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This easy Chicken Fried Steak recipe is truly the best! Each steak is tender on the inside, crispy and golden brown on the outside, and smothered in a delicious creamy gravy. Pair the Southern favorite with biscuits or cornbread and green beans for a family-friendly dinner that’s ready in about 30 minutes!

Side shot of easy chicken fried steak on a plate with green beans and cornbread

Best Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

Chicken Fried Steak with a rich, creamy country gravy is a popular dish served at Texas Roadhouse, Cracker Barrel and other Southern restaurants. But you don’t need to dine out in order to enjoy this classic homestyle dish. Instead, whip up a cozy batch of the best chicken fried steak recipe from the comfort of your own kitchen — in just over 30 minutes!

What is the difference between country fried steak and chicken fried steak?

Some folks use these terms interchangeably to refer to the same dish: a breaded, pan-fried steak served with gravy. Historians believe that the idea for chicken fried steak was originally brought to the Southern United States by German immigrants in the mid-1800’s, since the recipe is quite similar to German wienerschnitzel. It’s a great way to take advantage of tougher cuts of meat, which were widely available at that time in the South.

While chicken-fried steak and country-fried steak may be the same thing in some places, others distinguish the two dishes by explaining that country-fried steak is flour-dusted and usually served with brown gravy and onions, while chicken-fried steak is breaded with eggs and served with a creamy gravy. Call it whatever you like — this easy, family-friendly meal is here to stay!

Why is it called Chicken Fried Steak?

Chicken-fried steak gets its name because of the way that the steak is prepared. The process is similar to frying chicken: the beef is dredged in flour, dipped in a buttermilk-egg mixture, dredged in flour again, and then finally pan-fried in oil. There’s not actually any chicken in the recipe at all!

What cut of meat is best for Chicken Fried Steak?

“Cube steak” or “cubed steak” is the most popular cut of beef for a chicken fried steak recipe. Cube steak is a thin cut of beef, usually top round or top sirloin, that is tenderized and flattened by pounding with a meat tenderizer. The name refers to the shape of the indentations left by that process.

A piece of Southern chicken fried steak with gravy on a plate with fresh herb garnish

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the easy chicken fried steak recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Beef cube steaks: these are usually top round or top sirloin, which the butcher has tenderized and flattened by pounding with a meat tenderizer (leaving “cube-shaped” indentations on the thin patties).
  • All-purpose flour: for breading the steak and for thickening the gravy.
  • Garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika, cayenne, black pepper and fresh rosemary: for seasoning both the steaks and the gravy.
  • Buttermilk and egg: the wet ingredients that help the breading adhere to the meat.
  • Vegetable oil: or use another neutral oil with a high smoke point (such as peanut oil or canola oil) for frying the meat.
  • Beef broth and heavy cream: the liquid ingredients used to make the gravy.
  • Fresh parsley: an optional garnish that adds a nice, fresh touch at the end.
Overhead shot of country fried steak meat and other ingredients

How to Make Chicken Fried Steak from Scratch

Get all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go, because this meal comes together quickly!

  1. Dredge the steaks in seasoned flour, dip in the buttermilk-egg mixture, and then dredge in the seasoned flour again.
  2. Fry the steaks in hot oil for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  3. Drain the steaks on a paper towel-lined tray while you prepare the gravy.
Chicken fried steak breading drying on a wire rack
Process shot showing how to make the best chicken fried steak recipe

How to Make Gravy for Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken-fried steak is typically smothered in a creamy country gravy that’s made with the pan drippings left from frying the steaks. It’s rich, thick, and mild in taste, and can be seasoned with any of your favorite herbs and spices. I love the earthy rosemary and garlic used here, but feel free to make it your own with some spice from cayenne, different herbs like parsley or thyme, or just classic salt and lots of black pepper!

Gravy in a Dutch oven with wooden spoon
  1. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan, then wipe out the skillet.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the oil in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually whisk in the broth, cream, garlic powder and rosemary.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, and whisk constantly while the gravy bubbles and thickens for about 3-5 more minutes. It should be thick, creamy and smooth.
  5. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Smother the fried steaks with the gravy and serve immediately!
Horizontal shot of a plate of easy chicken fried steak with gravy and a side of cornbread

What to Serve with Easy Chicken Fried Steak

Serve the chicken fried steaks and gravy with your favorite homestyle sides. Here are some easy ideas:

Front shot of a plate of the best chicken fried steak recipe served with green beans

Storage

Chicken fried steak is best when it is fresh and crispy. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days; however, the breading will not be as crispy when reheated.

