How to Make Real, Southern Chicken Fried Steak With Gravy

Updated on July 6, 2019
DixieMockingbird profile image

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

You can serve chicken fried steak with either buttery egg noddles or creamy mashed potatoes. Either one works great for serving up extra helpings of the delicious, rich onion gravy that's a snap to prepare.
You can serve chicken fried steak with either buttery egg noddles or creamy mashed potatoes. Either one works great for serving up extra helpings of the delicious, rich onion gravy that's a snap to prepare.

Classic, Southern Chicken Fried Steak

There's not much that's better than classic Southern food, and chicken fried steak is at the top of the list of iconic dishes. Richly seasoned fried steaks come slathered with a creamy gravy loaded with onions. Serve this dish with either mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles for an instant hit that everyone will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds cube steak
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole milk buttermilk
  • 1 egg, large, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 whole onion, sliced (optional)
  • 3 cups whole milk

Directions

  1. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the baking powder, baking soda, egg, and hot sauce to the buttermilk and mix well.
  3. Season the flour with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir well.
  4. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetable oil to the skillet and allow to heat.
  5. Dip steak pieces first into the seasoned flour, then into the buttermilk mixture, then into the flour again. Pat the flour into the surface and shake off the excess. Add steak pieces to the hot skillet and fry on each side until golden brown, about five minutes per side. Work with just a few pieces at a time, so as not to crowd the skillet. Once cooked, set the pieces aside. Tent with foil to keep warm. Drain off excess oil, leaving just a tablespoon or so in the skillet.
  6. If using onions, add them to the skillet and stir well, scraping up the fond off the bottom. Cook onions for about ten minutes or until softened and fragrant.
  7. Add flour to the skillet. Stir well, cooking the flour for about a minute. Stir in milk, and bring the skillet up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Pour gravy over steaks, and serve hot.

Perfectly Seasoned

The seasonings for this recipe are simple, and all are pantry staples, making this an easy recipe to produce in no time. Salt, pepper onion powder, garlic powder and a hint of cayenne pepper are all you need.
The seasonings for this recipe are simple, and all are pantry staples, making this an easy recipe to produce in no time. Salt, pepper onion powder, garlic powder and a hint of cayenne pepper are all you need.

Use Both Butter and Oil

Use both types of fat for the best result. Butter is used for flavor, but will burn in the extended heat needed to brown the steaks. The addition of olive oil will raise the smoke point of the butter, so you get the best of both worlds.
Use both types of fat for the best result. Butter is used for flavor, but will burn in the extended heat needed to brown the steaks. The addition of olive oil will raise the smoke point of the butter, so you get the best of both worlds.

Heat Oil Until It Shimmers

Heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the butter and heat until the butter is foamy. That's when you'll get a sizzle in the skillet and you'll know the temperature is just right.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the butter and heat until the butter is foamy. That's when you'll get a sizzle in the skillet and you'll know the temperature is just right.

Seasoned Buttermilk

For the best result, use full fat, cultured buttermilk. The flavor is superior to low or no fat buttermilk, and the thick texture helps create the terrific crust you're after. Add hot sauce to your taste - we like a lot!
For the best result, use full fat, cultured buttermilk. The flavor is superior to low or no fat buttermilk, and the thick texture helps create the terrific crust you're after. Add hot sauce to your taste - we like a lot!

Use Cubed Steak for Best Results

Technically you can use any inexpensive steak, and tenderize it yourself with a mallet. I find the easiest thing to do is to use cubed steak from the grocery store, which has already been run through a tenderizing process to create the classic style.
Technically you can use any inexpensive steak, and tenderize it yourself with a mallet. I find the easiest thing to do is to use cubed steak from the grocery store, which has already been run through a tenderizing process to create the classic style.

Brown in Batches

Create the crust on the steaks by dipping them in flour, then buttermilk, then back in the flour. Brown them on both sides, about five minutes. Don't crowd the pan - just a few at a time allows browning. Too many and they'll steam and stay soggy.
Create the crust on the steaks by dipping them in flour, then buttermilk, then back in the flour. Brown them on both sides, about five minutes. Don't crowd the pan - just a few at a time allows browning. Too many and they'll steam and stay soggy.

Brown on Both Sides

Cook the steaks on each side about five minutes - you're looking for the crust to become beautifully golden brown before turning. The crust will resemble the crust on perfect fried chicken - i.e. chicken fried steak!
Cook the steaks on each side about five minutes - you're looking for the crust to become beautifully golden brown before turning. The crust will resemble the crust on perfect fried chicken - i.e. chicken fried steak!

Onions for the Gravy

You don't have to use onions - I don't think I did in the video below. But they add a great flavor to the gravy. Start by cooking the onions in the same skillet as the steaks until they soften and become fragrant, about ten minutes.
You don't have to use onions - I don't think I did in the video below. But they add a great flavor to the gravy. Start by cooking the onions in the same skillet as the steaks until they soften and become fragrant, about ten minutes.

Once the Onions Soften...

AS you cook the onions, make sure you scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan. That's flavor! Once the onions have softened and become fragrant, sprinkle them with a couple of tablespoons of flour, stir well, and cook another couple of minutes.
AS you cook the onions, make sure you scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan. That's flavor! Once the onions have softened and become fragrant, sprinkle them with a couple of tablespoons of flour, stir well, and cook another couple of minutes.

Mashed Potatoes or Buttered Egg Noodles?

It's your choice! Whichever is your favorite is the right way to go - our family is pretty evenly split. I use batches of big, buttered egg noodles just as often as I whip up a big batch of mashed potatoes to serve with these decadent steaks.
It's your choice! Whichever is your favorite is the right way to go - our family is pretty evenly split. I use batches of big, buttered egg noodles just as often as I whip up a big batch of mashed potatoes to serve with these decadent steaks.

Milk and Lots of Black Pepper

Stir in the milk, and add lots of freshly cracked black pepper. The gravy will be done once it comes all the way up to a boil and simmers for one minute. That's how you know it's as thick as it's going to get. Black pepper is perfect with the gravy.
Stir in the milk, and add lots of freshly cracked black pepper. The gravy will be done once it comes all the way up to a boil and simmers for one minute. That's how you know it's as thick as it's going to get. Black pepper is perfect with the gravy.

Stir Well

Once the gravy has come up to a simmer, taste it and adjust it for seasonings. This is the last chance to make seasoning corrections for salt, pepper or cayenne.
Once the gravy has come up to a simmer, taste it and adjust it for seasonings. This is the last chance to make seasoning corrections for salt, pepper or cayenne.

Perfect Chicken Fried Steak with Onion Gravy

Serve the chicken fried steaks over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles with plenty of the rich, creamy onion gravy.
Serve the chicken fried steaks over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles with plenty of the rich, creamy onion gravy.

© 2019 Jan Charles

Comments

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    • DixieMockingbird profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Charles 

      6 weeks ago from East Tennessee

      LOL! Love it! I feel exactly the same way!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 weeks ago from Kaufman, Texas

      In my family people say, 'oh just enough pepper to color it.' What they mean is they dang near want to shake enough on top of the mashed taytoes for them to be black.

      Well, you've sold me on the noodle idea.I think I'm craving some carbs right about now! I've never seen the onion gravy before, but I'm one onion eating fella, and am intrigued.

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