This Fried Okra is dredged in buttermilk and breaded in a flour & cornmeal coating that’s loaded with flavor. Fried until crispy in peanut oil, it’s an addictive Southern appetizer, snack, or side dish.

Fried Okra is a Southern staple. It is fried, it is crispy, and it is delicious. You can pop it like popcorn and dip it in a peppery, delicious dipping sauce like Raising Cane’s Sauce or keep it simple and dip it in ranch.

We’ve been making fried okra for YEARS and it is always delicious, but it always makes a mess – sticky fingers, globs of okra and buttermilk everywhere… After making some chicken recipes (shake and bake!) I wondered if you could apply the same concept, so I tried a similar method and it worked out SO well.

This fried okra is seriously so easy to make, cleanup is quick, the breading sticks to the okra perfectly, and it tastes amazing.

A bowl of deep fried crispy okra.

I know every recipe on the internet says that their recipe is the best, but even if you use your own recipe – this method is hands-down the best.

Table of Contents
  1. 🥘 Ingredients Needed
  2. Can you use frozen okra?
  3. What kind of oil is best for frying?
  4. 🍽 Equipment Needed
  5. 🥣 How to Make It
  6. Can you freeze breaded okra?
  7. How do you cook okra so that it is not slimy?
  8. Can You Air Fry Okra?
  9. 🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions
  10. 🍳What to Serve with Fried Okra
  11. What is a good dipping sauce?
  12. How to Store Fried Okra
  13. How to Reheat Leftover Fried Okra
  14. Helpful Tips
  15. More Irresistible Southern Recipes
  16. Crispy Fried Okra Recipe

🥘 Ingredients Needed

The ingredients in fried okra, laid out and labeled.

The breading of fried okra is so important to making the absolute BEST fried okra. This is what I have found to be the most flavorful:

  • Fresh Okra
  • Buttermilk
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Yellow Cornmeal – I like use plain yellow cornmeal. (I love Martha White, but not for this recipe. Don’t use self-rising cornmeal.) You want just plain old yellow cornmeal.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning – I love the flavor that Tony’s adds. If you don’t have any, you can use Cajun Seasoning, Slap Ya Mama, or a little cayenne.
  • Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika (I love adding this for additional flavor notes)

Can you use frozen okra?

Yes. You can use whichever kind of okra that you have access to. I prefer to use fresh okra because it keeps a little bit of crunch, but you can definitely use frozen okra as well. To use frozen okra, make sure it has time to thaw out. I did a side-by-side test and the only difference that I noticed was that the frozen okra was a little soggy/squishy.

These were my results when testing fresh vs. frozen okra:

  • Fresh Okra: Buttermilk and breading stuck well, okra was crispy. (Our #1 Choice)
  • Frozen and NOT Thawed: Buttermilk and breading did not stick as well, okra was a little soft, but the breading that stuck was still crispy.
  • Frozen and Thawed: Buttermilk and breading stuck well, but the okra was really mushy, breading was kind of wet.

The slimy texture is what most people don’t enjoy about okra so do keep that in mind and try to find fresh okra when you can. If you love fried okra as much as we do, try this – we like to bread the okra and freeze it when it is fresh from the garden in the summer.

This way, we can fry it directly from frozen – pop it straight from the freezer into the fryer. The okra will get a little softer than if the okra were fresh, but the outside gets nice and crispy. (Just like if you bought a bag of breaded okra from the store.)

What kind of oil is best for frying?

I love to fry okra (and chicken tenders, chips, hush puppies, and french fries) in peanut oil. I find that peanut oil doesn’t have a lingering oily taste like vegetable oil or canola oil can leave. If you have a peanut allergy, you can, of course, use vegetable or canola oil.

A bowl of crispy southern fried okra.

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Deep Fryer or Deep Pot on the Stove for Frying
  • A Shallow Bowl
  • A Colander or Strainer
  • A Large Ziplock Bag (I’ll explain this later)
  • A Straw
  • A Cookie Sheet

🥣 How to Make It

Fried Okra is really easy to make and there are so many different methods. Unfortunately, most recipes don’t show you how to recreate that perfectly poppable restaurant-style fried okra. (UNTIL TODAY!)

Not only is this method really easy to follow (and your fingers won’t get covered in breading and goo) but it will help you make evenly breaded okra that doesn’t stick together. The breading will stay on the okra and it will be nice and crispy. It’s perfect!

Begin by either heating a deep-fryer to 375°F or approximately 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven or deep pot on the stove. (Our fryer takes 15 – 20 minutes to heat up.)

A deep fryer with two baskets preheating on a glass table to fry okra.

While the oil is heating, slice the okra into half-inch pieces. Discard the stems.

