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Texas-based chef Joshua Weissman—author of The New York Times bestseller, An Unapologetic Cookbook—shares his mom's mouthwatering chicken fried steak recipe. It goes great with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, and some hot sauce on top is really good, too!

"The cliche 'Oh, when I was a child...' moment is about to happen. But really, the most nostalgic foods of my life are the soul foods my mom has always cooked for me. At the top of that list is her incredibly crispy and tender chicken fried steak, smothered in an unctuous, rich, creamy gravy. It hits the spot so you can hit the pillow when you're done eating it." –Joshua 

Check out Rach's version of chicken fried steak, which she makes with beer and serves with cheesy hassel-bacon potatoes. 


  • 4 tenderized cube steaks (1 to 1½ pounds total; ask your butcher to flatten and tenderize them for you)
  • Whole milk or buttermilk, to cover
  • 2 sleeves saltine crackers, coarsely crushed
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • High-heat oil (such as canola, avocado, vegetable, lard, etc.), for frying
For the Cream Gravy:
  • ½ cup neutral-tasting oil or unsalted butter (if you don't use the oil from cooking the chicken)
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, plus more if needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Additional spices (smoked paprika, garlic, cumin, etc.), to your liking


Serves: 4


Place the cube steaks in an 8-inch-square baking dish and pour in whole milk to cover. Marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes or, covered, overnight in the refrigerator. 

Place the coarsely crushed crackers in a large deep baking dish, along with the all-purpose flour, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix together until thoroughly combined.  

Fill a large deep cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pot with about 1 inch of the oil. Heat over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer.  

While the oil is heating, working with 1 piece at a time, pull the cube steak from the milk and place it in the cracker mixture. Cover all sides of the meat with the mixture, firmly pressing it to fully coat all the crevices. Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining cube steaks.  

Once the oil is hot and shimmering, working in batches, carefully place the breaded meat into the oil (dropping away from you) and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until crispy golden brown and cooked through. Place the pieces on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet to drip dry. 

Prepare the cream gravy. If the oil isn't burnt, pour out all but ½ cup from the cast-iron skillet to use for the gravy. (Otherwise, use fresh neutral-tasting oil or butter.) Place over medium heat until hot. 

Add the all-purpose flour and whisk until the flour begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the whole milk and whisk continuously until it begins to thicken and is smooth. Add more milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional spices, if you like.  

Plate the chicken fried steak with gravy. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper and enjoy!

Excerpted from An Unapologetic Cookbook by Joshua Weissman. Copyright © 2021 by Joshua Weissman. Used with permission by Alpha. All rights reserved.