• Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy


Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

By Andrew Zimmern

Stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 is the most historic road in the country, an emblem of the American Dream. Last year I drove a section of the famed highway in Oklahoma and stopped at Clanton’s, world famous for their chicken fried steak. Once I tasted their version, I came home and tried to recreate it. This recipe is as close as I got.

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Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

Servings: 4


  • 2 pounds sirloin tip steaks
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 quarts peanut or canola oil

For the Gravy

  • 1 small finely minced onion
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2  1/2 cups whole milk


Cut the sirloin into 4 pieces. Pound each steak until it is roughly 1/3-inch thick, using the flat side of a meat mallet. Then take the spiky, sharp side of the mallet and pound each side of the steak uniformly. Season the steaks with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to 375 degrees F. In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, paprika, black pepper, salt and onion powder. Whisk together the egg and the buttermilk in a separate shallow dish. Place the cornstarch in a third large shallow dish.

Working one steak at a time, coat well in cornstarch. Lift steak, shake off excess cornstarch, then transfer to egg mixture. Coat steak well in egg mixture, lift steak, letting excess egg drain off, then transfer to seasoned flour mixture. Coat steak well, pressing seasoned flour all over to help it adhere to the meat. Place the steak on a wire cookie rack. Repeat until all steaks are ready for fryer.

Carefully place each steak in the oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Reserve to a plate lined with a paper towel. Season with sea salt.

Working quickly, pour the oil out of the pot and into a large metal work bowl to cool, reserving a few tablespoons and the sticky bits in the bottom of the pot.

Return pan to the heat. Add the onion, thyme sprig, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg to the reserved oil. Brown the onions slightly and then add the flour. Whisk until the roux turns a light brown color. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and additional pepper to taste.

Transfer steaks to plates, top with gravy, and serve immediately with mashed potatoes.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill. 

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