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Southern Fried Okra

Updated on December 4, 2015

Fresh Okra, Tomatoes and Corn

Fried Okra is wonderful with sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob.
Fried Okra is wonderful with sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob.

The Way I Like My Fried Okra

I don't think any two people fry Okra alike. Not even in the South.

We try to stay away from too many fried foods but I think it must be a rule that we have Fried Okra every week or so through the summer months. We haven't been able to have a garden in the last several years so fortunately we have friends who are willing to share their produce.

My mom could really fry okra and I remember she would have to hide it when she was finished because we would run through the kitchen and grab a handful just like peanuts or "Southern Popcorn" as a friend calls it. If she didn't hide it, there would be none left to put on the table.

A special aunt told me that in order to fry good okra, you had to turn each little piece individually and talk to it as you were turning. You only want to turn it once and drain it on a paper towel or coffee filter so it won't be too greasy. I like my okra crispy without a lot of batter and will share my recipe below.

There is nothing better than a supper of Corn on the Cob, Fried Okra, Sliced Tomatoes and of course a pone of my husband's delicious cornbread. Of course, some slices of cantaloupe and a couple of stem onions would have made it even more delicious - maybe next time!

How Do You Rate This Recipe?

4.8 stars from 8 ratings of Southern Fried Okra

Choose The Right Size Okra

Large okra pods are not good for frying. You want young tender pods. Cut off both ends but be careful not to cut off too much of the goodie. Then you cut into the size circles that you want to fry trying to get them all about the same size so they will fry out evenly. A 1/2 inch is probably a good general size.

Snip The Tip and End of Each Okra Pod

Snip the tip and the end of the okra pod before preparing for frying.
Snip the tip and the end of the okra pod before preparing for frying.

Mix Your Batter To Fry Okra

Some people soak their okra pieces in buttermilk or water with egg but I don't. I like a very light batter so just put the pieces in a mixture of 1/2 cornmeal mix and 1/2 flour. I shake off any excess mixture, too, so actually they have very little batter. You might want to add some seasonings at this point but I don't do that either. I don't want much of anything disguising the true okra taste and flavor. It is a matter of personal taste so do whatever taste the best to you. Actually, I don't think I have ever had Fresh Fried Okra that I didn't like but do like mine the best.


Batter Mix

Mixture of 1/2 cornmeal and 1/2 flour.  You can also add salt and pepper or other seasonings here but I don't.
Mixture of 1/2 cornmeal and 1/2 flour. You can also add salt and pepper or other seasonings here but I don't.

Heat Your Oil

Also, I don't use much oil. Some people like to deep fry theirs but that is not what I do. Cover the bottom of the fry pan with oil but not enough to cover the okra pieces. Heat to about 375 degrees and when it is hot enough, drop each piece of okra into the oil individually. Now you are frying Okra and you have to be patient.

If your oil is not hot enough, you will not see the okra sizzling so be sure it is the right temperature. If it is too hot, you will scorch them. If it is not hot enough, they will soak up too much grease.

I have used some Olive Oil with the Vegetable Oil. I have heard of people who bake it in the over with Olive Oil and I am going to try that, too.

Hint: I put one piece at a time in the fry pan and work from the middle out. I usually have to pull a stool up to the stove for more ease when frying. Once the ones in the middle are ready to turn, I flip each one individually with a fork. When they are ready to take up, I use a spatula with drain holes and remove the ones in the middle and then move the outside ones to the middle.

Heat Your Oil

I use vegetable oil and not much of it.
I use vegetable oil and not much of it.

Be Patient When Frying Okra

Turn each piece separately and be sure to talk to it as you are turning it.  A little TLC goes a long way when frying okra and also a lot of patience.
Turn each piece separately and be sure to talk to it as you are turning it. A little TLC goes a long way when frying okra and also a lot of patience.

Drain Your Fried Okra

When removing the okra pieces from the hot grease use a spatula with holes and try to drain as much as you can before placing a paper towels or coffee filters. Once it looks like it has drained, blot the top with another paper towel to get even more grease off.

Drain Your Okra

Almost ready to eat as soon as all that extra oil has drained off.
Almost ready to eat as soon as all that extra oil has drained off.

Health Benefits of Okra

Do You Like Fried Okra?

