Southern-Style Fried Okra Recipe

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A staple side dish in the South, this fried okra recipe is simple, quick, and oh-so-delicious.

fried okra

Back when I first started Southern Plate, I had an email from a reader asking if I could share a fried okra recipe. Well, y’all know I’ll eventually get to everything and here it is!

Southern fried okra is a truly delicious side dish. It seems no matter the time of year, no matter if you use frozen or fresh okra, it always adds that “fresh from the garden” taste to any meal. However, I’m definitely on the team of making fried okra from frozen, as it makes this recipe even easier (if that was possible).

Around these parts, you can find okra pre-breaded in the freezer section and some places even sell cups of it hot alongside chicken nuggets and such at lunch. Although I have no complaint if I am getting okra (no matter how it is prepared), my all-time favorite form of okra is prepared at home with this recipe. With a nickname like Southern popcorn, you won’t be able to stop after popping one piece in your mouth! Yep, fried okra’s crunchy and crispy exterior is totally addictive – ask anyone!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Cornmeal (self-rising or plain, either is fine)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh or frozen okra (I am using frozen okra). If using fresh okra, go ahead and slice it up into bite-sized pieces and wash okra well.
  • Vegetable oil

How to Make Fried Okra From Frozen

Add eggs to a medium-sized bowl.

add butter milk fried okra final

Add buttermilk to the eggs.

Mix them up real good.

combine dry ingredients for fried okra

  Combine dry ingredients (salt, pepper, cornmeal) in another medium-sized bowl and mix that up.

add okra to egg milk mix

Coat the frozen okra pieces with the egg/buttermilk combo.

Then transfer to the cornmeal mixture and coat until covered.

add coated okra to heated vegetable oil

Place about 1/4 cup oil in a cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat for three to five minutes.

Add the vegetable oil to the pan and heat up until you add a piece of okra and get some sizzlin’. Then you know it’s hot enough to add the coated okra slices.  

fried okra in oil

With a slotted spoon add the remaining okra.

Keep the skillet on medium heat (if in a hurry, you can cook this on medium-high heat, just watch it a bit closer).

Fry okra and stir the pieces occasionally (every two or three minutes) for about twenty or twenty-five minutes or so, until crispy and browned.

remove fried okra

Remove pan fried okra with a slotted spoon and place them into a serving bowl.

fried okra in a bowl

DEVOUR with some Comeback Dipping Sauce (this is the good stuff!). I also recommend dipping the crispy breaded okra pieces in hot sauce.

What’s the Best Way To Store Your Fried Okra?

  • Once cooled completely, you can store your fried okra in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days or freezer for up to six months. When it’s time, either reheat them on a baking sheet in the oven (turning to ensure both sides get crunchy) or by pan-frying them again in a small amount of oil. Alternatively, use your air fryer to reheat your fried okra.

Recipe Notes

  • When making fried okra from frozen, make sure you thaw your frozen okra completely before frying. Once thawed, drain and pat the pieces completely dry with a paper towel before tossing them in the coating and frying.
  • For a spicier fried okra recipe, I recommend adding a quarter or a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper or cajun seasoning to the cornmeal.


Recipe FAQs

What is okra?

For anyone that isn’t from the South and used to making fried okra you may be wondering what the heck it is. Some people are surprised to hear it’s technically a fruit not a vegetable, like our friend the avocado. Okra is the fruit of the Abelmoschus esculentus plant, which is a member of the Mallow family. Now, isn’t that a mouthful! Native to West Africa, it was introduced to America over 300 years ago. If you are interested in ready more about Okra, here is an overview.

What do you serve with fried okra?

Fried okra is a great vegetarian side dish to serve with other Southern main meals, like fried catfish, pulled pork, fried chicken, and velvet pork chops. Otherwise, you can serve it as a main meal alongside other popular Southern side dishes, including fresh fried corn, mac and cheese, and cornbread.

How do you make fried okra not slimy?

