Chicken Fried Steak Biscuits with Country Gravy have crispy coated steaks, covered in country gravy, sandwiched between layers of flaky buttermilk biscuits. A perfect bite for breakfast, brunch, or dinner!
What is Chicken Fried Steak?
Chicken fried steak has an interesting "probable" history. I say probable because Southern food history can be a bit murky at times. Many of the tastiest dishes in the American South were born in poverty, and chicken fried steak is no exception. There are signs that this dish may have come from a mixed influence of German immigrants in Texas and enslaved Africans across the South. Let me tell you why!
The first known mention of chicken fried steak shows it being a kind of schnitzel fused with Southern fried chicken, in that it is prepared in a similar way. You know - you dip meat in seasoned flour, an egg mixture, and flour again before frying it in hot oil. A cheap cut of steak, but fried like fried chicken! The German influence shows in the schnitzel style, and the African influence shows in the technique. Enslaved Africans were not allowed to have cattle, but they had control of chickens. So, they got creative.
(If this subject is something you're interested in, my daughter Kelsey and I are fans of culinary historian Michael Twitty's book The Cooking Gene. Check it out!)
Country Fried Steak vs Chicken Fried Steak
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but are actually quite different. Country fried steak is sort of dredged (dragged) through flour and fried, then served with brown gravy, usually with onions. Pretty much a dinner dish. Chicken fried steak, however, has more of a battered coating and is served with a creamy white gravy. It is classically a breakfast dish, but can be eaten whenever you want. I want it at all the times.
Ingredients for Chicken Fried Steak
- Cube steak Cube steak, the main component, is the most affordable and accessible cut of steak you can find. This is usually made from a tough cut of round steak or top sirloin that has been tenderized and flattened and has a very low price tag. You can use other cuts of beef, but you would need to pound them thin with a meat mallet.
- Flour There is flour in both the coating and in the gravy. I used all-purpose flour, but use whatever flour you have.
- Spices You add seasonings to your flour to give your crust an amazing flavor. We'll be keeping it relatively simple with salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne. In addition we'll be adding a teaspoon of baking powder to our flour. This helps draw moisture away from the surface of the meat to be evaporated during the frying process, leaving you with a crispier crust!
- Buttermilk Marinating your meat in buttermilk adds moisture and further tenderizes the meat.
- Hot sauce This is optional, but adding just a bit of hot sauce to your marinade gives the meat that extra touch of zing. You might not have known you were missing zing, but you will now. Not hot. Just zingy.
- Whole milk You are frying battered steaks in hot oil. Now is not the time to decide to use skim milk. In for a penny, in for a pound. Whole milk, baby.
- Oil We'll be shallow frying these steaks, so a lot less oil will be used than you might have thought. I prefer to use a good neutral oil like peanut or canola. See below for tips on shallow frying.
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper A cream gravy cries out for seasoning. Country gravy traditionally has lots of black pepper and is salted to taste. Do your seasoning at the end though because, as the gravy thickens, it loses water and any early seasoning will be intensified. You don't want a salty gravy, trust me.
- Biscuits I have to recommend my own Buttermilk Biscuits again. They are legitimately the best. But, if you prefer, you can use a good flaky tube biscuit. I won't tell. But seriously, try my biscuits. You'll never go back to that poppin' fresh guy.
- Eggs Previous versions of this recipe have included eggs, to be added to the marinade after the meat comes out. This was to do a double dip scenario, but I, and recipe testers, have since found that step to be fussy and unnecessary. I am all about not being fussy.
Why you should try my
Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
My all-butter biscuits are made with buttermilk for the most tender and flaky biscuits you'll ever pop in your mouth! They're perfect slathered with butter, covered in gravy, or holding together the perfect sandwich. My tips and techniques will guarantee success every time!
How to make Chicken Fried Steak
- Marinate the meat Pour buttermilk and hot sauce into a shallow dish and whisk. Place meat into the marinade and flip over to cover all sides. If you have time, marinate for one hour in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you’re ready to fry your steaks. In the meantime you can make your biscuits. Preferably using my recipe 😉
- Coat the meat Remove the meat from the marinade, letting most of it drip off, and put on a plate. Put a piece of meat into the flour mixture and turn to coat, patting the flour into the meat with your hands. Place the meat on a wire rack placed on a large sheet pan and repeat the process with the rest of the meat. Let rest for 10 minutes while you heat the oil. This allows the coating time to adhere to the surface of the meat.
- Frying your steaks Pour about ½ inch of oil into a 12 inch cast iron skillet, or large heavy bottomed pan. Heat your oil to about 365°F. Carefully place 2 to 3 pieces of steak into the hot oil. Cook, flipping once, until both sides are golden brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. (see note below for tips on shallow frying)
- Keep warm Transfer cooked steaks to a wire rack turned upside-down onto a paper towel lined large sheet pan. This will keep the meat elevated, avoiding sogginess, while the paper towel pulls away excess oil. Sprinkle meat with salt. Repeat with remaining steaks. Keep steaks and biscuits warm in a 200° oven while you make the gravy
- Making gravy Strain remaining oil into a heat proof measuring cup. Wipe out pan to remove any dark flour bits from the bottom. Return 3 tablespoons of oil to your cast iron pan, set on medium-high heat. Sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until it all blends together. Cook for a minute, or until it starts to turn a beige color. We aren't going for a really dark color here.
