Hello, comfort food! Old Fashioned Chicken Fried Steak is made with cube steak that’s breaded twice for an irresistibly crunchy coating, then served with an easy white gravy. It’s hearty and comforting, and sure to please everyone at the table.
As someone who grew up in the Midwest, chicken fried steak wasn’t on my radar. We didn’t have it at family gatherings. We didn’t have it at church potlucks. And we didn’t make it for Sunday dinner.
And boy, were we missing out!! This Old Fashioned Chicken Fried Steak is a true comfort food dish, and GOSH is it good.
My mom would often sauté cube steak that had been coated with flour (or make a Crockpot Cube Steak), but it was nothing like this.
For this chicken fried steak recipe, we’ll take cube steak and bread it twice using eggs and seasoned flour. Then, we’ll shallow fry it to perfection before smothering it with an easy white gravy.
I love serving it with mashed potatoes and a veggie side (like green beans or roasted broccoli) for a hearty meal.
Don’t miss this round-up of 22 cube steak recipes for even more ideas for what to do with cube steak!
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- Why is it called chicken fried steak?
- Origin of chicken fried steak
- How to make old fashioned chicken fried steak
- Top tips
- Can you make chicken fried steak ahead of time?
- How to reheat chicken fried steak
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What to serve with chicken fried steak
- 📖 Recipe
- Related recipes
- 💬 Reviews
Why is it called chicken fried steak?
Despite the name, chicken fried steak is not made with chicken. Instead, it’s made with beef coated with a batter that’s similar to the batter used to make fried chicken.
The most traditional cuts of beef used are cube steak or round steak that’s been pounded thinly.
Origin of chicken fried steak
Chicken fried steak is thought to have originated in the Southern United States in the early 1800s. It is believed to have been created as a way to use up leftover meat, or to make a cheap piece of meat taste good. The dish quickly became popular and spread throughout the country.
Today, chicken fried steak is still a popular dish, especially in the South. There are many different variations of chicken fried steak, but the basic recipe remains the same: cube steak, battered and fried to perfection, then smothered with white gravy.
- You can use either cube steaks or round steak (pounded thinly) for this recipe. I used cube steaks since they are already thin and tenderized.
- The cube steaks will get dipped in a mixture of eggs and buttermilk.
- The seasoned flour is made with all purpose flour, baking powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- You can use vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, etc.—any neutral tasting oil works for shallow frying the steaks.
How to make old fashioned chicken fried steak
Start by whisking the eggs and buttermilk together in a shallow dish.
Then, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
Dip one cube steak into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture. Repeat with the same steak—another dip of the egg mixture and another dip of the flour mixture.
Repeat with the remaining cube steaks. Place the meat on wax paper or parchment paper to dry for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat one half inch of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. I used a cast iron skillet.
Heat the oil to approximately 325°F. It should bubble if you stick the end of a wooden spoon in it.
Add or two of the cube steaks (however many fit in the pan without crowding) and cook for 2–4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
Remove and place on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining cube steaks.
Place the sheet pan in a 200°F oven to stay warm while you make the gravy.
Pour the cooking oil out of the pan, and return one quarter cup of the oil to the skillet.
Use the oil to create an easy white gravy.
You can head to the easy white gravy post for step-by-step photos with instructions and more info; the ingredients and instructions are also in the recipe card below.
Finally, top the old fashioned chicken fried steaks with the white gravy. I like serving them with mashed potatoes and green beans for a homestyle feast!
- Don’t skip letting the breaded cube steaks rest before frying. The time allows the batter to adhere to the meat.
- The oil should be approximately 325°F. Hotter oil will result in a dark brown exterior and raw meat. Oil less than 325°F may result in the dish getting soggy.
- Place the freshly fried chicken fried steaks on a wire rack, set on top of a sheet pan, if you have one. This will help the whole piece of meat stay crispy (even on the bottom).
Can you make chicken fried steak ahead of time?
Chicken fried steak is best served immediately after making it. That said, you can do a few things if you want to prepare in advance:
- Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together, cover, and refrigerate.
- Whisk the flour mixture together, cover, and set aside.
Then when you’re ready to cook the dish, you just need to dip the cube steaks, let them rest, and fry them.
How to reheat chicken fried steak
Refrigerate any leftover chicken fried steak. To reheat, preheat an oven to 350°F. Place the chicken fried steak on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan (this helps keep the bottom crispy since the heat can circulate around all sides of the steaks). Bake for 8–10 minutes, or until heated through.
You can also reheat chicken fried steak in an air fryer for 5–7 minutes at 400°F.
I don’t recommend freezing this dish as the exterior will get soggy when defrosted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make this recipe with just the buttermilk and no eggs.
Regular cow’s milk or a milk substitute will work just fine. The buttermilk adds a slight tanginess that complements the batter, but it’ll be good without it, too.
The gravy. Chicken fried steak typically has a white gravy, and country fried steak has a brown gravy.
The resting time allows the batter to adhere to the meat. Otherwise it may come off as it cooks.
Overcooking will make chicken fried steak tough and chewy.
What to serve with chicken fried steak
- Mashed potatoes
- Buttered noodles
- Green beans (fresh or canned)
- Roasted broccoli
- Roasted or grilled zucchini
- Old Fashioned Zucchini Casserole
- Homemade Potato Rolls
- Bisquick Cheddar Biscuits
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Old Fashioned Chicken Fried Steak
For the chicken fried steak:
- 1½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 cube steaks (about 1½ lbs)
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the gravy:
- ¼ cup drippings (from making chicken fried steak, or use bacon grease or butter)
- ¼ cup flour
- 2–2½ cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
For the chicken fried steak:
- Place the flour, baking powder, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Stir to combine.
- Place the eggs and buttermilk in a separate dish. Whisk to combine.
- Dip one cube steak in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture. Dip the cube steak again in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture.
- Repeat with the remaining steaks.
- Place the cube steaks on a baking sheet or parchment paper to dry for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat ½ inch of oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Fry the steaks for 3–4 minutes per side, or until golden brown, working in batches as needed.
For the white gravy:
- Measure ¼ cup of the drippings and place in a skillet over medium heat. Pour the flour over the drippings, and stir to combine. Cook for 2–3 minutes, until light golden brown.
- Whisk in the milk, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Let cook for 3–4 minutes, or until thickened.
- Spoon gravy over the chicken fried steak.