Pan Fried Okra

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Fried Okra is a Southern staple. Crispy coating with perfectly seasoned okra is always a great appetizer to enjoy with fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.

Pan Fried Okra

The first time I remember eating fried okra wasn’t at my grandma’s house or at a cookout. It was with my dad when we went to Church’s chicken. I had to be about 5 or 6 because he let me pick whatever sides I wanted, and I got the buttered corn and the weird fried green things.

Actually, that may have been my first time ever eating okra. I vividly remember liking the fried okra but not liking it. The texture was strange, and I was too young for new textures. I’m sure my parents understand me.

Ever since then, I’ve held a special place for okra in my heart. Nowadays, whenever okra is in the season, I have to have my four okra specialties. Okra gumbo, smothered okra and sausage, stewed okra and tomatoes, and pan fried okra!

Okra holds a special virtue since I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana, and I understand how okra got to the Americas. I’ll let food historian, author, and African Diaspora food expert, Jessica Harris tell you all about it.

She says, “wherever okra points its green tip, Africa has been, and the trail of trade evidenced by the presence of the pod is formidable.” She also mentions okra probably was first introduced into the continental United States via Louisiana. In Louisiana, folks understand that the beauty of okra is its “slime.” The prodigious thickening properties of the vegetable mean that it can take a thin watery soup and transform it into a substantial one.”

So let me teach you how to embrace the beauty of this beautiful pod.

pan fried okra dipped in ketchup

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for some amazing southern fried okra.

Fresh Okra

Fresh okra is in season from May-October.

White Vinegar

This is the best way to remove the slimy texture raw okra produces.

Buttermilk

This is southern fried okra, so we need buttermilk.

Peanut Oil

I love the quality of frying that peanut oil produces in all foods.

All-Purpose Flour

Nothing fancy, just good old-fashion all-purpose flour.

Yellow Cornmeal

The corn meal will provide the signature gritty texture of fried okra.

Cajun Seasoning

I love using an all-purpose seasoning that makes everything taste amazing! Savory Cajun Low-Sodium seasoning is my go-to seasoning. I love that it has a hint of cayenne pepper to add a slight spicy note. It’s New Orleans in the bottle.

bite of pan fried okra

How to make pan fried okra recipe?

Frying okra should be easy, tasty, and a crowd-pleaser! Let me show you how to make fried okra without slime.

Although the slime has its place in cooking, the slimy texture can turn people off, so combine sliced okra and white vinegar in a bowl, then drain the okra.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and salt. Stir in okra slices and marinate.

Fill a large skillet like a cast iron with oil, and heat to 350°F over medium heat. 

Combine flour, cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, and salt in a large bowl. Let the excess egg mixture drain before adding a few pieces of okra at a time to the flour mixture; place breaded okra on a baking sheet. 

Add okra to hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

pan fried okra on a plate

Dipping Sauce for Fried Okra

Of course, you can use ketchup to dip okra in, but I think you’ll enjoy the combination of these dipping sauces with it.

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

I jotted down a few notes after making this crispy southern fried okra recipe.

  • If you use frozen okra, be sure to thaw and dry it between a few paper towels before adding it to the egg mixture.
  • Feel free to use any vegetable oil instead of peanut oil.
  • Add some cayenne pepper to your batter for a little kick.
  • If you use a different seasoning salt or Cajun seasoning, omit the salt from the flour mixture.
  • To make this the perfect snack for your gluten-free friends, use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
  • When a pinch of flour is added to the oil, it should bubble when hot. 
  • You can also use a wooden spoon handle to determine if the oil is hot. Once you see medium to large bubbles around the handle, the hot oil is ready for frying.
  • Squeeze the okra slightly so the breading sticks.
pan fried okra dipped in ketchup
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bite of pan fried okra

FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making fried okra.

How do you cut okra for frying?

Before cutting fresh okra, lightly dampen a towel or paper towel with white vinegar to remove the slime from your knife if you don’t like seeing it.

