Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy

It’s often said by “experts” in the field of nutrition that there are no “bad” foods, but I do have to wonder about Chicken Fried Steak – it just tastes so darned good! A huge fave of child number 2’s, when his birthday rolls around, I pull out the cast iron and go to town. Or maybe to country?

Chicken Fried Steak with White Gravy
Chicken Fried Steak with  Country Gravy

That’s right! My son doesn’t want a steak dinner, he doesn’t want lobster, and he usually doesn’t even want to go out. He’d rather have an old down home favorite, like Chicken Fried Steak. (And he’d rather have French Silk Pie than cake.)

Ah, to be young again and pretty much eat anything one wants…

Think about my Rustic Mashed Potatoes as a side. With all that country gravy? No one will notice if they’re a bit lean. You can try, as I do, to limit the damage by making “just enough” and keeping the portions reasonable. I don’t know about you, but if I have some of this left over in the fridge it calls to me…and calls to me…

Chicken Fried Steak with White Gravy
Chicken Fried Steak with White Country Gravy

Growing up in Iowa, it seems like I always just knew how to make Chicken Fried Steak, no recipe needed. On a whim, one day, I a version from Cook’s Illustrated and was immediately hooked on the buttermilk, soda and baking powder crust & the bit of onion in the gravy. (They had a few other weird variances which I just ignored!)

Chicken Fried Steak is always reasonable, especially if you can buy your cube steak on sale. If you’d like to prepare your own round steak instead, see my post on German Rouladen, where I detail out the method of slicing and pounding. You’ll want to do quite a bit more pounding for this recipe, though.

Chicken Fried Steak with White Gravy
Chicken Fried Steak with White Country Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cube or minute steaks, each about 4 to 5 ounces
  • Oil – enough to bring the level of the oil near the top of the steaks, but not over

In one shallow dish, place flour, cayenne, pepper, and salt, and mix. In a second shallow dish, place egg, baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk. (The mixture will foam.) Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Set a paper sack on a large baking sheet. Heat oil to 375 degrees in your cast iron skillet as you bread the steaks.

Working with one steak at a time, gently pat steaks dry. Dip first in flour mixture and gently shake off any excess, then in the buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off, then back into the flour mixture. Place steaks on rack. Reserve the seasoned flour, discard the excess buttermilk.

When finished, gently place steaks in the hot oil. Fry on the first side for about 5 minutes. Carefully turn when a deep golden brown and juices from the steak begin to appear on the top side. Continue to cook for another four to five minutes until the second side is a deep golden brown. Work in batches if necessary.

When the steaks are desired doneness, remove from pan and place on a baking sheet lined with a paper sack and place in oven to keep warm. Strain the oil from the pan, reserving the browned bits & oil. Return 3 tablespoons oil to the pan along with the browned bits, and make the gravy, below.

Country Gravy

  • 1 medium onion, very finely minced (optional)
  • Pinch of thyme (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons flour (may use flour reserved from dipping)
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole milk (1 or 2 percent is not as rich, but works)
  • Salt as desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • pinch of cayenne

Over medium high heat, cook onion with thyme until softened and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes or so, stirring often. Add flour, stirring and cook for a minute. Add stock, stirring, then milk, slowly, and rest of ingredients. Stir until bubbly and thickened. This gravy will appear a bit loose, but thickens up as it cools.


  • If you use the seasoned flour, you may not need additional salt.
  • A proper country gravy like this should have a pourable, but still thick consistency. Any left overs may need to be thinned with water or milk.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.


It’s always difficult to exactly figure out the nutritional value of these recipes that are dipped in milk/egg washes and flour, and fried. I’ve had to estimate how much is left behind (and although I try to make that as little as possible) it’s impossible to be absolutely exact.

Calories 550, tot fat 30g; sat fat 6g; mono 14; poly 6; chol 119mg; sod 930mg; potassium 656mg; tot carb 27g; fib 1g; sug 8g; prot 41g; vit A 6%; vit C 4%; calcium 27%; iron 25%.

Heritage Recipe


14 thoughts on “Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy”

    1. It just screams comfort food, doesn’t it?

      When I made this, I think I was still in denial fall was coming this way – we’ve since had a huge cold spell, and already I’m thinking about stews and pies and baking!

    1. Hi Karen – It just really is, isn’t it! And made at home or at a Mom & Pop diner, it’s so different from the chicken fried steak that comes frozen and is served in some of the chain places.

      I guess anywhere beef cattle are raised (Iowa used to be pretty famous for their beef) you’d be likely to find this dish. It’s really a great way to use up the tougher parts. If one were slaughtering a beef, every part would be used. It’s not like a farmer or rancher would pick and choose what part they’d buy like we do today!

      I’ve only been through the great state of Texas once, and regretted I only had time for one meal! I chose barbecue…but there are so many great dishes that come from Texas, I felt I was really missing out!

      1. Well, I would be hard pressed to decide what to eat if I only had a chance to eat one meal in Texas. I do hope you enjoyed the barbecue…there are some really good places to eat it. 🙂

        1. If you’re checking back, I’d love to hear what your absolutely best, favorite comfort food is!

          When I think of Texas, of course I think of big steaks, puffy tacos, tex-mex, chili, fajitas, and tamales! I love them! Barbecue, beef ribs and German Chocolate cake. But what does a Texan think of as her favorite?

          1. I haven’t lived in Texas in years but I would say that some of my favorites were the true Mexican food that you could only find in small “hole in the wall” restaurants and Texas barbecue where the meat was smoked over mesquite wood with the sauce served on the side. I smiled with your mention of German chocolate cake…that and pecan pie were traditional desserts. Thanks for your question…it brought back nice memories. 🙂

  1. Love chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken for that matter. The white gravy and mashed potatoes wonderful. This is my idea of comfort food, add some succotash and it rounds it out. YUM!

    1. Oh my gosh -succotash – I haven’t thought about it for years! It was my favorite as a child and I STILL love lima beans! It’s the perfect side for chicken fried steak!

      I think we were on a rotation when I was a child in the 60’s, and a lot of it frozen, except when we had a garden: succotash, frozen green beans, peas, beans, corn, lima beans, the mixture my mom called Veg-All, which was corn, carrots, peas I think, and when it was a fancy dinner, peas and pearl onions in white sauce.

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