Classic Fried Green Tomatoes

fried green tomatoes with cornmeal coating
Spencer Jones/Getty Images
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

If you were to make a list of iconic southern dishes, fried green tomatoes would certainly be on it and probably near the top. Southerners have been frying their green tomatoes for ages, but the dish gained national popularity in the late 1980s when Fannie Flagg's novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was published and later made into a movie.

Green tomatoes are popular in the South, and you can usually find them in southern supermarkets throughout the summer season. If you do not live in the South and do not grow your own tomatoes, check with your local farmer's markets. Besides fried green tomatoes, those end-of-the-season green tomatoes can be used in many other recipes. Some great possibilities include hot dog relish, green tomato pickles; even ketchup can be made with green tomatoes. They can also be used to make green tomato pie, moist green tomato cake, or fried corn and green tomato fritters.

This is a basic recipe for classic southern fried green tomatoes, made simply with a lightly seasoned cornmeal coating. They are great served as a side dish or snack, or add them to a special breakfast or brunch menu. Use your trusty iron skillet to fry the tomatoes and serve them with an easy dip or dressing.

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Ingredients

  • 4 green tomatoes
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Vegetable shortening (or part bacon drippings or oil; for frying)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cornmeal

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices. Lightly sprinkle the slices with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

  3. Let the tomatoes stand for about 10 to 15 minutes and then pat them dry with paper towels.

  4. Heat about 1/2-inch of shortening, bacon drippings, or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

  5. Beat the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. In another bowl, add the cornmeal.

  6. Dip the tomato slices in the eggs and then in the cornmeal to coat thoroughly.

  7. When the oil is hot—about 360 F—add several of the coated tomato slices, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry them in the hot fat for about 3 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Gently turn the slices and fry the other side until browned.

  8. Remove the fried tomato slices to paper towels to drain and then move them to a cooling rack. Keep them warm as you fry subsequent batches.

  9. Serve warm fried green tomatoes as a side dish or snack.

Tips

  • There are varieties of fully ripe green tomatoes on the market. For fried green tomatoes, choose firm, unripe tomatoes.
  • Serve the fried green tomatoes with Louisiana remoulade sauce, ranch dressing, or spicy chipotle mayonnaise.
  • Quick Ranch Dressing or Dip: Combine 1/4 cup of buttermilk (well-shaken) with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. If desired, add a few teaspoons of fresh chopped parsley or chives.