Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

Dive into the heart of Southern comfort food with the classic Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy. This beloved dish combines tenderized steak coated in a crispy, seasoned batter, fried to golden perfection, and smothered in a creamy, savory gravy. Ideal for any meal where comfort is desired, this recipe brings a taste of the South right to your kitchen. It’s a favorite for its heartiness and its ability to conjure the warmth of a home-cooked meal. Perfect for both casual family dinners and more festive occasions, chicken fried steak promises to satisfy any craving for something deeply satisfying and deliciously comforting.

Part 1: Introduction to Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy is a staple in Southern cuisine, renowned for its rustic charm and deeply satisfying flavors. This dish represents the epitome of comfort food, featuring a tender steak that is breaded, fried, and then doused in a rich, creamy gravy. It’s a simple meal with humble beginnings that has risen to become a celebrated mainstay in diners and kitchens across America.

The appeal of chicken fried steak lies in its straightforward preparation and its universally pleasing flavor profile. The steak, typically a cube steak pounded to tender perfection, is seasoned and coated in a flavorful batter. Fried until crispy and golden, it is then served with a generous helping of gravy—smooth, peppery, and indulgent. This combination of textures and flavors not only fills the belly but also warms the soul, making it a perfect dish for any day of the year.

Whether you’re new to this dish or it’s a long-standing favorite, understanding how to prepare it properly can turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. In the following sections, we’ll explore the ingredients needed to create this iconic dish, ensuring that you can bring this taste of Southern hospitality to your table.

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Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

  • Author: Avani
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


The Ultimate Chicken Fried Steak is fried to golden perfection and topped with the creamiest gravy you can imagine, sure to quickly become a family favorite. It’s hard to imagine a more quintessential Southern meal than Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy. The hard part is deciding whether you want to make it for breakfast or dinner.


4 beef cube steaks (about 1/3 pound each)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Vegetable oil for frying
For the Gravy:
2 tablespoons reserved frying oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

Part 2: The Origins of Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken fried steak, also fondly known as country fried steak, roots itself deeply in the Southern United States. This dish’s history is a melting pot of culinary traditions, believed to be influenced by German immigrants who brought recipes similar to Wiener Schnitzel from Europe to Texas. Adapted to local tastes and available ingredients, it evolved into what is now a beloved regional staple.

Evolution and Adoption

  • The transformation into chicken fried steak represents a fusion of immigrant cooking techniques with Southern ingredients. Early versions were likely made with tougher cuts of beef that were tenderized, breaded, and fried to make them more palatable and tender.
  • As its popularity grew, chicken fried steak became a symbol of home-style comfort food throughout the South, often served with mashed potatoes and green beans to round out a hearty meal.

Cultural Significance

  • Chicken fried steak holds a special place in Southern cuisine, often featured in family gatherings and local diners. Its comfort food status transcends simple nourishment, evoking feelings of home and belonging.
  • It is celebrated to such an extent that some states, including Oklahoma, have named it the official state meal. This designation underscores its importance in Southern culinary tradition and its role in cultural identity.

The historical journey of chicken fried steak is not just about a dish but about the stories and traditions of those who created it and continue to cherish it. As we delve into the ingredients that make up this iconic meal, we gain a deeper appreciation for its roots and ongoing legacy in American cuisine.

Part 3: Essential Ingredients for Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

To create the perfect Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy, having the right ingredients is crucial. Here’s a detailed list of what you’ll need to replicate this classic Southern dish at home:

For the Chicken Fried Steak:

  • Beef Cube Steaks (about 1/3 pound each): These are typically tenderized cuts of beef, such as top round or top sirloin, which are pounded to ensure tenderness.
  • All-purpose Flour (1 cup): This is used for the initial dredging of the steaks.
  • Paprika (1 teaspoon): Adds a subtle, smoky flavor to the flour mixture.
  • Garlic Powder (1/2 teaspoon): Provides a hint of garlic flavor without the moisture of fresh garlic.
  • Onion Powder (1/2 teaspoon): Gives a mild onion flavor that complements the meat well.
  • Black Pepper (1/2 teaspoon): Adds necessary heat and enhances the other flavors.
  • Salt (1/2 teaspoon): Essential for seasoning the flour mixture.
  • Eggs (2): Help the flour coating adhere to the steaks and add richness.
  • Milk (1/4 cup): Combines with eggs to create the wet batter for a second dredging.