How Do You Like Your Fried Okra?

See results

Okra Growing In The Field

Okra Blossom and Okra Pod
Okra Blossom and Okra Pod | Source
Okra Blossom close up
Okra Blossom close up | Source
Field of Okra
Field of Okra | Source
Okra Blossom and pods
Okra Blossom and pods | Source

Nutritional Information of Okra

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 225 grams
Calories 71
Calories from Fat9
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Saturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 15 g5%
Sugar 7 g
Fiber 7 g28%
Protein 5 g10%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 8 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Is Okra Good For You?

Okra is very good for us and is known to prevent Diabetes, promote healthy pregnancy, good for the digestive system and skin as well as other benefits. I found this link to be very helpful in determining the value of Okra:

Over 6 Okra Health Benefits

I know it is healthier to eat it boiled, stewed or baked but it sure is good to eat it fried. By not using a heavy batter and frying in Vegetable Oil, you can really cut down on the calories. According to the article below, 1/2 cup of Okra contains 25 calories and is filled with lots of vitamins:

Is Okra Good for You?

I know we like it and will continue to enjoy it. In fact, another friend just dropped off some of his fresh Okra and Tomatoes so I know what we will have for supper again tonight.

Add A Pone of Cornbread to Your Vegetable Meal

We enjoy having a Fresh Vegetable Meal with no meat but we do have to have a pone of cornbread and my husband makes the best. He makes it with just adding water and milk to the cornmeal. That's right: No egg, just water and milk and a little oil in the skillet. We like it thin and crunchy. Some people like their cornbread to be bready but not us.

A Perfect Pone of Cornbread

Yummy!  Pass the butter, please!
Yummy! Pass the butter, please!

Thanks for Visiting!

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    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 2 years ago

      I've never tried fried okra, though I've heard it's delicious. I didn't know they had such pretty flowers, too.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      smine27, I guess all the Okra is about gone for the season and unfortunately I didn't freeze any this year.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Oh yes. Give me a batch of them okra now! Love them!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I'll let you know how it comes out.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Arachnea, it is always good to have another Okra lover stop by and I hope you will fry you up a mess of it soon. Yes, nothing like a good hot pone of cornbread!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I love fried Okra. It can be hard to get through, however, if it's not done correctly. I have to give your recipe a try as I've not ever made my own fried okra. A cornbread pone? I have got to try this. I make hot water cornbread sometimes, but it still has salt and sugar in it though no flour or egg or milk.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh good, Margaret, I hope yours was delicious.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Nancy, this recipe is just what I was looking for! I've only eaten okra stewed and in soups, which bring out the slimy texture I can't abide. We just got some fresh okra in our CSA share this week, so I've been looking for a good fried okra recipe that doesn't use too much oil to see whether my husband and I will like it prepared this way. Thanks for sharing!

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      VioletteRose I hope your husband will try Fried Okra again. He just may develop a taste for it.

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

      Okra is very healthy and I love the taste of fried okra. Thanks for sharing your recipe. My husband is not a big fan of okra, but now I will try your recipe :)

    • ajtyne profile image

      AJ 3 years ago from North Carolina

      I love fried okra! Your whole meal sounds perfect, esp if you include the cantaloupe!

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Ecogranny - let me know how your okra turns out. As far as my hubby's recipe for his cornbread, that is it. He just adds water to the self rising cornmeal mix. I will have to get him to measure one day and will let you know.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I couldn't vote in the poll because I've never had okra, but your recipe and cooking method look so good that now I want to try it. The plant is so interesting! Is it by any chance related to hollyhock?

      Btw, I'd love it if you would publish your husband's corn pone recipe. Boy would I like to give that one a try. I like to fry or bake my cornbread in a cast iron skillet, but eggs and milk are always part of the mix, along with salt and baking powder. I'm intrigued that he can make it rise so beautifully with nothing but cornmeal and water. How healthy is that!

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      JemJoseph. I hope you will try some fried okra. It is quite different from the boiled or stewed.

