Country Fried Steak is a mouthwatering Cracker Barrel Copycat recipe that’s topped with a homemade version of their creamy sawmill gravy! Slide this delicious steak onto the table for breakfast OR dinner in just one hour!
Bring Cracker Barrel flavor to your kitchen by making this easy copycat recipe for Country Fried Steak! Serve it up with a potato and vegetable for dinner or with bacon, hash browns, and eggs for breakfast!
Cube steak, bacon, buttermilk, and saltines combine with pantry staple ingredients in this recipe for country-fried steak! The flavor and texture of this homemade version will have you skipping the restaurant to make it at home every time!
All About Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak
Taste: Country Fried Steak is known for being big on flavor! The breading is seasoned with smoked paprika and coarse black pepper, while the gravy adds incredible flavor from its foundation of steak and bacon pan drippings.
Together the two make for a bite of steak that’s totally unforgettable!
Texture: Since the breaded steak is fried up in canola oil, it has a wonderful golden brown exterior with a satisfying crunch covered in creamy gravy. Under all of the creamy, crunchy goodness is a juicy steak that is soaked in buttermilk to become perfectly tenderized.
Recipe Tips For The Best Country Fried Steak
- Tenderize The Meat – The cube steak is soaked in buttermilk to tenderize the meat in this recipe. Buttermilk’s high acidity level breaks down the tissue in the meat while simultaneously moistening it as well. Leaving you with meat that practically melts in your mouth!
- Saltine Crackers – To crush the saltines for the breading, you can simply use a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. However, if you don’t have a food processor, you can also just toss them into a large Ziploc bag, squeeze the excess air out of it, and then seal it. Afterward, roll over the bag using a rolling pin until fine crumbs form.
- Dredging Station – Prepare yourself with an organized dredging station so that this process goes as quickly and cleanly as possible! In one bowl, place the flour, cornstarch, and salt. In another bowl, have the egg and buttermilk mixture. Lastly, in the third bowl, combine the saltine crumbs, pepper, and paprika.
- Chilling – After each piece of meat is breaded, place it onto a baking sheet and store it in the fridge as you continue dredging the other pieces. Chilling the meat while continuing to work helps the steak hold its shape and makes the breading stick better while frying. When you go to fry up the meat, use the steak that’s been in the fridge the longest to allow the newest one time to chill.
- Warming – Prepare a baking sheet with a wire rack on top and place it into the preheated oven at 200 degrees F. This way, the steak will stay warm and crisp as you continue to fry the remaining steak and cook up the cream gravy.
If you’ve never had sawmill gravy before, then you’re in for a real treat! This homemade gravy really knocks the country friend steak out of the park!
The secret to the flavor in this gravy is found in the drippings! Once the steak has been fried, 1 tablespoon of the drippings is reserved to be used in the gravy.
The flavor then builds by cooking bacon in the leftover steak drippings. After the bacon is removed, the gravy is completed using ingredients such as minced garlic, flour, buttermilk, and whole milk.
Wondering where that delicious bacon goes to? The bacon is mainly used in sawmill gravy for its tasty drippings. Therefore, you can save the cooked bacon to serve it with the steak or crumble it up to add it to the gravy itself at the end.
If you’d rather not cook the bacon just for its drippings, you can actually purchase bacon grease online. Duck fat would also work and can be found online or right at Walmart.
Amazing copycat recipes such as this one are the perfect way to enjoy restaurant flavor for less in the comfort of your own home! You truly can make all of your favorites at home, from the popular Panda Express Orange Chicken to Longhorn’s Wild West Shrimp.
Storing Leftover Country Fried Steak
Place any leftover country fried steak into an airtight container once it’s had time to cool. Then transfer them into the fridge to enjoy within 3 days.
Reheating Chicken Fried Steak
The best way to reheat Country fried steak is by popping it in the air fryer at 350F for a few minutes; this will allow it to maintain crispiness. You can also reheat it on a baking sheet in the oven or in the microwave.
Chicken Fried Steak FAQs
Can I Make This Recipe Using Chicken Instead?
Yes, you can use this recipe to make chicken fried chicken! I would recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts and pounding them with a kitchen meat mallet to thin them out a bit first.
Can I Leave The Steak In The Buttermilk For Longer Than 30 Minutes?
Yes, you can leave the steak in buttermilk to tenderize for up to 24 hours! The more time spent in the buttermilk, the more tender the meat will turn out.
To Fry Up More Than 2lbs Of Cube Steak, Should I Double The Recipe?
Yes, if you plan to make more than 2 lbs of steak, you will need to double or even triple this recipe, depending on how many pounds you’ll be making.
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Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak
- 2 lb cube steak
- 1½ cups buttermilk divided
- 50 saltines crackers
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Add cubed steak to a casserole dish and pour ½ cup buttermilk over the top. Tenderize for 30 minutes in the fridge.2 lb cube steak, 1½ cups buttermilk
- Add saltines to a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs, or add to a ziplock and crush with a rolling pin.50 saltines crackers
- Prepare a dredging station with three bowls or shallow pans. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt in one bowl. Beat together the egg and the remaining 1 cup of buttermilk in another. Then mix the saltine crumbs, pepper, and paprika in the last bowl.1½ cups buttermilk, 50 saltines crackers, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 large egg, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a frying pan to 350°F and preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Prepare a baking sheet for the uncooked breaded steak, and a wire rack lined baking sheet for the cooked steak.
- Remove cubed steak from the fridge. Allow excess buttermilk to drip off the steak, then dip it in the flour. Press flour into the steak and evenly coat both sides. Next, dip each side of the steak into the buttermilk and egg mixture. Then, place it in the bowl with the saltine crumbs. Press the cracker crust into the steak and thoroughly cover each side with the crumbs. Place onto a baking sheet and store in the fridge as you work.
- Fry the steak in the order they were put into the fridge so the one in the cold the longest is the first to be fried. Keep the uncooked steak in the fridge as you are frying. The cold helps the steak to hold its shape and helps the breading to stick better while frying.
- Once the first steak is done frying, place it onto a wire rack lined baking sheet. Keep the baking sheet in the oven as you work.
- Remove all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from the pan.
- Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.4 slices bacon
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Add flour to the drippings and whisk. Cook until bubbling, then slowly incorporate the buttermilk and whole milk ¼ cup at a time. Whisk in the black pepper and cook for 3 minutes (or until thickened)1 teaspoon minced garlic, ¼ cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole milk, ⅓ cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Remove fried steaks from the oven and pour gravy over each. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with your favorite sides!fresh parsley
- Bacon Notes: The flavor of the sauce is built off a base of the leftover drippings and bacon fat. The bacon itself is not used in the recipe. Therefore, you can save the cooked bacon to serve on the side or crumble it to add to the gravy at the end. If you’d rather not cook the bacon just for its drippings, you can actually purchase bacon grease online. Duck fat would also work and can be found online or at Walmart.
- How To Store: Place any leftover country-fried steak into an airtight container once it’s had time to cool. Then transfer them into the fridge to enjoy within 3 days.
- Can I Leave The Steak In The Buttermilk For Longer Than 30 Minutes? Yes, you can leave the steak in buttermilk to tenderize for up to 24 hours! The more time spent in the buttermilk, the more tender the meat will turn out.
- To Fry Up More Than 2lbs Of Cube Steak, Should I Double The Recipe? Yes, if you plan to make more than 2lbs of steak, you will need to double or even triple this recipe, depending on how many pounds you’ll be making.