How To Make Fried Green Tomatoes


Back to beloved southern foods! This is the prime time of year for fried green tomatoes. All of our grocery stores sell green ones alongside the red for this very purpose (green tomatoes are like rocks so I can’t imagine them being used for anything else). Another weird cultural thing, but I imagine it stemmed from the whole “dang yankees trying to starve us” issue back in the days of old.

Did you know why turnip greens and field peas (black eyed peas) are so revered in the south? During the civil war, yankee troops confiscated anything that could possibly be used to feed their men as they traveled through the south. However, greens and field peas were considered only fit for animal fodder, so they were left. Being the food lovers that we are, those foods became something of delicacies for us and are absolutely required at every family table on New Years Day in order to bring luck and wealth in the new year.

Dumplings and biscuits came into play because even with money low, most families had flour. Flour was purchased in twenty five pound sacks, five times the normal sized bag we all get today. Therefore, it was usually about the only thing available to make a meal stretch. You can take a scrawny chicken, shred it and cook in broth with a big batch of dumplings and easily stretch the meal to feed even a large family. Biscuits are quick and easy to make and also very filling. Each of these meals would require little or no meat and leave the family full until the next mealtime.

Alright, enough of my cultural foods lesson, lets get on to tomatoes :).

What you’ll need: A little flour (self rising or plain, doesn’t matter), corn meal, season all, and green tomatoes.Also oil for frying and a little milk for dredging.

Slice your tomatoes kind of thick. (My mouth is starting to water..)

Then take a picture of them with your fancy new tomato slicing knife that your mama got you for Christymas. (I meant to put the Y in there – if you ask I will explain:).

I used about a cup and a half of corn meal. This isn’t one of those things that has to be precise but I’m estimating for those of you who really want measurements.

Add a little flour to it. This will act as sort of a “glue” to help hold it all together. I used a really large spoon although it looks normal sized in the pick. This was about four tablespoons of flour.

Add enough season all to color your mixture.I used about two tablespoons. I know it seems like a lot but ….well just do it. If you don’t have season all you can season your meal by adding salt and pepper.

Dip both sides of each slice into milk.

Then dip into your meal mixture. Press down and coat both sides well.

So it looks something like this :)

I used regular vegetable oil. You want it to come up about half way or so on the slices. Make sure you heat your oil well before you add the tomatoes. The key to having things that aren’t “greasy” is to heat the oil really well. That way, when you drop your food into it, the food is seared right off and then cooks from there. If your oil isn’t hot enough to do that, you basically end up soaking your breading in oil for a few minutes and it gets soggy and blah.

My oil is just colored by the cornmeal in it at this point. It was clear to begin with. Brown each side well. I cook these on medium to medium high heat. Try not to turn them but once or twice as the coating is somewhat delicate and you don’t want that to come off.

Drain your tomatoes on a paper towel lined plate. I even take another paper towel and blot the tops or turn them over onto it. Then you’re ready to go! These are delicious! They have a twang to them that ripened tomatoes don’t have.
If you try them, let me know what you think!


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    • Linda K Kahle Tucson Az says

      if you live where there is a El Super market. just ask them for green tomotes they have them in the back..I live in Tucson and go to the El Super at 3372 S. 6th Ave. the store Director (Mgr’s) name is Neftali Reyes Jr. goes by Jr. really nice man. he will help you.

    • molly says

      pam, go to the nursery early in the season and buy a couple of small tomato plants, put them in “patio pots” so they have enough space to grow, and you will have your own, and then, later the ripe ones. Tomatoes grow well on porches and patios.

  1. Barbara Brooks says

    My mother-in-law made fried green tomatoes this way except she would dip them in buttermilk & a beaten egg. Made coating stick better. And then when they were removed from the skillet, while still hot, she sprinkled them with a little granulated sugar. It made them so tastey & good; you just couldn’t get enough of them.

  2. Becca says

    I am disabled so can’t get out into a garden anymore, so this year I am container gardening. so far they are doing really well, my tomato plants are getting really big and I have 3 tiny tomatoes so far. Can’t wait until they are big enough to fry. And of course the ones that I let ripen will be salsa, yummy.

    Oh, and I use your same recipe, but once in a while for a special treat I will fry them in bacon grease. OMG they are good that way!

    • Susan says

      I’ve never had these, but with the garden going crazy and tropical storm winds knocking unripe fruit to the ground, I now have a reason to try them! I’m all about bacon, so I’m giving Becca’s suggestion top priority. And all of my plants are in containers, too! We have indeterminate plants and so far, several of the vines are over 8′ long with tons of fruit. I’m going to try this using some green cherry tomatoes and Romas — same song, different verse!

  3. Diana says

    It’s not summer til you have fried green tomatoes! We fix them like you, Christy, I never used the seasoning, just salt & pepper, but I’ll try it. The sugar in the batter probaly offsets some of “tang”, never heard of it but I’ll try it out!

