Chicken Fried Steak


The first time I remember eating chicken fried steak was when I was going to college in Texas. (For those of you who want to know, first to Abilene Christian University, then later to Texas Tech University, where I graduated. Some day, I should write about ACU, which is a Church of Christ college. About how I didn’t get kicked out exactly, but the dean gave me $100 and told me to leave. Oh wait, I think that IS kicked out. In a weird way. In short, I wasn’t cut out for a religious-themed university. This issue was probably related to the partying.) ANYWAY. I used to eat at a lot of hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop restaurants when I was going to Texas Tech, and I fell in love with chicken fried steak. Where had it been all my life? My mother never made it. However, it’s one of the most popular dishes in Texas, and for good reason.

The secret to a great coating on chicken fried steak is a baking mix. You can use a homemade mix, or one from the store. You can actually use any kind of steak. I even use sirloin sometimes. A bottom or round steak is traditional (and more economical). Pound on ’em to tenderize.

This recipe will coat up to two pounds or so of steaks. Adjust as needed to make more or less.

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How to make Chicken Fried Steak:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 cup baking mix
1 to 2 pounds steak, cut into dinner portions
oil for frying

Heat oil (preferably in an iron skillet)–just enough to fill the bottom of the skillet. (You’re not deep-frying here.) You can use vegetable oil. I melt lard in the skillet. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in one bowl. (I like a little heat in there. You do what you want. Adjust or change the spices to your tastes.) In another bowl, whisk the eggs and water. In a third bowl, place the baking mix. Dip the steaks in that order–1) flour, salt, and pepper, 2) eggs and water, 3) baking mix.

Fry the steaks about five minutes per side on medium-high heat, or till done. If you’re going through several batches in the skillet, add more oil as needed. You can keep the finished steaks warm in the oven.

Time for gravy! I’m now in love with White Sauce Butter Balls as a white gravy quick fix. This is handy beyond belief. These butter balls, they are from the gods!

For chicken fried steak, you want to have a generous amount of gravy. Don’t be stingy here. Plan on at least 1/3 cup gravy per steak, and if you’re having mashed potatoes (you’re NOT making chicken fried steak WITHOUT mashed potatoes, ARE YOU?), then even more. For your average chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes dinner, plan on at least two cups of milk and five or six white sauce butter balls. You can make the gravy right in the skillet with the drippings and all those bits of coating that fell off into the oil and that nice beefy flavor. (If you have too much oil in there when you finish the steaks, you may need to pour some of it off before making the gravy.) I add a lot of coarse ground pepper.

Chicken fried steak’ll transport you right to Texas! Where’s the dean? Who needs $100?

P.S. You’re going to need some biscuits with that. Or cornbread. Or thick-slices of Texas toast. And country-style green beans. And probably some pie.

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  1. lizzie says:

    YUMMY! I made this the other night! love chicken fried steak, I will have to try this recipe, a BIG thank you!! :happyfeet:

  2. scollard says:

    Suzanne–Thank you for your recipe. It looks delicious. I think we’re going to have Chicken Fried Steak here real soon! :snoopy:

  3. Carmen says:

    How did you know we are having this for dinner tomorrow?! Although… we’re not having mashed potatoes. We’re having potato salad. ‘Cause we’re, y’know. {looks furtively both ways, and whispers}: “Yankees.”


  4. Cousin Sheryl says:

    I’ll bring the steak if you do the cooking (some time). I love chicken-fried steak!

  5. jane says:

    I grew up in Abilene and my sister graduated from ACU and me from McMurray College, across town, the Methodist College. I am sure it was the mandatory chapel attendance that got you, or the drom hours and no guys. some paid people to sit in their seat for chapel bec they counted heads. Good ole west texas hot in summer and freezing in winter. But known for great chicken fried steak- often times so large to feed several.

  6. Snapper says:

    This? Is perfect…Yesterday I pulled some cubed venison steaks to thaw out for tonight. Thought about making CFS, but had never done it before. TY!

  7. Granny Mountain says:

    Thanks, thanks a lot for reminding me how much I love these!

  8. mammaleigh says:

    This was one of my favorite dinners as a kid! My dads too! CFS, with mashed potatoes, peas and biscuits…it was always a good night when mom made that!

  9. Zusiqu says:

    I think I gained a pound just reading this.

    I’m a Southern California girl transplanted to Texas and I just can’t get used to meals made of bread, meat and breaded fried meat. I guess you can take the girl out of Cali but you can’t take the Cali out of the girl…

  10. texwisgirl says:

    You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl… 🙂 Looks perfect! Plenty of cream gravy for everyone! 🙂

  11. Ramona says:

    Now I’m starving. My leftovers might not make it till lunch….