    • Jemjoseph profile image

      Jemjoseph 3 years ago

      Although I've eaten okra on many occasions, I have never tried it as a fried food. This sounds like a delicious alternative to the slimy cooked version that I'm accustomed to.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Looks so good. I use more flour on mine, less cornmeal. It's been years since I've had any to fry. Mom and my sister fries up some when I go home. They always ask what I want and okra is it. Voted up.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thanks Nancy. Hope you enjoy your okra and cornbread. I sure hate the thoughts of the season ending for my favorite fresh vegetables.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      OhMe, you fry okra just like my Mama did, and we used to eat it with her delicious cornbread, fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob too. Boy did this ever take me back...made me miss my Mama and my hometown. Wish I could see both of them again, but guess I'll have to "make do," with frying my own okra and making my own cornbread.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      It would be interesting to know how they make it. I know some people who aren't quite as Southern prefer the heavy batter which to me isn't Southern Fried Okra. lol

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      OhMe, I did a double take the other night when a commercial came on for a mom 'n pop restaurant in Oklahoma City that's **known for its fried okra**! I've lived in Central OK for 4 years and am 99.9% sure this restaurant has never advertised on any of the OKC TV channels before, mainly because this isn't what you'd call "fried okra country" as the Deep South is. At any rate, if I ever get to OKC, I now know where to go for it, but somehow think I'll prefer YOUR recipe! ;D

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      RonElFran I am really not much of a cook either but this is one thing I can make.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I'm not a cook, but I grew up in the South eating fried okra. I have no idea how my mom prepared it, but I loved it. Good hub. I'll never do the recipe, but I enjoyed looking at the pictures.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Oh, I will for sure only if I'm successful. :) Last time I made, they were kind of soggy though still tasty.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      ChrisSp, let me know how it turns out. Like I said, everyone seems to make it differently.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I'd always order fried okra from a local restaurant here and always wanted to know how they do it. Of course, they wouldn't share their recipe. I tried what was on you tube but didn't really obtain the same result as I want it. So, thanks to you. I'd have another adventure in my own kitchen with this recipe.

      Yum!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like okra but I've never cooked it myself. Can't wait to try your recipe.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Shyron E. Shenko, Bless Your Heart! Are you a southerner? Yep, we live to crumble up our cornbread in milk and eat it with a spoon. Do you like Tomato Sandwiches, too? I like to dice tomatoes and mix in the mayonnaise with salt and pepper and crumble ritz crackers in it. It's like eating a tomato sandwich with a spoon.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      JamaGenee, I am glad that you have now been formally introduced to okra and hope you will give it a try

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Avianovice, I know what you mean about boiled okra. I like it now with stewed tomatoes but I sure didn't like it as a child. Fried Okra is still my favorite.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      You do know how to set the taste buds to twitching. I love fried okra with a passion and I turned my hubby on to it. I also love pickled okra and cornbread crumbled in buttermilk, so you have to eat it with a spoon.

      Voted up UABI and shared.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I'm embarrassed to say I had NO idea until this hub what an okra looked like or how to fry it. I also plead growing up in northeast Kansas as the reason I have NO idea what fried okra tastes like, and that I probably ignored it as "too weird" on menus on roadtrips to the South. But that's no excuse since I now live in Central Oklahoma, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for it next time I'm at the store. Your recipe sounds (and looks) too tasty not to try! Thanks!

      As for cornbread made of nothing but cornmeal and water with a little oil in the skillet, I'll have to experiment with that one! ;D

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A tried a friend's okra a couple of years ago, and it was excellent. I made it years ago in Maine, having no clue what I was doing, as I just boiled it. What a slimy mess! Needless to say, that disinterested me, but when I had my friend's fried, I thought that I had gone to heaven.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      DDE, I hope you will try some because they are mighty good.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Davie, what time are you cooking? I will be right over.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I like okra and had no idea what it was called until a while ago. The recipe is different and looks tasty.

    • profile image

      Davie Kirkley 3 years ago

      I'll fix some tonight!

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      TruthforNow, I am really not a great cook. My husband has always done most of the cooking in our home but I do pride myself in making good fried okra. Now that I am older, I usually have to pull up a stool and sit while I watch it fry. It takes a lot of patience.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thank you, Randy! Yummy, now I am thinking about fried chicken and wondering how your mom's would taste.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I love fried okra. Now, you have made me hungry for some. Yours looks really tasty.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Shet yore mouf, Nancy! My 93 year old Mom makes the best fried okra I've ever eaten. Of course, I can say that about her fried chicken and biscuits as well. lol!

