Chicken Fried Steak

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This chicken fried steak recipe is a Southern classic featuring crispy, breaded cube steaks drenched in rich, creamy gravy. Perfect for both breakfast and dinner, this dish is the best chicken fried steak ever! The creamy, mouthwatering gravy is simply irresistible! Pair it with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes and enjoy this timeless comfort food.

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Chicken-fried steak was served over mashed potatoes, and gravy was poured over it.

This decadent yet easy chicken fried steak recipe has so much going for it, from the tender and juicy steak to the creamiest of gravies that gives me an excuse to make a fluffy pot of mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce! This is one of our favorite classic dinners, and it makes any weeknight feel special, filled with good food shared with family and friends.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • So flavorful. Tangy buttermilk and a trio of seasonings including smoked paprika, garlic powder, and white pepper powder infuse the meat with loads of flavor.
  • That gravy! This gravy is so lick-the-plate-worthy good that I sometimes make it to serve with other dishes – for example, I love to drizzle it over warm and flaky Homemade Biscuits.
  • Homey. I consider this dish to be pure comfort food, and we always look forward to it when we need a little extra dose of cozy. It’s also hearty and goes with so many sides, from all kinds of potatoes to green veggies and more.

Why Is It Called Chicken Fried Steak?

Although it’s called “chicken fried steak” this recipe does not include chicken. Instead, it features steak that’s breaded and fried similar to how you would fry chicken, which is why the word “chicken” is a part of its name. Instead of chicken, though, you’ll use tender cube steak that’s dipped in buttermilk, dredged in flour, fried to perfection, and finished with savory gravy. You may sometimes see chicken fried steak called “country fried steak”.

Recipe Ingredients

With simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store, this chicken fried steak recipe ensures you won’t need to hunt down any hard-to-find items. Everything you need to make this classic comfort food is likely already in your pantry or just a quick trip to the store away. Please check the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts and directions.

For The Chicken Fried Steak:

  • Steak – For this recipe, you’ll use cube steak.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • All-Purpose Flour – Flour is used to make a thick crust for the steak.
  • Seasonings – Smoked paprika, garlic powder, white pepper powder.
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder – A touch of baking soda and baking powder helps the steak to crisp up while it cooks.
  • Buttermilk – Nothing beats real buttermilk, but in a pinch, you can make a homemade version with milk and vinegar (I’ve detailed how lower down).
  • Eggs As with most of my recipes, unless otherwise specified, you’ll need large eggs to make this dish.
  • Vegetable Oil – This is used to fry the steak.

For The Gravy:

  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter.
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Milk – I prefer whole milk but 2% milk works too.
  • Heavy Cream – To make the richest gravy, use heavy cream. You can substitute half-and-half with similar results.
  • Salt and Pepper
A fried steak, sliced.

How To Make Chicken Fried Steak

Here’s my simple step-by-step method for making chicken fried steak. This recipe breaks down the process into easy-to-follow steps. From tenderizing the meat to creating that perfectly crispy coating, you’ll find everything you need to recreate this classic dish right in your own kitchen. 

  1. Season: First season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Make dredging stations: In a shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour, dried seasonings, baking soda, baking powder, and the remaining salt and pepper.
  3. Combine buttermilk: Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in another shallow dish.
  4. Dredge: Dip each steak into the flour mixture, pressing the flour onto the meat.
  5. Dip in the egg mix: Submerge the meat in the buttermilk and egg mixture.
  6. Dredge again: Return the steak to the flour mixture for a second coating.
  7. Fry: Heat the oil in a large skillet and fry the steaks for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown.
  8. Make gravy: Melt the butter over medium heat.
  9. Add flour: Whisk in the flour and cook until golden.
  10. Add milk: Slowly pour in the milk and cream.
  11. Cook: Whisk continually while cooking the gravy until thick.
  12. Serve! To serve, ladle the gravy over the hot steaks and garnish with thyme.
Breaded chicken fried steak on a cutting board.

