Smashed Fried Okra

What a revelation! Use a meat mallet to smash okra and create more surface area for crispy-brown goodness. Try this at home.

Hands On Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
4 to 6 servings

Okra is a summer staple in Southern cuisine, and we love using it when it's in season. We love serving this side dish throughout the summer, but we won't lie it can be tricky to make. We have some helpful tips that will make cooking okra much easier. First, you'll want to take medium to larger pods and smash them with a metal mallet. When the okra pods are smashed, they will look stringy or flowery and you'll be able to see the seeds. Smashing the okra pods before cooking is an essential step to make sure your okra gets nice and crispy when fried. The small string-like pieces fry nicely to give you that satisfying crunch when you bite in. Before you fry the okra pods, you will want to dip them in a pan of buttermilk to get them coated evenly and season them. You will then coat them in your cornmeal mixture, which will form that crunchy shell around each piece as it fries. When you're coating the okra pods in the buttermilk and the cornmeal, do so gently since they are smashed. You don't want them to break apart severely when you are coating them. Once the okra pods are coated, you'll begin frying them. As you're frying, be sure to not add too many to the hot oil at once. The seeds from these pods are loose since they are smashed and could pop in the oil. This classic Southern side dish will be a hit whether you're serving it for family dinner or at your next backyard bash.


  • 1 pound fresh okra

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Canola oil


  1. Use a meat mallet to smash okra, starting at tip of pod and working toward stem end. Place buttermilk in a shallow dish, and place cornmeal in another shallow dish. Stir desired amount of salt and pepper into buttermilk and cornmeal. Dip okra in buttermilk; dredge in cornmeal, shaking off excess.

  2. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a large Dutch oven; heat to 350°. Fry okra, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes or until brown and crisp, turning once. Remove okra, using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add salt and pepper to taste; serve.

    Smashed Fried Okra
    Hector Sanchez
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