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Chicken Fried Steak. The ultimate in Southern comfort food! Tender seasoned steak, coated in a thick batter and fried until golden brown with a creamy gravy drizzled on top. Simple, basic ingredients are all that is needed to bring this recipe to life in your own kitchen!
This perfect southern comfort meal of chicken fried steak is easy to recreate at home. I am sharing with you all of the tips and tricks you need to know to create a restaurant-worthy dish in your own kitchen! This dish is perfect served along with some of Dad’s Famous Mashed Potatoes, or some Roasted Carrots. Finish off with some Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler for a truly southern meal.
Chicken Fried Steak
Here today to share one of my all-time FAVORITE southern comfort foods. Homemade Chicken Fried Steak. It’s a definite classic and a favorite in our home. It’s one of those meals that I don’t make all the time, so it’s a special treat for the family when I do. This dish is incredibly flavorful, with just a few simple ingredients. Most of which you probably have on hand.
The only thing I usually need to pick up is some cube steak! Even though the ingredients list is fairly simple, there are a few tips and tricks in HOW I make this dish that make it even better than a restaurant. One bite of this chicken fried steak with the best cream gravy, and you’ll be a believer!
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 fried chicken! This dish is Southern comfort food at its finest.
Let’s dive into each ingredient and how they make chicken fried steak taste so good. (If you’re looking for measurements, they’re all in the recipe card at the end of the post!)
- Cube Steak: The meaty foundation of your chicken fried steak. It’s typically tenderized beef, often cut into patty shapes, perfect for frying up to a golden, crispy perfection.
- Salt and Pepper: Basic seasonings to add flavor to your steak.
- All-Purpose Flour: The flour sticks to the steak, creating that perfect golden crust when fried.
- Baking Powder: So the coating is extra crispy.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is a magic ingredient for chicken fried steak. It not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses a tangy, rich flavor into every bite, making it incredibly moist.
- Eggs: These are the binding agents that help the coating stick.
- Vegetable Oil: For frying the steaks in so they get nice and golden brown!
- Paprika: A subtly smoky flavor enhancer.
- Garlic Powder: So your steaks have tasty, savory flavor.
- Onion Powder: Another great seasoning to add a punch of flavor!
For the Gravy:
- Oil and Drippings: The flavorful leftovers from cooking the steak.
- All-Purpose Flour: Thickens the gravy.
- Whole Milk: The creamy base.
- Heavy Cream: So the gravy has richness and creaminess.
- Garlic Powder: A touch of garlic flavor.
- Onion Powder: A hint of oniony goodness.
- Salt and Pepper: To balance out all the flavors.
What Meat Should I Use?
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 meat mallet prior to using. Almost to the point that the meat is falling apart.
What meat do I use for chicken fried steak?
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. Due to shallow frying the steaks there typically isn’t much leftover oil by the time the steaks are done. Which is the perfect amount for making the gravy. IF you have more than 1/4 cup of oil left in your skillet, you will want to pour some out. But make sure you leave all the bits and pieces leftover from the steaks!
- 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.
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. I also love using kosher salt with this recipe. The grains are bigger and it gives a better seasoning to the meat.
- 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.
- Don’t be shy with the black pepper! The gravy is fairly basic, and the overdose of fresh ground black pepper, or a coarse ground black pepper really is what gives this gravy it’s flavor. If you taste the gravy and feel it’s lacking something, it just needs a bit more pepper.
More Southern Comfort recipes for you to enjoy:
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Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a wire rack over a large baking sheet and 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 first measurements of salt and black pepper. Let the steaks sit for about 10 minutes.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and spices together in a medium bowl.
Mix the buttermilk and eggs together in another bowl.
Dip the cube steaks one at a time into the flour. Use your fingers to press the flour into the steaks to ensure a nice coating. Then dip into the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Then dip the steak back into the flour mixture a second time.
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 4 minutes. Spoon hot oil over the tops of the steaks while they cook, this helps the batter stay while flipping.
Flip to the other side and cook for 3-4 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. Repeat this process until all steaks are cooked.
To prepare the gravy, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking oil along with the bits of steak and flour coating that came off during cooking. Discard the remaining oil.
With 1/4 cup of drippings in the skillet, add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.
Carefully and slowly whisk the milk and cream into the flour mixture. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.
Let the gravy simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until thickened. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
Serve the steaks warm with gravy over top.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.