For the Gravy:

  • Reserved Frying Oil (2 tablespoons): Used to build the roux which forms the base of the gravy.
  • All-purpose Flour (2 tablespoons): Thickens the gravy.
  • Milk (2 cups): The primary liquid for the gravy, making it creamy and rich.
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste: For final seasoning adjustments to enhance the flavor.

Additional Supplies:

  • Vegetable Oil for Frying: Provides the medium for cooking the steaks, ensuring they are crispy and golden.

Part 4: Step-by-Step Recipe Guide

Preparing the Steak

  1. Mix the Flour Coating: In a shallow dish, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. This mixture will create the seasoned outer layer of your steaks.
  2. Prepare the Egg Wash: In another shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and 1/4 cup milk. This mixture helps the flour coating stick to the steaks and adds richness.
  3. Dredge the Steaks: Dip each steak first in the flour mixture, ensuring it’s fully coated. Shake off any excess flour. Dip next into the egg wash, and then dredge in the flour mixture again. This double-dipping ensures a thick, crispy crust.
  4. Fry the Steaks: Heat a good amount of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the steaks until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Once cooked, transfer the steaks to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

Making the Gravy

  1. Prepare the Roux: Reduce the heat to medium and in the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved frying oil and 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk together and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture is golden and bubbly.
  2. Add Milk Gradually: Slowly whisk in 2 cups of milk, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. These bits add lots of flavors to your gravy.
  3. Simmer the Gravy: Continue cooking and stirring until the gravy thickens, about 5-7 minutes. If the gravy is too thick, you can thin it with a little more milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve: Place the fried steaks on plates and generously spoon the warm gravy over the top.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure that each component of your Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy turns out perfectly. This dish is not just about cooking; it’s about layering flavors and textures to create a meal that’s truly satisfying. In the next section, we’ll explore the nutritional profile of this dish, providing you with insights on how it fits into a balanced diet.

Part 5: Nutritional Information

While Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy is undeniably delicious, understanding its nutritional aspects can help you enjoy this dish as part of a balanced diet. Here’s a look at the nutritional profile and some considerations for those who love this hearty Southern classic.

Caloric Content

  • High in Calories: Typically, chicken fried steak with gravy is quite calorie-dense due to the frying process and the rich, creamy gravy. A single serving can contain significant calories, making it a more indulgent choice.


  • Proteins: The beef steak provides a good amount of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fats: The cooking method introduces higher levels of fats, particularly if the steak is fried in a generous amount of oil. The type of oil used can impact the healthiness of the fats consumed.
  • Carbohydrates: The flour used for breading and in the gravy contributes carbohydrates. While not a high-carb dish, it’s worth noting for those monitoring their intake.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Iron: Beef is a good source of iron, which is crucial for blood health.
  • Calcium: The milk in the gravy offers calcium, important for bone health.

Dietary Considerations

  • Gluten and Dairy: For those with allergies or sensitivities, the traditional recipe contains gluten (from the flour) and dairy (from the milk in the gravy), which may need to be substituted for appropriate alternatives.

Healthier Alternatives

  • Reducing Fat: For a healthier version, consider pan-frying the steak in a minimal amount of oil or even baking it in the oven.
  • Low-Fat Milk: Use low-fat or skim milk in the gravy to reduce overall fat content without compromising the creamy texture.
  • Whole Wheat Flour: Substitute all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for added fiber and nutrients.

Part 6: Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Serving Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy effectively enhances its enjoyment and can balance its richness with complementary sides. Here are some tips on how to present and pair this classic dish to make it a well-rounded meal.