Recipe Tips for Success

  • Coat the meat well. For the crispiest chicken fried steak, make sure to use baking powder and baking soda, and coat the meat well with the flour. This combination will make the steaks nice and crispy during the cooking process.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. When frying the steak, use a heavy pan and don’t pack in the meat. You can do two steaks at a time so that they have plenty of room to cook up crispy.
  • Brown the flour. For the gravy, when you create a roux or flour base for a sauce or gravy, it’s important to cook the flour enough so that it removes the raw flour taste from the base. Watch carefully and keep stirring so that the roux browns but doesn’t burn. If you do burn it, discard it and start again.
  • DIY buttermilk substitute: Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk to make one cup of homemade buttermilk. For this recipe, I recommend either doubling this method and measuring out what you need (you will have some leftovers). Or make one cup of buttermilk following this method, then make an additional ½ cup by adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar to ½ cup of milk.

Serving Suggestions

There is nothing better than a big pile of buttery and fluffy mashed potatoes alongside chicken fried steak! Add a green vegetable, and dinner is ready.

Make my Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Potato Wedges, or Parmesan Roasted Potatoes. Add a bowl of green vegetables, and you’ve got the makings of a great dinner! Try Sauteed Green Beans or Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or add a burst of color with Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots.

We also love to have this Grilled Corn recipe with just about everything. A fresh salad is a light and welcome side to chicken fried steak. My Tomato and Avocado Salad is one of our favorites, or try a heartier Jennifer Aniston Salad packed with raw vegetables.

Soak up that luscious gravy with a scoop of Garlic Butter Parmesan Rice!

Sliced chicken fried steak served over mashed potatoes, and a fork is resting on top of the meat.

How To Store & Reheat Leftovers

If you have leftovers, it’s best to store the steak and the gravy in separate containers. Place the cooled steak in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Transfer any leftover gravy to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To reheat, return the meat to an oiled pan and cook it over low heat until warmed through and slightly crisp, a few minutes on each side. For the gravy, you can reheat it in the microwave at 30-second intervals until warm or place it in a pot on the stove over low heat, stirring a few times, until hot.

More Easy Beef Recipes

Chicken Fried Steak

This crisp-tender Chicken Fried Steak is smothered in a creamy, mouthwatering gravy you won't be able to resist!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


For the Chicken Fried Steak:

  • pounds pre-tenderized cube steak patties, (4 steaks) ¼ -inch thick
  • teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

For the Chicken Fried Steak Gravy:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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Season the Steaks:

  • Pat the cube steaks dry with paper towels and use 1 teaspoon of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to season them.

Prepare the Dredging Station:

  • In a shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, white pepper powder, baking soda, baking powder, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well.

Prepare the Wet Mixture:

  • Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in another shallow dish until well combined.

First Dredge:

  • Dip each seasoned steak into the flour mixture, pressing the flour onto the meat to ensure it’s well coated. Shake off any excess flour.

Wet Coating:

  • Dip the floured steak into the buttermilk and egg mixture, ensuring it is fully submerged and coated.

Second Dredge:

  • Return the steak to the flour mixture for a second coating, pressing the flour onto the steak again to create a thick, even crust. Shake off any excess flour and set the coated steak aside on a plate. Repeat with all steaks.

Heat the Oil:

  • In a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F. You should use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
  • Carefully place the breaded steaks into the hot oil, frying in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry each steak for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to flip the steaks and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Make the Gravy:

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture turns a light golden color and has a nutty aroma.
  • Slowly pour the whole milk and heavy cream, continuously whisking to prevent lumps. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Season the gravy with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Place the fried steaks on serving plates and generously ladle the creamy gravy over the top. Serve immediately with mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh thyme.


Serving: 1steak | Calories: 877kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 289mg | Sodium: 1.658mg | Potassium: 1.09mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1.29IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 437mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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