The Ultimate Chicken Fried Steak is fried to golden perfection and topped with the creamiest gravy you can imagine, sure to quickly become a family favorite. It’s hard to imagine a more quintessential Southern meal than Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy. The hard part is deciding whether you want to make it for breakfast or dinner. My family can’t get enough of these tender steaks with that delightful crispy, crunchy coating. And the gravy? Heaven! Enjoy this amazing dinner with some of my Nana’s green beans and the BEST dinner rolls.
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Chicken Fried Steak
I figured it was high time I share one of my all-time favorite recipes with you guys – Chicken Fried Steak. I have been eating this Southern food classic for as long as I can remember. My Nana is the first one that introduced me to this delightful recipe. (Big shocker there – she basically introduced me to all of my favorites…) This recipe is an adaptation of hers – or, at least, as I remember it and I’m pretty sure she’d agree, that this really is the best chicken fried steak recipe out there.
Chicken Fried Steak: Breakfast or Dinner?
There is nothing quite like chicken fried steak when it comes to versatility. We love serving it for dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy and my Nana’s Green Beans to even it all out… 😉 Orrr, if it’s brunch we’re craving, chicken fried steak with a couple sunny side up eggs and hash browns always does the trick.
My boys almost always order chicken fried steak when we’re out for breakfast but the thing is, it’s incredibly easy to make at home! Now, I’ve tried lots of subpar recipes in my lifetime but trust me, this is not one of them.
I’ve developed the ULTIMATE chicken fried steak recipe that goes just perfectly with a rich, creamy gravy that that little ole steak is just begging to be smothered in.
How to Properly Season and Flavor Chicken Fried Steak
Every layer of this Chicken Fried Steak recipe is seasoned to perfection. The steaks are seasoned with salt and pepper, the flour mixture is seasoned with herbs and spices, and even the buttermilk and egg batter is seasoned with TABASCO® Sauce.
TABASCO® Sauce is a staple in our house (the original is our favorite) and my oldest wants it with and in every.single.recipe. I love the extra flavor it adds to this recipe and if you’re worried about it being spicy, don’t. It really doesn’t add any heat to the dish as much as it brings out the other flavors in the dish.
If you want to, you can always bump up the heat by adding in another teaspoon or so of TABASCO® Sauce, or, you can always just add a dash or two to the top of your steak. That’s how my Grandpa ate his and Reece and Chris do the same.
So, if you’re not familiar with chicken fried steak or country fried steak, let me clear up any confusion…
Why is it called Chicken Fried Steak?
Chicken Fried Steak is not made with chicken. Period. No chicken to be found. It’s called chicken fried steak because the steak is breaded and fried much like you would a piece of chicken. Chicken Fried Steak is made with cube steak that you find already tenderized at your grocery store.
The steak is dredged in a seasoned flour mixture, dipped in a buttermilk and egg mixture and then back into the flour one last time. Finally, it’s fried to golden perfection and topped with the creamiest, tastiest gravy you’ve ever tried. Some might even say that the gravy is the best part 🙂
Chicken Fried Steak Gravy
There are a few secrets to the best Chicken Fried Steak Gravy.
- Do NOT scrape the skillet. Leave all of that goodness in there. Simply remove the grease and add back in just enough to make the creamy gravy.
- Let the flour cook and brown before adding liquids. This builds up flavor and removes that raw flour taste.
- Slowly whisk in the milk AND cream (yes, I use a little cream in this gravy… 😉 ) This keeps lumps from forming and you end up with a smooth, creamy Chicken Fried Steak Gravy.
- Season at the end. My gravy usually doesn’t need any additional salt but I add LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.
Now, I go into detail in my instructions below but I want to highlight a few steps here that I want you to pay close attention to before starting to make this Chicken Fried Steak recipe.
Tips for the Best Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
- There is no need to deep fry Chicken Fried Steak. I shallow fry my Chicken Fried Steak to golden perfection with a cup of oil – or less. I prefer to use vegetable oil.
- A heavy skillet works best. I use my favorite cast iron skillet but any large, heavy bottomed skillet will work.
- Do not overcrowd the pan. EVER. Two at a time is the way to go. Preheat your oven to 225-250F to keep the Chicken Fried Steak warm and crispy while you’re making the gravy.
- Buttermilk keeps the steaks nice and tender and the TABASCO® Sauce adds loads of flavor without being overly spicy. I make mine with about 2 teaspoons of TABASCO® Sauce but you can go up to 4 teaspoons if you want to up the ante. I like to keep it relatively calm and my family can add a couple of dashes on top if they like.
- You’ll notice the baking soda and baking powder in the breading. This gives it a perfectly crispy coating that you won’t find in other recipes.
- After breading the cube steaks, really press the flour in. You want the steaks to be completely coated with the breading.
- Do not flip the steaks more than once. Wait until they are nice and golden brown before flipping. You don’t want to disturb that crunchy coating.
Refer to the video if you have any more questions or leave me a comment below. I’d love to know what you think when you give it a try!
How To Make Chicken Fried Steak
The Ultimate Chicken Fried Steak is fried to golden perfection and topped with the creamiest gravy you can imagine. It's hard to imagine a more quintessential Southern meal than Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy. The hard part is deciding whether you want to make it for breakfast or dinner. My family can't get enough of these tender steaks with that delightful crispy, crunchy coating. And the gravy? Heaven!
- 4 cube steaks (about 1/3 lb each)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 -3 tsps TABASCO® Sauce (original)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 tbsp grease
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 to 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- salt and pepper to taste
In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, one teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk , TABASCO® Sauce, and eggs. Set aside.
Pat cube steaks dry with a paper towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Season with one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes and pat dry again with paper towel.
Dredge the cube steaks in the flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dredge in the buttermilk-egg mixture, letting excess drip off, and then once again in the flour mixture, shaking off excess.
Place breaded cube steaks on a sheet pan or metal rack and press any of the remaining flour mixture into the cube steaks making sure that the entire steak is completely coated. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 225 to 250 F.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet or large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. How much oil you need depends on the size of your skillet. You want it to be about 1/4-inch deep. We aren't deep frying the steaks, just shallow frying.
Test the oil by dropping a bit of the breading into in. The oil should sizzle and bubble around the breading. Look for the oil to be glistening but not smoking - about 320-340 degrees F. Now we're ready to fry.
Place two steaks into the pan at a time and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not flip more than once or the breading will fall off. Do not fry more than two steaks or the pan will be too crowded and the breading will fall off.
Remove steaks from pan and drain on paper towels. Place in preheated oven. Turn skillet heat to medium.
Pour the remaining grease into a heat safe bowl or glass measuring cup (I used my Pyrex). Do NOT scrape the skillet clean. We want all of those bits of yumminess to remain in the skillet so they can flavor the gravy.
Add back in 4 tablespoons of the grease to the hot skillet.
Whisk in flour and continue whisking for two to three minutes or until nice and golden brown.
Combine the cream and milk and slowly drizzle in about 2 1/2 cups into the skillet, whisking constantly. It might look a little crazy right at the beginning, but it will all come together.
Continue whisking and bring the gravy to a simmer. Cook until the gravy is smooth and creamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If the gravy gets too thick, add in a little more milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Mine didn't need any salt but LOTS of pepper!)
Serve chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes and your favorite green veggies. ENJOY!
Dinner done right!
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