Traditional Side Dishes

  • Mashed Potatoes: A creamy, buttery side of mashed potatoes is a classic pairing, perfect for soaking up extra gravy.
  • Green Beans: Steamed or sautéed green beans offer a light, crisp contrast to the richness of the steak.
  • Corn on the Cob: Sweet corn provides a juicy, sweet contrast that complements the savory flavors of the meal.

Salad Options

  • Coleslaw: A tangy coleslaw can add a refreshing crunch and acidity, cutting through the heaviness of the fried steak.
  • Garden Salad: A simple garden salad dressed with a light vinaigrette can provide a healthy, fiber-rich addition to the meal.

Bread Accompaniments

  • Buttermilk Biscuits: Fluffy biscuits are ideal for dabbing up leftover gravy and adding a southern flair to the meal.
  • Garlic Bread: Garlic bread offers a flavorful crunch that pairs wonderfully with the creamy textures.

Beverage Pairings

  • Iced Tea: A glass of sweet or unsweetened iced tea complements the meal with its refreshing taste and is a staple in Southern dining.
  • Beer: A light lager can cleanse the palate between bites of this rich dish.
  • Red Wine: For a more refined dining experience, a medium-bodied red wine such as a Merlot can pair nicely, balancing the meal’s savory elements.


  • Peach Cobbler: Finish the meal with a southern dessert like peach cobbler, which offers a sweet and tangy finish to balance the savory main course.
  • Apple Pie: A slice of apple pie provides a classic, comforting end to a hearty meal.

By considering these serving and pairing suggestions, you can turn a meal featuring Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy into a delightful dining experience that satisfies all tastes and preferences. Next, we will explore some creative twists on this traditional recipe to keep your culinary experiences fresh and exciting.

Part 7: Creative Twists on Traditional Chicken Fried Steak

Alternative Proteins

  • Chicken or Pork: For a lighter version, you can use chicken breasts or pork chops instead of beef. These alternatives still deliver great flavor when breaded and fried.
  • Vegetarian Options: For a vegetarian twist, breaded and fried portobello mushrooms or seitan make excellent substitutes, offering a similar texture and heartiness.

Different Breading Mixtures

  • Cornmeal Mix: Add cornmeal to your flour mixture for extra crunch and a slight sweetness that pairs well with the savory gravy.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Use Panko for a lighter, crispier breading that adds a delightful texture contrast to the creamy gravy.

Spicy Gravy Variations

  • Cajun Spice: Add Cajun seasoning to both your steak breading and your gravy for a spicy kick that enhances the dish’s bold flavors.
  • Chipotle Pepper: Mix in some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into the gravy for a smoky, spicy flavor that adds depth.

Topping Additions

  • Crispy Onions: Top your chicken fried steak with crispy fried onions for added flavor and crunch.
  • Sautéed Mushrooms: A topping of sautéed mushrooms can introduce an earthy flavor that complements the fried steak beautifully.

Serving Styles

  • Sandwich Form: Serve the chicken fried steak between buns with lettuce, tomato, and a drizzle of gravy for a hearty sandwich that eats like a meal.
  • Bite-Sized Pieces: Cut the steaks into bite-sized pieces before breading and frying to create a perfect party appetizer, served with dipping bowls of gravy.

These variations not only cater to different dietary preferences and tastes but also add an exciting twist to the traditional dish, keeping the dining experience interesting and enjoyable. By experimenting with these suggestions, you can discover new favorite ways to enjoy the classic comfort of Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy.

Part 8: Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Fried Steak

When diving into the delicious world of Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy, both newcomers and seasoned cooks might have questions about perfecting this dish. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions that can help enhance your cooking experience.

