Southern Fried Okra


We’re breaking new boundaries today! We’re covering new territory! We’re broadening our horizons! And we’re using an obnoxious amount of exclamation points!

We’re frying okra.

But not just any okra! Purple okra. Which, okay you can just ignore that because it’s the exact same as green okra. It totally turns green when you cook it. Like, it’s no different at all. But you know what? Purple okra makes me feel cheeky and THAT IS OKAY.

Or is it red okra?


Soooo. I . . . never fry things. I guess I should say hardly ever. All that oil in a deep pan, spittering and spattering and sputtering, teeeeeeerrifying.

Okay where this comes from; most anytime we go visit my parental units in Arkansas, mom has a huge basket of freshly fried okra waiting for us (and fritos and a can of bean dip – b.e.s.t.s.n.a.c.k.e.v.e.r.), and without fail, every single time, Aaron goes completely berzerk on the okra. It’s like watching the end of the Hunger Games. You cannot look away. And last weekend when we spotted this purpleredorwhatever okra at the farmers’ market, it was like, all of the one lightbulb in my head went off. And I knew my time had arrived.

I did it! I did it for Aaron. I did it for myself. I did it for you. I did it for love. (you have to picture my fist over my heart. and squinched up eyebrows.)

And it’s not that hard at all! Little soaky mcsoakerton in some buttermilk, little tossy mctosserton with some flour and cornmeal, little fry-y mcfryerton (you want to stab me right now) in some donkey-hot oil.


Here’s the PRE-FRY photo. I got better at getting the FEEL of tossing them with the flour mixture the more I did it. It’s like your fingers do a little “jazz hands” motion as the excess coating falls through them, making them evenly and perfectly coated little okra babies. Ready to meet their doomsday.

That was out loud, wasn’t it?

Post-fry! Would ya just look at that. I didn’t get a picture of the actual frying because my camera was covered in sweat and tears and oh look at that I’m late for therapy.


These are so good. Let me tell you something. Once they’re all good and fried and you have them in a single layer on some paper towels draining a smidge, give them another good sprinkling of salt. And a nice squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, because you just can’t even take it anymore.

Aaaand they’re all gone.

Southern Fried Okra:

(adapted from Ezra Poundcake)

What it took for 1. Okaaaay 4:

* 1 pound red or green okra, ends trimmed and sliced into 1/4th inch pieces
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup corn meal
* good pinch of cayenne
* good pinch of salt, plus more for right at the end
* good pinch of freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup buttermilk
* enough canola or vegetable oil to fill up an 8-inch cast iron about an inch deep (maybe 2-3 cups?)

In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, corn meal, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and add the okra, stirring to coat.

Now, with a slotted spoon, remove the okra in small batches and toss into the corn/flour mixture. Toss around with your hands, letting the excess flour fall through your fingers. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the okra.

Heat the oil until it’s like, really hot. You can stick a little wooden stick in the oil, and if it sizzles, you’re ready. It’s ready. WE ARE READY.

Again, in small batches, spoon over a few okras at the time into the hot oil (I used a large spoon because every time I tossed an okra into the oil, it would splatter me and I would cry) and fry until golden brown. This will seeeeriously not take long. Like 10 seconds. AND, the further into the frying you get, the less time it takes. SCIENCE.

Once they’re good and fried, arrange in a single layer on some paper towels so they can drain.

Give them one last good salting, and serve in a basket or whatever with some fresh lemon juice and your favorite dipping sauce! Or eat them as is.

The south has risen.

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45 Responses to Southern Fried Okra

