Fried Okra

Traditional Southern-fried okra


  • 1 pound fresh okra
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or some other Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • Oil for frying, enough to cover the bottom of your skillet by about 1/3″


  1. Slice the okra pods into circles, 3/8-1/2″ wide.
  2. Mix the buttermilk with the Tabasco and add the okra. Stir to coat.
  3. Combine the cornmeal and seasonings on a platter.
  4. Scoop some okra out of the milk with a slotted spoon and drop it into the cornmeal. Toss spoonfuls around with a fork or your hands to coat each piece in cornmeal.
  5. Set the coated okra aside while you coat the rest. (Leaving it to sit a while helps the breading to stay on through the frying process.)
  6. Heat your oil over high heat until a bit of cornmeal flicked into the skillet sizzles.
  7. Fry the okra in batches, just one layer in the skillet at a time. Turn once or twice until they’re all golden brown. Total cooking time will be under 8 minutes.
  8. Remove and drain on a paper bag or a cooling rack.
  9. Sprinkle with more salt if it needs it. I usually just sprinkle it with more Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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