To Freeze

You can freeze the fried steak for up to 3 months. You do not need to defrost it before reheating.

To Reheat

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Meanwhile, place the steaks on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Next, reheat the steaks until the breading feels hot and very crispy, about 10 minutes for room temperature steaks or about 20 minutes for frozen steaks (flip halfway through).

Side shot of the best chicken fried steak recipe on a plate with cornbread in the background

Recipe Variations

  • Adjust the Seasoning. Add more cayenne to the seasoning for spicy fried steak and gravy. Use other herbs that you enjoy, such as chives or thyme. Anything goes, so play around with the mix to suit your preferences.
  • Buttermilk. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and adding enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Adjust the number of steaks that you fry to suit the size of your family. Cooking just for two? Cut all of the ingredients in half. Need more, scale up the ingredients accordingly!
  • Swap out the heavy cream and use whole milk in the gravy instead.

Tips for the Best Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

  • Thin Steaks: Some stores sell the cube steak already pounded thin. If your steak is not already about ¼-inch thick, you’ll need to use a meat mallet, rolling pin or empty wine bottle to pound it flat yourself.
  • Give the breaded steaks time to rest (dry) for a few minutes while the oil heats. This will help the breading adhere to the meat when it cooks.
  • Never cover your warm fried steak with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your steak soggy.
  • Keep the oil at a steady temperature. Don’t overcrowd the pan by trying to cook too many steaks at once, which will bring down the temperature. If the oil is too cool, the meat will absorb the oil and have a soggy texture when done. Too hot, and the breading will burn.
  • Keep the fried steaks warm on wire racks on baking sheets (uncovered) in a 200° F oven while you finish frying the remaining steaks in batches and prepare the gravy.
Side shot of chicken fried steak with gravy on a plate with green beans and cornbread

More Southern Homestyle Recipes to Try

Side shot of easy chicken fried steak on a plate with green beans and cornbread

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 812 kcal
This easy Chicken Fried Steak recipe is truly the best! Each steak is tender on the inside, crispy and golden brown on the outside, and smothered in a delicious creamy gravy.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 beef cube steaks, pounded to ¼-inch thick
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, kosher salt, paprika and cayenne. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg.
  • Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip in the buttermilk mixture, allowing any excess to drip off. Dredge once more in the flour to coat.
  • In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the steaks to the pan and cook until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to a paper towel-lined tray. Season with a little bit of salt while the steaks are still warm. You may need to cook the meat in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
  • Reserve 3 tablespoons of oil; drain off the rest. Wipe the skillet clean. Warm the reserved 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour to the oil and stir until browned, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the broth, cream, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and rosemary. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 3-5 minutes. Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Serve the steaks smothered in the creamy gravy. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

  • Thin Steaks: Some stores sell the cube steak already pounded thin. If your steak is not already about ¼-inch thick, you’ll need to use a meat mallet, rolling pin or empty wine bottle to pound it flat yourself.
  • Give the breaded steaks time to rest (dry) for a few minutes while the oil heats. This will help the breading adhere to the meat when it cooks.
  • Never cover your warm fried steak with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your steak soggy.
  • Keep the oil at a steady temperature. Don’t overcrowd the pan by trying to cook too many steaks at once, which will bring down the temperature. If the oil is too cool, the meat will absorb the oil and have a soggy texture when done. Too hot, and the breading will burn.
  • Keep the fried steaks warm on wire racks on baking sheets (uncovered) in a 200° F oven while you finish frying the remaining steaks in batches and prepare the gravy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 812kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 44gFat: 58gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 252mgSodium: 718mgPotassium: 782mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1156IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 162mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: best chicken fried steak recipe, chicken fried steak, easy chicken fried steak
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    One word,,,, DELICIOUS!! Thank you for all the great recipes, I look forward to them each Sunday morning.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, Cathy! Thanks for your note, and thanks for keeping up with the blog each week. 🙂