Chicken Fried Steak

Classic chicken fried steak, steak cutlets, pounded thin, breaded, fried, and served with country gravy.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 quarter-pound cube steaks (pre-tenderized) or round steaks
  • A sprinkling of salt for pre-salting the meat
  • 2 cups of flour for breading
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt for breading
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Canola oil, rice bran oil, or other high smoke point oil or fat for frying


  • 3 Tbsp pan drippings
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper



1 Pound steaks to an even thinness: If you are using round steak instead of the pre-tenderized cube steak, you will need to pound the steaks thin or they will be way too chewy. (Already tenderized cube steaks can also use some meat mallet attention to get more thin.)

Place each steak between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, rubber mallet, rolling pin, or empty wine bottle, beat the steak until it is very thin, less than 1/4-inch.

chicken-fried-steak-1a chicken-fried-steak-1b

As you beat the steak, you will want to turn over often, and spread out the plastic wrap which tends to wrinkle as you work.

2 Salt meat, preheat warming oven: Sprinkle a little salt over the meat. Preheat the oven to 200°F.  In the oven put a wire rack over a baking sheet. This will keep the finished steaks warm and dry while you cook the gravy.

3 Dredge steaks in flour, egg, and flour again: Prepare two wide, shallow dishes such as a pyrex casserole dish. In the first  whisk together the eggs and milk. In the second, whisk together the flour, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder.

Working one at a time, dredge a steak into the flour. Using the heel of your hand, press the flour into both sides of the steak.

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Lift up the steak, shake off the excess flour and dip the steak into the egg wash, coating it on both sides.

chicken-fried-steak-3e chicken-fried-steak-3f

Lift the steak out of the egg wash, shake off the excess egg wash, and then dredge the steak again in the flour. Again, press the flour into the steak on both sides.

Set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining steaks.

4 Fry the steaks: Pour enough oil in a large frying to cover the bottom by 1/4-inch. Heat the oil to 350°F or when you drop a little flour into the oil it sizzles. If the oil doesn't sizzle it isn't ready, if it burns, the oil is too hot, reduce the heat.

Working one at a time, lay a flour-egg-coated steak into the hot oil. Gently shake the pan a little to wash a little hot oil on the top of the steak. Or you can use a metal spoon to spoon some of the oil over the steak. This sets the coating.

chicken-fried-steak-4a chicken-fried-steak-4b

Fry until you see the edges of the steak turn golden brown, about two minutes. Carefully turn the steak over in the pan, and fry for two more minutes.

chicken-fried-steak-4c chicken-fried-steak-4d

Once both sides of the steak are golden brown, tip the steak up with a metal spatula to drain the excess oil. Remove it from the pan and place if on the wire rack in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining steaks.

5 Make a roux with fat and flour: Turn off the heat of the pan. Pour out all but about 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour and turn the heat on to medium.

chicken-fried-steak-5a chicken-fried-steak-5b

Let the flour mixture cook until it's the color of milk chocolate, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

6 Stir in milk and cream to make gravy: When the flour fat mixture is smooth and a lovely milk chocolate color, slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Note that the mixture will seize up initially, and will loosen as you whisk in more liquid.

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Add milk to your desired thickness for gravy. If the gravy is too thick for you, add more milk. If it's too thin, let it cook longer.

chicken-fried-steak-5e chicken-fried-steak-5f

Season with salt to taste. Season with lots of black pepper, to taste.

Serve chicken fried steak with the gravy and a side of mashed potatoes.

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  • Kim C.

    Awesome recipe! I made it last night for dinner and it was a hit. I added paprika, onion and garlic powder to the flour. The meat came out juicy and tender and the gravy was really good. I’ll be making this again!!


  • Amy

    In New Mexico they add green chiles to the gravy, which sounds weird but is really delicious.

  • Allen

    Old Houston twist- try adding crushed corn flakes to the flour mix!!

  • Judy Sochor

    My Mom always used pork cutlets and made it the same way! Delicious!!

