Crispy Fried Okra

Fried okra is a dynamite side dish for all sorts of entrées like barbecue, but it’s as addictive as popcorn, so we often pass it during cocktail hour as a snack. Keep the fried okra warm in the oven in an uncovered earthenware dish. When the first guests arrive, fill a few butcher-paper or newspaper cones with the okra, shake some chile flakes and sea salt over them, and pass the cones around while the guests are tucking into their cocktails. Pass a cruet of peppered vinegar around when you serve the okra.–Matt Lee and Ted Lee


Don’t try this with frozen, thawed okra. Uh uh. Just don’t go there. Trust us.

Crispy Fried Okra

Paper cone with crispy fried okra bites spilling out on top a wooden board
Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Prep 30 mins
Total 30 mins
6 servings
No ratings yet
Print RecipeBuy the The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer


  • 4 cups peanut or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh okra sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (about 7 cups)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 225°F (104°C).
  • Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet or a 3-quart enameled cast-iron casserole until the temperature on a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer reads 375°F (190°C).
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until well combined, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl, sift the cornmeal, flour, salt, and black pepper together twice. Add the okra to the egg mixture and toss until it is evenly coated. Scatter half the dredge over the okra and toss to coat. Scatter the remaining dredge over the okra and toss again.
  • Transfer about 1/3 of the okra to the oil with a slotted spoon and fry in batches, turning as necessary with the spoon, until the slices are golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per batch.
  • Using the slotted spoon, transfer the fried okra to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels. When it has drained, transfer to a ceramic serving dish that holds heat well and place in the oven until ready to serve.
  • Dust the fried okra with the red pepper flakes and sea salt, if desired.
Print RecipeBuy the The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Originally published August 09, 2006


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish