A great chicken fried steak with gravy is a true Southern meat lover’s dream.  Yes, there are a lot of mediocre fried steaks available at questionable restaurants, but when it’s done right the combination of juicy and tender beef with a crunchy flavorful crust is an unparalleled indulgent treat.  This recipe is for the best kind of chicken fried steak, not rubbery or soggy, but perfectly cooked with a crispy crust and a hefty drizzle of creamy rich gravy.  Nothing disappointing about this chicken fried steak!

Chicken Fried Steak

Is Chicken Fried Steak Chicken or Steak?

It’s beef, it’s steak!  The name comes from the fact that the crispy breaded coating is very much like the coating used to make fried chicken.  A combination of dipping the steaks in seasoned flour, then an egg and milk mixture, then back in the flour before frying in oil.  The flour-liquid-flour combo offers a crust that will remind you of the best fried chicken, but encrusting beef instead of chicken here.

What Kind of Steak to Use for Chicken Fried Steak

The most common cut of meat used to make this steak is usually a cheap one, like cube, round, chuck or Swiss. You can use a fancier and pricier steak, but because this dish is as much about the crust and the gravy as it is the meat, I would save those more elegant steaks for simpler preparations. 

I like to use cube steak, which is very affordable, and when quickly cooked, tender and juicy.  Cube steak is cut from the round part of the cow, and usually tenderized by a butcher before it’s sold. This cut of meat is then easy to pound even thinner, which is desirable for this recipe.

Chicken Fried Steak

Double Breading Steaks for Frying

Coating the steaks first in flour, then in an egg-and-milk mixture, and then back into the flour mixture for a final coating provides the perfect crispy crunchy crust.  Make sure that your flour is well seasoned, as you don’t season the meat directly, and that‘s what provides the flavor in the crust.   

Chicken Fried Steak Recipe: The best kind of chicken fried steak, not rubbery or soggy, but perfectly cooked with a crispy crust and a hefty drizzle of creamy rich gravy. 

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How Long to Cook Chicken Fried Steak

Because the meat is pounded thin, these should take about 2 ½ to 3 minutes per side.  Don’t overcook the steaks or they will become tough.

Chicken Fried Steak

How to Make Chicken Fried Steak

In a wide shallow bowl combine the eggs and the milk.  In another wide shallow bowl, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, garlic powder, and cayenne.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Fill a large skillet with oil to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it measures 375 degrees on a deep-frying/candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, heat the oil until it shimmers, and test it by dropping a small lump of the egg mixture mixed with some flour into the oil.  If it starts gently sizzling and turns golden brown after a few minutes, the oil is at the right temperature.

While the oil heats, place each steak into the flour mixture to coat.  Shake of any excess flour.  Dip the floured steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat evenly.  Allow any excess to drip back into the bowl.  Dredge the steaks one more time in the flour mixture, and place on the wire rack.  Repeat until all of the steaks are breaded.

Chicken Fried Steak

When the oil is ready, fry two steaks at a time (more if you have a very large pan) for about 2 ½ to 3 minutes per side, until the crust is brown and crispy.  

Chicken Fried Steak

Use tongs to flip the steaks, and when cooked to transfer them to the paper towel lined plate.  Let sit for a few seconds, then transfer to the wire rack.  When all of the steaks have been fried, transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven to keep the steaks warm.

Chicken Fried Steak

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the pan drippings from the pan and return to medium heat.   Add 3 tablespoons of the leftover dredging flour mixture to the drippings.  Whisk until the mixture turns a rich golden brown and starts to bubble, about 3 minutes.   Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.  Add the onion, if using.  Return to the heat and whisk frequently until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. If the gravy feels too thick you can whisk in a couple of tablespoons of additional milk or hot water.

Place the steaks on plates or a serving platter.  Serve the gravy over the top of the steaks, or pass it on the side.  

Chicken Fried Steak

What to Serve with Chicken Fried Steak:

Other Steak Recipes:

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Chicken Fried Steak

The best kind of chicken fried steak, not rubbery or soggy, but perfectly cooked with a crispy crust and a hefty drizzle of creamy rich gravy. 
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Chicken Fried Steak

  • 6 (5-ounce) tenderized cube or round steaks
  • Vegetable or other neutral oil for frying
  • 2 large eggs , beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt , plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons pan drippings from frying the steaks
  • 3 tablespoons flour from breading the steaks
  • 2 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 2 tablespoons grated white onion (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • If necessary, use a meat mallet or a rolling pin to pound the meat to an 1/3-inch thickness. Pour the oil into a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, to a 1/2-inch depth. Preheat the oven to 200°F (for keeping the steaks warm while you make the gravy), and place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Line a large plate with paper towels.
  • In a wide shallow bowl combine the eggs and the milk. In another wide shallow bowl, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, garlic powder, and cayenne.
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it measures 375°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, heat the oil until it shimmers, and test it by dropping a small lump of the egg mixture mixed with some flour into the oil. If it starts gently sizzling and turns golden brown after a few minutes, the oil is at the right temperature.
  • While the oil heats, place each steak into the flour mixture to coat. Shake of any excess flour. Dip the floured steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat evenly. Allow any excess to drip back into the bowl. Dredge the steaks one more time in the flour mixture, and place on the wire rack. Repeat until all of the steaks are breaded.
  • When the oil is ready, fry two steaks at a time (more if you have a very large pan) for about 2 ½ to 3 minutes per side, until the crust is brown and crispy. Use tongs to flip the steaks, and when cooked to transfer them to the paper towel lined plate. Let sit for a few seconds, then transfer to the wire rack. When all of the steaks have been fried, transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven to keep the steaks warm.
  • Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the pan drippings from the pan and return to medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the leftover dredging flour mixture to the drippings. Whisk until the mixture turns a rich golden brown and starts to bubble, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the onion, if using. Return to the heat and whisk frequently until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. If the gravy feels too thick you can whisk in a couple of tablespoons of additional milk or hot water.
  • Take the steaks from the oven and place them on plates or a serving platter. Serve the gravy over the top of the steaks, or pass it on the side.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 579kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 1319mg | Potassium: 711mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 313IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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