Chicken Fried Steak. The ultimate in southern comfort food! Tender seasoned steak, coated with a thick batter and fried until golden. Served with a cream gravy drizzled on top. Simple, basic ingredients is all that is needed to bring this recipe to life in your own kitchen!

A plate with chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, drizzled with cream gravy and garnished with cracked pepper and parsley.

Southern comfort food at it’s finest. This chicken fried steak is better than ANY restaurant. And I have all the tips and tricks that you need to be able to make this at home!

How to Make Chicken Fried Steak:

  • Get your meat ready, make sure it’s tenderized, then season both sides with salt and pepper. I like to use kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to add a bit more flavoring. Let the meat sit for about 10 minutes like this before breading.
  • Start heating your oil in a large skillet.
  • Prepare the dry ingredients for the breading. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a medium size bowl. I also like to add some garlic powder and onion powder, but those are completely optional.
  • In another bowl whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.
  • Dip the steak into the flour, press the flour into the steak with the palm of your hand. Then dip the steak into the egg mixture, and back to the flour mixture.
  • When the oil is ready, add the steaks, two at a time into a large skillet, or one at a time in a small skillet. Don’t overcrowd your pan.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes on one side, spoon some hot oil on the top while it’s cooking. You will notice juices coming from the steak while it cooks. That means it’s cooking! Don’t flip before you see those juices.
  • Flip the steak and continue cooking for about another 5 minutes. Once both sides are golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Keep the steaks in the oven at 200 degrees while frying the other steaks and making the gravy.

Why is it called chicken fried steak?

This dish is basically a genius invention. It is NOT made with chicken. But with steak. Steak that is ultra tenderized, breaded, and then fried. Just like you would do with chicken. This dish is southern comfort food at it’s finest.

What meat do I use for chicken fried steak?

For this chicken fried steak recipe you want to go with a cube steak. This is steak that has been tenderized before being packaged. It almost looks like it has been ground, and has small indentations on the surface of it.

If you are unable to get cube steak you can also use another cut of steak called Round Steak, but you will need to tenderize this with a mallet prior to using. Almost to the point that the meat is falling apart.

Freshly made chicken fried steak on a baking sheet and wire rack to stay warm until it's time to eat!

How to make Cream Gravy:

The key to making the chicken fried steak gravy, is to keep the drippings in the pan from making the actual chicken fried steak. Since I shallow fry the steaks, I only use a small amount of oil, and don’t even need to pour the oil out to only add about 1/4 cup back.

By the time I’m done frying the steaks I only have about 1/4 cup of oil left, so I just proceed with the recipe. Plus this way, I keep ALL the good stuff in there from cooking the meat.

If you do have more oil in your pan, you will want to remove some so that you don’t end up with overly greasy gravy.

  • Use 1/4 cup of the drippings and oil left from cooking the chicken fried steaks.
  • Whisk in 1/3 cup of flour. Salt and pepper.
  • Cook the flour mixture for 4-5 minutes. The flour needs to cook, and this will get rid of the raw flour taste.
  • Whisk in the milk. Bring this to a simmer. As the gravy simmers for about 5 minutes you will see it thicken.
  • Taste the gravy and add more seasonings as needed. I find that it typically needs a lot of coarse ground black pepper.
Large skillet with freshly made cream gravy.

Tips for making the BEST chicken fried steak recipe:

