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No-Fail Chicken-Fried Steak

Cook up this classic with your favorite home–style sides like old fashion mashed potatoes, green beans, or cream corn.

Can’t get grandma on the phone? Try these tips from Texas farm kitchens.


Choosing your steak

  • Thin steaks (1/4- to 1/2-inch thick) work best for chicken-fried steak.
  • Smaller steak pieces are easier to coat and fry, and the crust is less likely to break.


Preparing your steak

  • For an added zing, add cayenne pepper or paprika to the flour, or hot pepper sauce to the egg mixture.
  • Most old-timers insist on a cast iron skillet or heavy skillet for frying.
  • For extra crispy crust, turn steaks in saltine cracker crumbs following the second egg-batter dip.


Frying your steak

  • Pan-fry in oil 1/4-inch deep when total thickness of breaded steaks is 1/2 inch. Rule-of-thumb: Oil depth should be one-half the total breaded steak thickness.
  • If the oil is smoking, it's too hot and burns the meat. If the oil is too cool, the crust forms too slowly, absorbs oil, and becomes greasy.
  • Gently place steaks in oil to avoid splashing the top. Oil splashes cause patches of soft crust.
  • Fry steaks one at a time for best results. Don't let steaks touch when frying two at a time; steam develops making the crust soggy.
  • Monitor oil temperature. The secret is cooking quickly. When steaks are added, oil temperature drops. Adjust heat slightly upward if needed. Readjust heat downward to regulate even frying temperature.
  • Don't cover the pan while cooking; steam forms creating a soggy crust.
  • Serve steaks immediately. Crust becomes soft when held.

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