  • Ellie

    Been making for over forty years. So good and easy. Just besure to dip flour then egg then flour again, enjoy!

  • Ali

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the gravy (mine didn’t quite soak up the flavor of the meat and seasonings the way I wanted), but everything else about this recipe was really excellent! The meat I chose came out juicy enough that I didn’t really need the gravy anyway and thanks to this recipe, I won’t be so scared of recipes that call for tenderizing the meat in the future, haha…

  • Tasty

    Tasty chicken ever!

  • Kristy

    I love adding mushroom soup with a little milk to the gravy.

  • Erika

    I’ve been f-ing up chicken fried steak for 20 years. I tried this recipe. Omg. So good and so easy. It’s bookmarked and I’ve come back to make it again. I better write it down!!!!

  • Sandy Pride

    Pretty good and quite easy! I would make this again!

  • CescaMom

    This is definitely one of my hubby’s favorites. He likes it breaded with ritz crackers in butter flavored crisco. So bad… yet so GOOD!

  • Stacey

    Best recipe for chicken fried steak! The family loved it!!

  • arthur

    hi made this today it was pretty good first time ever made gravey not to bad great recipe

  • Michelle Parsons

    Made this for my family and they fell in love ! One of the best out there ! There is also another recipe for peppered white gravy that is incredible and complements this CFS . My family’s must have now. Also this is a fairly easy and quick meal. 5 stars


  • Mittz

    This recipe has gone over extremely well in my household. Unfortunately, my girlfriend has recently discovered she has a dairy allergy, is there any recommend replacements for the dairy in this or is she out of luck?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mittz, hmm, good question! You might try making it with almond milk. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Don

    I’ve been a Chef for some 20 yrs. As far as breading meats, your website is one of the few to get it right out there! So many complain of the breading falling off the meat, because they do it wrong? It’s flour first, then egg mixture, then crumbs, etc. I even rub in the egg mixture in to set up the “glue” that holds to the meat. Definately NOT eggs first though? That fills all the pores of the meat making it almost impossible to stick anything? This works extremely well with Chicken Fried Steak or even any other meats or seafoods. Flour First!! Then eggs!!

  • David McNeely

    The “cube” steak recommended is usually bits and pieces of meats resulting from the process of making other cuts, mangled together with a mechanical “tenderizer.” The proper cut to use, despite comments below about using “better” cuts like rib eye, is a good round, cut thin, then pounded with a steak hammer. The pounding method you illustrate will just result in mangled plastic wrap mingled with the meat. No such wrapping is needed, pound the meat with a toothed steak hammer, hitting the meat directly, until it is around 1/4 inch thick.

    Despite all the advice given here and elsewhere, the meat should be seasoned with salt and lots of pepper, and then dredged in flour, but with no egg or milk. Coat the steak well with flour.

    The cooking must be done in an iron skillet or on a griddle, never deep fat fried, although that is almost all anyone will find in a restaurant these days.

    My mother ran an excellent diner in Texas for years, and people traveled for 100 miles just to get her chicken fried steaks. She taught me how to make them.

    • Eli

      I’m a butcher, and that is not how cubed steak is made at all. We use solid pieces of round, run it through the tenderizer in a cross pattern. Thus, “cubed” steak. The tenderizer doesn’t magically mend meat together, it’s a machine with hundreds of small blades that cut into the meat in order to… tenderize it.

    • Teri

      So I get the cast iron skillet. But you HAVE to use some kind of oil, right? Maybe just not as much?

    • Dukediesel

      I’m from Texas also (north) and we always make chicken fried steak this way (flour, egg, flour), and then the gravy, the same way it is made in this recipe. Different parts of Texas make chicken fried steak a little different from each other. It is a large state, remember? And like others have said, meat cannot be magically put together and tenderized, it’s not ground beef.

  • Gary Strickland

    My brother and I have devoted most of our lives (65 years) in search of the perfect chicken fried steak with cream gravy. A few years ago, I found a place about 60 miles north of Austin that came very close. I told my brother about it, and the next time he was in Austin taking a deposition, he rented a car and drove to the place just to try it. He agreed that it was close to perfect.

