Southern Fried Okra (3 Ingredients)

Southern Fried Okra recipe – a southern staple with only 3 ingredients! Okra, buttermilk and self-rising cornmeal. This is my all-time FAVORITE vegetable! Fry up in under 5 minutes! Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch dipping sauce. If you aren’t a fan of okra, this is the recipe that will turn you into a fan!

plate of southern fried okra

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Best Fried Okra Recipe

Fried okra is a southern staple. It is one of my all-time favorite foods. It is the only green vegetable that I get excited about eating. I can eat a ton of it. I prefer to make it at home as opposed to eating it out. Most restaurants just fry frozen okra. It has the stems and tips in it, and I hate it when I accidentally eat those pieces. Yuck! Fried okra is SO much better with fresh okra! Fried okra is super simple to make. Most of the time I just slice it and toss it in cornmeal. This time I decided to soak the okra in buttermilk and then toss it in cornmeal. It was like little cornbread nuggets with yummy okra inside. It was absolutely delicious! If you aren’t a fan of okra, this is the recipe that will turn you into a fan!

How to Make Southern Fried Okra

To make the okra, rinse the pods and slice them into 1/2-inch pieces. Discard stems and tips. Place raw okra slices in a large bowl and pour buttermilk over it; cover and chill for 30 minutes. Remove okra from the buttermilk and shake off excess buttermilk. Place okra in a separate bowl and toss in corn meal. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet. Heat oil to 375ºF. Fry breaded okra slices in small batches in the hot oil until it is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove okra from the skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

  • I like to buy smaller pods of okra and slice them fairly thin.
  • Use a deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature of the oil.
  • Can fry the whole pods if you prefer. I’ve eaten it this way in restaurants as an appetizer with a ranch dipping sauce. It is delicious.
  • You can use regular or self-rising cornmeal.
  • Add a little bit of cayenne pepper or cajun seasoning to the cornmeal mixture or some hot sauce to the buttermilk to give the okra a little kick.
  • To make homemade buttermilk, combine 1 cup milk with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to curdle and thicken.
  • If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use a cast-iron skillet or any other deep skillet.
plate of fried okra

What to Serve with Crispy Fried Okra

This is my favorite way to make and eat okra. The crispy coating makes the dish! We both absolutely LOVE it! This is the perfect side dish for all of your favorite chicken, pork chops, and beef recipes. Heck, I like to eat it like popcorn. This is equally delicious plain or dipped in some ranch dressing. Give this a try. This recipe is sure to turn you into a fried okra fan!

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plate of southern fried okra

Southern Fried Okra

Yield: 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Southern Fried Okra – only 3 ingredients to make this delicious veggie! My FAVORITE vegetable! Okra, buttermilk and self-rising cornmeal. Fry up in under 5 minutes! #friedokra #southernvegetables


  • 1 lb okra
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal
  • oil


  • Rinse okra and slice. Discard stems and tips. Pour buttermilk over sliced okra; cover and chill 30 minutes.
  • Remove okra from buttermilk. Dredge okra in cornmeal.
  • Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven or large skillet. Heat oil to 375ºF. Fry okra in batches until golden brown, about 4 minutes.


  • I like to buy small okra pods and slice them fairly thin. This is just my personal preference.
  • You can use regular or self-rising cornmeal.
  • To make homemade buttermilk, combine 1 cup milk with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to curdle and thicken.
  • If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use a cast-iron skillet or any other deep skillet.


Remember this recipe.

Pin this recipe to your favorite board now to remember it later!

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  1. I grew up with the cornmeal and okra recipe and always loved it. I tried the buttermilk first then cornmeal. Delish! It feels a bit more sinful and special and has become my hubby’s favorite way to eat it.