  4. Jen from K&J Farms says

    It is October 5, and we are getting snow as I type this! So needless to say, most of our tomatoes that are left are not going to get ripe! SO…. I will be trying fried green tomatoes today or tomorrow and it will be my first time! I am quite excited! I was born and raised in South Florida and as if the snow wasn’t exciting enough for me, now I get to try all sorts of new recipes, and canning is all new tome too! I made pickles for the first time the other day with the bunches of cucumbers we grew! I am definitely loving farm living! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  5. Moriah says

    My husband and I can our own 10 pepper, spicy zucchini relish every year and that’s what we put on top of our fried green tomatoes fresh out of the garden. The heirloom varieties always taste best. In particular, Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes. Great tutorial!!

  6. Chris Trinity, AL says

    @Moriah, would it be too forward of a southern gentleman to ask where I might bump into a recipe for the zucchini relish ma’am? It sounds like something I’d live to try, with all my leftover peppers and zucchini. And you are exactly right, heirloom varieties of tomato are the most flavorful, that’s all we plant nowadays.

    @Christy, thanks for the wonderful recipies (and stories). Would love to hear the story about “Christymas” and the Rada ‘mater knife.

  7. AlCee says

    Weve been given a tub full of green toms,and wondered how other people used them(we,re from Newcastle N.E. England)we like the recipe given here and the little variations.Trying them tomorrow.Incidently i know of no one who eats turnip greens here,BUT I do and they,r good .Cheers.

  8. Jack from Tennessee says

    The idea of putting any sugar at all into fried green tomatoes gives me the willies. Too much sweetness, and therefore not enough tartness, is what is wrong with ALL the restaurant versions of this beloved Southern dish that I have tried. I’ve even wondered whether the sourness we used to expect in a green tomato has been bred out to favor popular taste. It appears that I’m going to have to find an heirloom grower and make them myself to get close to what grandma used to make.

  9. Cindi says

    My mother used to do these in the ole iron skillet. Just dipped in mild then dog egged in flour. Sometimes the crusting fell off but who cares? They were great! Nothing fancy and definitely no sugar and no seasoning except for salt. Also she did the same with green peppers. Ever had a fried green pepper sandwich?

  10. Meme says

    I never fried green tomatoes but I picked some up @the flea market 2day so I’m try 2cook them 2ma…Christy…I knew that was y u used the y in Christmas anyway u made it look so easy and good @the same time so I’m try it ur way….Thank u!!!!!

  11. dee jones says

    I live in Colorado and can not find green tomatoes. I would like to know what store that they may be in this time of year. I would like to try the green tomatoes never had them and I am sure there really good. Does any one out there know where and what store? I may have to just wait till summer. thanks Dee

  12. Michelle T. in CA says

    Would you believe I’ve never had fried green tomatoes!? It’s truly sad and pitiful, since I am a “southern wannabe.” :::wink::: I can’t say that I’ve ever seen green tomatoes at the grocery store in CA. I’m going to have to remedy this. I’ll be putting in my request to the produce manager ASAP, and hope that my wish will be granted, lol. 😀

    P.S. I do have green tomatoes in my garden, but they’re cherry tomatoes and Roma; not the right kind for this. What variety do you suggest that I plant next year, so that I have my own supply of green tomatoes? Thank you! 😀

  13. DDDaelynn Newlin says

    Christy I love you and all of your recipes, and all of the cute stories you add along with them ! My only question is how come I can’t save this recipe to my Recipe Box thru ZipList ? I desperately need it there. Please help.

  14. Eva says

    This was something my momma made every year, since she couldn’t garden in later years, she would get green tomatoes in the store, as they were of course shipped in from away and picked green. You took them home and ripened them up, and of course made fried green tomatoes (cooked in bacon grease of course in the cast skillet) green tomato preserves which is a sort of chutney, and I actually found a green tomato pie recipe which is super good, tastes like apple pie. I have friends who have a market garden, and grow tomatoes, so can actually get green and ripe tomatoes at the same time, I asked for some green ones (they had never heard of using them) and Kev laughed at me when I told him I was going to make pie with them, he said it was the best one he ever ate, so then I took him the ripe tomato pie, and he was flabbergasted!

  15. Linda simmons says

    I saw a post on facebook where somebody thick sliced green tomatoes and p,aced in a canning jar to do in the winter, would you happen to know hos to preserve green tomatoes for winter as are gonna be loaded Sith them this year
    love your site and column!

  16. Linde says

    OK, disclaimer here……I’m a recent transplant from Oregon to Georgia 2 years ago and I have to say I don’t understand that whole fried green tomato thing (well, except for the movie, which I LOVE) so I thought I would try fried RED tomatoes. SCORE!! Delicious!

    • Glen Stone says

      Hi. I tried making fried green tomatoes for the first time by using some green and some half ripe tomatoes with some red on them that had fallen off the vine. The tomatoes that had red in them just fell apart when cooking and were wet and soggy to eat and didn’t have any flavor. Lesson learned for me. ONLY the green ones!

  17. Nadaa says

    Wow, I’m so impressed and techuod you are always full of surprises; each one coming from a fairyland! Thank you so much for your beautiful words and blissful photos! I’m very happy!

  18. Patricia says

    Oh I love these..I’m Born and raised in P.C. Florida..We all ways Called them Fried Green Maters…Well we call all of The Tomatoes{Maters}..Anyway Thanks for sharing the way you cook them..the only thing i do different is once i cut them I add salt to get all the extra water out of the maters..and let them drain..Before doing anything also helps keep the breading on


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