- Add milk and simmer Whisking constantly, add milk to the flour mix. Add in some pepper and continue whisking as the mixture bubbles up and thickens. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until done, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and more pepper to taste.
- Serve Slice or pull open your flaky biscuit and smear a bit of butter on the bottom. Place a piece of chicken fried steak on top, pour on hot gravy, and place the top of the biscuit on. Dig in!
- Choose a heavy bottomed pan, preferably cast iron, with 1 ½ to 2 inch high sides.
- If you don't have a kitchen thermometer, you can test the temperature of your oil by sprinkling a little flour on top. If it immediately starts to sizzle, you are at the right temperature. If it immediately starts to turn brown, your oil is too hot. Turn the temperature down and let the oil temp come down. DO NOT test your oil with water. This can cause dangerous spitting and splattering of oil.
- Food should be dry or covered in batter to avoid splatters.
- Carefully place the food into the oil away from you, to avoid splashing hot oil.
- Don't crowd the pan. If you try to fry too much food at once, the temperature of the oil will drop and your food will come out soggy and oily tasting.
- Food is ready to come out of the oil when the bubbling slows down to a trickle. Both sides should be golden brown and the internal temperature should be at least 140°F for beef, pork, and fish, and 165°F for poultry.
Can I make these as full size steaks?
Absolutely! Keep your cube steaks whole and bread and fry as directed. To avoid lowering the temperature of your oil too much, I would recommend only cooking 1 to 2 steaks at a time. I like to serve mine alongside mashed potatoes and green beans!
Storage, reheating, and freezing instructions
In the unlikely event that you don't devour every morsel of your Chicken Fried Steak, store the leftover steak for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in your refrigerator. If you must stack them, place a piece of parchment paper between the layers.
In the inconceivable event that you didn't eat all the leftovers, you can flash freeze them. Place the pieces of steak on a parchment paper lined sheet pan in the freezer until they are frozen solid - at least 4 hours. Then place the steaks in a zip top bag, or wrap individual pieces in a double layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. They will keep up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator and follow the instructions below to reheat.
To reheat your chicken fried steak, place the pieces of steak on a wire rack set in a sheet pan and cover lightly with foil. Just drape it over the top. Heat in a 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Check for crispiness and bake for another 5 minutes, uncovered, if needed. Although you'll never achieve that freshly fried crispy coating, you'll get pretty close. Gravy will make it better.
To reheat gravy, place in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat and add a little more milk to thin, if needed.
Looking for more savory breakfast recipes?
- Gruyère Biscuits with Bacon and Chives
- Ham and Swiss Buttermilk Biscuits
- Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
- Breakfast Potato Hash: DIY
- Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
- Hash Brown Avocado Toast with Poached Egg
Chicken Fried Steak Biscuit Sandwiches with Country Gravy
- 1 lb cube steak cut in 2 inch square pieces
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- Peanut or canola oil
- Extra kosher salt to season after frying
- 3 tbs oil
- 3 tbs flour
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Salt and more pepper to taste
- Buttermilk Biscuit either mine from this recipe or store bought
For the steaks
- Whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow dish. Place pieces of cube steak into the buttermilk to marinate for one hour in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you’re ready to fry your steaks. In the meantime you can make your biscuits.
- Whisk together flour with salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, baking powder, and optional cayenne pepper in a shallow dish.
- Remove steak pieces from the buttermilk, letting excess drip off.
- Working with one or two pieces at a time, dredge steak pieces in the flour, shaking off the excess, patting flour into the steaks with your hands. Shake off excess flour and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining steaks. Let steaks stand for 10 minutes while you heat your oil.
- Place ½ inch of oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet, or other large heavy bottom pan, and heat to 375°F over high heat. If you don't have a thermometer, the oil should sizzle if you drop a bit of flour on its surface.
- Carefully place 2 to 3 pieces of coated steak into oil. Cook, flipping occasionally, until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a wire rack set into a large sheet pan and season with salt to taste. Repeat with remaining steaks. Keep steaks and biscuits warm in a 200° oven while you make the gravy.
For the gravy
- Strain hot frying oil to remove any burnt flour bits and wipe out skillet. Return 3 tablespoons of the oil to your skillet placed over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Stir in pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and additional pepper to taste.
- To serve: split biscuits in half and smear with a little bit of butter. Place a piece of chicken fried steak on each biscuit and ladle over with some hot gravy. Place the biscuit top on and take a bite. Wipe your face. You have gravy on your cheeks.
The nutritional and caloric information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It does not assert or suggest that readers should or should not count calories, and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s or doctor’s counseling.
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