The Cozy Cook

Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

This Chicken Fried Steak Recipe has a crispy golden breading the most flavorful white gravy. Learn the simple secrets on how to make this restaurant-quality comfort food recipe just like the chefs do!

Be sure to serve this with my smooth & creamy Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

A pile of mashed potatoes topped with chicken fried steak with white gravy on top and vegetables in the background.

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak is such a classic comfort food. This is always something I love to order at restaurants, but decided that I was long overdue to learn how to make the best chicken fried steak at home. Nothing beats a home cooked cube steak!

There are a few easy tricks to getting the perfect crispy, golden brown breading (that won’t fall off when you fry it). The white gravy on top is the classic touch.

This recipe makes a lot of gravy, so feel free to drizzle it all over some creamy mashed potatoes!

How to Make it

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

PRO TIP: Even though cube steak has already been tenderized, I like to tenderize it again by pounding it with a meat tenderizer until it’s thinned out even more. This makes it really soft and easy to chew.

  • Pat the Steaks Completely Dry. Combine buttermilk marinade ingredients in a casserole dish.
  • Add the steaks, cover, and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer you marinade, the more tender the meat will be.

A piece of chicken fried steak before and after being marinated in buttermilk.

  • Generously coat each steak in the flour mixture one at a time, just before frying.
  • I recommend frying one at a time for the crispiest results. About 4 minutes per side.

Chicken fried steak being coated in flour breading and fried in a pan.

How to Make the Gravy

  • Melt butter over medium heat, whisk in flour. Add oil from the pan drippings along with minced garlic, cook for 1 minute.

A pan with a butter and flour roux for making white gravy for chicken fried steak.

  • Add chicken broth and seasonings. Stir to combine.

Chicken broth and seasonings being added to a pan for making gravy for chicken fried steak.

  • Add milk and half and half. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking continuously.
  • Let it simmer and thicken until desired consistency is obtained.

Adding cream to pan for making white gravy next to a wooden spoon with thick white gravy.

Why Does the Breading Fall off My Chicken Fried Steak?

1. The oil isn’t at the right temperature

  • Adding the steak to the oil before it’s reached 350° will make the breading wet and soggy, it needs to instantly start cooking as soon as it hits the oil so that the breading can crisp right up.
  • Conversely, you don’t want oil that is too hot or it will burn the outside before the inside has a chance to cook. An Instant Read Thermometer is key.

2. It sits in the breading too long before frying

  • Coat each generously in flour right before you fry. If you let them sit too long, the marinade can seep through the flour and cause it to get moist, which creates a soggy breading that can fall off.

3. The pan is overcrowded

  • Fry one steak at a time unless you have a very large pan. If the steaks are too close together it steams the edges, causing the breading to get soggy and easily fall apart.

Why is it Called “Chicken Fried Steak”

This recipe is referred to as chicken fried steak is because the meat is prepared similarly to how fried chicken is made. Unlike the name implies, it is made with cube steak, not chicken.

“Chicken” Fried Steak:

  • This is traditionally served with a white pepper gravy, such as in this recipe.
  • The gravy is sometimes served on the side to allow for the breading to remain extra crispy.

“Country” Fried Steak:

  • This is normally smothered in a brown gravy at the end of cooking to allow for the breading to absorb it.

Although these are the traditional differences, you will see restaurants, (such as Cracker Barrel), serve “Country” fried steak with white gravy.

Buttermilk Substitutes

  • ½ cup milk + 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk + enough plain yogurt to make 2 cups.
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 10 minutes. It’ll look curdled. Stir to combine.

Tools For This Recipe

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A fork cutting into a piece of chicken fried steak topped with white gravy over mashed potatoes.

What to Serve with Chicken Fried Steak

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Chicken Fried Steak

5 from 8 ratings
This Chicken Fried Steak Recipe has crispy, crunchy golden breading drizzled with mouth watering white gravy. Learn the simple secrets on how to make this restaurant-quality comfort food recipe just like the chefs do!