    We both have spent years also perfecting our own version of the dish, experimenting with battering technique and different cuts of meat. My technique is very nearly identical to the recipe above, with a few exceptions. I have concluded that choice sirloin is the best cut of beef for this dish. I usually get a small sirloin about 3/4 to 1″ thick. Cut it into roughly 4″ x 6″ squares. Then, using a sharp filet knife, I slice it horizontally to make two thinner cuts that are now half that thickness. Then I pound it with the meat hammer, etc. The taste and texture far exceeds cube steaks, round steaks, chuck steaks and the like, and only for little extra expense. Also, I add some Panko bread crumbs (1 to 4 ratio) to the flour used in the second dredge after the egg wash. It helps the steak batter stay crispy.

  • A Davis

    I just made chicken fried steak tonight for the first time ever! Your instructions are great, really break it down step by step for me. It turned out wonderfully. I added my own touches, used a little season salt and paprika and half and half since I did not have whipping cream. It was a big hit!

  • Lyndy Deal

    My family loves CFS, and over the years I have found two more helpful hints that I didn’t see in the comments: Add a teaspoon of baking powder to each cup of flour in the coating (helps make it crisper), and once the flour mixture is on, lightly pound both sides with the edge of a plate or even the back of a knife. It helps the batter adhere, and forms ridges for more crispness. It’s all about the crispness for us!

  • terry

    Winner, winner, Chicken fried pork steak dinner!! Finally got the hint that has changed my fried cooking forever, to spoon the hot oil onto the exposed side of the meat. Made ALL the difference. How have I missed that trick all these years?? Thank you so very much.

  • Lea

    I made this recipe tonight. Chicken fried steak was always something my Grandmother used to make. It’s a huge comfort food for me! It has been years since I’ve had it. I’ve never attempted to make it on my own.

    This recipe was a hit!! My husband and son loved it! Thank you!

  • Cathy Sperry

    Wow! Great recipe. I love Cracker Barrel’s Chicken Fried Steak but this over rides all. Love it! Thanks from my hips. This will be my go to comfort food.

  • MIchael

    Holy Cow this was excellent! I made it with sirloin steak, pork loin, and chicken breasts. I called it my chicken fried smorgash. We are all now recovering from fried carbohydrate overload.

  • Tracy Watkins

    As a HUGE HUGE HUGE fan of your beef short rib recipe, I’ve been looking at all your others. I like chicken fried steak and have found that letting the beef soak in milk for a few hours prior to frying makes it more tender. It also helps the breading adhere and you don’t have to use egg. You can even spice up the milk anyway you like – I always use cayenne. Thank you for this great blog!

  • Gordon

    Oh MY! That was simply the BEST! :) I used the boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of the steak, my goodness was this delicious! Thank you Elise for this slice of my childhood brought back to life!

  • A.A. Bruisee

    I like to mix the spices with the egg/milk mixture. And douse the fried steak with lots of Crystal Sauce before pouring the gravy on.

  • Kevin

    We have been using tenderized pork cutlets in place of cube steak for years and this dish is always a hit with sides of mashed potatoes, whole kernel corn and of course gravy.

  • Amy

    Try it with venison. I never thought it was possible, but it’s even better than traditional CFS.

  • ShadowsGathered

    Elise, I found this recipe while looking at your rice pilaf recipe… this is going to be on next week’s menu… it looks marvelous, and I love me some chicken-fried steak with the creamy gravy… I usually make my gravies with broth & cornstarch, but where chicken-fried steak is concerned, NOTHING but milk & flour gravy (with 2 tons of black pepper) will do! I’ll be sure to report back on my results… and while I’m here, I want to say that I used your recipe for rice pilaf for tonight’s dinner… it was awesome… first time I’ve ever tried cooking it and this is my keeper recipe… I won’t even look at others… even my picky sister said, “This rice is the bomb.”… thank you so much for that recipe and this one!