Place 3-4 okra pods in a single row, remove the top about slice okra in 1/2 inch slices, discard the green tip, or cut a large enough piece to keep it.

How do you fry okra without it being slimy?

The best way to remove the slime in fried okra is to toss the sliced okra in white vinegar, then drain the okra.

Should okra be soaked before cooking?

Marinating the okra before frying helps it absorb the seasoning. So it’s best to allow it to marinate for 15 minutes before frying it.

Can you pan fry okra?

Yes, you can pan fry okra. It is best to use a neutral flavored oil, such as canola or vegetable oil. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Batter okra in a seasoned cornmeal mixture, then cook okra for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

Can you fry okra whole?

You can fry okra whole. There are no rules that say fried okra must be sliced, and slicing the okra allows you to fry enough for a large crowd.

At what temperature do you fry okra?

Heat oil to 350°F, then add the okra slices to hot oil for 2-3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel lined plate.

Should fried okra be chewy or crispy?

The perfect fried okra should be crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

How to store leftover fried okra?

Pan fried okra is best eaten immediately but will remain fresh in an airtight container for 2 days in the fridge.  

Keep them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for 1 month. 
 
You can freeze the okra after you have tossed it in the dredge and keep it in the freezer for 3 months. Fry as instructed in the recipe.
 
Reheat the okra in a 325°F oven for 5-8 minutes.

pan fried okra on a plate

More Classic Southern Recipes

These recipes are perfect for anyone who enjoys southern food as much as I do!

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Before You Begin

Before getting started, here are the steps I use to get organized. 

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the southern fried okra on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Follow this delicious recipe to make the best pan fried okra you’ve tasted!

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy snack to make, try this pan fried okra recipe. It only takes 30 minutes to prepare and cook, and it’s sure to please everyone at your table. Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below if you give it a try!

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pan fried okra on a plate

Pan Fried Okra

Kenneth Temple
Fried Okra is a Southern staple. Crispy coating with perfectly seasoned okra is always a great appetizer with fried chicken and biscuits.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Marinate 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine African, American, Cajun, Creole, New Orleans
Servings 6 persons
Calories 227 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. fresh okra tops removed, ½ inch sliced
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons Savory Cajun seasoning

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, mix okra and vinegar together, and drain the okra.
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in okra and marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Fill a large cast iron or heavy bottom skillet halfway with oil, and heat to 350°F over medium heat. When a pinch of flour is added to the oil, it should bubble when hot.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, and remaining salt. Drain okra of excess egg mixture, add okra a few pieces at a time to the flour mix and be sure to squeeze okra slightly so breading sticks. Place breaded okra on a baking sheet.
  • Add okra to hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. Mine is remoulade.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
I jotted down a few notes after making this crispy southern fried okra recipe.
  • If you use frozen okra, be sure to thaw and dry it between a few paper towels before adding it to the egg mixture.
  • Feel free to use any vegetable oil instead of peanut oil.
  • Add some cayenne pepper to your batter for a little kick.
  • If you use a different seasoning salt or Cajun seasoning, omit the salt from the flour mixture.
  • To make this the perfect snack for your gluten-free friends, use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
  • When a pinch of flour is added to the oil, it should bubble when hot. 
  • You can also use a wooden spoon handle to determine if the oil is hot. Once you see medium to large bubbles around the handle, the hot oil is ready for frying.
  • Squeeze the okra slightly so the breading sticks. 
Storage:
Pan fried okra is best eaten immediately but will remain fresh in an airtight container for 2 days in the fridge. 
Keep them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for 1 month. 
You can freeze the okra after you have tossed it in the dredge and keep it in the freezer for 3 months. Fry as instructed in the recipe.
Reheat the okra in a 325°F oven for 5-8 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 8gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 620mgPotassium: 367mgFiber: 5gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 966IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 3mg
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