Fried Okra is a Southern staple and now you can serve it up anywhere! Fresh okra pods are dipped in a mixture of buttermilk and savory spices before being coated in a light breading and fried to perfection. Great as a side dish, a snack, or an appetizer, fried okra is perfectly poppable and utterly addicting!
Light while still being crispy, this Fried Okra is a cinch to make and so delicious. The trick to this particular recipe is getting the breading just right.
It’s just substantial enough to add crunch and a touch of flavor without being so heavy it completely overpowers the okra inside. We love to fry this up as a side dish with dinner, as a snack, or even as an appetizer.
The okra is full of flavor and is so easy to pop in your mouth, you’ll forget you’ve eaten a whole batch! Serve with a spicy dipping sauce or on its own. It’s the perfect compliment to summer BBQs and southern comfort dishes!
How to Make Fried Okra
For the Okra:
- Add the okra pieces to a large bowl. Pour in the buttermilk, garlic salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and coat the okra.
For the Breading:
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over the foil. Set aside.
- Using a gallon Ziploc bag, add the flour, yellow cornmeal, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, and pepper and close the top. Shake to mix the ingredients until fully combined.
- Work in batches of about ¼ cup of okra at a time. Let the excess buttermilk drip off the okra before placing the pieces into the bag. Close the bag and toss until okra is well coated.
- Remove the okra pieces using tongs or a fork and place them on the prepared wire rack. Make sure to separate the pieces so they don’t clump. Repeat the process with the remaining okra pieces.
- Pour cooking oil into a large, heavy bottomed pan with high sides (a Dutch oven with high sides works as well). You’ll need about 2 inches of a high smoke point oil. Heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 375°F.
- Work in batches once again by placing about a dozen pieces of okra in the oil at a time. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain excess oil off on a paper towel
- Repeat until all the okra has been fried.
- Serve warm as a side dish and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- Looking for dipping sauce ideas? Try our Simple Chipotle Cream Sauce or Spicy Ranch Dressing, or Homemade Remoulade Sauce.
- You can use fresh or frozen okra for this recipe. Frozen may take a little longer to cook.
- The best way to get a really light breading is to use fine cornmeal.
- We like to use peanut oil for its high smoke point and low smell. However, you can use any oil you prefer.
- Customize the seasonings used in the breading according to your tastes. Cajun, old bay, cayenne, whatever you’re in the mood for!
- If you don’t have garlic salt on hand, you can substitute garlic powder mixed with fine sea salt.
- Drain the fried okra on a wire rack over paper towels. This helps the okra from becoming soggy as it cools.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: While these are best eaten day of, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days.
Freezing: You can freeze the okra before or after frying. If cooking from frozen, there’s no need to thaw. Frozen okra may take an additional minute or two to cook.
Reheating: When ready to reheat, reheat in an air fryer or oven to crisp the okra back up. Heat until warmed through.
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- 1 pound fresh okra pods cut into ½ slices
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Oil for frying
For the Okra:
- Place the okra pieces, buttermilk garlic salt, and pepper into a large bowl. Stir to combine.1 pound fresh okra pods1 cup buttermilk1 teaspoon garlic salt½ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Breading:
- Line a large baking sheet with foil. Then, place a wire rack over the foil. Set aside.
- Add the flour, cornmeal, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, and pepper to a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Close the top and mix the ingredients until well combined.¾ cup all-purpose flour¾ cup fine yellow cornmeal2 teaspoons garlic salt½ teaspoon onion powder½ teaspoon sweet paprika¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Work in batches and portion out about ¼ cup of the okra at a time. Let the excess buttermilk drip off, and place the pieces into the bag. Close the bag, and toss the okra around until it’s well coated.
- Remove the okra pieces one by one using tongs, and place them on the wire rack. Make sure to separate them, so they don’t clump together. Repeat the process with the remaining okra.
- Add cooking oil to a large, heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven with high sides. You need about 2-inches of high smoke point oil. Heat until the oil reaches 375°F.Oil for frying
- Place about a dozen pieces of the okra into the oil at a time, and fry for 3-4 minutes or until it’s browned to your liking. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or another wire rack placed over paper towels.
- Repeat with the remaining okra.
- Serve warm. See post for storage options.