      Your recipe sounds a lot like hers but then, she never measures anything so it's difficult to recreate her soul food dishes. A "delicious hub" and I agree with my friend SummerBerrie. Sharing southern food recipes is part of our tradition below the Mason-Dixon Line.

      Also, welcome to HubPages!

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Yummy. Stewed tomatoes are wonderful. Now I will be craving some.

    • profile image

      summerberrie 3 years ago

      Just love fried okra and cornbread combo. Must add goes great with rice and stewed tomatoes, too. Thanks for sharing the South through food.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      DealForALiving, my friend who grew this okra calls it "Southern Popcorn". I think that is a pretty good name. It is for sure you can't eat just one piece if okra or at least I can't

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

      Let me tell you, I know a lot of folks who aren't from the South that love them some fried okra. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it!

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      BarbaraCasey. That sounds so good to mix them together and I have never done that. My husband likes his corn off the cob and creamed so I will have to tell him about this. Thanks.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 3 years ago

      I loved your reference to corn, tomatoes and fried okra as a supper dish. My ex-hubbie (who could fry the heck out of okra) used to cut the kernels off the corn cob and mix them with fried okra and diced tomatoes... all in one dish. I often sprinkled mint sauce on top (not being southern-born). Delish!

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      PawPawwrites, glad you stopped by and hope you will enjoy some good ole fried okra again real soon.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Mary, Bless Your Heart, Honey!

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 3 years ago from Kansas

      I don't have it often, but I do love it.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      Oh, honey, this ole' Southern gal loved this Hub!! Made my mouth water for some fried okra. You did an excellent job with this post; loved all your photos!

      Voted UP, etc. and shared. Our Northern friends need to learn about fried okra.

    • OhMe profile image
      Author

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      MsDora, I hope you will give okra a try because I think it is mighty good.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sounds so enticing: Corn on the Cob, Fried Okra, Sliced Tomatoes, Cornbread. Thanks for showing us how to do the okras. I've had it before but never done it; now I have no excuse.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm a northern boy so you'll have to excuse me on this. I didn't even know what ocra was until I read this article. Thanks for the education. :)

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @relationshipc Hope you do try the okra and yes, be sure to talk to each little piece. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I've never had okra. I will make sure to follow your Aunt's advice. ;)

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thans Colofulone we are very fortunate to have friends who are excellent gardeners

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thanks Jean. are you hinting for an invite lol. I owe you one

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Now, all I need is some Okra. Your recipe sounds delicious, Nancy.

      Shared and voted.

    • profile image

      Jean V 3 years ago

      Love Ohme's fried okra!

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Aka-rms. Let me know how it turns out. Hope you enjoy.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 3 years ago from USA

      What great timing! I just got some okra in my farm box yesterday and since we've never tried it before, I'll be taste testing this recipe for sure.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Joan, now I have to pull a stool up to the stove to sit on while I am watching my okra fry out.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Connie and Betty - Aren't we lucky to have such great memories of Aunt Ruby and Didge in the kitchen. Let me know how your cornbread turns out, Connie.

    • OhMe profile image
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      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Ann Hinds - I will have to try your Baked Okra Recipe, too. Sounds yummy.

    • profile image

      Joan Adams 3 years ago

      Oh yes, love fried okra! it's such a tedious job, but so worth it!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      I just bought okra seeds so I can grow my own. I bake my okra with cornmeal and Old Bay seasoning but there is nothing better than real fried okra. While we live in California, my mother was from Texas and I learned to love it when I was a small child. Actually, I haven't found any style of cooked okra that I don't like. Great pictures! I might break down and actually fry it. Yummy!

    • profile image

      Connie Rasbury 3 years ago

      This okra looks GRAND! And yes it looks just like Didgie used to fix it.

      Thanks too for the cornbread recipe...Can't wait t try it.

    • profile image

      Betty DeLorme 3 years ago

      Oh, I do love to fry okra in the summertime! Have only prepared it once this year, but oh, it was soooo good! When I had a kitchen garden some years ago, the okra was one of my most successful "crops"....lol. Now my mouth is watering for fried okra again so I may just get by the vegetable stand in the next few days! Enjoyed your photos and instructions. Must remember to talk to each piece!