Fried Okra

Is it really a Southern feast without a plate of fried okra? In the warm months, this classic dish can be found at barbecue joints, meat-and-threes, and backyard cookouts throughout the South. There are many ways to prepare okra—it can be skewered, charred, grilled, or sautéed—but the most popular and traditional Southern method to give it a quick cornmeal dredge and fry it.The recipe is simple and straightforward. All you'll need is fresh okra, salt, cornmeal, and canola oil to pull off this stellar side. Southerners know that fried okra doesn't require much dressing up—when you try to get fancy, you run the risk of losing the true spirit of the dish. The process of frying okra may be simple, but the result is utter perfection—gorgeous, golden-brown nuggets of soft-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside okra. This fried favorite is also a great way to convince the kids to eat their vegetables. Don't let the summer pass by without making this dish at least once.

Fried Okra
Photo: Southern Living
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
52 mins
8 to 10 servings


  • 2 pounds fresh okra

  • 3/4 cup salt

  • 2 cups plain yellow or white cornmeal

  • Canola oil


  1. Cut off and discard tip and stem ends of okra; cut okra crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place in a large bowl.

  2. Combine 3 qt. water and salt; pour over okra. Soak 30 minutes; drain, rinse well, and drain again. Dredge okra, in batches, in cornmeal.

  3. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375ºF. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

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