  • How can I ensure the steak is tender? Tenderizing the meat is crucial. Use a meat mallet to pound the steaks to an even thickness before seasoning and breading. This not only helps in tenderizing but also ensures even cooking.
  • What’s the best way to keep the breading from falling off during frying? Make sure to press the flour mixture firmly onto the steak during the breading process and allow the breaded steaks to sit for about 5-10 minutes before frying. This setting time helps the coating adhere better.
  • Can chicken fried steak be made ahead of time? While it’s best served fresh, you can prepare the steaks and even fry them ahead of time. Reheat them in a hot oven to recrisp the breading before serving. However, always make the gravy fresh for the best taste.
  • What are the key factors for making smooth and creamy gravy? For smooth gravy, ensure you cook the roux (flour and oil mixture) long enough to remove the raw flour taste without letting it burn. Add the milk gradually while continuously whisking to prevent lumps.
  • Is there a specific type of oil that should be used for frying? Use oils with a high smoke point like vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil for frying. These ensure safer and more effective frying at higher temperatures.

Part 9: User Reviews and Feedback

Gathering insights from those who have previously made Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy can provide valuable perspectives and tips for enhancing this classic dish. Here’s a summary of feedback from various home cooks and food enthusiasts:

Common Praises

  • Comfort Food Appeal: Many reviewers celebrate this dish as the ultimate comfort food, praising its hearty and satisfying nature.
  • Flavorful Gravy: The gravy often receives compliments for its rich and creamy texture, which perfectly complements the crispy steak.
  • Versatility: Users appreciate how the basic recipe can be adapted with different spices or toppings to suit personal tastes or dietary needs.

Constructive Critiques

  • Oil Temperature Control: Some cooks have noted that maintaining the correct oil temperature for frying can be challenging. If the oil is too hot, the breading may burn; if too cold, the steak absorbs excess oil and becomes greasy.
  • Breading Techniques: Occasionally, reviewers mention issues with the breading falling off. They suggest ensuring the meat is completely dry before beginning the breading process to help the flour and batter adhere better.

Helpful Tips from Experienced Cooks

  • Resting the Breaded Steaks: Allowing the breaded steaks to rest for a few minutes before frying is a commonly recommended tip for ensuring the coating sticks during cooking.
  • Double Dipping: Some experienced cooks recommend double dipping the steaks in both the flour and egg mixtures for an extra crispy and thick crust.
  • Keeping Steaks Warm: Placing the cooked steaks in a low-temperature oven while preparing the gravy helps keep them warm and crispy.

Creative Variations Tried by Users

  • Spice Additions: Adding cayenne pepper to the flour mix or a splash of hot sauce to the gravy are popular tweaks for introducing a bit of heat to the dish.
  • Low-Carb Version: Using almond flour and pork rind crumbs instead of traditional flour has been a successful adaptation for those following a ketogenic or low-carb diet.

Leveraging Feedback for Improvement

This collective feedback serves as a useful guide for anyone looking to perfect their Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy. Whether adjusting cooking techniques, experimenting with ingredients, or adapting the dish to dietary preferences, the experiences of fellow cooks can inspire and guide your culinary journey. By considering these insights, you can enhance your version of this beloved dish and perhaps even develop new traditions in your own kitchen.

Part 10: Embracing the Comfort of Chicken Fried Steak

As we conclude our comprehensive guide to making Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy, it’s clear why this dish stands as a beloved icon of Southern cuisine. Known for its comforting embrace and hearty satisfaction, chicken fried steak represents more than just a meal; it’s a piece of culinary heritage that evokes warmth and nostalgia.

Encouragement to Try

If you haven’t yet experienced making chicken fried steak at home, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a fantastic way to bring a taste of Southern comfort into your kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for a casual family meal or a more formal gathering, this dish is sure to impress with its flavorsome crust and decadent gravy.

The Joy of Cooking and Sharing

Cooking is not just about nourishing the body but also about feeding the soul and creating memories around the dinner table. Chicken fried steak, with its rich flavors and satisfying texture, is perfect for sharing and can bring people together in a way that few other dishes can.

Continual Learning in the Kitchen

Each time you prepare this dish, you’ll find opportunities to refine your techniques and perhaps even add your own creative twists. Whether it’s experimenting with different breading ingredients, spices, or accompaniments, chicken fried steak offers a canvas for culinary creativity.

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