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Southern Fried Okra Recipe

No summer is complete without a few batches of homemade fried okra, dredged in flour and fried until golden. These fried nuggets with hints of green peeping through are so delicious, there’s no need to add anything to them except a light dusting of salt.

Fried Okra

I love okra in every shape and form whether its grilled, roasted, in gumbo, or smothered with tomatoes. I recently discovered a new okra dish, Okra Parmigiana, and it has quickly become a favorite.

Fried Okra

But nothing beats straight up fried okra. It is simple and delicious and you can’t stop popping one piece after another into your mouth, hence its nickname “southern popcorn”. The fact that I hate to fry and do it only a few times a year makes fried okra feel extra special.

Fried Okra

Light Crispy Coating

Typically southerners fry their okra in cornmeal or a mixture of cornmeal and flour, but I like just a light coating of flour. Sometimes the flavor of the okra gets hidden beneath a heavy cornmeal coating.

Cast Iron Skillet

I use a large cast iron skillet for frying, but any type of skillet will work, or even a Dutch oven.

How To Tell If The Oil Is Hot Enough

A thermometer is handy for making sure the oil stays in the right temperature range. It should be around 370 to 375 degrees F when you first start frying. The temperature will drop some when you add the okra, but you want to keep it from dropping below 350 to 360.

If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a small pinch of flour in the oil. If it sizzles right away, the oil is hot enough to begin frying.

Fried Okra

How To Select Okra

When selecting okra, always choose smaller pods that are uniformly green. They develop black specks when they are not fresh. Larger okra pods (more than about 3 to 4 inches in length), get a little fibrous and tough.

Using a paper bag makes the process of coating the okra quick and easy.

Make It Spicy

If you want your okra to have some kick, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.

Recipe Tips

Okra can go from lightly browned to black and burnt very quickly, especially if you are using a cast iron skillet which really conducts heat well. You’ll have to flip them over as fast as you can. Not an easy task to do without splashing hot oil on your hands. Just keep telling yourself it’s worth it. Be sure you don’t get distracted while frying okra and have a paper towel-lined plate ready.

Don’t overcrowd the pan. You don’t want the oil temperature to drop too much. Fry in batches.

A spider strainer is very useful for quickly and easily removing the okra from the oil.

Fried Okra

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More Okra Recipes

Fried Okra

Fried Okra

Fresh summer okra, sliced and coated with flour and then fried until golden.
PREP: 12 minutes
COOK: 8 minutes


  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds okra, caps cut off and sliced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil


  • In a pie plate or paper lunch bag, mix together flour, salt and pepper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk.
  • Working in several batches, place okra in egg mixture and coat well.
  • Transfer to pie plate or paper bag and coat with flour.
  • Pour about 1 inch Vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Heat oil until about 375 degrees.
  • Place a single layer of okra in the oil. Cook until golden brown on bottom and use a spoon to flip over. Try to flip over a few at a time or it will take a long time to work your way through all of them and a few pieces may burn by the time you get to them.
  • Once golden brown on both sides, use a slotted spoon to remove okra to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle okra with some salt as soon as you remove it from the oil.
  • Add more oil to the pan and fry remaining okra. Serve warm.


Calories: 224kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: okra, summer

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Originally posted Jully 22, 2014.

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95 thoughts on “Southern Fried Okra Recipe”

  1. My only addition was grinding some red pepper flakes into the flour, but pretty much perfect as written. Salty, crispy and hot right out of the pan. Delicious!

  2. Denise Davidson

    I made this recipe. It turned out perfectly and will be my “go-to” recipe for okra from now on!

    1. You can definitely make this with frozen okra. I did just that tonight. I bought a bag of already sliced frozen okra. You have to completely thaw it first. I then put it on a paper towel to get the excess water off. The. Followed this recipe but added some garlic powder to the mix.

  3. Wilthric Marshall

    Yes I made them for the first time will be adding okra to my menu at least once a week they are so nutritional .

  4. Hi Christin tried the okra tonight excellent. I am having with my oven baked Mac@cheese. much better with out corn meal. I fried it in my giant wok. I have cast iron skillets but my wok is my go to vehicle for frying.

  5. Hi Christin tried the okra tonight excellent. I am having with my oven baked Mac@cheese. much better with out corn meal.

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