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Classic Chicken Fried Steak


Chicken Fried Steak is a beloved Southern dish that features tender cube steaks, breaded and fried to golden perfection, then smothered in a creamy, peppery gravy. This hearty and comforting meal is perfect for family dinners or special occasions. Let’s dive into this delicious recipe and learn how to make it step-by-step.



For the Steak:

  • 4 cube steaks (about 1/3 pound each)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons of reserved frying oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Prepare the Steak

  1. Season the Steaks:
    • Season the cube steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.

Step 2: Prepare the Breading Stations

  1. Flour Mixture:
    • In a shallow dish, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Egg Mixture:
    • In another shallow dish, whisk together 2 large eggs and 1/4 cup of milk until well combined.

Step 3: Bread the Steaks

  1. Coat with Flour:
    • Dredge each cube steak in the flour mixture, ensuring it’s evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour.
  2. Dip in Egg Mixture:
    • Dip the floured steaks into the egg mixture, coating them completely.
  3. Second Flour Coating:
    • Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture again, pressing lightly to ensure the coating sticks well.

Step 4: Fry the Steaks

  1. Heat the Oil:
    • In a large skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (175°C). Use a thermometer to check the temperature, or test with a small piece of bread; it should sizzle immediately.
  2. Fry the Steaks:
    • Carefully place the breaded steaks into the hot oil. Fry for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Do not overcrowd the skillet; fry in batches if necessary.
  3. Drain the Steaks:
    • Use a slotted spoon to remove the steaks from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Step 5: Make the Gravy

  1. Reserve Oil:
    • Carefully pour out the frying oil, reserving 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
  2. Make a Roux:
    • Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the reserved oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the flour is lightly browned and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add Milk:
    • Gradually whisk in 2 cups of milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Season and Thicken:
    • Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Plate the Steaks:
    • Place the fried steaks on a serving platter.
  2. Top with Gravy:
    • Spoon the creamy gravy over the steaks.
  3. Serve Immediately:
    • Serve the Chicken Fried Steak hot, accompanied by mashed potatoes, green beans, or your favorite Southern sides.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Cube Steaks: Cube steaks are typically used for this recipe because they are tenderized, but you can also use other tender cuts of beef if desired.
  • Oil Temperature: Maintaining the correct oil temperature is crucial for achieving a crispy coating. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the heat as needed.
  • Gravy Consistency: If the gravy is too thick, you can thin it out with a little more milk. If it’s too thin, cook it a bit longer to thicken.


Spicy Chicken Fried Steak

  • Add Spice:
    • Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture for a spicy kick.

Buttermilk Chicken Fried Steak

  • Use Buttermilk:
    • Substitute the milk in the egg mixture with buttermilk for a tangy flavor.

Herbed Gravy

  • Add Herbs:
    • Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley to the gravy for added flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Side Dishes

  • Mashed Potatoes:
    • Classic mashed potatoes are the perfect side to soak up the delicious gravy.
  • Green Beans:
    • Serve with steamed or sautéed green beans for a complete Southern meal.
  • Biscuits:
    • Fluffy Southern biscuits make a great accompaniment to this hearty dish.


  • Fresh Herbs:
    • Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for a burst of color and flavor.
  • Crispy Onions:
    • Top with crispy fried onions for extra crunch.


Q: Can I use a different cut of beef? A: Yes, while cube steaks are traditional, you can use other tender cuts of beef. Just be sure to tenderize them if needed.


Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover chicken fried steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or a skillet to maintain its crispiness.


Q: Can I freeze this dish? A: Yes, you can freeze the fried steaks. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


Q: What can I use instead of vegetable oil for frying? A: You can use other high-heat oils such as canola oil or peanut oil for frying.


Q: How can I make the gravy thicker? A: To thicken the gravy, you can either cook it longer to reduce, or mix a little more flour with water to create a slurry and stir it into the gravy while simmering.


Classic Chicken Fried Steak is a comforting and flavorful Southern dish that’s sure to become a family favorite. With its crispy breading and rich, creamy gravy, this dish is perfect for any occasion. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or try one of the variations, this chicken fried steak is easy to make and always delicious. Enjoy making and sharing this hearty meal with your loved ones!