A Taste Of Texas, Chicken Fried Steak With Cream Gravy

I grew up in the Texas countryside. If people said they felt like going out for a steak, it wasn’t for a juicy medium rare hunk of well marbled beef at a fancy steakhouse. No, they were headed to the best roadhouse restaurant in the area for chicken fried steak with cream gravy, mashed potatoes and some long simmered vegetable. This perfectly battered and fried piece of meat with its golden crust topped with thick, peppery gravy is probably more popular than barbecue or Tex-Mex food in Texas.

This dish may remind you of Wiener Schnitzel. Many of the early settlers of Texas came from Germany and a lot of people credit them for this popular Texas dish. I would say that the biggest difference in the two is the crust. Chicken fried steak is usually a piece of top round beef that has been tenderized, and double dredged in flour and an egg wash for an extra thick and crispy crust like fried chicken. And no true Texan would eat this dish with brown gravy…no it must be cream gravy made from the drippings and crispy bits left in the skillet after pan frying the meat.

After getting back from our trip where I had wonderful schnitzel, I had a craving for this meal from my past. I have decided to give you my version of this popular dish. If you try it, I think you will find out why it is such a popular dish not only in Texas but throughout much of the south.

Chicken Fried Steak With Cream Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Chicken Fried Steak

  • 4 to 6 oz. portions of good quality tenderized top round beef (sometimes called cubed steak) or pound your own from beef that has no fat or gristle and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 c. buttermilk to marinate the beef ย for 20 minutes (this optional step helps tenderize the meat)
  • 1 – 2 eggs beaten with a little milk (buttermilk will make a thicker crust)
  • 1 -2 c. flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper
  • ย enough peanut or canola oil to come halfway up the side of the steaks for pan frying

Marinate the meat for about 20 minutes in buttermilk to help tenderize the meat.

Dip the meat into the egg wash and then into the seasoned flour. Repeat this step one more time. Let rest for 10 minutes on a wire rack to help the crust stick when frying. Heat oil in a heavy skillet until shimmering but not smoking. Add meat and cook 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown then turn and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack and keep warm while you prepare the gravy.

As far as the cream gravy, I make this without a real recipe. You pour out all the oil from the skillet except a couple of tablespoons and leave in all the crispy bits. I then sprinkle some of the flour that I used to dredge the meat and whisk until it comes together as a roux and cook for one of two minutes. I then add about a half cup of chicken stock and loosen up the brown bits. I then slowly whisk in a cup of milk and let simmer until thick. I then season the gravy with salt and quite a bit of black pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. The quantities of oil, flour and milk depend on the amount of gravy you wish to end up with.

Serve the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable. I usually like tiny green beans cooked with onion and a little bacon. This is a comfort dish out of my past that brought back good memories of home. I hope you will enjoy the recipe.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

83 thoughts on “A Taste Of Texas, Chicken Fried Steak With Cream Gravy

    1. I have to tell you I made your stir fried beef broccoli peppers and onions and my husband told me this was the best he ever had. It is the best recipe ever. I am going to try some of your others as well. The chicken fried steak is on my list. Thank you for sharing. Stay well.

  1. I had no idea you grew up in Texas! You have been all over the place! I love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I never would have associated chicken fried steak with Texas. You were right – big pieces of marbled meat come to mind. ๐Ÿ™‚ Always learn something from you! Have a great weekend Karen.

    1. Hi Kristy, I have been to a lot of places…life is fun. I think most people would think of big pieces of meat when you say Texas. Thank you for your nice comment and you have a nice weekend as well.

  2. Isn’t it a shame that chicken fried steak and cream gravy isn’t chock full of vitamins and low in fat and calories? I love, love, love this stuff but hardly ever make it. This is my son’s favorite supper, but of course he was born in Austin and I would expect no less. This looks amazing.

    1. Hi Karen, Thank you for your compliment. You made me laugh so hard. Why can’t everything that tastes so wonderful and is so comforting be good for us. Oh well, you can’t have everything. I think I make this about once a year if I don’t get back to Texas to have it. What do they say…everything in moderation. I eat too many salads during the year not to have some heavenly indulgences.

  3. I chuckled when you mentioned Wiener Schnitzel. I grew up on that—my mom was fresh off the boat from Wiesbaden. I picked up a package of veal last month for the first time in years to make it for my son—-$15 a pound. I about fainted. But, it was worth every penny……and I hadn’t lost my touch on prepping it.
    (and I put another pound of veal in the freezer for later)
    Life IS good!
    (and your recipe for CFsteak looks heavenly)

    1. Hi Sue, Thank you for your nice compliment. I can’t believe the price of veal now. Thank goodness that veal cutlets are cut so thin. Life is good and we must treat ourselves every once in awhile.

