Nothing says snack like a deep fried piece of fresh okra wrapped in a crispy corn meal outer shell. Okra may be new to you, but it’s been a true southern staple for centuries.
This uncommon vegetable is by far one of the tastiest and most delicious ways to fry up a side and even if this is your first time using okra in a recipe, you should have no problem whipping up a batch.
Cornmeal Fried Okra Ingredients
There is nothing more southern than deep fried okra in a batch of corn meal! Now okra isn’t a common side for every person, but I personally love okra. Each bite is a delicious crunchy finger food that I truly enjoy and I hope you do too!
All that is needed for this simple recipe is fresh okra, oil for frying, cornmeal and seasoning!
Alternative Seasoning Flavors
In this recipe, I kept the seasoning super simple: Salt and Pepper. But you can def season up your corn meal with a variety of spices.
- Lawry’s Seasoning
- Garlic salt
- Smoked paprika
- Lemon pepper
- Chili powder
Fried Okra from Fresh
Typically stores also have frozen okra on hand in the vegetable aisle but frozen vegetables contain quite a bit of water and therefore get soggy quite quickly. Not only is water a no no in frying (and can be dangerous at that), a frozen okra will likely get soggy and not have the same southern crunch as fresh.
Purchase okra pods (with limited black outer shells) that are similar in sizing and cut to 1/4th inch round, discarding the top and bottom.
How to make Fry Okra
Beat 2 eggs well in a bowl and place sliced okra directly in egg mixture.
Use a spoon to mix well to evenly coat.
Let okra set for about 5 minutes while you heat oil and mix corn meal coating.
In a separate bowl, add corn meal, salt, pepper and mix well. If you are adding additional seasonings or herbs, those would also go into this step.
Heat at least 2-3″ of oil in a saucepan until 375 degrees.
Divide the okra pieces into fourths. Add one fourth of the okra to the corn meal mixture and mix well to evenly coat.
Place into hot oil (375 degrees) and fry until browned on both sides, about 3-5 minutes.
Drain fried okra on paper towels and repeat, frying okra in batches and draining. Add a bit of salt as the pieces come out of the oil and onto the paper towel for the best “sticking.”
Serve okra immediately while hot and crispy.
Recipe makes 3-4 cups.
What is Okra Exactly?
Okra, uses in soups, stews, boiled, roasted, sautéed or fried (as it is here) is a fruit (not a vegetable because it has seeds!) that comes from the same family as a hibiscus flower.
You may be surprised that Okra can be eaten raw with a little bit of salt, but most people enjoy it the most in gumbo or stew. Okra also has many nutritional benefits like antioxidants and heart health (probably not with the fried, lol).
Are there carbs in Okra?
There are about 7 carbs in one cup of Okra (this does not include the fried and cornmeal).
What is the difference in frying and deep frying?
Deep frying, like these okra, are where the oil covers the entire item in oil. Shallow frying, or regular frying, is just a sizzle at the bottom of the skillet or pan.
What is the best dipping sauce for Fried Okra?
Can you make Fried Okra without Corn Meal?
Yes! Egg + Corn Meal is only one way to deep fry a vegetable. Try dipping okra in flour, then egg, then cornmeal. Additionally you can skip the cornmeal and simple do egg and flour or egg and cornstarch.
More Southern Side Dishes
Need more southern side dishes for some homemade cooking? You really cannot go wrong with just about any side dish recipe (but seriously this dip is my favorite) but here are a few to point you in the right direction!
- Southern Sweet Tea Slushie – Southern Sweet Tea is great no matter what time of the year, but did you know you can take that same sweet tea recipe and turn it into a delightful, thirst quenching slushie?
- Classic Southern Bread Pudding – Bread pudding with simple white bread and raisins is a foolproof dessert that will remind you of how grandma used to make it.
- Southern Style Potato Salad – Southern potato salad is a creamy delicious potato salad side dish recipe with simple ingredients and a WOW taste.
- Southern Skillet Cornbread – Southern Skillet Cornbread, a made from scratch homemade cast iron cornbread, that is a low to no sugar cornbread with a light crispy shell. No Jiffy here!
- Southern Style Green Beans – Southern Style Green Beans with fresh green beans and crispy bacon is a flawless side dish for any meal. Do not wait for the holidays to enjoy this mouth watering, tender and perfect vegetable side dish.
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Southern Fried Okra with Cornmeal
- 20 fresh okra stalks - cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- Cut Okra stalks down to 1/4th inch pieces. Discard ends.
- Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and place cut pieces of okra directly into egg mixture. Mix well to evenly coat all pieces.
- Let okra set for about 5 minutes while oil is heating up.
- Heat at least 2-3" of oil in a saucepan until 375 degrees.
- In a separate bowl, add corn meal, salt and pepper seasoning and mix well to combine.
- Divide the okra (from the egg mixture) into fourths.
- Add one fourth of the okra to the corn meal mixture and mix well to evenly coat all sides.
- Place cornmeal covered okra into hot oil and fry until browned on both sides, about 3-5 minutes.
- Carefully remove, drain on paper towels and repeat, frying okra in batches and draining. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt as pieces come out of hot oil.
- Serve fried okra immediately while still warm.