Southern-Style Country Fried Steak and Gravy is Southern comfort food that has many names including Chicken Fried Steak and Southern Fried Steak.
Country Fried Steak and gravy most often starts with cube steak, which is a round steak that’s been tenderized. Other steak cuts can be used like the New York strip steak which have been pounded out and tenderized. If you are interested in using a different cut of steak other than what is offered at the meat counter, you can simply select your desired cut and ask the butcher to tenderize the meat for you. In most cases, they will run it through the tenderizing machine and re-package it for you.
Country gravy is traditionally made from pan drippings, flour, and milk. It can be thick to thin, depending on the amount of milk added. Country gravy is a very popular accompaniment to Country Fried Steak.
What spices are used in Country fried Steak and gravy Seasoning?
** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.
These spices and ingredients work together to provide a well-seasoned, flavorful, and crispy coating for country fried steak. They contribute to both the taste and appearance of the dish, making it a delicious and visually appealing comfort food.
- Dried Parsley: Dried parsley is primarily used for its mild herbaceous flavor and visual appeal. It adds a touch of freshness and color to the coating without overpowering the other flavors. It also contributes to the overall presentation of the dish.
- Ground Black Pepper: Black pepper provides a mild spiciness and heat to the breading mixture. It enhances the flavor of the steak and complements the other seasonings. Pepper is a common ingredient in many savory dishes and is essential for a balanced flavor profile.
- Salt: Salt is crucial for seasoning and enhancing the taste of the steak. It helps to draw out moisture from the meat, which can then mix with the flour and create a flavorful paste that adheres to the steak, forming a crispy crust when fried. Salt is a fundamental seasoning in many recipes.
- Onion Powder: Onion powder imparts a sweet and savory onion flavor to the breading without the texture of chopped onions. It contributes to the overall depth of flavor and can enhance the taste of the steak.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder adds a subtle garlic flavor to the breading, making the steak more flavorful. It pairs well with the other spices and is a common seasoning in savory dishes.
- Paprika: Paprika adds a mild smokiness and a hint of sweetness to the breading mixture. It also provides a nice red color to the crust, enhancing the visual appeal of the dish. The smokiness can balance out the richness of the fried steak.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder is not a spice, but it’s an important ingredient for achieving a light and crispy crust on the steak. When mixed with flour and combined with moisture, baking powder creates carbon dioxide gas bubbles, which make the coating puff up and become crisp when fried. This helps create the desired texture for country fried steak.
How to Make Country Fried Steak and gravy
** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.
- Make the dry dredge. In this case, flour and spices.
- Make the wet dredge. Here we will use an egg wash but you can also use milk, buttermilk, or even water.
- Dip the prepared cube steak in the liquid dredge to coat. Shake off any excess liquid.
- Dip the steak in the dry dredge mixture, turning to coat both sides.
- Set the steaks aside. Coat remaining steaks until all have been coated.
- Fry the steaks until crisp and cooked through.
Can Country Fried Steak and Country Gravy be made gluten-free?
Yes. This can be made gluten-free simply by replacing the all-purpose flour with your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
This Southern-Style Country Fried Steak and Gravy is made without buttermilk. If you prefer buttermilk, you can certainly make your own buttermilk or use the real thing in place of the milk in the recipe if you have it on hand.
How do I make buttermilk from milk?
Quite simply, add a teaspoonful of lemon to the milk and set it aside to curdle. This mixture won’t get as thick and creamy as buttermilk, but it will perform its role in the batter just as well. Also, yogurt or sour cream thinned with milk works well as a buttermilk substitute.
What Substitutions can I make in this recipe for Chicken Fried Steak and gravy?
Spice Substitutes –
- Sweet paprika is traditional, but smoked paprika or hot paprika may be substituted.
- Dried Parsley may be replaced with oregano or basil to change up the flavor profile.
- Baking powder is used to help form the crispy crust, however, if you don’t have on hand simply omit it. Do not worry about a substitute.
- Salt is a flavor enhancer and makes our food taste better by opening the receptors on our tongues. This is why MSG is so popular in manufacturing since it works in the same way without being overly salty. Salt may be omitted if you are watching your sodium intake and it may also be replaced with a salt substitute. I prefer Mrs. Dash.
- Ground Black Pepper gives the spices some kick. If you prefer added spice, consider adding a dash of cayenne pepper to heat things up. Alternatively, you can add your favorite hot sauce to the plated meat for some extra heat.
- milk or buttermilk can be used in place of the egg wash.
- Breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or a mixture of the two could be used in place of the flour. The texture will be notably different.
- I have never made the gravy without milk. I do no know how unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk would react or taste in this recipe. If you try it, please drop back by and let me know your results.
- Sliced chicken breast and chicken breast tenders are amazing in this dish. Cubed pork cutlets also work well. I have never tried turkey breast or plant-based proteins in this recipe.
Why this recipe works
The recipe for country fried steak and gravy works for several reasons, as it combines various elements to create a flavorful and satisfying dish.
- Seasoning: The combination of spices and seasonings, including black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, adds layers of flavor to the steak. These seasonings provide a balance of savory, spicy, and aromatic notes that make the steak taste delicious.
- Textural Contrast: The use of baking powder in the breading mixture creates a light and crispy crust on the steak. This textural contrast between the crispy exterior and tender interior of the steak is one of the defining features of country fried steak.
- Flavor Harmony: The seasonings and breading mixture are carefully balanced to work together harmoniously. The spices complement each other, and the breading mixture adheres well to the steak, ensuring that every bite is flavorful and satisfying.
Recipe Tips and Kitchen Tricks
These tips and tricks will help you become a more organized, confident, and skilled cook in the kitchen. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, applying these techniques can elevate your cooking game.
- Mise en Place (Everything in Its Place): This French culinary concept means having all your ingredients prepped and organized before you start cooking. It involves measuring, chopping, and arranging everything you need for the recipe. Mise en place saves time, reduces stress, and ensures you don’t forget any ingredients. It also allows you to focus on the cooking process itself once you start.
- Taste as You Go: Taste your dish as you cook, especially when adding seasonings or adjusting flavors. This allows you to make real-time adjustments to the dish’s taste. Remember that different ingredients can vary in intensity, so tasting helps you achieve the perfect balance. Use a clean spoon or tasting utensil each time to avoid cross-contamination.
- Knife Skills: Developing good knife skills is essential for efficient and safe cooking. Practice proper cutting techniques to improve your speed and precision in the kitchen. Keep your knives sharp and use the right knife for the task at hand. Learn how to julienne, dice, mince, and chiffonade, among other techniques, to make your cooking more professional and enjoyable.
- Chicken Fried Steak: This variation replaces the beef steak with a boneless chicken breast or chicken cutlets. The preparation and breading process remain the same, but you’ll be frying chicken instead of beef. Serve it with traditional country gravy or creamy white gravy for a delicious twist on the classic.
- Country Fried Pork Chops: Swap out the beef steak for bone-in pork chops to create a different flavor and texture profile. Pork chops are often thicker, so adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure they cook through. Serve with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and gravy for a Southern-inspired meal.
- Vegetarian Country Fried Steak: For a meatless alternative, use large portobello mushroom caps or slices of firm tofu as the base. Dredge them in a seasoned flour mixture and proceed with the breading and frying process. The result is a crispy, savory vegetarian “steak.” Serve with vegetarian gravy or a mushroom sauce for a hearty meatless meal.
Serving Suggestions for Country fried steak and gravy
These serving suggestions offer a range of options to enjoy country fried steak and gravy, whether you prefer a classic Southern meal, a breakfast twist, or a lighter, more balanced plate.
- Classic Southern Comfort: Serve your country fried steak with traditional Southern sides like creamy mashed potatoes and white gravy. Add some sautéed collard greens, cornbread, and coleslaw for a complete Southern comfort food experience.
- Biscuits and Sausage Gravy: Create a hearty breakfast or brunch by pairing country fried steak with flaky biscuits and sausage gravy. This combination of crispy steak, creamy gravy, and tender biscuits is a Southern breakfast favorite.
- Country Fried Steak Sandwich: Turn your country fried steak into a sandwich by placing it between two slices of toasted bread or a soft roll. Add lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a dollop of mayonnaise or mustard for a satisfying handheld meal.
- Steak and Eggs: For a classic breakfast or brunch option, serve country fried steak alongside sunny-side-up or over-easy eggs. The runny yolk combines beautifully with the crispy steak for a delicious morning treat.
- Healthy Twist with Salad: Balance the indulgence of country fried steak by serving it with a fresh green salad. Toss together a mix of leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette dressing. The crisp salad provides a refreshing contrast to the rich and fried steak.
Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions
Storing Country Fried Steak:
- Refrigeration: If you have leftover country fried steak and gravy but plan to eat it within a few days, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the steak is completely cooled before refrigerating it.