Put the sliced okra in a shallow bowl or dish and cover with buttermilk for 10 – 15 minutes. Stir halfway through, making sure the okra stays submerged in the buttermilk. (Pictures 1 – 3)

Drain the okra in a colander or strainer, shaking a few times to let the excess buttermilk drip off. (Picture 4)

A collage of images showing how to dredge okra in buttermilk before frying it, steps 1 - 5.

While the okra is draining, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, smoked paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning in a large Ziplock bag. Shake it around until well combined. (Picture 5 – 7)

Now, here is the expert special tip that makes this okra SO easy to coat in the cornmeal breading. Dump the buttermilk-soaked okra into the Ziplock bag with the cornmeal/flour mixture. (It’s okay if it kind of pours out in a big blob.)

Now, zip the bag almost all the way closed and insert a straw into the very end.

A bag of breaded okra with a straw in the corner showing how to easily coat okra in breading.

And here’s the magic tip. BLOW THE BAG UP! Then pull the straw out and zip it shut. Then, shake the heck out of it! (Pictures 8 – 9)

The breading will stick to the okra and whatever is leftover will settle in the bottom of the bag. You can either pour the okra into a bowl or colander or just scoop it out and spread it onto a cookie sheet. (Or just scoop it directly into the fryer in handfuls.) (Picture 10 – 11)

A collage of image showing how to bread okra in flour and cornmeal before frying, steps 6 - 10.

I like to spread it onto a cookie sheet because we likely make more at one time than we can eat in one sitting and I prefer to freeze it breaded and un-fried. (There are more notes about this throughout the post.)

Now, it’s time to fry the okra. Fry in small batches trying not to crowd the oil, for 3 – 4 minutes. (In a pot, try to do a handful or two at a time – in a deep fryer, you can cover the bottom of the basket.) (Pictures 12 – 14)

It doesn’t take long to fry okra and you want to remove it from the oil when it starts to turn golden. It will continue cooking once it is removed from the oil and you don’t want it to burn. (Pictures 14 – 15)

A collage of images showing how to fry okra in a deep fryer, steps 11 - 15.

Drain the fried okra on a paper towel, sprinkle with a little bit of salt, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

A fried okra pod dipped in Raising Cane's Sauce.

Can you freeze breaded okra?

Yes. I like to spread breaded okra (not yet fried) onto a cookie sheet for a few hours until the okra is just about frozen. It doesn’t have to be completely frozen. Then store the okra in a Ziplock bag or vacuum seal it.

Cornmeal crusted okra breaded and laid out on a cookie sheet to be fried or frozen.

To fry from frozen, just drop okra into hot oil straight from the freezer. It’s super easy. I like to make this recipe in huge batches just to have some extra in the freezer for when I have the fryer going for something else and want to just throw in a few handfuls of okra for an appetizer. (It will last for at least a few months this way in the freezer.)

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How do you cook okra so that it is not slimy?

If you use fresh okra, soak it in buttermilk, then bread it and fry it right away, it won’t be slimy! The breading on the outside will be nice and crispy, and the inside will be soft with a slight crunch.

Can You Air Fry Okra?

To make fried okra in an air fryer, dredge and bread okra as you would to deep fry. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F, then place the breaded okra in the fryer basket in one row (don’t stack it) – you might have to do this in batches.

Spray the okra pretty heavily with an oil-based cooking spray, tossing to try to get all sides covered – then bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, open the air fryer and shake the basket around. Bake for 5 more minutes until lightly golden and perfectly crispy.

You can reheat frozen fried okra in the air fryer the same way if you freeze using the above method.

An fried okra pod up close over a bowl of fried okra.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

What is fried okra made of?

Fried okra is made from sliced okra pods that are soaked in buttermilk, then coated in a perfectly seasoned flour and cornmeal mixture and fried to perfection.

How do you fry okra without slime?

If you soak okra in buttermilk, then drain the excess before frying it, fried okra should not be slimy.

How do you make fried okra crispy?

Fried Okra needs to be fried at just the right temperature – not too hot and not too cold – 375°F is the perfect temperature. It will be perfectly crispy and not oily. (Too hot will burn, too cold will be oily and soggy.)

What are the benefits of okra?

Okra is great for you! It is low in calories (before breaded and fried) and is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and antioxidants.

Can you reheat fried okra?

Fried okra that has already been fried is best reheated in the air fryer, oven, or toaster oven. This will reheat the oil and get the breading nice and crispy again. (Reheat at 325°F for about 15 minutes in the oven or 5 minutes in the air fryer.)

Can You Bake Fried Okra?

You can bake breaded okra in the oven, but it won’t really be the same crispy texture that you get in a deep fryer but it should still taste good. Spray the breaded okra with oil-based non-stick spray, then bake the okra at 425°F for about 20 minutes, shaking it around halfway through.

