This Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak is a delicious Southern comfort food recipe that’s simple and quick to make in the air fryer, then served with a creamy country gravy.
» You may enjoy Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs and Easy Air Fryer Meatloaf Bites.
Growing up, my mom made chicken fried steak all the time, but it was a major affair with a frying pan full of hot oil in which to fry it all. It took hours and made a huge mess. I never really made it myself due to that, but I wanted to try it in the air fryer to see if I could cut down on the mess.
Low and behold, the air fryer is the perfect way to make chicken fried steak without all that oil and without any of the mess. You just dredge the steak and cook it for 8 minutes in the air fryer. It’s perfect.
Ingredients You’ll Need
We usually serve this steak on a bed of mashed potatoes, which you can make in your Instant Pot, if you have one. You could also serve it with air fryer vegetables or crispy potatoes, with homemade country gravy poured over the top.
- Cube steaks – Cube steaks or another thin steak is the way to go there. You will need to pound it down to 1/4″ thick with a meat mallet, but it’s much easier if you start with a thin steak.
- All purpose flour – The flour is for the dredging station and for the country gravy
- Seasonings: salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
- Buttermilk – You can use regular milk, but believe me that buttermilk is better, and it means you don’t need to use eggs in the dredge.
- Butter – I use salted butter for making the country gravy, to add lots of great flavor
- Milk or half and half – Also to make the country gravy.
How to Make Chicken Fried Steak in the Air Fryer
Pound the steaks to about ¼” thick with a meat mallet. Usually cube steak starts off pretty thin, so you can just pound it a few times on each side. Doing this will also help the flour and buttermilk stick to the meat to form a nice crunchy crust.
Create two dredging stations: one with the flour, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and one with the buttermilk.
Dredge the chicken to coat in the flour, then dip it in the buttermilk. Dredge it through the flour one more time, shaking off the excess.
Spray the air fryer basket with oil so the steak doesn’t stick.
Place the steak in the air fryer basket and spray the tops with oil. Cook on 400°F for 8 minutes, flipping and spraying the tops halfway through. The steak needs to reach 144°F internal temperature to be medium rare.
It’s best to check the meat with a thermometer to be sure you’ve reached this level before removing the steaks from the air fryer. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your steak.
How to Make Country Gravy
To make the gravy, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk together. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Whisk occasionally.
Add the milk and whisk. Cook until slightly thickened. If it’s too thick, add a bit more milk or water to thin it out.
How to Know When It’s Done
Since you’ve pounded the steak to 1/4″ thick, it should take just 8 minutes total to cook it in the air fryer. However, if your meat was thicker than this, or cold just from the refrigerator, it might take a minute or two more.
It’s best to check your meat always with a meat thermometer to make sure it’s reached the proper temperature of 145°F for medium rare to 155°F for well done.
Should I Rest the Steak?
There’s no reason to rest the steak because it’s so thin. The crispy exterior will begin to get soggy the longer you leave it resting, so it’s best to serve it right away.
If you want to store any leftover steaks in the refrigerator, you should wait until they’ve completely cooled down before doing so. The breading will stay intact this way, then you can reheat them in the air fryer the next day.
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
- If you don’t have an air fryer yet, check out these options to find one that fits your needs.
- See reviews and prices for air fryers on Amazon.
- Click to find more recipes to make in your Air Fryer.
- Learn how to make fun things in the air fryer, like potato wedges, pork belly bites, and chicken wings.
What Side Dishes to Serve?
There are some really easy side dishes you can serve with your main dish cooked in the Air Fryer. In some cases, you can even cook them together in the air fryer to make it even faster.
Some of our favorite side dishes to serve include air fryer cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and corn on the cob. We love these crispy smashed potatoes and cottage fries because they go with just about anything. Other quick options are to make a side garden salad or some macaroni and cheese.
What Oil & Oil Sprayer is Best for the Air Fryer?
The biggest issue most air fryer lovers face is finding the right oil and oil sprayer to use on food cooked in the air fryer. A fine mist of oil will help the entire piece of food crisp evenly, so it’s very important.
My personal preference is to use canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. I use both a refillable spray bottle like the Evo one pictured below and non-propellant extra virgin olive oil, which has not harmful aerosols or chemicals.
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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak
For the steak:
- 2 cube steaks pounded
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
For the gravy:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2/3 cup milk or half and half
- Pound 2 thin steaks to about 1/4” thick with a meat mallet.
- Create two dredging stations: one with the flour, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and one with the buttermilk.
- Dredge the chicken to coat in the flour, then dip it in the buttermilk. Dredge it through the flour one more time, shaking off the excess.
- Spray the air fryer basket with oil so the steak doesn’t stick.
- Place the steak in the air fryer basket and spray the tops with oil. Cook on 400°F for 8 minutes, flipping and spraying the tops halfway through.
- To make the gravy, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk together. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Whisk occasionally.
- Add the milk and whisk. Cook until slightly thickened. If it’s too thick, add a bit more milk or water to thin it out.
- Serve the chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find Instant Pot recipes at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.