Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak

Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak is one of the most popular items on the menu. Homemade country fried steak is delicious comfort food, especially when served with gravy. This country fried steak is fried to golden brown perfection and served with a delicious creamy gravy. Serve this with mashed potatoes, and green beans and you will have a comfort meal everyone will love. 

copycat Cracker Barrel country fried steak, gravy, and sides on a plate.

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What makes the Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak so good?

Simple, inexpensive, and hearty, Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak is the ultimate hunger buster. It’s a signature dish on the restaurant’s menu. This recipe combines everyone’s favorite part of fried chicken, the thick, crispy coating, with a tender, perfectly pan-fried steak.

Pour on creamy sawmill gravy, add a side or two, and you can recreate the Country Fried Steak Cracker Barrel Old Country Store customers have been raving about for years!

Why you’ll love this copycat recipe?

We have unlocked the secret for helping you have a perfectly crispy crust, and a tender steak waiting for you on the inside. Enjoy southern-style recipes at home with this easy copycat recipe. Our breaded steak is flavorful, and your Cracker Barrel fans are going to love this classic dish. 

Ingredients for Cracker Barrel chicken fried steak

To make Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Steak, you’ll need:

  • Cube steak
  • Saltine-style crackers crumbs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Buttermilk
  • Water
  • Oil for frying

You can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or other spices to suit your taste.

Cracker Barrel country fried steak ingredients.

What type of meat should you use?

Keeping the meat succulent even after deep-frying requires tenderizing. The preferred method uses a machine called a cuber.

Running the beef several times through a cuber flattens it and cuts up the long fibers preventing them from seizing during cooking. Most supermarkets cube USDA choice budget cuts like bottom and top round steak or sirloin steak. If you have a cuber or meat tenderizer at home, you can use any quality of meat your want.

You can also use hamburger steak if you cannot find cube steak at your grocery store.

How to bread steak

The best way to bread the steak for this copycat Cracker Barrel country fried steak recipe is by using the wet-hand / dry-hand breading method. 

  1. Arrange three shallow containers in a row for a breading station. Place a wire rack on a baking tray, and put it at the end of the row.
  2. Put the all purpose flour in the first container.
  3. Combine the buttermilk and water in the second container.
  4. Mix the finely crushed saltines with salt and black pepper in the third shallow pan.
  5. Use one hand (your dry hand) to put the cube steak into the first container. Coat the steak with the flour mixture, and shake off the excess.
season flour coated cube steaks.
  1. Use the same hand to place the floured steak into the container with buttermilk and water.
  2. Use the other hand (your wet hand) to flip the steak over in the liquid. Transfer the steak into the container with the cracker crumbs with the same hand.
  3. Use your dry hand to steak with seasoned cracker crumbs, shake off excess, and put on the wire rack.
breaded cube steaks on a wire rack.
  1. Repeat until you bread all the steaks.
  2. Place the breaded steaks in the fridge until ready to fry. 

How to make country fried steak like Cracker Barrel restaurants

To finish cooking this Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak recipe:

  1. Preheat your oven to WARM. 
  2. Heat at least an inch of vegetable oil in a cast iron or large frying pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350°F on the stovetop. Use a thermometer to make sure the oil is at the correct temperature.
  3. Add one or two coated steaks at a time to the pan to avoid cooling the oil too much. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.  
  4. Let the steaks cook on one side in the bottoms begin to brown nicely, about three to five minutes.
  5. Use tongs to flip the steaks away from you carefully. Cook for an additional two to four minutes until the steak is evenly browned on both sides. You may need additional vegetable oil for the batches.
frying breaded cube steaks in a skillet.
  1. Remove the cooked chicken-fried steak from the pan. Drain on a paper towel and place in the preheated oven to stay warm.
  2. Repeat.
  3. Serve country-fried steak with vegetable side dishes and bread. You can garnish with parsley if desired.
copycat Cracker Barrel country fried steak, sides, and gravy on a plate.

What goes with chicken fried steak?

The only thing you have to serve with chicken fried steak is sawmill gravy. Sometimes called country gravy, sawmill gravy is a rich milk-based sauce flavored with meat drippings and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. You can check out the recipe for Cracker Barrel Sawmill Gravy.