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you liked the rice pilaf!

  • francisco aragon

    I have a question about the title(chicken fried steak) and the pictures show beef (cube steaks and round steak) . Why?
    thank yoy for your answer

    • Elise

      Hi Francisco, “chicken fried steak” is made with beef! It’s just prepared in a manner similar to how we often prepare fried chicken, thus the name.

      • francisco aragon

        thank you for your answer. In Mexico the name is “milanesa”

        • MZ

          In Argentina, it is also called milanesa. My family used to serve it with a garnish of chopped parsley and lemon wedges to squeeze over the steaks.

  • Debra

    Can I use a flank steak for this dish?

    • Elise

      You can, but take note when eating it to try to slice it against the grain. (Otherwise even with extra tenderizing flank steak will be tough.) This will be difficult as the breading will hide the direction of the grain of the meat.

  • Daryl Stephens

    I couldn’t remember how to do this. We had it pretty often when I was growing up. Now I’m going to have to try it. There is a new restaurant in my home town that serves chicken fried steak with some kind of sourdough breading. I don’t know how you’d make it, but it is wonderful.

  • Dorothy Sandaker

    I too make mine wih chicken breast pounded thin. Make my gravy like yours only I substitute canned milk for the whipping cream. In fact I made this meal for supper tonight before I found your recipe. Served with Mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus. Yummy.

  • Leslie Scalfano

    In my family we often used a mix of milk and buttermilk for the gravy, makes it a little tangy.

  • Phylis OKeefe

    Love chicken fried steak !! This is also very good with pork cube steaks.
    These are the same as beef cube steaks, but pork. They stay very juicy and tender.

  • Vince Fazio

    The chicken breast one is pretty healthy way or patty up some ground buffalo. My daughter is gluten free and I use gluten free bread crumbs and arrowroot to thicken the gravy. Chicken broth too. Has to be lactose free! Tastes great

  • Michael Stone

    In the Southwest you may find it smothered with green chile sauce!

    • Richard McDearman

      If you are ever in Amarillo Texas, try Green Chile Willy’s. They use Hatch and other New Mexican chiles in the gravy for the best chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken I have ever eaten. Few restaurants here in TN serve cfs, so my wife and I make it a point to eat it at least once every time we visit Texas.

      • Elise

        I love the idea of including green chiles in the gravy, thank you!

  • Lori

    I prefer to use the cube steak because I like the meat to be really tender. To the breading flour, I add some season salt, garlic powder, and lemon pepper. To the egg, I add a little worcestershire sauce. I like a lot of breading on mine, so I actually dredge it on the egg and flour TWICE! Comes out super yummy!

  • Emily

    This is a standby in my family! My mom taught me to use crushed Saltine crackers for the outer layer of the breading, so good!

    • Martie

      My mom taught us to use crushed saltines also, very yummy. Gives the crust more crunch.

    • Michele

      We use a crushed saltines and flour mixtures with lots of pepper and double coat the meat, which in our house is always cubed venison. It’s leaner and since all my boys hunt much cheaper. :)

  • kATIE

    OMG – I am not a big fried food person, but will always eat chicken fried steak with milk gravy. Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Martie Allen

    When we make this dish we sometimes substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, that has been pounded thin. We then just call it chicken fried chicken. Yummy.

    • Shan Coyle

      We use pork cutlets, they are really good also.

  • Glen

    Dont mess around with cubed or tenderized steaks. Go for the good cuts. I make mine with thin sliced ribeye…or New York strip sliced thin. Great taste and definitely not chewey. Might even try sirloin…much better choice than round.

    • MoonDust

      I have never had a chicken fried steak that used “the good cuts”, nor did they need to… this is one of the best ways to utilize/dress up those “lesser” cuts, if you will, so that a delicious finished product can be achieved without breaking the budget.

    • Joanna

      I agree. I used eye round slices. Then I pounded them thin. OMG. DELISH!!