Chicken-Fried Steaks with Caramelized Onion Gravy


Caramelized onion gravy rich with jammy slightly sweet onions makes this homey dish fancy enough to grace the table at Hunter Evans' stylish restaurant, Elvie's, in Jackson, Mississippi. Using cube steak—which is top round or top sirloin that has already been pounded and tenderized—eliminates the need to tenderize the meat before frying it. Evans adds Worcestershire sauce to both the steak seasoning and the gravy, which makes them extra savory and ensures layers of flavor in every bite. Enjoy this for a Sunday supper, or top it with a fried egg drizzled with hot sauce for brunch.

Chicken fried steak with caramelized onion gravy and a side of mashed potatoes
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


Caramelized Onion Gravy

  • ¼ cup canola oil

  • 4 medium-size (9-ounce) yellow onions, thinly sliced (9 cups)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Chicken-Fried Steaks

  • Canola oil

  • 6 (6-ounce) cube steaks

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • cup whole milk

  • 3 dashes of hot sauce (such as Tabasco)


Prepare the Caramelized Onion Gravy:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes. Add butter; cook, stirring constantly, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, until flour turns golden brown and smells nutty, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and buttermilk, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Prepare the Chicken-Fried Steaks:

  1. Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch in a large cast-iron skillet. Heat over medium until oil reaches 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels; top with a wire rack. Drizzle steaks evenly with Worcestershire sauce; sprinkle evenly with garlic powder, onion powder, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside.

  2. Stir together 1 cup of the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk together eggs, milk, and hot sauce in a separate shallow bowl. Stir together remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a third shallow bowl.

  3. Dredge 1 steak in the 1 cup flour mixture; shake off excess flour. Place steak in egg wash, turning to coat. Place steak in the 1 1/2 cups flour mixture; turn to coat. Gently lower prepared steak into hot oil. Repeat process with a second steak. Cook steaks, undisturbed, until golden brown and crispy on bottoms, about 2 minutes. Flip steaks; cook until golden brown and crispy all over, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer cooked steaks to prepared wire rack. Repeat process with remaining 4 steaks. Serve Chicken-Fried Steaks alongside Caramelized Onion Gravy.

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