Other than the requisite Sawmill Gravy, country sides and veggies like mashed potatoesgreen beans, and corn on the cob make great sides. You can also serve chicken fried steak with buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, or corn muffins with real butter.

How To store leftover country fried steak

To refrigerate for up to three days, wrap each cooled steak separately with a paper towel and put them in an airtight container or wrap them with foil to seal in the freshness.

To freeze for up to three months, lay the steaks on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe container.

How to reheat country fried steak

The best way to reheat Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Steak is in the air fryer. 

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Thaw the steak if frozen, and cook for five minutes. Turn the steak over and cook for three to five minutes or until warm.

To reheat in an oven:

  1. Remove leftover chicken fried steaks from the fridge and allow them to come up to room temperature, about 20 minutes. 
  2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  3. Put the country fried steak on a wire rack set on a baking tray.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, turning midway through. 
overhead view of copycat Cracker Barrel country fried steak.

Love Cracker Barrel? Try these Copycat Cracker Barrel recipes.

Favorite comfort food recipes

Check out more of my easy comfort food recipes and the best Cracker Barrel recipes here on CopyKat!

copycat Cracker Barrel country fried steak, gravy, and sides on a plate.

Cracker Barrel Country Fried Steak

You can make delicious chicken fried steak like Cracker Barrel with this easy copycat recipe.
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Fried Steak, Country Fried Steak, Cracker Barrel Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 545kcal


  • oil for frying
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup saltine cracker crumbs
  • teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound tenderized cube steaks


  • Pour 3 to 4 inches of oil into a deep fryer or large pot, and heat the oil to 350°F.
  • Combine the flour, cracker crumbs, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Mix well.
  • In another shallow dish, combine the buttermilk and water. Mix well.
  • Dip the cube steaks into the flour mixture and shake off the excess.
  • Dip the flour-coated cube steaks into the buttermilk, shake off the excess.
  • Dredge the cube steaks in the flour again.
  • Place the breaded steaks on a wire rack resting on a baking sheet. Allow the breading to set up for 5 minutes. This helps to set the breading on the steak.
  • Place the breaded steaks into the hot oil. Fry the steaks for 3 to 5 minutes on one side, until the sides of the meat start to brown and the top of the meat starts to cook.
  • Gently flip the steaks away from you to avoid splashing hot oil onto yourself, and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on the other side.
  • When both sides are golden brown and crispy, remove the steaks from the hot oil and drain on a clean wire rack over a baking sheet.



Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 409mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Carol

    5 stars
    Oh my, this Chicken Fried Steak recipe takes me right back to Cracker Barrel’s cozy dining room! I whipped this up for Sunday dinner, and my three grandkids couldn’t get enough. They said it tasted just like the “special restaurant steak,” and let me tell you, there were no leftovers! Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe. It’s a new family favorite! 😊

  2. Cathy Cunningham

    Recently I successfully made country fried steak with round steak that I cubed by hand. I
    pounded the steak thin, then used a heavy knife to make cuts all the way across one direction, then turned steak half way and did it again, then once more on the angle. Flipped the meat over and repeated on the other side. It was so tender and good! It’s hard to find cube steak here so I’m making my own from whatever tough cuts I have from now on!! I remember my grandma taking a salad plate and pounding the meat with it on edge. I like using the knife.

  3. Dr Frank

    5 stars
    Wow, this recipe is an absolute winner! I made it for dinner last night, and it was a huge hit with my family. The flavors were perfectly balanced, and the step-by-step instructions made it a breeze to follow.

  4. Clarence Obert

    Greetings. I was wondering if you have tried to do the initial fry in an Air Fryer instead of frying in oil? I see your instructions on Air Fryer reheat, but was wondering about the initial fryer. I recently got an air fryer and I’m trying to cut way back on frying foods smothered in oil. Thanks and have a great day.

    • Stephanie Manley

      To be honest, I haven’t tried cooking this in the air fryer, if I wanted to make a CFS in the air fryer, I would do it panko crumbs to make sure they are crispy, and this would be different from the Cracker Barrel version. I have not tried air-frying a seasoned flour breaded anything in the air fryer.

5 from 11 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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