  • Salt. Salt. Salt. Trust me. This makes all the difference in this dish. Make sure that you season the meat before dipping into the flour and egg mixtures. Sprinkle a healthy dose of salt and pepper on both sides of the meat and let it sit for about 10 minutes before moving on to the dipping.
  • Double dip! This will give a nice thick coat of batter on your steak. When dipping the steak into the flour the first time, you want to press the flour down into the meat with the palm of your hand. This helps it stick and hold the rest of the batter from the egg and second flour dip.
  • Heat the oil. If your oil isn’t heated enough then it won’t cook the meat through. Also keep an eye out for oil that is too hot. To test the oil toss a bit of flour into it. If it sizzles then you’re good! If it doesn’t do anything, then your oil needs to be hotter. If the flour burns, then turn it down.
  • Shallow fry. We don’t need a lot of oil, I start with about 3/4-1 cup of oil. This is enough to coat the bottom of my pan and come up about halfway up the sides of the steaks. But it doesn’t need to cover the steaks completely.
  • Spoon some hot oil on the steaks while they cook. This will help the batter stay on the steaks when you flip them. And only flip the steaks once, the more you flip them while cooking, the more chances for your breading to come off.
  • Use a wire rack. Once you are done frying the steaks, place them on a wire rack that is over a baking sheet. This allows air to circulate all around the steaks, and they aren’t sitting on a paper towel soaked in oil. This keeps the breading nice and crispy and the bottom of your steak won’t get soggy.
  • Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Place the baking sheet with the steaks in the oven after you fry them. This will keep them warm while you fry the other steaks and make the gravy.
A fork picking up a cut piece of chicken fried steak.

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A plate with chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, drizzled with cream gravy and garnished with cracked pepper and parsley.

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak. The ultimate in southern comfort food! Tender seasoned steak, coated with a thick batter and fried until golden. Served with a cream gravy drizzled on top. Simple, basic ingredients is all that is needed to bring this recipe to life in your own kitchen!
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

Chicken Fried Steak

  • 1.5  pounds  cube steak, 4 patties
  • teaspoon  coarse salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  coarse black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoon  coarse salt
  • teaspoon  coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  onion powder
  • 3/4  cup  buttermilk
  • large eggs
  • 3/4  cup  vegetable oil

Cream Gravy

  • 1/4  cup  oil and drippings
  • 1/3  cup  all purpose flour
  • cups  milk
  • teaspoon  coarse black pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200℉. Place a wire rack over a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  • Pour oil into a large skillet, depending on the size of your skillet you may need more or less oil, pour enough to have the oil come up about 1/4 of an inch deep. 
  • Prepare the meat by ensuring it is tenderized, cube steak comes pre-tenderized. Season both sides of the steak with the 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper. Let the steaks sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl.
  • Mix the buttermilk and eggs together in another bowl. 
  • Dip the cube steaks, one at a time, into the flour first. Press the flour into the steaks. This ensures a nice coating. Then dip into the egg mixture. Let any excess drip off. Then dip the steak back into the flour mixture.
  • Check the heat of the oil by sprinkling some flour in it, the flour should sizzle. This means the oil is hot enough. Carefully place one steak at a time into the hot oil. Don't crowd the pan, if using a large skillet you can do 2 steaks at a time, if using a small skillet only do one.
  • Cook the steaks in the oil for about 5 minutes. Spoon hot oil over the tops of the steaks while they cook, this helps the batter stay while flipping. You will notice juices coming from the steaks, through the breading on the top, this means they are cooking. Once you see juices, you can flip the steaks over. 
  • Cook the other side of the steaks for another 5 minutes, or until both sides of the steak are golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on the wire rack. Place the baking sheet with the steaks in the oven to keep warm. Continue this until all steaks are cooked. 
  • To prepare the gravy, determine how much grease is left in the pan, we need 1/4 cup. You can always pour the grease into a glass measuring cup to verify that you are using 1/4 cup. Just be sure to use a slotted spoon to scoop out all the bits of steak that came off during the cooking, so this is used in the gravy also.
  • With 1/4 cup of drippings in the skillet, add the flour, salt and pepper. Whisk this together. And let the flour mixture cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. 
  • Carefully stir in the milk to the flour mixture. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.
  • Let gravy simmer about 5-8 minutes until it thickens.Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed at this point.
  • Serve steaks warm with gravy over top.

Notes

Nutrition information is ESTIMATED. Amount of oil needed for frying is not included since this amount can vary so much, and there's no way to know how much oil stays on the dish to impact the nutrition information. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 686kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 54g, Fat: 22g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 12g
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Chicken fried Steak first appeared on The Recipe Critic.