Chicken Fried Steak: Batter-dipped tender steaks fried to crispy golden perfection and then smothered with creamy white gravy!
Watch me make this chicken fried steak from start to finish!
There are some classic Southern recipes that elicits a “Now that’s some good eatin'” after finishing it off. Chicken fried steak is one of those recipes. It’s hearty, flavorful, and pure comfort food at its best. I remember when I did the Dr. Oz show I had the task to make chicken fried steak healthier. I cringed at the fact lol. Some things are just not meant to be made healthy! Is it really chicken fried steak without the magic of being fried to crunchy golden perfection in hot oil and then smothered in homemade white gravy?
I’ll post my healthier take another day, but right now it’s all about the traditional chicken fried steak and all of her glory!
Have you ever had chicken fried steak?
What is chicken fried steak?
If you never had or heard of chicken fried steak you’re probably thinking what the heck! It’s a pretty simple dish. In short, it’s a tenderized steak (usually cube steak) that is coated and fried. The outside resembles fried chicken because it is coated in flour, milk, and eggs, basically the same stuff you’d use to coat fried chicken. It’s fried until golden and crispy. So you get to experience that crispy golden crust and tender delicious steak all in one bite! Now it’s pretty easy to see why it’s called chicken fried steak huh? And if that wasn’t enough, chicken fried steak is often served with a generous drizzling of creamy white or brown gravy. Yeah, tell me about it! This delicious dish cares nothing about your waistline goals.
What is the difference between chicken fried steak and country fried steak?
Many people use these two interchangeably and you’re sure to run into several disagreements (as with all Southern dishes). Usually, though, country-fried steak doesn’t include egg or milk in the batter. It’s dusted with seasoned flour and fried so the coating is pretty thin and it’s typically served with brown gravy. Chicken fried steak resembles fried chicken because the coating uses eggs, flour, and milk, just as you would in fried chicken. It’s typically served with creamy white gravy. I don’t get into these types of debates, I just eat all the things! And I love it both ways!
What steak to use for chicken fried steak?
Typically you’ll want to go with cube steak (sometimes called minute steak). I prefer Angus cube steak. It’s a cheaper cut of steak and very flavorful. Cube steak comes already tenderized but I like to tenderize and flatten it even more. That way my fork just glides through that crunchy coating and tender steak. It’s a beautiful thing! Other cuts of steak like round steak can be used as well just make sure you tenderize the mess out of it!
How to tenderize cube steak
Tenderizing cube steak is very easy. To tenderize cube steak, even more, place the steak on a cutting board and cover it with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the steak repeatedly. This will flatten and tenderize the steak. You could also sprinkle the steak with a meat tenderizer and refrigerate it for 30 minutes for added tenderness. I usually skip this step as it isn’t needed if you go with a quality cubed steak.
The Steak Recipe
Allowing these steaks to sit for a bit after dredging is the key to getting that coating to be nice and crisp since it dries it out a little. Also, be sure that oil is at 350 F. (adjusting if needed after adding the steaks).
- 1 lb (about 4) cubed steaks, tenderized
- Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cajun seasoning, celery salt, kosher salt, or seasoned salt and pepper
- All-purpose flour
- Whole milk (can also use a little buttermilk if desired)
- Canola Oil, for frying
- Tenderize and season cubed steaks. Let it until the steak is room temperature.
- In a large shallow dish, combine flour and spices
- In a separate large shallow dish, combine 1/2 cup of the seasoned flour, egg, and milk until you have a batter.
- Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture on both sides. Shake off excess and then dip steaks in the egg mixture and coat both sides, letting the excess drip off. Place back into the flour mixture, coating both sides well.
- Place steaks on a wire rack as you prepare them.
- In an extra-large deep skillet, heat about 1 inch of canola oil to 350 F.
- Fry the steak on both sides about (2-3 minutes per side) until golden brown.
- When done frying the steaks, carefully drain the oil, leaving any brown bits in the bottom of the pan if desired (see recipe)
- Proceed with making the gravy.
