Fried Okra

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My mom grew up in Oklahoma so she made fried okra for us often in the summer . It was always a treat and if you like crispy, golden fried foods, you’ll like this fried okra recipe.  If you’ve never tried okra, this is the dish for you to try for your first introduction to this underappreciated vegetable.

Fried okra piled in white dish on cutting board with blue napkin and text overlay reading Fried Okra a nostalgic summer dish

Okra is also known as gumbo. It’s found all over the world, from Africa to the US to England and Asia. Southern Fried Okra particularly popular in the South and Midwest of the US. You also find okra in many Cajun dishes. 

You can find the complete fried okra recipe below. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Okra

What are the health benefits of eating okra?

  • It contains potassium, vitamin K vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium.
  • It’s low calorie and high in fiber.
  • There may be some benefits in helping to manage blood sugar, which is important for diabetes
  • It can aid in digestion due to the high fiber content.
  • There are studies that may demonstrate other health benefits. 

When is okra in season?

  • In the US, okra is in season from July through September.

How to buy okra?

  • You can grow okra in your garden if you’re a gardener.
  • You can find okra at your local farmer’s market.
  • Your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) mostly likely will have okra.
  • Most grocery stores will also carry okra.
  • Look for smooth, fresh looking okra pods. 
  • Avoid pods that have significant brown posts.
  • Avoid okra that is 4 inches or longer because they will be tougher than shorter okra pods.
overhead view of fried okra in white bowl on wood cutting board

 How to cook okra?

  • Fried okra
  • Grilled
  • Steamed
  • Pickled
  • Boiled in a soup or stew
  • Braised with tomatoes
close up of crispy fried okra in white bowl

I’ve eaten okra in many different types of dishes and recipes and pan fried okra is my favorite by far. There’s something about that golden fried batter combined with the fresh okra that is just irresistible.

How to Make Fried Okra

The steps to making fried okra are simple:

  • Wash, trim and cut the okra
  • Salt the okra
  • Mix the coating mixture
  • Toss the okra in the coating mixture
  • Freeze the okra on a cookie sheet for an hour
  • Fry the okra in hot oil until golden brown
    • You can use a deep fryer or a pan of oil
    • You know the oil is hot enough when one piece of coated okra floats and sizzles in the oil
    • You want to use a skimmer or frying ladle so that you don’t get burned by oil spatters
  • Remove the fried okra to paper towels to drain
  • Serve promptly
collage of steps to cut and create fried okra
Yield: 4 -6 cups

Fried Okra

Fried Okra

The perfect nostalgic Southern-cooking summer recipe using fresh summer produce. Fried okra is always a hit at cookouts and any summer dinner.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes 20 seconds
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes 20 seconds

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 pounds of fresh Okra
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon of baking powder

Instructions

  1. Wash the okra in cool water in a colander, and trim off both ends.
  2. Cut the okra in half inch to one inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, and toss.
  3. In second bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal and baking powder well.
  4. Toss the okra with the flour/cornmeal mixture until well coated.
  5. Place the okra on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 1 hour.
  6. Okra is fried in batches. In a deep fryer or large frying pan, fill the fryer to the suggested line, or, fill the roaster about 1/2 way full with cooking oil. Heat oil, until hot.
  7. Remove the okra from the freezer. To test if the oil is hot enough,place one piece of okra on a frying spatula, and lower it into the hot oil. When the okra floats, and sizzles in the hot oil, the oil is ready to fry the okra.
  8. Lower the okra into the hot oil with a frying spatula or large slotted spoon, a few pieces at a time, until you have the fryer or roaster not quite full. The okra should have enough room to fry without being crowded in the fryer. Don't overload your fryer or roaster.
  9. You may have to adjust the heat when frying.
  10. Fry the okra until golden brown. Frying times will vary depending on what you're frying the okra in. Simply pay attention to the color of the okra as it's frying. When it is golden brown, it's done.
  11. Remove to paper towels to drain. Cool a little on paper towels.
  12. Serve promptly.

Did you make this recipe?

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It’s easy to make fried okra in batches large enough to serve at a party or take to a potluck. What’s your favorite way to eat okra?

Pin for later so you’ll always be able to find this Southern comfort food recipe for fried okra.

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