My easy Chicken Fried Steak recipe taste just like the diner menu staple. Battered in buttermilk, fried until crispy brown and smothered in a delicious, creamy homemade gravy, enjoy Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast or dinner this week.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line 1 rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Line a second rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack on top.
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together flour, cayenne pepper, 5 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
In a second shallow bowl, whisk egg with baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in buttermilk.
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.
Return to flour mixture and dredge a second time, shake off excess flour, and set on lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining steaks.
In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, heat 1 inch oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches, fry steaks until deep golden brown all over, turning frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes.
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:
Reserve 2 tablespoons oil from the pan and discard the rest (drain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve if desired). Reheat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
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 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 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 warm with gravy on top and mashed potatoes on the side if desired.
Buttermilk: Snag a carton at the grocery store, or to make your own buttermilk, pour 1 cup of full-fat milk into a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice or plain white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes to curdle and thicken.
Cube steak: Also labeled as "cubed steak," this is the most common cut of beef used for Chicken Fried Steak. It's most often made with top round or top sirloin steak that's pounded flat and tenderized via a meat tenderizer. This prep step results in indentations that look like little cubes, hence the name. It's thin, quick-cooking, and ideal for skillet meals like this.
Chicken broth: Store-bought or homemade chicken broth; either will work well as a teammate to milk, herbs, spices, and aromatics to create the easy gravy recipe.
Whole milk: If you prefer, use heavy cream or half and half instead for the base of this epic (seriously, wait until you taste it) gravy.
Yield: This recipe makes 8 steaks and 3 cups gravy, enough for 2 steaks and 3/4 cup gravy per person.
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.