Here are the stages of reaction for someone just introduced to fresh okra: What the heck is that thing anyway; ew, it's slimy; and finally, praise for the gospel of hot oil and cornmeal. A quintessential Southern dish, okra fried in a cast iron skillet and served with summer's bounty straight from the garden is a delight. If you've never tried to fry okra, or have so far relied on your mama to cook it for you, here's a fried okra recipe that takes all the guesswork out of the process.

The key to the best fried okra is using fresh okra. After two or three days in the fridge, okra pods get tough, so cook your okra before that happens. There's no trick to the prep work, either. Just slice the pods into little rounds, dip them in the buttermilk, dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, and then cook in hot vegetable oil.

While you can add other seasonings to the cornmeal, simple is better. Cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, and a bit of cayenne pepper is traditional for a reason (that reason being it's darn good).

Make sure your oil is hot enough before you add the okra pieces to the pan. The cook time will vary, but when the okra is golden brown and crispy, it's time to dip the pieces out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Fried Okra 

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs fresh okra, cut into 1/4 or 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Frying oil

Instructions

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet or Dutch oven to 350 F.

In a wide bowl or pie dish, whisk together cornmeal, flour, cayenne, black pepper, and salt.

In another bowl, beat the egg into the buttermilk.

Working in batches as needed, dip the okra slices in the buttermilk, then the cornmeal mix, tossing to coat. Add the okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown.

Remove to a paper towel lined plate, add extra seasoning as desired, and serve warm.

Notes

Serve these alongside something wonderfully savory like our slow cooker pulled pork or anything BBQ'd. And if fresh is hard to come by, try using frozen. Just defrost completely, then pat dry before coating.

Nutrition Facts
Fried Okra
Amount Per Serving
Calories 520 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47g 72%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Polyunsaturated Fat 23g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 85mg 4%
Potassium 245mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 22g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 20%
Calcium 6%
Iron 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.