Ingredients

  • 4 cube steaks, each about 1/3 pound
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil

Buttermilk Marinade

  • 2 cups buttermilk, see notes for substitutions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Breading

  • 1 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Gravy

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons pan drippings
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • ¾ cup half and half

Instructions

Chicken Fried Steak

  • Place saran wrap over each cube steak and use the rough end of a meat tenderizer to pound it thin, about ½ inch thick or so. This really makes a nice difference in the consistency of the meat even though cube steak has already been tenderized.
  • Pat the steaks completely dry. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large casserole dish.
  • Cover and marinate the steaks in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or overnight. (The longer the better.)
  • Combine breading ingredients. Generously coat each steak just before you fry it.
  • Add enough oil to cover the steak by 1/3 and heat it to 350° F. (Make sure it’s properly preheated or the breading will fall off.)
  • Cook the steaks in batches of 2, leaving room around each. Fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Use kitchen tongs to carefully check the bottom and flip.
  • Remove and transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow excess oil to drip out from the bottom. This keeps the bottom nice and crispy.
  • Once all the steaks are fried, keep them warm in a 200° F oven while you prepare the gravy.

Gravy

  • Transfer the pan drippings into a small heat-proof bowl. Don’t clean the pan.
  • Allow the black flecks to fall to the bottom and skim 3 tablespoons of clean oil off the top. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour for 1 minute to cook off the raw flour taste.
  • Add the oil drippings and minced garlic. cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the seasonings, and then the chicken broth in splashes, stirring continuously.
  • Add milk and half and half in splashes, stirring continuously. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Let it simmer and thicken until desired consistency is obtained.

Notes

Buttermilk Substitutes

  • ½ cup milk + 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk + enough plain yogurt to make 2 cups.
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 10 minutes. It'll look curdled. Stir to combine.

Pro Tips:

Nutrition

Calories: 687kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 49g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 185mg, Sodium: 739mg, Potassium: 789mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 836IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 206mg, Iron: 4mg

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20 comments on “Chicken Fried Steak Recipe”

  1. I was taught that this recipe is “country fried steak” while chicken fried steak is made with tenderized, thin pieces of chicken breast, regardless of type of gravy. Perhaps, it depends on region? This looks delicious! Will be trying this recipe very soon! Thank you!

    • Here in N.E. Oklahoma we call it Chicken Fried Steak and Then you have Chicken Fried Chicken which is a flattened out Chicken Breast. Clanton’s Cafe in Vinita Okla. is known for the best and so are their Cafe Fries!

  2. Can not wait to try these recipes

  3. This was delicious!  I’ve tried other recipes and this is my favorite.  Instructions were easy to follow and everything came out perfect! Will definitely make again!

  4. Omg like solving a rubix cube with how the explanation of how this is made smh wow and for all those ingredients and prep it was just OK

    • Hey Jordan. I have provided step-by-step photos, a step-by-step video, and numbered/printable written instructions. Definitely shouldn’t have been like solving a rubix cube. 😬

  5. I have made so many different versions of chicken fried steak. This was by far the best recipe yet! We absolutely loved it!!!! Thank you!

  6. This recipe was SO AMAZING. My family said it was “better than Kelley’s” which is a country cooking place where we live that has delicious country fried steak! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  7. Delicious! I used milk and sour cream instead of the buttermilk. The chicken was so crispy and the flavor and consistency of the gravy was perfect. Will be making this again for sure!

  8. My whole family loved it! I had actually never eaten chicken fried steak before but I was told it is better than a popular restaurant chain’s version. I will be making this again and can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • Hey April!! I’m so happy to hear that, you totally made my day! Sounds like you totally nailed it and I’m so happy that you enjoyed my recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review! -Stephanie

  9. I had never tried making this at home before now, it was a HUGE hit!!! I can’t believe how good it was, just like from my favorite restaurant, thank you so much for the recipe and perfect instructions! My family devoured it! -Shannon

    • I’m so happy you and your family loved it! My family gets pretty excited whenever I make this recipe, I’m glad it will be in your rotation now too! 🙂

  10. Thank you, I know I will love this, love your meal planner.

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