Southern Deep-Fried Okra

Bowl of Fried Okra
Cathy Scola/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Resting: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
281 Calories
19g Fat
24g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 281
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 554mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 18mg 92%
Calcium 129mg 10%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 253mg 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.)

Crispy fried okra may convert any skeptic into an okra fan. This recipe for Southern deep-fried okra uses cornmeal to create a crunchy coating, turning what can be a slimy side dish into a tasty treat with a wonderful texture. The okra is cut into bite-sized pieces, dunked in buttermilk, and then tossed in a flour and cornmeal mixture. The okra is then deep-fried until golden brown, making for a perfect accompaniment to almost any meal.

Although okra has a reputation of becoming slimy when it is cooked, frying the vegetable actually eliminates the sliminess, resulting in a satisfying side dish. Fresh okra is best for this recipe, which is in season from July to September and readily available in the South; if you can't find fresh okra, you can use frozen, which is often sold already chopped, just be sure to thaw it first.

Serve this Southern deep-fried okra with grilled hamburgers, barbecue brisket, Cajun shrimp boil, or smothered pork chops. You can also serve them as an appetizer along with a dipping sauce such as a spicy aioli or rémoulade.


  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 scant teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or milk

  • 1 pound okra pods, stem and ends cut off, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add about 2 to 3 inches of oil to a deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven (but don't fill the pan more than halfway). Attach a deep-fry thermometer and heat the oil to 350 F. Alternatively, you may use an electric deep-fryer.

  3. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, and 1 teaspoon of salt. 

  4. Into another bowl, pour the buttermilk or milk.

  5. Dip the okra pieces in the buttermilk and then roll in the flour coating mixture. 

  6. Working in batches, lower the coated okra pieces into the hot oil. Cook the okra until golden brown, for 3 to 5 minutes. 

  7. Using a metal slotted spoon, remove the okra to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

  8. Serve hot and enjoy.


  • To prevent the okra from developing the slimy texture, cut the vegetable right before you are ready to coat the pieces and fry.
  • If making in batches, place the fried okra on a cookie sheet and keep warm in a 200 F oven while you fry the remaining okra.
  • Make sure to season the fried okra when it is hot to be sure the salt and pepper adheres.

Recipe Variations

  • Use a seasoned salt blend in place of the salt in the cornmeal mixture.
  • Add a dash of cayenne pepper to the cornmeal mixture.
  • Include a 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning in the cornmeal mixture.

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