  4. I’ve not eaten pepper gravy for years. The name of the dish confused me for a second – I understand it now. Though I was a little disappointed that it doesn’t include both chicken and beef ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I think a lot of people might think that it would be made with chicken. Actually, chicken fried chicken is delicious as well. Just prepare the recipe the same substituting chicken for the beef.

  5. I love this, in Johns family they call it Truck Stop! who knows why.. but why is it called chicken fried steak when it is beef or am i just a complete foreigner and missed something there.. c

    1. Hi Celi, The name confuses a lot of people. I think that people call it chicken fried because it is prepared just like you would prepare fried chicken. Making a crust from an egg wash and flour and frying.

  6. Karen, Your dish is so inviting. There are times when you just need to eat something breaded and cozy and homey, like your meal. I have not made this in a while (trying to always and forever watch the waistline and every other line) but I think I have deprived myself long enough. This weekend Karen’s Chicken Fried Steak it is!

    1. Hi Teresa, Thank you for your nice comment. I cook so many healthy dishes but love certain comfort meals and this one reminds me of home. Oh yes, I too try to watch the waistline as well. When I make concessions for something special then I’ll be extra good for a couple of days. I hope you will enjoy the Chicken Fried Steak.

    1. Hi John, I thought about this post. Will my friends on the other side of the pond understand some of America’s names for our favorite foods. Glad that you got that it is like fried chicken only not…

    1. Thank you for you comment…it made me feel so good. Isn’t it nice to have memories of our family from food that we shared with them. I’m so happy to have brought back good memories of your grandmother’s chicken fried steak.

    1. Hi Kathy, Thank you for your compliment. Schnitzel never has gravey but I’m glad that someone created this dish that includes gravy. It’s nice to know that this dish is one of your favorites.

  7. Coincidentally, I just saw a TV cook prepare chicken-fried steak. Now, if experience has taught me anything, it is to trust the cooking of my WordPress buddies over a TV personality. I’m stickin’ with you, Karen, and the next time I make chicken-fried steak, it will be your recipe, to be sure!

  8. You will not believe what I just had for dinner. Yep,chicken fried steak with fried okra, black eyed peas, collard greens and mashed potatoes. Needless to say I’m stuffed.

    1. Hi Lulu, This is so funny. Two New Englanders that love chicken fried steak. And to top it off, you had all the proper side dishes. My hats off to you.

  9. *sigh* That is stunning! My doctor yells at me when I eat stuff like that, but I’m willing to sneak it in every once in a while and this would be worth being yelled at!

    1. Hi Ann, This definitely wouldn’t be listed as health food but as a once in a while treat. But saying that, it can be made with a chicken breast and I use 1% milk when I make my gravey.

  10. I have to admit, I’ve never tried Chicken Fried Steak… if I’ve seen recipes for it I’ve always looked for the chicken;) Now I understand that its a method of cooking! This reminded me of my Gran’s white gravy, but it was made with milk… and Fried Chicken:)

    1. Hi Smidge, It truly is a regional dish that reminds me of home. My mother always made white gravy whenever she made fried chicken. I think most people think that the recipe is made with chicken. Some people do and then they call it chicken fried chicken. Funny about the names.

  11. Oh what an incredibly comforting meal – not one that should be repeated too often in our home as the waistline would get horribly out of control but what a treat to look forward to something so tasty.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Mandy

    1. Hi Mandy, You definitely wouldn’t want to eat this once a week (although some may). I was in the meat department that day and that tenderized meat lay there and tempted me to bath it in a crispy crust. Oh the temptations in the food market.

  12. Wow! It looks very exotic and intriguing! I have never seen double flour coating without the breadcrumbs layer. It looks so appealing and I’m so curious about the taste difference, I will try to prepare it one day! (I also have never had beef fried in the chicken way!). The gravy sounds sinfully luscious… I adore discovering the less known, regional American recipes.

    1. Hi Sissi, I believe this regional dish evolved from taking an inexpensive and not so tender piece of meat and turning it into something very tasty.

  13. It wasn’t just Texas, I grew up in the middle of Kansas and steak usually meant Chicken fried. I love it dearly and haven’t made it in years. I like your method of the buttermilk bath. Will be trying this when I’m having a “feeling skinny” day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Lea Ann, The middle of Kansas must have had the same kind of homey restaurants as we did.”A feeling skinny day”, I like that. The buttermilk really helps make the meat moist and tender.

  14. Your food posts are killers. Everything always looks good even if it is something I probably wouldn’t eat (not a gravy fan–and trying to be vegetarian…again). I really wish I would have gotten the “love to cook” gene and the “eat whatever the heck I want and stay thin” gene. Sigh.

