Chicken-Fried Steak Katsu With Milk Gravy

April 17, 2019
14 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

My chicken-fried steak recipe draws inspiration from the Southern dish, which starts with cube steak and ends with milk gravy, but also from shatteringly crunchy Japanese-style katsu. The panko breading—my go-to when frying cutlets—fries up way crispier and, in my experience, requires less time in the oil than the country-fried flour-egg-flour situation. I’ve always felt that frying at home was never worth the mess, but when you’re cooking small-scale like this, the oil feels somehow more manageable. I like to make a comforting milk gravy with the pan drippings, which blankets the crispy meat. The most important ingredient here is, for me, the nutmeg, that deep, earthy cure-all for homesickness, because it tastes of everything good and familiar: Christmas, pumpkin pie, milk gravy. Alongside mashed potatoes and finely shaved cabbage, chicken-fried steak is comfort food for when you need comfort food most. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Chicken-Fried Steak Katsu for When You're Feeling Homesick. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Chicken-fried steak katsu
  • 1/2 pound cube steak (about 1 to 2 steaks, depending on the size)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Mashed potatoes and coleslaw, for serving (optional)
  • Milk gravy
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  1. For the chicken-fried steak katsu: Season both sides of the steak(s) with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Set up three stations for the flour, eggs (whisked with the tablespoon of milk), and panko, seasoning each with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Dip the steaks in the flour, then the eggs, then the panko, ensuring that all sides, nooks, and crannies are well coated.
  2. In a cast-iron skillet, heat a shallow layer of vegetable oil to 350°F. Fry steaks in the oil, about 2 minutes per side (the second side may need even less) or until lightly browned. These cook up very quickly, so you can take them out as soon as the panko changes color.
  3. For the milk gravy: Remove oil from the pan, leaving behind a tablespoon. Stir in the tablespoon of flour and cook for about a minute. Whisk in the milk; season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg; and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened into a lovely gravy.
  4. Serve the katsu with mashed potatoes and coleslaw, smothering the plate with milk gravy. Rice is good, too, if you don't want to bother with potatoes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mj.landry
  • Karen Donoho
    Karen Donoho
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Lisamarie78
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

5 Reviews

Lisamarie78 August 30, 2020
Very good recipe! We tried a different recipe in the past and it didn't come out right. This recipe come out awesome and I will try it again. Too bad we can't show the pictures on here.
Toddie October 31, 2019
Such a pretty picture, Eric, but please tell me that, after shooting it, you dumped the other 7/8s of the cup of gravy over the meat and potatoes before you ate it!
mj.landry April 22, 2019
I was JUST thinking about Chicken Fried steak the other day. My son loves it and I haven't made it in a while. I'm from Florida and this is comfort food for me. Your recipe using Panko sounds great and I will definitely make it this way next time. Thanks for the great
Karen D. April 19, 2019
Texas home cook here, married to a man who adores a good chicken fried steak. We prefer the flour-egg-flour, vs panko, as the flour seems to absorb the seasonings (salt, black pepper, garlic powder) better than crumbs, and we prefer the texture. I make more cream gravy than 1 Tbs oil and flour because, well, we LIKE gravy! I use a couple of tablespoons of flour & oil, to make a medium roux, and to cook the flour down. Then add enough milk to reach the consistency we like. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper. Temperature of the oil is critical to success with the steaks. I have a GREAT digital laser, pistol grip thermometer that I love.

I'm so sorry for your family tragedy. Yes, food is the great comforter. When I miss my mother most, I fix those dishes that she used to fix, and there she is.
Eric K. April 19, 2019
Thank you, Karen. Love hearing about how you make this—what temperature is your oil?