  2. I was born in Texas & also lived in Okla, Tennessee, Mississippi & Louisiana. I’ve been in Ohio for yrs but fried okra is my absolute favorite vegetable too. Lots of people up here have never even heard of it, but Kroger sells it. I love it the way everyone is talking about, but my absolute favorite way is the way my mom fixed it fried with cut up tomatoes and onions. Then of course she put cornmeal on it and fried it in a pan. I usually add a little flour to that too, to help it stick together. But a problem has always been that the coating won’t stay on it (probably because of the liquid in the tomatoes) but it is absolutely to die for. I’m going to try soaking it in buttermilk first to see if that will help. But I found another solution! I put an egg in it and make okra patties. It stays together that way. Actually I think I’ll put my mom’s recipe on my blog. Has anyone else ever had it with tomatoes and onion?

  3. When we had a garden, sometimes I would fry okra, squash together when there wasn't enough of one vegetable. I've even thrown in a chunked green tomato and potato.

  4. same way I fry mine..only I cant get the fresh okra fear round, so as you can guess–have to use frozen(only after I pick out the ends and tips)but fresh is always better–always make extra large batch–the wife also likes it cold.

  5. West coast gal here. Does the cornmeal/buttermilk cut the slime factor? I love okra, but any little bit of slime and I'm off my feed immediately. I see Judy soaks hers in salt water. Does that reduce the slime? Help me out here, I want to eat more okra but I struggle with the slime!

  6. I'm from many generations of okra lovers. My family always sliced it, soaked it in salt water until the water was slimy, and then rolled in flour to fry. I love it whether cooked with flour or cornmeal and whether it is fresh or frozen. My favorite meal is fried okra, fresh home-grown tomatos, and corn on the cob dripping with butter! Now that is a southern meal for vegetarians!!

  7. My mother was from Arkansas and she fried Okra in the summer. It was such a treat! You can get it frozen battered, but it isn't as good as what she made. She just tossed the cut Okra in cornmeal and fried it.YUM!

  8. I might have to give the buttermilk a try. I'm like you, I usually just coat it with corn meal. But I am wondering … what's wrong with the tips? I understand not wanting the stem, but the tips!?

    1. my family always split the okra lengthwise. The tops were discarded, but they ate the tips. So, I keep them. We never used buttermilk, just corm meal. But, my hubby, who was not born a southerner but has lived in Texas for 43 years, likes it dipped in buttermilk and with flour and cornmeal mixture. I guess it is a matter of taste.

  9. I don't think there is ever enough fried okra! You just can't quit eating the stuff. People who are not from the south cannot quite figure out just why we southerns like it so much. We can't either but we know we love it!

  10. I too love fried okra and I use thawed frozen it's all cut up and easy. I think is tastes terrific.

  11. I love fried okra, my Mother fixed it often when I was growing up. My question is for those times when fresh is not available, which seems to be often here in Northern Illinois, will frozen okra give desired results? Not the frozen breaded variety, just plain frozen okra.

  12. I love fried okra so much that we are growing it in our garden for the second year in a row. We likes ours dipped in a little bit of ranch dressing. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I always make mine using an egg dip and then dipping it in a seasoned flour mixture. Your way looks so much easier and less messy that I'm for sure going to be trying it once we start harvesting some.

  13. I am soooo happy that you posted this! I am absolutely LOVE fried okra and this will be on my menu sometime this week!

    Thanks a bunch and have a fantastic day! 🙂

  14. I grew up eating fried okra. This is not my mother's fried okra. She did not cover hers with cornmeal. But I do eat these when I find them at restaurants. Now a fried green tomato is different. It needs some cornmeal on it to taste right. My mom made some really good fried green tomatoes. I miss her and them.

    1. this is not how i make fried okra, either. i do use cornmeal, but i do not use buttermilk. fried green tomatoes are the best. dip in cornmeal, fry in bacon grease, yummy no matter how bad for you!

  15. OH MY WORD…. I just told mom she needs to bring me some okra soon. I'm craving it now. They have a garden and it's the one thing I haven't had this summer from it!

  16. As a kid, you couldn't have paid me enough to eat okra. As an adult, I can't get enough! I've never made it myself, but this looks simple – I'm going to give it a try. Thanks!

  17. I love your blog as much as I love okra! (And that's a lot!)

    I hope you don't mind, I shared your website on my blog this week.

    Have a great day!

  18. While I do consider myself a true southerner I've never made fried okra! Please don't revoke my southern rights! I've got to get to cooking these little babies up stat!

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