Chicken Fried Cube Steak is a classic southern comfort food you can make at home in only 30 minutes—an easy weeknight recipe with restaurant-quality results.
Easy to scale up for to family size instead of the "for two" size—instructions below. This simplified recipe makes a wonderful weeknight dinner the whole family will love.
Pantry spices—paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, seasoning salt (Lawry's or other), and optional cayenne pepper
Gravy—milk or beef broth
Featured Comment from Pam:
"Oh my goodness! Just made this for my guy and myself and it is soooo delicious."
It is always time for great Southern comfort food. Chicken Fried Cube Steak has crispy, spicy breading outside and tender chicken inside. Smother it with wonderful milk gravy, and you have heaven on a plate.
It only takes 30 minutes to make with these quick and easy-to-follow step-by-step photo instructions. It has options for both the milk-based gravy for Chicken Fried Cube Steak and brown gravy if you want Country Fried Cube Steak.
👨🍳How to Make Chicken Fried Cube Steak with Gravy
Start with about one pound of cube steak in two large pieces.
In a larger fry pan, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Set up a breading line. In pan #1, beat 1 egg with ½ cup of milk. In pan #2, add ¾ cup of flour with 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want. Mix well.
Dry the cube steaks. Coat cube steak in the flour mixture, and shake off excess. Coat in egg mixture, shake off excess, and one more coat of the flour mixture. Place on a plate and repeat for the next steak.
By now, the oil should be shimmering. Using a fork, lay the steak into the oil.
When the edges start to turn golden, and it looks like some blood is coming through the flour (4-5 minutes), it is time for your only flip. Fry another 3-4 minutes. A final internal temperature of 145° - 150° and golden brown.
Remove steaks to a clean plate and tent lightly with foil.
Lower burner to medium. Add 4 tablespoons of the flour mixture from coating pan #2 to 4 tablespoons of the oil and drippings in the pan—you may need to remove some. Whisk for a few minutes to cook the flour.
Slowly add 2 cups of milk or beef broth while continuing to whisk. It should start thickening in a few minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. With milk gravy, go heavy on the pepper.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
Make it Country Fried Cube Steak
The two most accepted differences are the spiciness of the breading and the gravy.
For the breading, eliminate the seasoning salt and replace half of it with salt. You can adjust other spices if you want. Some recipes only have salt and pepper. The egg as a base for the bread can be changed to milk but I suggest keeping the egg, it will stick better.
The gravy is easy to change. Use beef broth instead of milk, and don't use spiced flour; use plain flour.
⬆️How to make this recipe bigger
Think of that crispy golden brown breading smothered in gravy—
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings.
- Use the volume of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust. You will have more flour than needed and can hold back on that a little.
- Use a big skillet. I have a 15-inch skillet that can easily hole four cube steaks.
- If doing more than four, you may need to heat the oven to 200° and place cook cube steaks on it covered with foil to keep warm during batch cooking.
- Cook all the cube steak before making gravy.
🐄About the Gravy Options
- Milk gravy is just gravy using milk as the liquid instead of broth. It is usually heavily peppered and has the spices of the breading.
- The best way to make milk gravy is to use the seasoned flour from the breading tray and make a roux with the oil and drippings in the pan, then add the milk and thicken. Heavy pepper is recommended.
- Use the same roux method to make brown gravy, but uses beef broth instead of milk. It will have more spice than traditional country-fried gravy due to spicy flour—I love this, but you can use flour without spices if you want and add some salt and pepper.
- For more information about making gravy, see How to Make Gravy from Scratch—Quick & Easy.
First: Dry the meat well before starting the breading.
Second: Shake excess flour and egg off after each coat.
Third: Let the meat sit with the coating for 5 minutes before cooking.
Fourth: Use a fork to handle the meat once coated and only flip once.
Cube steak usually comes from top or bottom round steak or sirloin steak
The name "cube" refers to the shape of the indentations left by the mechanical tenderizer used to make the steak tender. You can do the mechanical tenderization at home, but most of us will buy it already cubed.
They are almost the same, and the definitions are fussy. And there are regional differences also. Both are fried cube steaks coated with spiced flour, similar to what coats fried chicken.
Chicken fried steak has a spicy flour coating held on by an egg, similar to fried chicken. And it is combined with peppery milk-based gravy. A classic Texas roadside diner meal that every restaurant has in the South and most of the Midwest.
Country fried steak is also fried cube steak. The coating may or may not have egg and may be less spicy. The gravy is brown, not creamy milk-based gravy. You will see a lot of "mays" in there because many recipes for country fried are the same as chicken fried outside of the gravy. But even the gravy gets confused sometimes.
I grew up in the midwest, and we called it "fried cube steak with gravy" and would specify milk gravy if used. I included both types of gravy in this recipe; you can call it anything you want. And you can vary the breading spices, but I suggest keeping the egg.
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30-Minute Chicken Fried Cube Steak with Gravy
- 1 pound cube steak
- ½ cup milk - or beef broth
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt - Lawry's is good
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- cayenne pepper - optional pinch
Ingredient for Gravy plus flour from above
- 2 cups milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start with about one pound of cube steak in two large pieces.
- In a larger fry pan, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
- Set up a breading line. In pan #1, beat 1 egg with ½ cup of milk. In pan #2, add ¾ cup of flour with 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want. Mix well.
- Dry the cube steaks. Coat cube steak in the flour mixture, and shake off excess. Coat in egg mixture, shake off excess, and one more coat of the flour mixture. Place on plate and repeat for next steak.
- By now, the oil should be shimmering. Using a fork, lay the steak into the oil.
- When the edges start to turn golden, and it looks like some blood is coming through the flour (4-5 minutes), it is time for your only flip. Fry another 3-4 minutes. A final internal temperature of 145° - 150° and golden brown.
- Remove steaks to a clean plate and tent lightly with foil.
Making Gravy-Optional but recommended
- Lower burner to medium. Add 4 tablespoons of the flour mixture from coating pan #2 to 4 tablespoons of the oil and drippings in the pan—you may need to remove some. Whisk for a few minutes to cook the flour.
- Slowly add 2 cups of milk or beef broth while continuing to whisk. It should start thickening in a few minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. With milk gravy, go heavy on the pepper if doing the milk gravy.
Your Own Private Notes
- Use the flour that is already seasoned to make the roux. If you need more flour, just use regular flour.
- If making brown gravy for Country Fried Cube Steak, use beef broth, and you may use plain flour if you want less spice in the gravy.
- Use the oil used to fry the steak for the gravy. You need 4 tablespoons and may need to remove some.
- To help the breading stick better, make sure the steak is dry before starting, shake off excess well between coats, let set for 5 minutes before cooking, use a fork to handle the meat once coated, and only flip once.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Inspired by the Pioneer Woman version of Chicken Fried Steak.
Originally Published February 24, 2018. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.