An easy recipe for Chicken Fried Steak. Battered in buttermilk, fried until crispy brown and smothered in a delicious, creamy homemade gravy.
When I think of Southern classics, I always think of Chicken Fried Steak.
It takes a special kind of person to take a piece of steak and fry it like fried chicken: My kind of person.
Smother it in rich, creamy gravy and we’ll be best friends for life!
How do you make Chicken Fried Steak?
Chicken Fried Steak is made from thin cube steaks which are battered and fried until crispy. I like to use buttermilk in my batter along with egg, leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder), and cayenne pepper.
I use the pan drippings plus milk (not cream), fresh thyme, garlic, and flour to make a rich, delicious gravy.
Why is it called Chicken Fried Steak?
It’s called Chicken Fried Steak because you take a steak and prepare it the same way you would traditional fried chicken: In a buttermilk batter.
Chicken Fried Steak is similar to both Austrian Wiener Schnitzel and Italian Milanesa.
What kind of meat is Chicken Fried Steak?
Chicken Fried Steak is made from tenderized cube steak which is then breaded and fried.
What is the difference between Country Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Steak?
Country Fried Steak is usually coated with flour, fried, and served with brown gravy and onions.
Chicken Fried Steak is usually coated with buttermilk batter, fried, and served with creamy gravy.
Chicken Fried Steak
For the steak:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 (5 ounce) cube steaks pounded to 1/3-inch thickness
- 4 to 5 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil
For the gravy:
- 1 onion minced
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the steak:
- In a large shallow dish, whisk together flour, cayenne pepper, 5 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- In a second bowl, beat egg with baking powder and baking soda. Stir in buttermilk.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and set a wire rack coated with oil or nonstick spray on top. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Working with one steak at a time, drop into seasoned flour and turn to coat. Shake to remove excess flour, then dip in egg mixture and turn to coat.
- Dredge again in flour mixture, shake off excess, and set on wire rack. Repeat with remaining steaks.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a second rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top with wire rack. Line a large plate with paper towels.
- In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, heat 1 inch oil to 375 degrees. Working in batches, fry steaks until deep golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to wire rack and place in oven. Return oil to 375 degrees and repeat with remaining steaks (do not discard fat). Keep warm in oven while making gravy.
To make the gravy:
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan (drain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve if desired). Heat over medium heat and add onion and thyme. Cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour until cooked through, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk in milk, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Bring to simmer over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. The gravy will thicken more as it cools.
- Serve steaks hot with gravy on top. Pass any remaining gravy separately.