Fried okra is a southern specialty and something you either love, or hate. Crispy fried with a bit of cornmeal and flour and just the right amount of seasoning, this is one classic side dish you can dig in to and say “I declare!”Jump to Recipe
Frying isn’t always known for its health benefits but I’m here to prove you can have your fried okra and eat it too. With options for gluten free folks and the swap of refined coconut oil (that doesn’t taste like coconuts) instead of vegetable oil, you get the ant-inflammatory benefits and the crispy golden crust on this southern classic you love.
Sprinkle them with a little extra salt right from the skillet and you’ll be ready to dig in.
What is fried okra made of?
Obviously, okra–which is a member of the mallow family and originated somewhere between West Africa, Ethiopia and Southern Asia. No one really knows for sure. The seed pods the plants produce are sliced then baked, sautéed, or fried. For fried okra, sliced pods are soaked in buttermilk and egg, then dipped into cornmeal and flour before hitting the oil.
What does fried okra taste like?
Believe it or not, okra is really mild. There isn’t a ton of flavor to it if you ask me. You taste more of the seasoned breading and only a bit of the vegetable itself.
Can I use cut frozen okra?
Yes you can. You’ll want to bring the frozen okra out and leave it on the counter for about five minutes before breading it–just to allow any ice crystals to come off a bit, then bread it as instructed.
The okra will thaw out while its frying. Just be mindful that frozen okra will be wet and will release water as it fries so it may splatter more than if you were using fresh.
Make this recipe gluten free
To make your okra gluten free, use any 1:1 gluten free flour blend that you enjoy. I like King Arthur’s and that’s what I used here. Your cornmeal should be naturally gluten free but check the package just to make sure it’s not be cross-contaminated.
How to bread okra
Make your okra a meal
Ready for okra that’s not fried? Check out these 25 other delicious variations!
Southern Fried Okra
- In a medium bowl mix the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a seperate bowl beat the egg and buttermilk and set aside.
- Wash and slice the okra into 1/4" thick slices. Throw away the very end pieces.
- Bread the okra by first dipping it in to the buttermilk mixture then in to the flour and cornmeal, pressing the breading on well.
- Transfer the breaded okra to the countertop or another bowl and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before frying. It helps the breading stick. Heat the oil while they sit.
- In a 9-inch heavy skillet like cast iron, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat about 5 minutes. Test the oil's readiness by dropping in one okra piece. If it fries immediately, the oil is ready.
- Fry the okra in three or four batches. Place them in the oil and allow them to sit undisturbed for one minute before turning and avoid tossing it a lot so the breading doesn't fall off.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm.