The absolute best recipe for easy fried green tomatoes! Plus, tips on where to buy green tomatoes and the perfect batter for a perfectly crunchy coating!
EVERYTHING IN DUE TIME — INCLUDING FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
I saw the movie fried green tomatoes long before I ever had the luxury of tasting one. It actually wasn’t even until adulthood I took my first bite into a fried green tomato, and even then it was only ever a Southern summer restaurant treat. It was warm and tart, crispy and crunchy and absolutely heavenly dipped in a cool ranch dressing.
A little further down the road into adulthood, my green-thumbed husband built out a few raised garden beds in our backyard to grow vegetables. The vegetable we were most excited to have homegrown at our fingertips was, without a doubt, tomatoes. We made just about everything you could think to make with those homegrown tomatoes that summer: shrimp and tomato pasta, bruschetta chicken salad, scratch-made marinara, salsa, and you better believe we made up one mean batch after another of fried green tomatoes.
Actually, to tell you the truth, up until we had our own garden, I kind of thought green tomatoes were their own plant species. Come to find out, they’re just the same as red tomatoes…they just haven’t quite ripened yet. This is why they are tart, firm, and absolutely perfect for frying.
WHERE TO BUY FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
You don’t have to have your own garden to fry up a batch of easy fried green tomatoes. In fact, most grocery stores will keep them stocked near the ripened tomatoes in summer months. However, you will have difficulty finding them throughout the other three-quarters of the year. This is most definitely a seasonal summer delicacy.
HOW TO MAKE EASY FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Fried green tomatoes are easy to make. You’ll begin by slicing them into rings just over a 1/4″ thick, and soaking the rings in a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce.
WHY USE BUTTERMILK
Using a buttermilk soak not only adds flavor to the interior of the fried green tomatoes but also helps the batter to stick without having to use an egg wash. Like I said, these are easy fried green tomatoes.
THE BEST FRIED GREEN TOMATO BATTER
There are quite a few Southerners out there who would call for a cornmeal batter and a cornmeal batter alone. However, I must politely object. Using flour in the mixture softens the bite, and makes for a much less chewy and more pleasing crunchy exterior. To flavor the batter, I use a secret weapon that goes by the name of smoked paprika. Smoked paprika flavor to any dish it is added to, and it is the perfect subtle addition to take fried green tomato batter to the next level.
The tomatoes go from the buttermilk and into the dry-mix batter, then it’s off to the oil for frying.
USE CANOLA OIL FOR FRYING
Canola oil is a truly flavorless oil (unlike vegetable oil) with a high smoke point and is my go-to oil for frying.
TIPS FOR FRYING
If frying intimidates you in general, here’s a tip for success: It’s all about the temperature of the oil.
There is one very accurate way to take the temperature of the oil, and that is to use a thermometer. Because we are shallow frying the fried green tomatoes, I use an infrared thermometer, but you could also use the probe of any thermometer as long as you take care not to touch it to the bottom of the pan.
If you don’t have (or want) to use a thermometer, you could also try the flour test: Sprinkle a pinch of flour into the oil. If when the flour hits the oil, it barely sizzles or does nothing at all, your oil is not hot enough. If when you add the flour, it sizzles up and puts off a burnt smell, your oil is too hot.
Fried green tomatoes are a quick fix and only take 1 1/2 – 2 minutes to cook through. As soon as the batter becomes a golden brown, your tomatoes are ready to be removed from the oil and served.
TIS THE SEASON FOR GREEN TOMATOES
When summer rolls around, there’s no time to waste. It’s fried green tomato season, and sadly, it’s short-lived, so we must take full advantage. Whether you’re working with homegrown or storebought green tomatoes, with a recipe this easy, there’s really no reason for them to remain a restaurant treat. And, if you really want to give the restaurants a run for their money, top off fried green tomatoes with sauce like homemade ranch dressing, try my zingy roasted red pepper dressing (created especially for this dish) or even a remoulade.
Homemade is guaranteed to be just as good (if not even better) than any restaurant serving them up this summer. Please, enjoy!
The best recipe for easy fried green tomatoes!
- 2 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 dashes hot sauce
- 4 green tomatoes, sliced just over a 1/4" thick
- 1 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Add the buttermilk and hot sauce to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the tomato slices and soak for about 20 minutes.
In a breading tray or shallow container, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, paprika, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
Add the oil to a skillet over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature, between 350°-375°.
Shake off any dripping buttermilk from the tomatoes, and dredge completely in the dry batter. Carefully add to the oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan and frying in batches as needed.
Cook the tomatoes for 1 1/2 -2 minutes each, or just until the crust is perfectly golden brown. Remove from the oil and allow to cool slightly.
For best results, serve right away.