🍳What to Serve with Fried Okra

We love to serve fried okra as a side dish with baby back ribs, fried chicken tenders, glazed ham, hamburgers, roast beef debris po’ boys, shrimp po’ boys, or even as an appetizer for chicken and sausage gumbo.

What is a good dipping sauce?

We love to serve fried okra with Raising Cane’s Sauce, Boom Boom Sauce, Regular Old Ranch, or even Homemade Chick-fil-A Sauce.

Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

How to Store Fried Okra

Once cooled, store fried okra in the fridge in an air-tight container. Reheat in the air fryer, oven, or toaster oven until crispy.

How to Reheat Leftover Fried Okra

To reheat, bake in the oven, air fryer, or toaster oven at 325°F for about 15 minutes in the oven or 5 minutes in the air fryer.

Crispy cornmeal fried okra draining oil on a paper towel.

Helpful Tips

  • If you’re deep-frying okra, make sure to shake the basket while the okra is cooking to prevent the okra from getting stuck together. If frying it in a pot on the stove, stir as needed to prevent sticking.
  • If you’re not using a deep-fryer, use a thermometer to check the temperature of your frying oil. If it is too hot, the breading will burn. If it is too cold, the breading will absorb oil, and it will be soggy and won’t taste very good.
  • When the okra looks “almost done,” remove it from the oil. It will continue cooking for a bit once it is pulled from the hot oil. If you pull fried okra from the oil when it looks “done,” it will overcook and get a little burnt. (Though my husband doesn’t mind it this way!)
  • Bread the okra by using the drain and shake method (outlined above) – clean up is so easy, and the okra will be perfectly breaded every time, and there will be no slimy fingers!

More Irresistible Southern Recipes

Have You Tried This Recipe?
Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

Cornmeal crusted fried okra draining on a paper towel.

Crispy Fried Okra

5 from 21 votes
This Fried Okra is dredged in buttermilk and breaded in a flour & cornmeal coating that's loaded with flavor. Fried until crispy in peanut oil, it’s an addictive Southern appetizer, snack, or side dish.
Author: Kari
Servings: 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Soaking Time: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Begin by either heating a deep-fryer to 375°F or about 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven or deep pot on the stove. (Our fryer takes 15 – 20 minutes to heat up.)
    peanut oil for frying
  • While the oil is heating, slice the okra into half-inch pieces. Discard the stems.
    1 pound fresh okra
  • Put the sliced okra in a shallow bowl or dish and cover with buttermilk for 10 – 15 minutes. Stir halfway through, making sure the okra stays submerged in the buttermilk.
    1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • Drain the okra in a colander or strainer, shaking a few times to let the excess buttermilk drip off.
  • While the okra is draining, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, smoked paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning in a large Ziplock bag. Shake it around until well combined.
    1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup cornmeal, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Dump the buttermilk-soaked okra into the Ziplock bag with the cornmeal/flour mixture.
  • Now, zip the bag almost all the way closed and insert a straw into the very end.
  • Blow the bag up, then pull the straw out and zip it shut. Then, shake the heck out of it.
  • The breading will stick to the okra and whatever is leftover will settle in the bottom of the bag. You can either pour the okra into a bowl or colander or just scoop it out and spread it onto a cookie sheet. (Or just scoop it directly into the fryer in handfuls.)
  • Fry in small batches trying not to crowd the oil, for 3 – 4 minutes. (In a pot, try to do a handful or two at a time – in a deep fryer, you can cover the bottom of the basket.)
  • It doesn't take long to fry okra and you want to remove it from the oil when it starts to turn golden. It will continue cooking once it is removed from the oil and you don't want it to burn.
  • Drain the fried okra on a paper towel, sprinkle with a little bit of salt, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Notes

Recipe Tips
  • If deep-frying okra, make sure to shake the basket while the okra is cooking to prevent the okra from getting stuck together. If frying it in a pot on the stove, stir as needed to prevent sticking
  • If you are not using a deep-fryer, use a thermometer to check the temperature of your frying oil. If it is too hot, the breading will burn. If it is too cold, the breading will absorb oil, and it will be soggy and won’t taste very good.
  • When the okra looks “almost done,” remove it from the oil. It will continue cooking for a bit once it is pulled from the hot oil. If you pull fried okra from the oil when it looks “done,” it will overcook and get a little burnt. (Though my husband doesn’t mind it this way!)
  • Bread the okra by using the drain and shake method (outlined above) – clean up is so easy, and the okra will be perfectly breaded every time, and there will be no slimy fingers!

Nutrition

Serving: 15slices of okraCalories: 524kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 10gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 976mgPotassium: 567mgFiber: 6gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1075IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 204mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Cajun, Southern
Keyword: cornmeal crusted fried okra, crispy fried okra, fried okra, southern fried okra
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I’m Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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