A Spicy Perspective

Best Southern Fried Okra

Best Southern Fried Okra Recipe – Crunchy breaded and fried okra is a classic summertime side dish! It’s easy to make and perfect to serve with your favorite southern mains.

Bowl overflowing with breaded fried okra.

Why We Love This Recipe

Even picky eaters have to admit that fried vegetables are always a winner. Take fresh and healthy veggies, batter ’em, and toss in hot oil – and boom – before you know it you have a delicious side dish that still has *some* nutritional value.

Okra is one of our family’s favorite veggies to fry! We love our light and lean air fryer okra, but if you crave the naughtier deep-fried version, we’ve got a recipe for that too!

This traditional Southern Fried Okra recipe features fresh or frozen (and thawed) okra. They’re sliced and dredged in egg and flour, then deep fried to crunchy golden perfection. Maybe not the healthiest side, but these pop-able okra pieces are tasty and irresistible… And isn’t that what really matters?

Top down view of bowl with okra pieces.

Ingredients You Need

  • Fresh or frozen okra – whole pods
  • Yellow cornmeal – not the mix typically used to make cornbread
  • All-purpose flour – or gluten-free flour
  • Spices – salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, or cayenne
  • Egg and milk – binder to keep the breading on the okra
  • Fry oil – your choice of peanut, canola, or soy
Raw whole okra in a plastic container

How to Make Crunchy Fried Okra

Set a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Pour the oil into the pot and place a cooking thermometer on the side of the pot, with the tip down in the oil. Set a paper towel-lined holding plate to the side of the stove.

Check the temperature every couple of minutes as you prep the recipe. When it reaches 375 degrees F, turn the heat down to medium to maintain.

Set out two shallow bowls. In one bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and pepper.

Bowl with cornmeal, flour, and spices.

Mix and set aside. In the second bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Cut the tops off the okra pods. Then cut each pod into half-inch rounds.

When you get down to the thin tip of the okra pod, discard.

Sliced okra on a cutting board with knife.

Add the chopped okra pieces to the egg mixture. Toss the okra pieces in the mixture to coat.

Slices in a bowl with egg wash.

Then working in batches, drain off the egg mixture and add the pieces to the bowl with the breading mixture.

Adding okra slices to breading mixture.

Toss the pieces into the cornmeal breading.

Get the Complete (Printable) Breaded Fried Okra Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Tossing the pieces to coat in breading mixture.

Once the oil is at 375 degrees F, shake the excess breading off the okra and gently place half in the fry oil. Stir and fry for 3-5 minutes, until the okra is golden brown.

If you want it very crispy, make sure to fry at least 4 minutes.

Hot oil in large pot, pieces of breaded okra frying.

Use a skimmer to move the breaded fried okra to the holding plate. Then repeat with the second batch.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a warming drawer or low-temperature oven.

Spoon adding pieces of southern fried okra to a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make gluten-free fried okra?

Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free. So just swap the all-purpose flour with your preferred GF alternative and you’re good to go!

What main dish goes well with fried okra?

These crispy crunchy bites of deliciousness are great to pair with any southern dishes! Enjoy alongside classics like Pulled Pork sandwiches, Cocoa-Cola Baked Ham, Grilled Pork Chops, Shrimp and Grits, or Brisket Burnt Ends.

How do you fry okra without it being slimy?

Frying okra in high heat does the trick to make it not slimy. I also suggest you pat the washed or thawed okra dry with a paper towel before adding it to the egg mixture.

How long does southern fried okra last?

Fried okra tastes best when served hot and fresh… Do not make ahead, or freeze and thaw.

Hand holding sliced breaded okra peice to camera.

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5 from 4 votes
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Best Southern Fried Okra

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Crunchy breaded and fried okra is a classic summertime side dish! This southern fried okra recipe is easy to make in only 30 minutes.
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Pour the oil into the pot and place a cooking thermometer on the side of the pot, with the tip down in the oil. Set a paper towel lined holding plate to the side of the stove.
  • Check the temperature every couple of minutes as you prep the recipe. When it reaches 375 degrees F, turn the heat down to medium to maintain.
  • Set out two shallow bowls. In one bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, smoke paprika, and pepper. Mix and set aside. In the second bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Cut the tops off the okra pods. Then cut each pod into half inch rounds. Toss the chopped okra pieces into the egg mixture. When you get down to the thin tip of the okra pod, discard.
  • Toss the okra pieces in the egg mixture. Mix well to coat. Then working in batches, drain off the egg mixture and toss the pieces into the cornmeal breading.
  • Once the oil is at 375 degrees F, shake the excess breading off the okra and gently place half in the fry oil. Stir and fry for 3-5 minutes, until the okra is golden-brown. If you want it very crispy, make sure to fry at least 4 minutes.
  • Use a skimmer to move the fried okra to the holding plate. Then repeat with the second batch.
  • Serve immediately or keep warm in a warming drawer or low temperature oven.

Video

Notes

Fried okra tastes best when served hot and fresh. Do not make ahead, or freeze and thaw.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 192kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 899mg, Potassium: 398mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 927IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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4 comments on “Best Southern Fried Okra”

  1. I’m from SW Louisiana so chicken & sausage gumbo is a huge thing in our household. Okra is a common ingredient, but try omitting it and put these crispy goodies as a topping instead. It’s delicious!! Thanks for the recipe (I used a mixture of black and cayenne pepper)!

  2. The absolute best way to make okra!! Perfect every time!

  3. Before having this I hated Okra, but the rest of my family loves it so I was making this for them. They convinced me to try a bite and I really liked it.

  4. This was absolutely FANTASTIC! Super easy too and now it’s a favorite that we’ll make for our get-togethers with family so we can show off our cooking skills! Haha!