There are three things to do to ensure your fried okra isn’t slimy. First, the thinner the slice, the slimier the okra, so make sure you chop your fresh okra into big pieces. Second, cooking over high heat should stop it from being too slimy too. Third, make sure your okra is completely dry before coating.

fried okra hero

Southern Fried Okra

This fried okra recipe is so easy anyone can make it and look like a pro. Made from frozen okra, I hope you enjoy this dish, which is a staple in the South.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: okra
Servings: 4
Calories: 394kcal


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cornmeal self-rising or plain
  • 4 cups okra fresh or frozen, sliced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • Thaw okra. Combine eggs and buttermilk in one bowl, and combine the salt, pepper, and cornmeal in a separate bowl.
    2 eggs, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 4 cups okra, 1 cup cornmeal
  • Coat okra with egg/buttermilk mixture and then transfer to dry mixture and coat.
  • Heat approximately 1/4 cup of oil in a skillet until hot. Dip okra from the bowl into the oil with a slotted spoon. (Leave the extra cornmeal in the bowl and throw away).
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Stir occasionally and cook until okra is brown and crisp. Take out of oil with the slotted spoon.


Calories: 394kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

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Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

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  1. Just found your site think I will enjoy it and the okra is just the way my mother and grandmother made it and I love it looking forward to seeing future posts thank you.

  2. My hubby could eat okra everyday, no kidding. It is his favorite food. I use frozen okra that has been thawed and salted. I pour on some yellow plain cornmeal, stir and stir to coat it. I use a Fry Daddy fryer, carefully just putting in the coated okra. I cook it til it is brown and crunchy. I tried using the skillet method, but liked the fryer better. I like to eat the little pieces I call the nubbies.

  3. I add a little flour tom
    My cornmeal as well. When I want to cook it like my great grandmother I leave out the fliur, use little oil and it has to be in a cast iron skillet. If it isn’t a little loose and slightly charred it isn’t southern okra. Love the recipes

  4. Try dicing up a couple of potatoes and a small onion and frying with the okra just as described. Soooo good!

  5. Thanks! I’m just starting out cooking and make a homemade meal for my boyfriend once a week. Tonight menu: turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and okra! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  6. What a great bunch of recipes. Mother, and her 4 sisters, all “country cooks from Alabama”, added a little flour to the cornmeal. They said it helped the cornmeal stick. Love okra, but you need to wear LONG SLEEVES when you pick it.

  7. I live in Canada and okra is not a vegetable that is easily obtainable. I first tried it while visiting friends in Alabama and it was love at first bite. Every time I see it in the grocery stores here in Canada, I buy some. It is costly but well worth it. Keeping this recipe for the next time I get some. Thanks.

    1. Christy, I have loved you site since first discovering it a couple of years ago. I have your cookbook, my Mother loves to read through it, & can relate to a lot of your stories. When I realized you live in Alabama, I was more thrilled, as I live in the Anniston area, actually in Alexandria, in the country. I saved the Alfa magazine with you on the cover!
      Your okra (we call it okry) looks just like my Mom’s! My kids eat it almost out or the skillet, like popcorn. They will eat it cold out of the refrigerator. I can’t cook it as good as Mother, I tend to stir it too much, but I am getting better.
      Loved the picture of your handsome dad with Mrs. McCain! I would have been thrilled to go to an event with Sarah Palin & Mrs. McCain, I admire bothe of them.
      Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your site. I’ve cooked many of your recipes. My favorite thing is touring your kitchen. I go back to that post about once a month. I love how you explain what the items decorating your kitchen mean to you. Your collection of pyrex is to be envied!
      Keep up the good cooking & posts!
      Sherri Roberts

      1. Oh my goodness Sherri, you just made my week!!! Thank you so much for all of your support and I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying the recipes, stories and the site. Please give yourself and your Momma a BIG hug from me!! I hope you have a blessed day, as much as you have blessed mine!

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