  1. Maria September 7, 2012 at 8:02 am #
    I've never had okra! I guess you better make me some:)
  2. Ashley September 7, 2012 at 8:03 am #
    They're like little okra nuggets!
  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar September 7, 2012 at 8:42 am #
    I want a whole batch for dinner...for myself. Totally normal.
  4. JulieD September 7, 2012 at 8:55 am #
    Epic!!! They're so beautiful!! I want some!!
  5. Krissy @ Make it Naked September 7, 2012 at 8:57 am #
    Right? Why is it purple?!?! it just turns green. SOOO disappointing. These looks awesome!
  6. Tracey Evans September 7, 2012 at 9:22 am #
    Oh how I love me some fried okra!!!! Green, purple, who cares! Love it!! Looks really yummy. :)
  7. Heidi @foodiecrush September 7, 2012 at 10:03 am #
    I have such an affinity for the crunch of cornmeal crusts I could pop those little nuggets in my salivating mouth all day.
  8. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective September 7, 2012 at 10:27 am #
    Love it! You know, here in the Blue Ridge Mountains we don't just say ya'll. We say "You'ins" as well. It's crazy talk!
  9. Katie September 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm #
    Fried okra is the only way. I'm alllll over this.
  10. Amy Tong September 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm #
    I seldom eat okra....guess I'm afraid of the slimy texture? But your fried ones looks so tempting. :) Guess this is the best way for me to enjoy them. hehe..
  11. Angela @ AnotherBitePlease September 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm #
    I've only had once before and not the best experience...yours looks like it would be so good fried like that!!
  12. Laurie {Simply Scratch} September 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm #
    I couldn't wait for this post!!! Yessss ma'am I'd like me sum-dem-der fried okras!
  13. Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes September 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm #
    Dang does this okra look good. Love the buttermilk, love the corn meal, love the cayenne. The slammin south has risen, indeed.
  14. Averie @ Averie Cooks September 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm #
    Ive never made okra like this and wow, where have I been! Looks awesome Bev!
  15. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. September 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm #
    Fried is the only way I enjoy eating okra! Yum!
  16. Heather @ Heather's Dish September 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm #
    ohmigosh, gimme. i LOOOOOOOVE okra!
  17. DessertForTwo September 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm #
    I loooove it when you fry things!
  18. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious September 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm #
    I've never had okra before but you have me so excited to try it out!
  19. Katie @ Blonde Ambition September 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm #
    Welp, the second I spot some okra in California, I am officially making this! Buuuut my boyfriend is going to do the frying. My non-scalded skin is precious mmkay?
  20. marla September 8, 2012 at 10:35 am #
    Bev, these are some FUN little okra nibbles!
  21. Kari@Loaves and Dishes September 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm #
    This purplish-reddish okra is so pretty...and I just love fried anything!
  22. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts September 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm #
    This would be the only way you would get me to try okra - it scares me!
  23. Julie @ Table for Two September 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm #
    i've never had okra before - i know, crazy. so that must mean you must come to DC and make a batch for me :) i promise i'll help with the batter part ;)
  24. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet September 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm #
    Now this could convert some okra haters in my family. YUM!!!
  25. shelly (cookies and cups) September 10, 2012 at 7:11 am #
    SO okra has always scared me. Mainly because it's called okra...which sounds like a gag noise, but also because I live a sheltered green-beans-only kinda vegetable existence. But I am thinking I will trust you and try this. Because any vegetable that has hypercolor, I sorta need.
  26. Sues September 10, 2012 at 9:06 am #
    I've never cooked with okra before... But I'm pretty sure you just convinced me I NEED TO!!!!
  27. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. September 12, 2012 at 6:36 am #
    fabulous girl!!
  28. swati September 13, 2012 at 4:16 am #
    how innovative is that! great recipe.
  29. Siba-Rita September 13, 2012 at 6:06 am #
    Loooooovvvveeeeee Okra!! The only problem is it's not very easy to find around here. I use cheakpea flour insted of corn, but that look so crunchy I'll try with it next time :)
  30. veena September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am #
    So lovely.. Never know Red Okra... this looks crispy and yummy nice one
  31. Javelin Warrior September 14, 2012 at 8:45 am #
    I've never seen purple okra before - and I've never tried to make any kind of fried okra. But this looks fantastic - perfect crispy snacking during a movie :) I'm featuring this post in today's Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thanks for always inspiring me with your creations...
  32. Lisa December 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm #
    I love fried okra, and I loved reading your directions for making it. I laughed. A lot. :)
  33. Kathleen February 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm #
    Currently making this recipe with my boyfriend- very excited not the reason i'm writing though- I just find you so hilarious. You have a great sense of humour, and I want to read more things written by you. (seriously)
  34. Sandra Sears February 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm #
    I love fried okra
  35. Janice Preheim March 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm #
    If you put a little salt in your oil it won't pop!! Try slicing the okra in half lengthwise - that's how my Italian grandma did it and it was delicious.
    • Bev Weidner March 14, 2013 at 6:28 am #
      Salt! Get out. I'm totally trying that next time!
  36. Peggy Williams (South 47th) April 26, 2013 at 9:46 am #
    Ayyeeeee!!! Okra is OK with me! Loveeee it!!
  37. panagiota August 24, 2013 at 4:50 am #
    I made this recipe today and it too great for appetizer! Thanks!
  38. Benita May 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm #
    I love me some okra!!!!!!!!!!....Born in the south, it was a staple in our house....and I laughed out loud at your "tossy mctosserton"...we do that at our house, too...our dogs are Barky McBarkytons....or, in the toy Chihuahua's case, Whiny was a treat to see someone else do it!!!
  39. Andy Roberts September 30, 2015 at 6:45 am #
    Okra and butter rule!!! Bev, you did good.
  40. Sally August 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm #
    Cajun Purple fried okra fried. Never had purple okra before. Never seen purple okra before, but some delicious Cajun style.
  41. Bobbi September 27, 2017 at 6:34 pm #
    Love red okra, love green okra; both in my CA mountain garden. Also loved your really cute way of writing. Can't wait to try your seasonings, as otherwise, I make it the same way!!!!! Keep on cookin' Girl (more exclamation marks, can't have toooo many!!!!!
  42. southern cook June 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm #
    seconds? It takes more than a few seconds to fry okra so that the okra is cooked, not just the coating.


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