture. She also added a little tomato paste (maybe 2T), red wine, and a dried herb mixture to the mushroom sauce, before adding the sour cream. This made the sauce kind of an orangey/pink. Definitely making this tonight!

  18. Jennypenny

    I made this for dinner last night, and just ate the leftovers for lunch. I loved it, but most importantly my husband did too. I love stroganoff, so I’m glad I finally found a way to make it that he likes. Thanks for the tip on browning the beef and adding plenty of salt. Tons of flavor!

  19. joelsephus

    Beef stroganoff is one of my favorite dishes my mother used to make. I’ve never made it before, but we’re trying out your recipe to see how it compares, since it looks really similar and really tasty. One alteration that my mom always does is to sprinkle poppy seeds over the egg noodles before pouring the sauce onto them. They add a great texture and nuttiness.

  20. Ashley O

    I made this recipe the other night for my husband and myself as he is a huge stroganoff fan. Found it to be a bit salty. Could have been cooks error through, over-salting in fear of under-salting! Neither of us are big mushroom fans, either – we don’t mind the flavor, but dislike the texture. So I skipped the step with them and later added a can of cream of mushroom soup. We both thought it was absolutely delicious! And super quick. I plan on keeping a bag of egg noddles in the pantry so I can make this after work.

  21. Joey

    My husband is a huge stroganoff fan. I made this a few days ago, and he said it was the best he’s ever had. EVER. That’s a bold statement. Thanks for the great recipe!

  22. Sonny

    I substituted one 8oz can of coconut milk for the sour cream and it was good enough for me to finally write in. Thanks for all the great recipes Elise. And thank you to all of you who provide comments.

  23. Twinkle

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I’m intimidated by the original but hamburger stroganoff seems much more approachable. Would it be detrimental to use a low-fat/non-fat yogurt or sour cream instead of the full-fat version?

    Just make sure it never comes close to boiling, or it will likely curdle. Just gently heat until warm enough to eat. ~Elise

  24. Victoria

    I’ve been teaching myself how to cook thanks to you and Mark Bittman – great, great website!
    Would it be alright to use ground bison for this recipe?

    I think ground bison would work, let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  25. Lynn

    I have about 2 cups of leftover creme fraiche. Can I assume that would be a good alternative to sour cream?

    Yes, creme fraiche would be an excellent alternative to sour cream. ~Elise

  26. Dee

    Ever since seeing this recipe it has been hanging around in the back of my mind. At the store today, I finally purchased the hamburger and mushrooms and am going to make tonight. I can’t wait.

    Thanks Elise for this wonderful site. I was visiting my brother in Davis a few weeks ago and was thinking about how I was in your vicinity. I live in CT.

  27. Dee

    Yum! I should have waited until today to post because this was really delicious. Two of your suggestions were especially key to the success of this dish. One was on how to brown the hamburger and the other was the reminder to season along the way.

    My husband also appreciated your recipe.

    Thanks again.

  28. Rose

    Made this last night and just had the leftovers for lunch. Really, really good! The browning of the beef and the combination of the sherry and lemon juice really make it taste wonderful.

  29. Alecia

    Just wanted to say, don’t know where I’ve been?!? The tip you gave in this recipe of cooking the hamburger in batches and only turning once was brilliant. I had never done that before with ground meat. I made a gluten-free, dairy-free inspired version of this stroganoff for my in-laws and they loved it! The meat really held up when it was cooked the way the recipe says.

    I ended up using this technique later with a white bean kale soup. I browned large chunks of ground turkey in batches in olive oil and set them aside, (they weren’t cooked all the way through) then after I had my soup going, I simmered the turkey in the soup for about 10 minutes. It gave me substantial hunks of meat in the soup and also made the turkey tender. Yum.

    Thanks for the tip, they are always great!

  30. marybeth

    Made this last night and it was FABULOUS. I love the idea of breaking the meat into little hunks and not stirring it until it is brown. Such a simple trick – such huge flavor. This was very good – unfortunately both my son and husband had colds so they couldnt really taste it much. Forgot to add the lemon juice – but will make this dish again and again and will make sure to include next time. Used light sour cream – excellent! It is SO nice to have a new recipe for ground beef!

  31. Cynthia

    Hi Elise,
    I only have Greek yogurt. Do you think that would work instead of sour cream?

    Yes. Warm the yogurt first, and make sure that when you add it it never comes near boiling. ~Elise

  32. Stephany

    I made this stroganoff which turned out to be really great! My only complaint is that it was too thick and chunky. I would like to make it next time with a little more sauce. Love the flavor though and cooking the meat your way really makes a difference! Thanks!

  33. Cole's Mom

    Thank you for the adjustment advice on the yogurt and curdling. I did everything per your instructions and it came out perfectly. My husband repeated it more than twice “This is really great!”

    As always, your recipes make me look good!

  34. Joanie

    Oh boy, this looks YUMMY! May canned mushrooms be used instead of fresh?

    Hello Joanie, hmmm, I have yet to cook with canned mushrooms, so wouldn’t know what to tell you. Why don’t you try it and see? ~Elise

  35. Jeffrey

    I was a bit skeptical that both my wife and I would like this recipe. I made it substituting the sour cream and lemon juice with Greek yogurt (2% fat) and it was fantastic! I won’t even bother trying the original recipe since the yogurt substitution came out so well.

  36. Ingrid @ Celebrating Suburbia

    Wonderful recipe. My kids aren’t huge mushrooms fans, but asked for second helpings of this recipe!

    I used a white table wine, but will try sherry next time in the hopes of getting the alcohol to shine through a little better. Just a personal preference.

    The house smelled wonderful, too. Like home.

  37. Andrea

    Yum!! I had to look for quite a while to find a recipe without canned soup. I made it almost as written (no paprika due to nightshade allergy) and my family and daughter’s friend thought it was delicious. Highly recommend!

    Thanks for the reminders to season all the way through.

  38. Carolyn

    This has great flavor..I used dry sherry and what a smell when it is reducing..a very inexpensive meal too for those having to be frugal like we are..

  39. Elise Lafosse

    I just can’t thank you enough for your budget recipes. We found ourselves a little tight this week, so I just printed out a bunch of your budget recipes and relied on those for my Saturday shopping. I did this one here Saturday night and it was delicious. Tonight it is the easy black beans and rice which I have done many times before. Also will be doing the lemon chicken recipe which you marinate in a bag before. Budget recipes are always good especially in this economy. Thank you! Elise

  40. Jeanana

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! (: My boyfriend thought it was going to be way too creamy but it surprised him and he loved it! It was super easy too; I will definitely make this again.

  41. Marian

    This sounds like a good recipe and I also enjoy using steak when we can aford it. I came up with a burger stroganoff a few years back. We cook the chopped onion with our meat, add cream of mushroom soup and the seacret ingridient in my version is 2 Tbs of A1 steak sauce. A quick and comforting meal any weeknight!

  42. elizabeth

    Any suggesstions on how to make this dairy and soy free? Also another spice to add that isn’t paprika, or another nightshade? I have a bad nightshade allergy. Thanks!

  43. jim haldeman

    great looking recipe but we can’t do that much salt. going to try a wee bit of salt and try it out. ty

  44. Nicole

    I made this. It was alright; however, it was dry, had way to much sour cream and very little beef flavor. I modified it for the leftovers (so my husband would finish it for his work lunches) by adding beef broth to make more of a sauce and to add more beef flavor. Not bad, but STILL to much sour cream. Thanks for sharing this though. I do love your site. :)

I apologize for the inconvenience, but comments are closed. You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page ~ Elise.