Cornmeal Fried Okra

Now that we live in Texas, fresh okra is a lot more easy to find at the grocery store.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

This makes Dustin very happy, which makes me happy. Dustin absolutely loves the stuff.  And, we have learned, Jordan can’t get enough okra either.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

It’s really cute to watch them both gobble it down together. Like father, like daughter. This also makes me happy.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

For those of you who may not be familiar with okra, it has a light, delicate flavor with a bit of a peppery kick and can be a little slimy.  I often compare it to cactus in texture, if that helps at all.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Okra is often offered at restaurants as a side and is usually fried.  I find restaurants fry their okra in an egg and flour batter, which surprises me because I find it so much better with a just a simple cornmeal mixture. Using cornmeal instead of a heavy batter allows for more of the okra flavor to get through and keeps it more healthy. Why not, right?

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef
Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Enjoy some fried okra along with your next barbecue or steak.  It makes an easy, tasty side and is a nice change from the usual options.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Or, if you’re anything like Dustin, you’ll absolutely love this side with some Chili Cheese Dogs with Homemade Chili.  It’s his favorite meal.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Feel free to add some cayenne pepper or other Cajun seasoning to increase the heat, but we like it nice and simple.

Cornmeal Fried Okra recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Word to the wise when buying okra: Try to stay away from the larger pods, as they tend to be more woody in texture.

Cornmeal Fried Okra
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This fried okra recipe uses cornmeal instead of a heavy batter which allows for more of the okra flavor to get through and keeps it more healthy.
Author:
Recipe type: Easy
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ pints (3 cups) fresh okra pods
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to coat and taste
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to coat and taste
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Wash and drain the okra pods. Cut off the tips and stems of each okra pod. Slice each pod into ¼-inch slices. Sprinkle slices with kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Combine cornmeal, flour, ½ tsp. kosher salt and ¼ tsp. pepper in a large, shallow dish. Add okra slices, in batches, and toss to coat.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (you may also use a deep fryer, if you prefer). Pour enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When oil is hot, add okra (after shaking off excess cornmeal mixture), in batches. You will likely have 4-5 batches. Fry okra until golden brown on all sides (about 4-6 minutes), flipping over and/or stirring in the oil frequently. Remove from pan and let drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Season to taste.

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About the author: My name is Lacey and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a foodie, a photographer, a chef, and a project manager at a local tech start-up in Austin. But, most importantly, I am the mother of three adorable little kiddos (Jordan, Savannah and Hunter) and am madly in love with and married to my high school sweetheart, Dustin.

16 comments… add one

  1. NanaBread May 25, 2011, 10:35 am

    Oh, my. Add some sliced heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with kosher salt, and you’ve got my favorite summer meal – fried okra and fresh tomatoes. Mmm, mmm good!

    Reply
  2. Dustin May 30, 2011, 7:53 am

    I love all of this fried okra. In fact I am loving most of the food out here in general. I am glad you found a way to make it super tasty and a little better for me.

    Reply
  3. Sara @ lemony snippet June 11, 2011, 11:29 am

    I just found your site through a search for the best way to fry okra. I’m about to try this way right now. I love your site! It’s well designed and your pictures are beautiful! I’m always looking for new food blogs :)

    Reply
    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef June 12, 2011, 10:10 am

      Yay for searches! :) I’m so happy you like my site — welcome! I’d love to know how the okra turns out for you.

      Reply
  4. Gary August 19, 2011, 10:32 pm

    Lacey,
    Thanks so much for the inspiration! I have been anti-okra all of my life, but about 6 years ago was invited to someone’s home after church and all they served was undressed spaghetti, a tossed salad, and a huge skillet of cornmeal fried okra! Her’s was similar to yours except she started with sauteed onions & after the okra was well on its way to cooking, she threw in a 1/2 cup of cornmeal! After running into your site, I was inspired to buy some local okra and give it a try.
    I used the onions, but didn’t have the courage to throw in the cornmeal! But it was a hit! Both of my daughters and two out-of-three grand-kids voted that I prepare cornmeal fried okra any time! Thanks. I’ll be sampling many more of your beautiful dishes! Thanx.

    Reply
  5. Kelly February 28, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Will this recipe work well with frozen okra? Unfortunately, fresh okra isn’t as readily avaliable on the east coast :)

    Reply
  6. Risa March 10, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Thanks so much for your recipe! This is how my mom has always made fried okra and I, too, believe it to be much better than the kind that is completely covered in batter. There is nothing better in the world than a meal of fried okra, cole slaw, and green beans. I could live off this all summer long!

    Reply
  7. Kandy June 15, 2012, 2:54 pm

    I love fried okra cooked just like this. I have also used the frozen and cut it up because you can never get really good fresh okra on the east coast. Love your website

    Reply
    1. Joyce August 9, 2012, 2:19 pm

      Where on the east coast can’t you find good fresh okra? I’m SE and it’s abundant right now. Look for a farmer’s market, and if you have access to a community farm program (or even a day trip into the country) you should be able to find.

      Reply
  8. Wills Texas June 20, 2012, 9:16 am

    I am growing okra in my garden for the first time this year. Before now, I have only had fried okra. But I am going to harvest some tonight and try this recipe. I can’t wait to begin exploring all that can be done with okra. This recipe looks fantastic!

    Reply
  9. Polly August 5, 2012, 4:43 pm

    You are right on with your recipe! It also works to cook the okra in the pan first, then throw in the cornmeal! Also, if you turn too much too soon, you will knock off all the cornmeal! Sometimes I put chopped onion in too.

    Reply
    1. Polly August 5, 2012, 4:50 pm

      I am cooking some right now with my dad’s fresh okra! this and gumbo are the only way I like okra. My sisters love it just smothered with onions- basically the same recipe, just no cornmeal. That and a roux is how you start gumbo.

      Reply
  10. donna August 15, 2012, 8:03 am

    First time using okra.From NY and never had it.Just moved down south and finding a whole new world of foods.Will be doing it tonight.Thanks for your recipe.

    Reply

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