Chicken Fried Steak is arguably one of the most delicious comfort foods that a person could ever eat. If you’re a Southerner, you absolutely know what I’m talking about (I mean, how could you not?). But don’t worry. I won’t fault you if this country fried steak is new territory for you because I’m more than pleased knowing it’s about to change your life. This Chicken Fried Steak Recipe (Country Fried Steak) starts by frying a tender cube steak with a well-seasoned, flavorful batter that results in the most crunchy and crispy breading, which is then topped with country white gravy or this Sawmill Gravy with a kick!! It’s a hearty Southern dinner that warms the soul!
Country fried steak, sometimes known as chicken fried steak, is a dish that evokes the heart and soul of Southern cooking. It’s a simple recipe that transforms humble cube steaks into a comforting, golden delight with the assistance of a crispy, seasoned crust and a creamy gravy. Think of it as the South’s answer to schnitzel, but with its own unique flavors and traditions. From the touch of heat added with cayenne and hot sauce to the creamy embrace of buttermilk and the rich depth of the gravy, this dish promises to be a hit at any dinner table. I mean, there’s nothing else in the world quite like it! Especially when it comes to this Chicken Fried Steak Recipe. And don’t even get me started on my homemade gravy – it’s the secret sauce (literally!) that ties everything together. So, roll up those sleeves, and let’s get cooking!
Country Fried Steak Vs Chicken Fried Steak
Country Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Steak are two Southern favorites that often get mixed up, and while some think they are completely different, they are pretty much the same thing – a cheap cut of meat, usually cube steak, is seasoned, breaded, and fried.
I use both terms interchangeably, but for some, Chicken Fried Steak typically boasts a thicker, crispier coating reminiscent of fried chicken and is usually paired with a creamy, white gravy. On the other hand, Country Fried Steak often has a lighter breading and is traditionally smothered in a rich brown gravy, sometimes complemented with caramelized onions.
Why You’ll Love This Country Fried Steak
- Comfort Food at Its Finest: When it’s raining outside, I’ve had a bad day, or I’m missing a bit of home, I reach for this recipe. For others, comfort food might be a bowl of mac and cheese or a slice of chocolate cake, but I like to think they just haven’t had this chicken fried steak recipe yet.
- Easy Prep: Even if you’re new to the world of Southern cuisine, you’ll find the steps intuitive and the ingredients readily available. You don’t need to be a seasoned chef to whip this up!
- Crispy Perfection: Who can resist that perfect crunch? The seasoned batter ensures that the steak is crispy on the outside, sealing in all the juicy tenderness on the inside.
- Versatile Pairings: Whether you’re teaming it up with mashed potatoes, green beans, or even just a slice of buttery toast, this country fried steak with gravy fits seamlessly with almost any side. It’s a canvas ready for your favorite culinary pairings.
Ingredients To Make Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
While this ingredient list may look a little intimidating I am willing to bet that you have most of these ingredients in your pantry!
For the Cube Steaks & Breading:
- Buttermilk: This tangy liquid is essential. It tenderizes the steak and provides a tangy undertone, ensuring the steak is juicy and flavorful from the inside out.
- Eggs: Opt for large eggs. They work as a binding agent, helping the breading stick to the steak while also contributing to the richness of the batter.
- Hot Sauce: A dash of heat! This not only adds a subtle kick to the marinade but also elevates the overall flavor profile.
- Worcestershire Sauce: This sauce also elevates the marinade with its complex savory, sweet, and tangy flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: The backbone of your breading! It gives your steak that golden-brown, crispy coating we all love and crave.
- Cornstarch: This is my secret to extra crunch! Mixing cornstarch with flour results in a lighter, crisper breading compared to using flour alone.
- Salt: An essential seasoning. It draws out the natural flavors of the steak, ensuring every bite is perfectly seasoned.
- Garlic Powder: For that aromatic touch! It infuses the breading with a gentle, garlicky hint, adding complexity to the steak’s flavor.
- Pepper: A classic companion to salt. It adds a slight spicy warmth and depth to the overall profile of the dish.
- Garlic Powder, Pepper, and Cayenne: This trio of seasonings brings a harmonious blend of aromatic warmth, earthy spice, and a gentle kick of heat to the mix. Without them, this recipe wouldn’t be the best chicken fried steak recipe.
