Classic Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

classic fried green tomatoes on a plate

The Spruce/Cara Cormack

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
219 Calories
14g Fat
20g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 219
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 68mg 23%
Sodium 94mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 19mg 96%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 254mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you were to make a list of iconic southern dishes, fried green tomatoes would certainly be one of them, 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.

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.

There are varieties of fully ripe green tomatoes on the market, but when making fried green tomatoes, choose firm, unripe tomatoes; ripe tomatoes would become mushy. 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.


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"An absolutely delicious way to use up your green tomatoes. The crunchy coating is perfect, especially with sprinkled with flavorsome creole seasoning. They make the perfect vessel for dipping sauce or flavored mayo. I also made a veggie burger using a few of them as the main component which worked great". —Cara Cormack

Classic Fried Green Tomatoes/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 medium unripe green tomatoes

  • Kosher 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.

    ingredients to make classic fried green tomatoes

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

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

    sliced green tomatoes on a cutting board

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

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

    sliced green tomatoes covered with paper towels

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

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

    oil heating in a fry pan

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

  5. Beat the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. In another bowl, add the cornmeal. Dip the tomato slices in the eggs and then in the cornmeal to coat thoroughly.

    egg and corn meal in bowls

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

  6. 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 until the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gently turn the slices and fry the other side until browned.

    battered green tomatoes frying in a pan

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

  7. Remove the fried tomato slices to paper towels to drain and then transfer to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Keep them warm in a low oven as you fry subsequent batches.

    classic fried green tomatoes cooking on wire rack

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack

  8. Serve the fried green tomatoes with Louisiana remoulade sauce, ranch dressing, or spicy chipotle mayonnaise.

    classic fried green tomatoes on a platter

    The Spruce/Cara Cormack


    Make a quick ranch dip to serve with the tomatoes: Combine 1/4 cup of well-shaken buttermilk, 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.

    Other Ways to Use Green Tomatoes

    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 and 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.