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What Is Country Fried Steak?

An American classic, the country fried steak is a fine example of southern comfort food. Crispy, golden, and incredibly delicious, country-fried steak is something you simply have to try. That is of course if you haven’t already.

However, country fried steak also brings some confusion, which might put people off making the dish or even leave them baffled as to what it is.

This confusion comes from the country fried steaks’ other name. That other name is chicken fried steak. 

The two are very similar and neither contains chicken. As you can imagine, this causes a great deal of confusion. Especially among those who expected fried chicken, not beef.

If you’re someone who doesn’t know much about country fried or chicken fried steak, you’ve come to the right place. 

In today’s post, I’ll tell you all about country fried steak and how it differs from chicken fried steak. I’ll also show you how you can make your own at home.

What Is Country Fried Steak?

To put it simply, country fried steak is a piece of crispy, breaded, juicy beef topped with gravy. An old-fashioned American classic, the dish is a breaded cutlet dish made using cube steak. 

The fresh, high-quality cube steak is coated in well-seasoned flour and pan-fried in a cast-iron pan or skillet over a medium-high temperature.

When fried, the fried steak is topped with a thick brown gravy made from the pan droppings. 

This dish first became popular in the United States when German immigrants introduced the recipe in the Southern United States.

This took place in the mid-19th century and the recipe closely resembled the classic wiener schnitzel

The cube steak used to make the fried steak is usually cut from the round. It is also commonly referred to as the minute or bucket steak. 

What Is Chicken Fried Steak?

Another name for the country fried steak is chicken fried steak. The dishes are slightly different but are still referred to as the same thing. This is where much of the confusion comes from.

Chicken fried steak is another breaded comfort dish. It is made from thinly cut pieces of meat. Like the country fried chicken steak, this meat is usually round steak or tenderized cube steak.

The chicken-fried steak’s coating is made from flour, breadcrumbs, and eggs just like the traditional country-fried steak. 

This fried steak is served with creamy white gravy made from black pepper and pan droppings. It is usually served with green beans and mashed potatoes. 

What’s The Difference?

So, what’s the difference between country fried steak and chicken fried steak? Well, despite sharing most of the same ingredients, there are actually a few small differences between the two.

These differences relate to the breading used for each steak, the gravy made, and the popularity of each dish.

In terms of breading, country fried steak has a much simpler breading recipe. No eggs are required and the breading isn’t as crispy.

On the other hand, chicken fried steak has a much crispier, more complex coating made from a mixture of seasonings, flour, and eggs.

As far as the gravy is concerned, country-fried steak is served with brown gravy. Chicken fried steak is instead served with creamy, peppery white gravy.

Finally, chicken-fried steak is much more popular than the country-fried steak in the middle of the U.S. Country-fried steak is more popular in Southeastern states like Georgia and Louisiana.

Can You Buy Country Fried Steak?

In all truth, there’s no better country-fried steak than the one you’ve made at home on your own. However, I totally appreciate that you don’t always have the time to make a fried steak from scratch. 

If you don’t, there’s no need to panic, as there are plenty of places that sell country-fried steaks pre-made. There’s a good chance you’ll find them in your local grocery store.

If not, you could check online retailers like Amazon to see if they sell their country-fried steaks.

How To Make Your Own Country Fried Steak

How To Make Your Own Country Fried Steak

Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll find it super easy to make your own country-fried steak, especially if you follow the recipe I’m going to outline for you now.

To finish this post off, I’m going to leave you with a super simple recipe that will help you not only make a fried steak, but also the gravy to go with it.

Make sure you follow the recipe carefully if you want to make the best country-fried steak possible.


  • 1½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cube or round steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Oil
  • 2 cup flour

For The Brown Gravy

  • ¼ cup butter
  • Seasoned flour
  • ½ chopped white onion
  • 2 cup beef stock

For The White Creamy Gravy

  • Seasoned flour
  • A cooling rack
  • Paper towels
  • 2 baking dishes
  • Frying pan
  • A gravy pan

Cooking Method

Once you have all of the ingredients, follow these steps to make your country fried steak:

Step 1: Mix the buttermilk and eggs together and season.

Step 2: In a freezer bag, pour the buttermilk mixture over your cube steaks. Leave the bag in your refrigerator overnight.

Step 3: Season your flour with onion powder, salt, and pepper before adding it to a baking dish.

Step 4: Transfer your steaks into a different baking dish. Using a pair of tongs, dredge your steaks through the flour, coating each side. Next, shake the steak off and put it back in your buttermilk for another dip. 

Step 5: You can now put your steaks on a rack in a refrigerator for approximately half an hour.

Step 6: Heat a skillet to medium-high temperature and pour in the oil. When sizzling, carefully put the steaks into the skillet. Deep fry them on each side for 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 7: Remove from the skillet when golden crispy. Leave them on a paper towel so the excess oil drains off.

Step 8: Enjoy your steak.

For The Brown Gravy

Step 1: Cook the onions on the stove using a medium temperature and melted butter.

Step 2: You should now add some seasoned flour and beef broth to the pan. Whisk the broth as the sauce boils. Give it time to thicken.

Step 3: Remove the gravy from your pan when it reaches the desired consistency.

For The Creamy White Gravy

Step 1: Remove 1 to 2 tbsp of steak oil or crispy bits from the pan and put them in another. Set your stove to a medium-high temperature.

Next, add seasoned flour to the pan and whisk. Slowly add the milk to the gravy, whisking continuously to remove lumps.

Step 2: Once the gravy has reached the desired consistency, reduce the temperature and season. Leave the gravy for a few minutes before removing it from the stove.

Final Thoughts

Hugely popular across America, country fried steaks offer us a different way to eat our cuts of meat.

Similar to the wiener or turkey schnitzel, there is occasionally confusion as to what the country fried steak is, as it is often misunderstood because of the chicken fried steak.

However, when you know more, all becomes clear.

In this post, I’ve told you everything you need to know about country fried steak. I’ve even given you all the tools you need to make your own. 

Now you have all this information at your fingertips, why don’t you try and make your first country-fried steak?



Richard is the founder of SteakBuff. He manages the team of expert writers on the site and is a foodie who loves eating steaks

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