  12. Joy says:

    The first thing I ever learned to cook as a little girl was cream gravy. I discovered that making a roux and adding milk or stock to it is the basis of all kinds of gravies and sauces and even great macaroni & cheese. Once you master that, you are on your way to making all kinds of delicious–but not low calorie–food. We used to make cream gravy using the fat after cooking bacon. Put that on top of biscuits–YUMMM–after going out and feeding the animals sitting down to that for breakfast was great. Nothing like coming in from the barn to the smell of bacon and biscuits. SIGH.

  13. chickensohmyagain... and guineas too says:

    You read my mind! I wanted chicken fried steak all week!! I was just checking in before going shopping, so will get the meat there. I never realized that a bread mix coating was the secret, have been doing it the wrong way. Ohh….. one small thing…. the gravy is supposed to be UNDER the meat when served, and then you add more on top. Thanks a lot.

  14. Kelly in TX says:

    Oh…nothing better. Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, buttery Texas toast or puffy yeast rolls – all with copious amount of gravy. The measure of any mom-and-pop-hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Texas is how good this particular meal is. It is pretty easy to make, too. Messy, yes, but worth it every once in a while. Thanks, Suzanne!

  15. Victoria says:

    OMG I LOVE chicken fried steak and your photos have me craving it now. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I never would of thought of using baking mix but I am sure that’s what adds that extra layer of crispiness. The mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits and pie are the perfect combo and all the better if that pie is coconut cream or chocolate cream pie. :hungry:

  16. Jen R. ( says:

    That looks good, but so unhealthy! Argh! I’ll just enjoy my “window shopping.” 🙂

  17. Angie says:

    What kind of steak works best for this?

  18. Eve Davis says:

    Just anote on chicken fried steak, in our restaurant in Cat Spring TX, ” The Whistle Stop Cafe”, we served up a ton of chicken fried steak, we did a 75/25 mix of flour/corn starch. We tenderized the sirloin, then dipped in beaten egg/milk mix, then the flour / cornstarch mix in which we added salt, pepper and granulated garlic. We then placed it in parchment paper and refrigerated for at least 2 hours befre frying. The corn starch added crispness to the steak breading. You are very right about the milk gravy, cracked pepper is a must in the gravy, Texas toast on the side to slop up the gravy and green beans, do not plan on doing anything after eating this meal except putting your feet up and waiting for the pecan pie, or choclate peacan pie or bourban pecan pie.

  19. Merlin says:

    I went to ACU too, but didn’t finish. It IS “supposed” to be a church of Christ college, but they’ve gotten SO liberal that it’s almost like the college joined denominational ranks – just crazy. :hole:

    “You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl…” – I so agree with that!!!! 😆

    I love chicken fried steak too!!!! :hungry:

  20. Shelly D. says:

    I have to say a big time thanks to you for posting about those butter balls! They ARE amazing and I must tell the world!!!! I will also be trying out the breading, but I like to do chicken fried chicken. 🙂

  21. Patricia says:

    I remember the first time I saw chicken fried steak.
    “let me get this straight…you coat a steak with egg and flour and then fry it????”

    you see, I too am a Yankee, except when it comes to baseball (spits on the ground)

    I learned to appreciate a good CFS. Hubby’s grandmother made a wicked one!
    Both of my daughters went to TTU, so you’re family!!!

  22. Whaledancer says:

    Mmmmm, I LOVE chicken fried steak. And, yes, you must have mashed potatoes with it. I learned to love it at truck-stop diners that my Arkansas-raised father-in-law introduced me to. But around here we make it with cube steak. In fact, it’s the only good thing I can think of to do with cube steak. My mother-in-law taught me to leave the steaks on a rack for a few minutes after you dredge them, because the coating adheres better.

  23. mammaleigh says:

    Whaledancer that is all that we used to, I get deer made up in to cube steak and that is some really good stuff! And I feel a little bit more healthier eating it…sort of 😉

  24. AnnieB says:

    I am a Yankee through and through, but that does sound *exceptionally* tasty!!! And the thought of some tender flaky biscuits alongside and under the gravy . . . well . . . how can I fit this in with Thanksgiving dinner this week? I’ll surely find a way!

  25. Barbee' says:

    You mentioned this dish a few days ago and I have been hoping you would post it soon — and you did! Thank you :heart:

  26. Carol says:

    My husband and I both attended ACU (ACC back then) and he graduated. Our dads were both on the faculty of the school. My son also graduated from there. And I have heard lots of those dean stories. But we lived at home so didn’t have those issues. Lots of wonderful CFS in the Abilene area–and all over Texas. I used to fix it when my boys were still home, but haven’t done it in years. My husband will still occasionally order it in restaurants. Specially if they boast their’s is The Best! ha

  27. Lynn says:

    Absolutely love it! I live in Texas and I can attest to the fact that we LOVE our Chicken Fried Steak. I might have to have some on my cheat day. Great article. I swear I can just smell that batter frying lol

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