Chicken Fried Steak

The first thing to know about chicken fried steak is that the meat used is ... steak, not chicken. Its name comes from the approach to the breading, which is more commonly used for chicken than for red meat. That said, chef and recipe developer Keith Kamikawa says: "This recipe can be used across the board for obviously chicken, or even pork," adding, "It's really a versatile dish [that] can be served for breakfast with eggs and biscuits as much as it fits for lunch or dinner."

The second thing to know about Chicken Fried Steak is that despite the easy, casual aura of the dish, it's actually a pretty hands-on, complicated food to get right. Kamikawa's recipe calls for no fewer than 18 ingredients (when you count the oil for frying) and there are multiple steps to prepping and cooking the meat and to making the all-important gravy.

Ah, but the third takeaway point here? Chicken Fried Steak is absolutely delicious and is more than worth the work, so don't shy away just because this one requires a bit of time and effort. There's a reason this is a beloved meal served at diners all across America, and it's called great taste. Bring that taste home once and it will be on your family's proverbial menu for good.

Gather your ingredients

As with most recipes, there's a bit of latitude with this one. If you don't like spicy foods, ditch the cayenne pepper (though not much is used here anyway). If you have flank steak on hand, use it. Got a big T-bone? Cut it down to size and use that. And so on. But when in doubt, follow the recipe exactly!

To do that, you'll need about 2 pounds of steak, pounded thin (a rump roast will serve well, Kamikawa says), plenty of vegetable oil for frying, unbleached all-purpose flour, cornmeal, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, poultry seasoning, dried thyme, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, an egg, buttermilk, a diced white onion, minced garlic, chicken broth, and whole milk.

Prep the steak and heat oil and oven

First things first: let's prepare the steak. To do that, start by slicing the beef into 4- to 5-ounce cuts of steak, slicing against the grain to make thin, flat pieces. One at a time, place each cut into a large plastic bag or between pieces of plastic wrap and pound the meat out until the streak is about 1/3 of an inch thick.

Meanwhile, pour 4 cups of vegetable oil into a Dutch oven or thick-gauged pan and heat on medium high until the oil hits 375 degrees, and preheat your oven to 200 degrees, an ideal "keep warm" temperature.

Prepare the breading and then bread the steaks

To prepare the breading mixture, in a medium bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups of flour, 1/4 of a cup of cornmeal, 6 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper, 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/8 a teaspoon of poultry seasoning, and 1/8 of a teaspoon of sugar in a large bowl. Mix them well, then take 1 cup of the breading and place it in a separate bowl.

Next, in a third bowl whisk 1 egg, 3/4 of a teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 cup of buttermilk.

Now set up a breading station in this order: start with the steak, then the small bowl of breading, then the buttermilk mixture, and lastly the larger bowl of breading. To bread the meat, take 1 steak and dredge it in the first bowl of breading. When the steak is covered, coat it in the buttermilk mixture, then remove the steak from the buttermilk and let the excess drip off. 

Finally, place the steak into the last large bowl of breading and thoroughly coat it, then set the breaded steak aside on a parchment paper-lined plate and repeat the steps until all of the steaks are coated.

Fry the steaks and keep them warm

When the oil has reached 375 degrees, carefully add 2 steaks (provided they fit into the pot without touching) into the hot oil. Cook the steaks for about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through the frying time. Fry until the breaded steaks are golden brown and crispy, then place the finished fried steaks on a lined baking sheet and place it in the oven. 

Bring the oil back up to 375 degrees and repeat until all the steaks are fried. "The big thing not to skip on is to make sure you always bring the frying oil back up to 375 [degrees] in between frying batches," says Kamikawa. "If that's not done, the breading doesn't crisp up and can be too soft and fall off of the steak."

Make the gravy and then serve your meal

For the gravy, start by carefully straining the cooking oil as you empty it from the pot. Keep all the larger crispy fried brown bits and set them aside, and keep 3 tablespoons of the cooking oil. Now return the Dutch oven to the stove and heat it on low, adding the 3 tablespoons of the cooking oil. 

When the oil is hot, add 10 ounces of finely diced onion and season the pot with 1 teaspoon of kosher table salt, 1/4 of a teaspoon of black pepper, 1/8 teaspoons of dried thyme, and 1/8 teaspoons of poultry seasoning, and sauté until the onions begin to brown, which will take about 6 minutes. 

Now add the brown bits of breading and the 2 cloves minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute, until the garlic grows fragrant. Next add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mix with the onion mixture until the ingredients are fully combined. 

Add 1 cup of chicken broth and whisk, making sure to whisk until all clumps are broken up and the gravy is thick and smooth. Next, slowly add 2 cups of whole milk to the gravy, whisking constantly until once again the gravy is smooth. Whisk the gravy on low for 2 to 3 minutes until it has thickened noticeably, and season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve your Chicken Fried Steaks with a generous amount of gravy, your favorite sides, and a dash of culinary pride.

Chicken Fried Steak
5 from 11 ratings
Looking for a new way to way to eat steak? Look no further than this chicken fried steak recipe, sure to impress your taste buds and wow your family.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
6
Servings
Chicken Fried Steak served on a plate with sides
Ready in 60 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of steak (rump roast works well)
  • vegetable oil for frying (about 4 cups)
  • 2 ¾ cups + 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 7 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 medium onion (10 ounces), diced small
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
Directions
  1. Slice meat into 4- to 5-ounce steaks cutting against the grain, then place each individually into a large plastic bag and pound until ⅓ inch thick.
  2. Pour 4 cups vegetable oil into a Dutch oven or thick-gauged pan and heat on medium-high until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. For the breading, mix 2 ¾ cups flour, ¼ cup cornmeal, 6 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ⅛ teaspoon poultry seasoning, and ⅛ teaspoon sugar in a large bowl. Then separate 1 cup of the breading and place in another bowl for the breading process.
  4. For the buttermilk mixture, whisk 1 egg, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and 1 cup buttermilk.
  5. Set up a breading station, starting with the steak, the small bowl of breading, the buttermilk mixture, and lastly, the larger bowl of breading.
  6. Take 1 steak and dredge it in the first bowl of breading. When the steak is covered, coat it in the buttermilk mixture. Remove the steak from the buttermilk and let excess drip off, then place steak into the last large bowl of breading and thoroughly coat.
  7. Set breaded steak aside on a parchment paper-lined plate and repeat until all steaks are coated.
  8. When the oil has reached 375 degrees Fahrenheit, carefully add 2 breaded steaks into the hot oil and cook steaks for about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through the time.
  9. Fry until golden brown and crispy, and place finished fried steaks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven. Bring the oil back up to 375 degrees and repeat until all steaks are fried.
  10. For the gravy, reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking oil and all the larger crispy fried brown bits from breading. Return the Dutch oven to the stove and heat on low, adding the 3 tablespoons of the cooking oil. When the oil is hot add the diced onion and season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme, and ⅛ teaspoon poultry seasoning, and sauté until the onions begin to brown, about 6 minutes.
  11. Add brown bits and the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and mix with the onion mixture until fully combined.
  12. Add the chicken broth and whisk, making sure to stir until all clumps are broken up and the gravy is thick and smooth.
  13. Slowly add the whole milk to the gravy, whisking constantly until once again the gravy is smooth -- whisk thinned gravy on low for 2 to 3 minutes, until it has thickened.
  14. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste, then serve Chicken Fried Steaks with a generous amount of gravy.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 1,240
Total Fat 89.5 g
Saturated Fat 16.3 g
Trans Fat 1.8 g
Cholesterol 131.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 64.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Total Sugars 8.9 g
Sodium 1,160.8 mg
Protein 43.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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