- Cube Steaks: These are tenderized beef steaks, usually from the top round or top sirloin. The best part? They are not only tender and flavorful, but also quite cheap!
- Oil for Frying: Opt for a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable or canola oil. This ensures your steaks fry to perfection without any burnt or off flavors.
For the Gravy:
- Shallots or Onions: Finely chopped, they add texture and depth, with shallots offering a slightly milder, sweeter touch than onions.
- Minced Garlic: A tiny addition that makes a world of difference! It provides an aromatic kick, ensuring your gravy is bursting with flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: This acts as the thickening agent for your gravy. When combined with the oil from frying, it forms a roux, giving your gravy its rich consistency.
- Milk: It adds a velvety smoothness to the gravy, balancing out the flavors and giving it that classic, creamy texture.
- Chicken or Beef Stock: This brings all the ingredients together. Whether you opt for chicken or beef stock, it enriches the gravy with deep, savory notes.
- Pinch of Cayenne: A sprinkle for spice! This tiny addition elevates the warmth of the gravy.
- Salt and Pepper: The classic duo. These seasonings are vital to fine-tuning your gravy’s taste, ensuring it complements the Chicken Fried Steak recipe perfectly.
- Ground Pepper and Parsley for Garnish (optional): Ground pepper adds a burst of flavor on top, while parsley provides a fresh, vibrant contrast to the rich gravy.
How To Make Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
Again, when you look at this recipe you may be shrieking inside – I promise it’s super easy!
Marinade The Cube Steak
- In a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne.
- Mix until we combined and set aside for later.
- In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk, eggs, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Combine with a whisk.
- Submerge your cube steaks in the buttermilk mixture.
- Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 1 hour.
Bread & Fry Your Chicken Fried Steaks
- Dip a cube steak straight out of a marinade into the seasoned flour mixture coating each side.
- Then back into marinade.
- Then back into the seasoned flour.
- Then finally, place your breaded country fried steak on a baking sheet.
- Add oil to a cast iron skillet or frying pan and heat. Also, preheat the oven. Once oil is hot and ready, fry each steak on each side until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels, then place steaks on parchment-covered baking sheets and put them in the oven while you make the gravy.
Make The Gravy
- Add some of the oil from frying to a saute pan over medium. Add in shallots or onions and garlic and cook while stirring.
- Next stir in flour and cook creating a roux. Cook until browned (but not burned).
- Stir in milk and stock and heat.
- Allow to thicken until it coats the back of a spoon.
Assemble Your Country Fried Steak
Tips For Making The Best Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
- Use a Cube Steak: Breaded cube steak recipes are my favorite because the beauty of a cube steak is that it has already been tenderized by being beaten with a mallet. This not only means it cooks evenly, but it also absorbs flavors better.
- Press Flour into the Steak: Don’t just lightly dredge your steak in flour—press it in! This ensures the flour adheres better, giving you a thicker, more uniform crust that fries to crispy perfection.
- Brown the Roux: If you like extra rich gravy or want to add more color, take a moment to let the roux cook to a beautiful brown hue. This not only deepens the flavor but, if you’re aiming for that classic brown gravy, it also gives it that rich color.
- Test Oil Temperature: Before frying, drop a tiny bit of batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately without burning too quickly, your oil is ready. The right temperature ensures that your steak fries to golden perfection without getting soggy or overly browned.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Use Pork or Other Steak: If beef isn’t your thing or you’re looking to switch things up, try pork steaks or another cut of beef. This not only adds different flavors but also caters to your personal preferences or whatever you might have on hand.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: For an extra crunchy exterior, mix some panko bread crumbs into your flour and cornstarch mixture. The result? A super crispy crust!
- Cheese in the Gravy: Add a handful of shredded cheese (like cheddar or Monterey Jack) to your gravy. As it melts, it will lend a rich creaminess and an indulgent cheesy twist.
- Extra Heat: For those who like a bit more kick, consider adding smoked paprika, chipotle powder, or even a dash of hot chili flakes to the batter mix.
- Infuse the Buttermilk: Spice up the buttermilk bath with some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, or even grated lemon zest for a zesty touch.
