Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak Fingers

Our Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak Fingers are a crunchy, healthier version of the original comfort food classic and dipping them in the country gravy is the only way to go!

strips of country chicken fried steak on a plate.

What is Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken fried steak is a term used to describe strips of steak that have been battered and fried, like fried chicken. Typical ingredients include flour, salt, pepper and sometimes a liquid dredge, or egg mixture. The country fried chicken steak happens when you add a little paprika and pepper. These two spices give some seriously taste of the south. Pair the chicken fried steak fingers with the traditional country gravy and they are out of this world delicious. Typically the chicken is fried on the stove top in oil, we chose to cook our country steak in the air fryer.

ingredients for coating country fried steak.

Why Is the Chicken Fried Steak Made in the Air Fryer

These chicken fried steak fingers, like country chicken fingers, were made in the air fryer to reduce oil, therefore limiting calories and fat. Air fryer steak comes out incredibly crunchy on the outside while staying tender & juicy inside. Besides being a healthier alternative to frying, the air fryer is just more convenient. Running it to fry food does not put the grease residue or smell out into your house. Additionally, it is safer to air fryer things like this chicken fried steak because no oil is being used near heat, which can be a fire hazard.

steak fingers on rack for air fryer.

Making our Country Fried Steak Keto Approved

To make these protein powerhouses keto or low carb approved is simple. Below I have outlined the ingredient swaps and it will also be in the printable recipe card, the steps are all the same. You will swap as follows:

  • All Purpose Flour > Almond Flour
  • Panko Bread Crumbs > Crushed Pork Rinds or Keto Crackers
  • Whole Milk > Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

What Kind of Steak is Used

Traditional chicken fried steak is made with a cut of meat called Cube steak. The steak was originally used because it's a tough cut of meat in need of slow cooking or oil fried to be tender, additionally it was cheap. Cube steak gets it's name "cube" steak from the way it looks, ever notice those square impressions? The steak is machine or hand tenderized, leaving those marks behind. Due to the steak's lack of fat is another reason- this helps the coating adhere and crisp up. Juicier steaks would cause the breading to fall off or not get crunchy.

Making our Chicken Fried Steak in the Air Fryer

First gather 3 vessels to use for dipping and dredging your steak. Have tongs or a fork on hand with some paper towels and a plate to place the coated steak.

Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 pounds cubed steak
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs OR crushed pork rinds for KETO VERSION
  • 1 cup flour OR almond flour for KETO VERSION
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 cups whole milk, divided or almond milk for KETO VERSION
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1tsp xanthan gum for KETO VERSION
preparing to coat steak in flour.

Directions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees. Spray basket with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slice cubed steak into strips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. In a dipping tray, use a fork to mix together flour, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
  4. In a mixing cup, whisk 1 cup milk with egg until blended. Pour into another dipping tray.
  5. In a third dipping tray, add panko bread crumbs or pork rinds.
  6. Dip cubed steak strips in flour on both sides, shaking to remove excess. Then dip in the egg mixture on both sides. Allow excess to drip back into the tray. Finally, dredge the steak strip in the panko, patting on both sides to coat. Place steak strip in air fryer basket. Reserve any leftover flour mixture.
  7. When the air fryer basket is full (but not crowded), cook the steak strips at 360 degrees for about 7 minutes. Carefully flip the steak strips and cook for another 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the wattage of the air fryer. When the steak strips are done, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with a little salt, and keep warm.
  8. As the steak strips cook, prepare the gravy. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter.
  9. Whisk in ⅓ cup of the flour mixture into the butter. (for keto use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum) Bring to a bubble.
  10. Slowly add the beef broth and milk to the skillet, whisking continuously as it thickens. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until the steak strips are ready.

Recipes to Pair with this Steak

  • Have you ever made "hard boiled" eggs in the air fryer? Try this method and you may never boil again. Air Fryer Eggs.
  • Bacon Buttered Veggies can be cooked in the air fryer or roasted in the oven. These are so good even the kids will eat them. Bacon Buttered Veggies.
  • If you follow the keto diet (or even if you don't) our Cheesy Cauliflower Mac with Bacon is amazing.
strips of country chicken fried steak on a plate.

Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak Fingers

Yield: About 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak Fingers are a crunchy, healthier version of the original comfort food classic and we even have the country gravy!

Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 pounds cubed steak
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs or pork rinds for KETO
  • 1 cup flour almond flour for KETO
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 cups milk, divided, almond milk for KETO
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees. Spray basket with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slice cubed steak into strips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. In a dipping tray, use a fork to mix together flour, onion , 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.
  4. In a mixing cup, whisk 1 cup milk with egg until blended. Pour into another dipping tray.
  5. In a third dipping tray, add panko bread crumbs.
  6. Dip cubed steak strips in flour on both sides, shaking to remove excess. Then dip in the egg mixture on both sides. Allow excess to drip back into the tray. Finally, dredge the steak strip in the panko, patting on both sides to coat. Place steak strip in air fryer basket. Reserve any leftover flour mixture until steak is gone.
  7. When the air fryer basket is full (but not crowded), cook the steak strips at 360 degrees for about 7 minutes. Carefully flip the steak strips and cook for another 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the wattage of the air fryer. When the steak strips are done, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with a little salt, and keep warm.
  8. As the steak strips cook, prepare the gravy. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter.
  9. Whisk in ⅓ cup of the flour mixture into the butter. Bring to a bubble. If making the KETO version, use Xanthan gum, no flour.
  10. Slowly add the beef broth and milk to the skillet, whisking continuously as it thickens. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until the steak strips are ready. 
  11. Serve chicken fried steak fingers with gravy for dipping.









Notes

Cook’s notes: I do not season the Panko or pork rinds
because the seasoning tends to sift to the bottom of the tray and not adhere to
the meat.

Also note that two or more round of cooking may be necessary to cook
all of the steak strips depending on the size of the air fryer. Do not crowd
the steak strips.

NUTRITION INFORMATION IS FOR THE RECIPE AS TRADITIONAL, NOT KETO. These are only 3 net carbs per 2-3 strips depending on size when made the low carb way.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 521Total Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 15gNet Carbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gProtein: 45g

Nutrition facts are auto- populated by the app for this recipe card, numbers may vary. For best results, input your exact brand ingredients into a recipe analyzer like Verywell or MyFitnessPal.

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