Fried Okra is an integral part of the Southern food culture, and rightfully so. Fresh okra dredged in flour and fried until golden, crispy and crunchy is completely addictive.
This is the only Fried Okra Recipe you will ever need for getting fresh okra from the chopping block, to the fryer, to the table quickly and with ease! Equipped with amazing flavor thanks to a seasoned flour that can’t be beat and tips for frying to perfection!
WHAT DOES FRIED OKRA TASTE LIKE?
Okra has sweet, grassy notes and is mild in taste. Flavor-wise, it lies somewhere between a green bean and an eggplant, but just like most other foods, as soon as you fry it, its natural flavor will be somewhat subdued and equally matched by a crunchy, seasoned batter.
Although Fried Okra really is in a league of its own, the closest thing to it would probably be fried green beans, although the interior texture is completely different.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Okra — For this recipe, you’ll want to use fresh okra. Note, fresh okra does not have an extensive shelf life and needs to be used within 3-4 days of purchasing.
- Seasoned Flour — To give your Fried Okra a delicious, crunchy coating, you’ll need to start with all-purpose flour. To the flour, you’ll add Kosher salt, pepper, paprika, mustard powder, and garlic powder.
- Egg Wash — Egg wash helps the flour stick to the okra nuggets, and it consists of one egg and whole milk. For a little extra flavor, throw in a teaspoon of hot sauce.
- Oil — The type of oil you use is more important than you might think. Canola oil is great for frying, as it has a high smoke point and is a truly flavorless oil. However, you could also use vegetable oil, if you already have it on hand.
HOW TO FRY OKRA
- Prep the Dry Ingredients — Time to get your seasoned flour ready. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, kosher salt, pepper, paprika, mustard powder, and garlic powder. Then, stir to combine.
- Make the Eggwash and Add the Okra — To make the egg wash, combine the milk, egg, and hot sauce in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the cut up okra to the bowl and stir to coat.
- Heat the Oil — Add the oil to a large frying pan and place it over medium-high heat to come to temperature, between 350-375°. It is best to use a thermometer to determine the temperature of the oil, but if you do not have one, sprinkle a bit of flour in the pan. If it quickly sizzles back at you, it’s probably time to fry.
- Dredge the Okra — Dredge the okra in the seasoned flour mixture, and stir to thoroughly coat.
- Fry — Don’t overcrowd the frying pan! Fry the okra in two batches, adding a single layer of okra to the hot oil each time. Once the okra is golden brown, use a slotted spoon (or a skimmer) to transfer it to the prepared pan and allow it to cool slightly before serving.
Frying Tip: If you want to keep Fried Okra from getting soggy, avoid stacking the nuggets as they come out of the oil. Instead, have ready a rimmed baking sheet or pan, lined with paper towels to catch grease drippings. As the okra comes out of the oil, place it in a single layer.
HOW DO YOU FRY OKRA WITHOUT SLIME?
There is a substance in okra called mucilage made up of sugar and proteins, and when this mix isn’t cooked properly, it can cause okra to taste a little slimy. However, there are ways to work around it, and one of those is to cook the okra fast.
The quicker and hotter you cook okra, the less slimy it will be. And, as it turns out, Fried okra cooks at high heat, and it definitely cooks up fast. Therefore, the best way to keep your okra from being slimy is to make sure your oil is at the right temperature before adding it to the fryer.
Some sources suggest the smaller the okra, the less mucilage there will be and to avoid working with pods any longer than your pinky finger. Others say to fry the okra whole, rather than cutting it into nuggets.
IS FRIED OKRA GOOD FOR YOU?
Okra on its own has a ton of health benefits. Just to name a few, its soluble fiber can help manage diabetes, it’s rich in vitamin C and antioxidants giving your immune system a boost, and (according to a 2005 study) might even prevent kidney disease.
However, when you fry it…maybe not so much. Any time you cook foods at high heat, you’re knocking down its nutritional value to some extent, but when you cook it at high heat in frying oil…and coated in a flour batter? Eh. Not so healthy anymore.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a fresh batch of golden fried okra when the occasion calls, just don’t expect to go winning any marathons because of it.
5 MORE SOUTHERN SIDE DISHES YOU’LL LOVE
- Fried Green Tomatoes are the perfect Southern summertime treat! They fry up crispy and crunchy with a batter that makes for one incredible coating!
- Fried Squash is crispy on the outside and buttery, and soft on the inside. Use yellow squash, zucchini, or both!
- Homemade Cornbread is sweet, buttery and always bakes up with a moist and tender crumb. You can count on this recipe to feed a crowd!
- Southern Creamed Corn is made fast on the stovetop with milk, cream cheese, and fresh (or frozen) corn!
- Green Beans with Tomatoes and Bacon is an easy, slow-cooking side dish made special with fresh green beans, bacon, and fire-roasted canned tomatoes.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 pound okra, cut into 1/2" pieces (discard of the stems)
- 2 - 2 1/2 cup canola oil
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, kosher salt, pepper, paprika, mustard powder, and garlic powder, and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
Combine the milk, egg, and hot sauce in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cut up okra, stir to coat, and set aside.
Add the oil to a large frying pan and place it over medium-high heat to come to temperature, between 350-375°. Have ready a rimmed sheet pan lined with paper towels.
Transfer the okra from the wet mixture to the dry mixture, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Then, stir to coat in the seasoned flour.
Fry the okra in two batches, adding a single layer of okra to the hot oil each time. Cook each batch for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Once the okra is golden brown, use a slotted spoon (or skimmer) to transfer it to the prepared pan and allow to cool slightly. Serve and enjoy!
Sources: HuffPost Taste | How to Make Okra Less Slimy, Southern Living | How to Cook Okra Like a Pro, Taste of Home | Okra Alternatives, Medical Daily | What is Okra and 6 Benefits of Adding the Medicinal Vegetable to Your Diet