  15. It is so my lucky day!! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make a chicken fried steak, which I heard had nothing to do with chicken! I know my son would love this and now I do not have to search for a recipe!!

    1. Hi Dave, Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to have an occasional meal from our past. When I visit family in Texas, I try to eat BBQ, Tex-mex and chicken fried steak. This recipe is easy to make. Enjoy.

  16. OH YUM! I have had this dish once or twice in the past (pale imitations at best) but I love it and I would never even think to make it! But you just inspired some weekend cooking! Look for a post of my own soon!
    I always figured this dish evolved as the beef-country’s cousin to the south’s fried chicken but the German settlers making Wiener Schnitzel makes much more sense – who knew!

    1. Hi Carol, I’m happy that I have inspired some weekend cooking. Hope you enjoy the meal. So much of Texas was settled by Germans and have given the state many great recipes.

  17. I cant stop my mouth watering since I read your post! Your dish is delicious and for one more time your picture is lovely! Pretty easy recipe, i definitely going to make it!
    Have a nice weekend!

  18. I love your tribute to this Texas delicacy. In fact, we eat this (or chicken fried chicken) with fried okra and mashed potatos quite often at a little “restaruant” down the road. Add in some sweet tea and I honestly believe it is the most perfect meal in the world. My Kansas husband laughs at me because I cannot order anything else off the menu and he knows when I am craving Vernon’s something fried is about to be on my plate!
    Great post…and now I am hungry!

    1. Hi Stacey, A girl after my own heart. Your little restaurant down the load sounds good, especially if they have fried okra to go along with the chicken fried steak. Maybe not the healthiest meal but delicious.

    1. Hi Claire, I can see how the name can be confusing. I guess it is like the dish bubble and squeak. You don’t always know where the name comes from. The peppery cream gravy makes the meal so good.

  19. Omg….This is, time allowing, on my menu for my weekend. It’s an old favorite of my moms and I haven’t thought about it for years. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re in AZ. Grew up eating it.
    Thank you for bringing back great food memories. Craving it now. It looks delicious!

    1. Hi Zoe, Thank you for your lovely comment. It does my heart good when one of my posts brings back wonderful memories. I don’t eat it that often but it is one of my favorites. If you get a chance to make it…enjoy.

    1. Hi Judy, Thank you for your comment. I think we all grew up with some meals like this. We just don’t prepare them very often because we have become so health conscious. I believe in eating everything in moderation and I’m healthy and happy.

  20. Aaw, what I wouldn’t give for something like this sometimes. I had a pretty good steak (almost wrote “stake”, lol… “me no vampire!”) last night at a place which cooks it in front of you over an open log fire. Really tasty, especially considering it’s a chain restaurant, but wood cooked steak and fries are all well and good, but sometimes, you know… I would love to be able to go to a restaurant and get something like this. French don’t really do mashed potato alas.

    That’s a grand looking steak – I’ll have to give it a try sometime soon! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Charles, Yum, I like a steak cooked over an open wood fire. This is so different…a real rural home cooked kind of a meal that you would find in a local restaurant. Maybe you will get a chance to try it…the cream gravy making the meal special.

  21. Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy is one of those dishes that I have never made before because I know if I do I will want to make it every day. This looks wonderful and like comfort food at it’s best. I had no idea that so many Germans settled in Texas.

    1. Hi Becki, You are right…this dish can definely make you want more. Texas has wonderful history with the German settlers. If you go to a BBQ restaurant there will always be smoked sausages on the menu courtesy of the German settlers among other things.

    1. Hi Carolyn, You are right, the two meals couldn’t be more different. I think that describes my life. I try to enjoy life to its fullest…be it a healthy meal or something totally decadent. All things in moderation.

    1. Hi Amber, Thank you for stopping by to visit my blog. There certainly is something comforting about southern food. I think you would enjoy the meal.

  22. As a gal from the deep south I’ve certainly had my fair share of chicken fried steak, and sometimes it’s been good and sometimes not so much. But YOURS makes me really want to have it again and soon. I love the idea of the garlic, onion and cayenne in the breading. That sounds like real money to me!

    1. Thank you Betsy, southern girls do like their chicken fried steak. You must have good quality ingredients and I think some restaurants try to cut costs. I think seasoning really makes a big difference in the breading.

  23. I ate this in Houston and was totally perplexed before it arrived as to what it was…chicken or beef? My oh my, did I love it but havenยดt eaten it since. Now I can! Thanks for a great recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Tanya, It’s nice to know that you have had this dish before and liked it. And I’m very happy to supply you with a recipe. I grew up on a ranch outside of Houston and this recipe brings back fond memories of home.

  24. I am cooking this right now. All I can say is: if you have prime beef don’t marinated it. It will fall apart right away.

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