- Separation: If possible, store any gravy or sauce separately from the fried steak to prevent the breading from becoming soggy. You can reheat the gravy separately later.
- Labeling: Consider labeling the container with the date of preparation to help keep track of freshness.
Freezing Country Fried Steak:
If you want to freeze country fried steak to extend its shelf life, follow these steps:
- Cooling: Ensure the steak is cooled to room temperature or slightly cooler before freezing. This prevents condensation and ice crystals from forming inside the container.
- Wrap or Seal: Individually wrap the fried steaks in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or place them in an airtight freezer-safe container. If using a container, separate each steak with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Labeling: Label the packaging with the date of freezing, and consider using a vacuum sealer for extra protection against freezer burn.
- Freeze: Place the wrapped or sealed steaks in the freezer. Try to use them within 2-3 months for the best quality.
Reheating Country Fried Steak and gravy:
When you’re ready to enjoy your stored or frozen country fried steak, follow these steps for reheating:
- From the Refrigerator: If the steak is in the refrigerator, preheat your oven to around 350°F (175°C). Place the steak on a baking sheet and reheat for about 10-15 minutes until it’s warmed through. This method helps maintain the crispy texture.
- From the Freezer: If the steak is frozen, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the frozen steak on a baking sheet and reheat for about 20-30 minutes until it’s heated through. You can add a few extra minutes if needed.
- Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure the steak is heated to your desired temperature, use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C).
- Gravy: If you separate the gravy or sauce, reheat it separately in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Microwave (if in a hurry): You can use a microwave for reheating, but be aware that this method may make the breading less crispy. Place the steak on a microwave-safe plate, cover it with a damp paper towel, and heat in 30-second intervals until it’s heated to your liking.
Wine & Cocktail Pairings
These wine and cocktail pairings can enhance your country fried steak and gravy dining experience by offering a range of flavors and profiles to complement the dish. As always, personal preferences play a role in pairing, so feel free to explore these options and find the one that suits your taste best.
- Why: Zinfandel’s bold, fruity, and peppery flavors complement the richness of country fried steak. The wine’s acidity can also cut through the fried coating, balancing the dish’s overall taste.
- Why: Merlot offers a softer and more approachable red wine option. Its smooth, ripe fruit flavors and moderate tannins work well with the savory and crispy elements of the steak.
- Chardonnay (for a white wine option):
- Why: If you prefer white wine, a full-bodied Chardonnay can be a good choice. Its buttery and oak-influenced flavors can complement the creamy gravy often served with country fried steak and gravy.
- Old Fashioned:
- Why: The classic Old Fashioned’s combination of bourbon, sugar, and bitters provides a strong, balanced contrast to the hearty flavors of country fried steak and gravy. It’s a timeless choice for a steak dinner.
- Whiskey Sour:
- Why: The tartness of a Whiskey Sour, made with whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup, can provide a refreshing and slightly citrusy contrast to the richness of the steak.
- Dark and Stormy:
- Why: The Dark and Stormy cocktail, consisting of dark rum and ginger beer, has a spicy and refreshing character that can cut through the fried coating of the steak while complementing its savory flavors.
Country Fried Steak and Gravy
For the Cube Steaks:
- 1 1/2 pounds cubed steak (6 cubed steaks)
- 1 eggs
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour [See Note 1]
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Oil for frying
For the Country Gravy:
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [See Note 1]
- 2 cups milk
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper , to taste
For the Cube Steaks:
- Preheat oven to 200°- 250°F (your lowest oven setting)
- Beat eggs and milk in a pie pan, set aside
- In another pie pan mix all dry ingredients together
- Season the meat with salt and pepper
- Dredge in flour, shake off excess
- Dredge in egg, shake off excess
- Dredge in flour again, shake off excess
- Place on a plate or baking pan and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking.
- Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a couple of drops of water into oil, if water pops the oil is ready to fry. Place a couple of pieces of meat in skillet, cook approximately 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown
- Remove from oil, place on a wire rack set on a baking pan, place in pre-heated oven to keep warm until all meat is cooked
- For the Sawmill Gravy
- After you fry your steaks drain all remaining oil retaining 3-4 tablespoons to make a Roux, retain some of the bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk the flour into the oil and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Whisk in milk a little at a time.
- Return to medium-high heat and stir until gravy starts to thicken.
- Make sure to scrape the bits off the bottom as you are stirring
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- For a gluten-free country fried steak and gravy, replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.