The Creamy Country-Style Gravy Recipe
This creamy country-style white gravy uses half chicken broth and half whole milk. You can certainly use all milk but I prefer it this way with dinner dishes. It just adds a level of savoriness that I love! Be sure to really season this gravy up well so that it tastes good enough to drink! There is nothing more depressing than a bland gravy!
- Butter / Oil
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken broth
- Spices: salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, & thyme
- In the skillet over medium heat, add the butter and let it melt.
- Whisk in the flour and stir until the flour is foamy and golden brown in color, about 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in warm broth and warm milk a little at a time.
- Stir constantly until gravy has thickened to your liking.
- Taste and season the gravy with lots of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and thyme.
- Plate steak and pour on the gravy. Serve hot!
What to serve with chicken fried steak?
How do I keep chicken fried steak warm after cooking it? Chicken fried steaks are usually large which means you’ll need to fry in batches. To keep the cooked steaks warm while you fry the others and prepare the gravy, preheat your oven to 200 F. Place wire rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels and place in the oven. As you cook your steaks place them in the oven to keep warm.
How do you make brown gravy? To make a tan/creamy brown gravy, leave the brown bits in the pan, use beef broth and a little milk.
Chicken Fried Steak w/ Country GRavy
- 1 lb tenderized cube steak (4 steaks) (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon sea salt (or seasoned salt)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- cayenne pepper pinch
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 egg
- ½-¼ cup whole milk (can add a little buttermilk if desired)
Creamy White Gravy
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth (see note)
- 1½ cups whole milk
- salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme
Season the Steaks
- To season the tenderized steaks, mix together sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Season both sides of steaks. Set aside.
Make the Dipping Stations
- In a large dish (I use a glass casserole dish) , whisk together flour, and all of the remaining coating mix seasonings until combined.
- In another large dish, place ½ cup of the seasoned flour into the dish. Add in the egg and enough milk to create a thick batter.
Dredge the Steaks
- Dip the steak in the flour mixture first, lightly coating both sides.
- Next dip the steak into the batter mixture, coating both sides and letting the excess drip off.
- Finally place the steak back into the flour mixture, being sure to press the flour into the steaks, coating both sides. Repeat until all steaks have been coated.
Fry The Steaks
- Preheat your oven to 200 F. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and place it into the oven. (This will be where you will keep the cooked steaks to keep them warm until you are ready to serve).
- Fill a large deep skillet with about an inch of canola oil and heat to 350 F.
- Fry the steaks 1-2 at a time, (about 2-3 minutes per side) until golden. Place finished steaks on the cooling rack in the oven. Repeat until all steaks have been fried.
Make The Gravy
- Carefully drain the oil from the pan and wipe out the pan. (You can leave the flavorful brown bits in the bottom of the pan if desired. If you do, this will result in a tan and not white gravy though)
- Add butter to the pan over medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add flour to the pan.
- Cooked while stirring constantly until golden brown,(about 2-3 minutes). This will remove the raw flour taste.
- Gently whisk in the broth and milk a little at a time.
- Cook while stirring constantly to remove any lumps and until the mixture begins to thicken to your liking. (Cook longer if you want thicker gravy or add more milk if you want thinner gravy)
- Season gravy with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and a bit of thyme until your desired flavor is reached (Be sure to taste after each seasoning to prevent overseasoning the gravy. Let your tastebuds be your guide. The end result should taste good enough to eat plain!)
How to tenderize cube steakTo tenderize cube steak, place the steak on a cutting board and cover it with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the steak repeatedly. This will flatten and tenderize the steak. You could also sprinkle the steak with a meat tenderizer and refrigerate it for 30 minutes for added tenderness. I usually skip this step as it isn't needed if you go with a quality cubed steak.
Chicken Broth Replacement:You can use 2 cups of whole milk if you do not want to use chicken broth. The chicken broth makes for a more savory gravy. The chicken broth I love is Better Than Bouillon paste.