Air Fryer Okra

5.0
(1)

Crispy fried okra with no oily mess.

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
Yield:
Serves 4 (Serving Size: About 1/2 cup)

We love kitchen tools that make cooking quicker and easier, and the air fryer is the latest revelation we can't stop using. Essentially working like a convection oven, an air fryer makes it easy to get that crispy fried coating you grew up with, with just a fraction of the fat.

And yes, we know: Fat is flavor. If you're worried that fried okra in the air fryer might not taste like Mama's old-school fried okra, don't fret: Our Test Kitchen said you'd never know this recipe wasn't made the traditional way.

Best of all? With your air fryer, you can have crispy fried okra in just 20 minutes with no oily mess. There's truly no better classic Southern side dish to accompany Sunday supper than our air fryer okra.

Air Fryer Okra Ingredients

To make crispy fried air fryer okra, you will, of course, need okra. The veggies are tossed in a coating made with cornmeal and flour, simply seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, and salt—though if you want a touch more heat, you could go ahead and add cayenne pepper, black pepper, or other seasonings of your choosing.

A beaten egg loosened with water helps the batter adhere, and a touch of cooking spray ensures the air fried okra bakes up crispy and golden brown—just like shallow-fried.

How to Prep Okra

To get your okra ready for its Air Fryer journey, first, it's essential to wash it and lop off the woody ends.

Next up, just cut it into rounds about ½-inch thick. As always, be sure to cut the okra into equally-sized bites so that they cook up evenly in the air fryer.

How to Make Okra in the Air Fryer

To make fried okra in the air fryer, start by stirring together the ingredients for the seasoned coating—the flour and cornmeal, plus the spices.

Combine the water and egg in another bowl, and set both bowls on your work surface so that you can easily transfer the okra from one to the other.

While the air fryer preheats, get your okra ready by dipping half of it into the egg mixture, and, taking care to let any excess drip off, transferring it to the cornmeal mixture. Toss until nicely coated on all sides, and then move to a plate and move on to the second batch.

Once all of the okra is coated, it's time to air fry! First, generously coat the air fryer basket in cooking spray, and then add the okra. Add another dose of cooking spray to the veggies, and let 'er rip—12 to 14 minutes should do the trick.

That said, don't wander too far: One essential step to ensuring super crispy fried okra is to toss it with more cooking spray halfway through the frying process. This extra second of hands-on work will yield the most even results.

How to Serve Air Fryer Okra

As with any fried food, air fryer okra is best eaten fresh, as it only gets soggier with time. Be sure to pop these little fried okra bites right into a bowl and onto the table, accompanied by your sauce of choice.

As for which sauce to choose… the world is your oyster! One Test Kitchen professional said these "crispy, golden brown little nuggets" would go perfectly with our classic Alabama White Barbecue Sauce, but you could also go for Honey Barbecue Sauce or even tangy Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce.

How to Store Air Fryer Okra

Leftover air fryer okra is unfortunately unlikely to improve, so try to make just what you need. That said, if end up having any leftovers, don't throw them away. Simply store them in a sealed container in the fridge for a day or two, and revive them with another three or four minutes in the air fryer. They may not be quite as crispy as they were when you first made them, but they'll be just as delicious!

Can You Fry Frozen Okra?

If you've got a bag of sliced, frozen okra in the freezer, you're in luck: This recipe just got a whole lot easier! You can carry out the recipe as written and fry the okra straight from frozen. You'll just want to be sure to fry in one equal layer to ensure that the okra doesn't grow soggy as it fries.

Editorial contributions by Emily Monaco.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (about 2 7/8 oz.) fine yellow cornmeal

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 8 ounces fresh okra, cut into 1/2-in.-thick rounds

  • Cooking spray

  • 1/2 cup bottled white barbecue sauce

Directions

  1. Stir together cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a shallow dish. Whisk together egg and water in a separate shallow dish.

  2. Preheat air fryer to 400°F for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, dip half of the okra in egg mixture; remove okra, letting excess drip off, and transfer to cornmeal mixture, tossing to fully coat. Transfer coated okra to a plate. Repeat process using remaining okra.

  3. Lightly coat air fry basket with cooking spray. Add okra to basket in a single layer; coat generously with cooking spray. Cook until golden brown and crispy, 12 to 14 minutes, tossing okra and coating with additional cooking spray halfway through cook time.

  4. Remove okra from basket; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve immediately with barbecue sauce.

    air fryer okra on a black plate
    Caitlin Bensel
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