What To Serve With Breaded Cube Steak Recipes
- Imagine the richness of your Chicken Fried Steak combined with the creaminess of Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes or Garlic Mashed Potatoes. It’s a match made in Southern food heaven!
- Why not add some Collard Greens or Mustard Greens to the plate? Their slightly bitter taste wonderfully balances the richness of the steak. Plus, they soak up that delicious gravy like champs!
- Corn Muffins or Hot Water Cornbread add a touch of sweetness to the meal and are perfect for sopping up any leftover gravy.
- Nothing says ‘hearty meal’ quite like a side of Easy Homemade Garlic Bread. Crispy, aromatic, and soft in the center, this bread is just the thing to round off your Chicken Fried Steak meal.
How To Store & Reheat Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
After letting your Chicken Fried Steak cool to room temperature, it’s best to store the steak and gravy separately to maintain the steak’s crispy texture. Place them in airtight containers or wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place them in the fridge.
For optimal crispness, preheat your oven to 375°F and heat the steaks on a baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes. If reheating from frozen, allow an additional 10-15 minutes. For a quicker method, place the steak on a microwave-safe plate and heat in 1-minute intervals until warmed through. The gravy can be reheated similarly in the microwave, or warmed up in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a touch of milk or stock if needed to adjust consistency.
How Long Will Chicken Fried Steak Recipe Last In The Fridge?
When properly stored in an airtight container, this country fried steak with gravy will remain fresh and tasty in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Can I Freeze Country Fried Steak With Gravy?
For best results, freeze the steak and gravy separately. Wrap the steak securely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Then, pour the gravy into airtight containers, leaving some space at the top for expansion as it freezes.
Properly stored, they can last up to 3 months in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, it’s best to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called chicken fried steak?
Well, its preparation is about the same as that of fried chicken, which is how it got its name! Both are dipped in a batter, coated in flour and then deep-fried until crispy, lending the steak a texture and appearance similar to fried chicken.
Can I use a different cut of meat for this Chicken Fried Steak recipe?
While cube steak (a pre-tenderized cut of beef) is the traditional choice due to its tenderness and even cooking, you can also use other cuts like round steak. Just make sure to tenderize them well with a mallet to achieve a soft texture.
How do I get a crispy crust on my country fried steak?
For a truly crispy crust, ensure the oil is at the right temperature before frying. Dredging the steak in seasoned flour, dipping it in a buttermilk mixture, and then back into the flour ensures a thick, even coating. Oh, and make sure to shake off any excess flour before frying!
There are few things in this entire world that I remember loving more than this Chicken Fried Steak recipe. I know that is a very lofty statement which you might think has a hint of exaggeration but I can’t begin to tell you how true that statement is. Its comfort compares to no other – each bite truly soothes the soul and takes you to a warm Southern kitchen. Whether you’re serving it up for Sunday dinner, a special occasion, or simply because you crave its hearty comfort, it’s bound to leave everyone asking for seconds!
More Fried Recipes
- Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe
- THE BEST Fish And Chips Recipe (Video)
- Fried Okra Recipe
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
- Fried Chicken Gizzards Recipe
*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!
Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
For the Steaks:
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cube steaks
- 4-5 cups oil for frying
For the Gravy:
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or onions
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or beef stock
- pinch cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Ground pepper and parsley for garnish
For the steaks:
- To a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
- To another bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne.
- Submerge steaks to buttermilk and marinate for at least 1 hour. (2 hours preferred.)
- Dip steaks, one at a time, into seasoned flour mixture coating each side then back into marinade then back into seasoned flour then finally place on a baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to make sure that the breading adheres and stays on the steaks when frying.
- Add oil to cast iron skillet or frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Also preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Once oil is hot and ready, fry each steak on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels then place steaks on parchment covered baking sheets and put in the oven while you make the gravy.
For the gravy:
- Add 1/4 cup of the oil from frying to a saute pan over medium.
- Add in shallots or onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes while stirring.
- Next stir in flour and cook creating a roux (think a delicious light brown color). Cook until browned (but not burned).
- Stir in milk and stock and turn heat up to high heat until boiling then turn heat down to medium low and allow to thicken until it coats the back of a spoon.
- Turn off heat and spoon gravy on top of steaks. Sprinkle with ground pepper and parsley and serve hot with mashed potatoes if you prefer.