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Southern Fried Okra +gluten free option

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!”

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a big pan of fried okra ready to be eaten

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

six steps to make fried okra

Make your okra a meal

Serve your okra with lighter, fresher options to balance the fried-ness. Try oven roasted corn with bacon, classic deviled eggs, and a simple roast chicken.

Ready for okra that’s not fried? Check out these 25 other delicious variations!

a big pan of fried okra ready to be eaten

Southern Fried Okra

Fried okra is a southern classic and something you either love or hate. Lightly breaded and seasoned, you'll love this simple side dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour gluten free flour works too
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 7.5 ounce package fresh okra pods
  • 1 cup refined coconut oil for frying


  • 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.


Calories: 143kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 226mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 73IUCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Side Dish

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  1. 5 stars
    This okra was absolutely amazing! I have never had okra turn out so crispy and flavorful before which is exactly what I was wanting. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.