This air fryer chicken-fried steak is a lightened-up version of the original! Instead of deep frying, juicy steak is air fried to crispy perfection and served with peppery homemade gravy.
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Ah, chicken-fried steak. Sometimes also known as country fried steak, it’s a classic Southern dish that consists of cubed steak dredged in seasoned flour and fried in a skillet until golden brown. It’s usually served with creamy gravy and mashed potatoes or rice—and it’s anything but healthy.
The air fryer chicken-fried steak is an easy way to get the same flavor and texture as traditional chicken-fried steak without having to use a deep fryer or a skillet full of oil. Instead, it’s made by coating cubed steak in a mixture of flour, spices, and seasonings and cooking it in the air fryer. The result is an incredibly flavorful, crispy steak that can be served with all your favorite sides.
While it’s still not exactly health food, it is much lighter than the original fried version, which means it’s perfect when you’ve got a craving for chicken-fried steak, but don’t want to eat a day’s worth of calories in a single meal!
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken-Fried Steak Recipe
Making chicken-fried steak in the air fryer requires far less oil than the traditional method—you’ll just spritz the steak with cooking spray and that’s all you need! Plus, air fryer chicken-fried steak cooks quickly and evenly, so you can have a delicious meal on the table in no time!
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy chicken-fried steak at home, give air fryer chicken-fried steak a try. With its easy prep and delicious results, it’s sure to become a fast favorite with your family!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the air fryer chicken-fried steak:
- Cube steaks – Also known as minute steak, cube steak is a cut of beef that’s pre-tenderized by a process of pounding and cutting. As a result, it’s tender, flavorful, and typically inexpensive.
- Egg – Here’s the best way to crack an egg!
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk is thicker than regular milk, which helps the coating stick to the steak better.
- Hot sauce – Any kind you like or have on hand. A pinch of cayenne pepper works too!
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic powder – Or use half garlic powder and half onion powder.
- Kosher salt
- Smoked paprika – While regular paprika can be used instead, smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor that can’t be beat.
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the creamy gravy:
- Unsalted butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use that and simply add less salt to the recipe.
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Whole milk
- Leave out the hot sauce for a milder flavor.
- Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour substitute to make gluten-free air fryer chicken-fried steak.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken-Fried Steak
- Prepare: Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep your dredging stations by whisking the egg, buttermilk, and hot sauce in one shallow bowl and the flour, garlic powder, salt, and paprika in another.
- Coat the steak: Dip each piece of beef into the egg mixture, coating both sides, then dredge in the dry ingredients, pressing it in gently to make sure it’s completely covered. Shake off any excess.
- Arrange the steak in the air fryer basket: Spray the inside of the air fryer basket with nonstick spray, then place the steaks inside. Coat the tops with the spray.
- Air fry the steak: Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown; flip halfway through the cooking time.
- Make the gravy: While the chicken-fried steak cooks in the air fryer, melt the butter in a skillet or small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir together with a rubber spatula until there are no more lumps. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk. Cook on low until slightly thickened, then season to taste.
- Serve: Plate the steaks and serve with the gravy.
Whisk the gravy constantly as it cooks, making sure to scrape the bottom so it doesn’t scorch.
How to Store Leftover Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak
Make sure you are coating the steak with a thin layer of egg wash and flour. If it’s too thick, it won’t stick. Also, be sure to press the flour mixture into the steak so that it sticks better.
Air frying meat is a quick and easy way to achieve a crispy, flavorful coating without having to deep-fry. The hot air circulation in the fryer helps crisp up the outside of the steak while still cooking it through evenly.
No, I do not recommend making the chicken-fried steak ahead of time as the coating may become soggy. However, you can prepare the ingredients for breading up to a day in advance and store them separately in an airtight container until ready to cook.
Yes, you can make air fryer chicken-fried steak without buttermilk. Instead, place 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, then fill it to the 1/2-cup mark with whole milk. Whisk and let this mixture sit for 5 minutes. The milk will curdle, creating a buttermilk substitute.
Air Fryer Chicken-Fried Steak
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 cube steaks
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat an air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a shallow container, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and hot sauce.1 egg, ½ cup buttermilk, 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
- In a separate container, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, and paprika.½ cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Dip each steak into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Remove, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing it in gently to make sure that it is completely covered.2 cube steaks
- Repeat the dredging process by dipping each steak again into the egg, followed by the flour mixture. Set aside on a plate.
- Spray the inside of the air fryer basket with nonstick spray, then place the steaks inside. Spray the tops with the spray.Nonstick cooking spray
- Air fry for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and cooked through, turning halfway through.
- While the steak bakes, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once completely melted, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix together with a rubber spatula until there are no more lumps.2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- While whisking, slowly pour in the milk. Cook on low until slightly thickened, making sure to scrape the bottom so it doesn’t scorch. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve over the cooked steaks.1 cup whole milk