The Best Fried Okra (easy too)

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Earlier in the week we got to talking about my little boy and his “visitor” and several of you mentioned that it might be an imaginary friend.  All this talk got me to thinking and I’ve decided to share something with y’all – something only a rare few folks know about me.  And here I am about to confess my secret to you and the rest of the world.  When I was a kid… I had an imaginary friend.  But that’s not all.  No.  I’ve always been told that highly creative folks often had imaginary friends as children.  So I’m okay with having had one.  What I rarely share is his name.  Of course I can’t remember why he was named this and none of my family seems to know why.  But his name was ~swallows a big gulp of pride~ Fruito.  I know, I know… WHAT A NAME!!??   And like many kids with imaginary friends, I demanded that Fruito  have a place at the dinner table and I’m sure there were lots of other ways that I made an effort to make Fruito real.  But the strange thing about my imaginary friend is that he was always dying these tragic deaths and then showing back up the next day.  Who knows why kids do the things they do, but Fruito just kept on dying.  Car crashes, airplane crashes, boats sinking –  You name it, Fruito died that way.  Weird, huh?   The one day, Fruito died and never came back.  I’ve got some more Fruito stories for you, but I’m going to have to call it a day with this sharing my inner soul thing.  Uh… I’ve told too much.  I’m going to go drink some more coffee to calm my raw exposed nerves…


It doesn’t get much more Southern than fried okra.  Last week I got a hankerin’ for some of the stuff, made some, and sat and ate it until I was about three pieces short of sick.  It’s not exactly fresh okra season right now, so I bought a bag of frozen cut okra and used that.  It wasn’t quite the same as fresh, but it was still excellent.

This particular recipe makes some of the best fried okra I’ve ever had.  Using a box of Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style is the trick.  They do all the hard work for you and have all the spices and flavor right in the mix.


In the South there are basically two ways to do fried okra.  And honestly, I love them both – don’t really have a favorite.  This particular method is what I call the “piece” method using a deep fryer.  This is where you coat individual pieces of okra in batter and deep fry them.  The other method I call the “hash” method, which is where you combine the batter and okra together and cook it stove top in a cast iron skillet.  That results in a more hash-like finished product.  You’ll see the other method here on Southern Bite later this Spring.


  • 4 cups of cut okra
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 (12 oz) box of Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style


1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to around 360 degrees F.

2.  Soak okra in buttermilk and then dredge in Fish-Fri to coat well.  Shake off excess coating.

3.  Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It will be necessary to fry the okra in batches.)

4.  Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.


The Best Fried Okra
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 4 cups of cut okra
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 (12 oz) box of Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style
  1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to around 360 degrees F.
  2. Soak okra in buttermilk and then dredge in Fish-Fri to coat well. Shake off excess coating.
  3. Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It will be necessary to fry the okra in batches.)
  4. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.

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  1. I use buttermilk with my “okrey”, too! I put the okra and buttermilk in a gallon ziplock bag, add cornmeal to the bag and mix well. Then dump it out into a strainer (in the sink, of course) to shake off the excess cornmeal. We all love fried “okrey”. 🙂

    • I can’t wait for the first batch of fresh okrey. I’ve been craving it for weeks!

    • Jennifer Gaar says:

      That’s exactly what I was about to post, about the ziplock. I pour the buttermilk over the okra in a bowl and then drain it well in a colander, then put cornmeal in a ziplock, add drained okra. Seal the bag all the way to the edge and insert a drinking straw to blow the bag up. Remove the straw without letting the air escape. Toss the bag around to coat the okra, then back in the colander and toss away extra cornmeal. Voila! Perfect okra! I never heard of using the Zatarains mix. I’ll try it!

  2. Oh yum, Stacey. Just yum. I have to confess that until last week I had NEVER used buttermilk. I will have to try it with the okra this year. I could eat it like popcorn. Seriously. On the couch. Like popcorn. 🙂 I cook mine in the cast iron skillet. I cannot wait to try your recipe! Thanks!

    • Thanks! I love it the same way too! Just like popcorn! This is soo easy with the Zatarain’s mix too. I think you’ll love it. Great job on the new blog. Can’t wait to see what’s coming next! 🙂

  3. When I was growing up in South Georgia, we always planted Okrey..My Grandmother “Big Mama” could cook the Best Okrey in the World…She put flour in a brown papper bag , cut up the okrey and salt and peppered it..Put the Iron frying pan in the Hot oven with Bacon Grease in it, got the pan really hot, dumped the Okrey in the brown bag with the flour and shook it all up..Then she dumped it into the Hot skillet and cooked it on the stove..Turning it like and Omlette till is was brown on both side….Yam !!!!

  4. Thanks for this easy recipe!!! I LOVE fried okra!!!

  5. Oh my word, I would NEVER have thought to use that fish fry mix. Is it corny or floury? Or both?
    I so love fried okra and always have. My granny called it okry too 🙂
    Did you know, that since I’ve been an Army wife and have moved up north, I have found that some people don’t even know what okra is??? Bless their hearts.
    During our four years in Hawaii I had to buy it frozen and already breaded. It was ok, but not like fresh.
    Oh, and Melba, my kids want my future grandbabies to call me Big Mama. That’s what my grown kids call me now 🙂 I have been fighting it but now I think I might just embrace it.

    • It’s a blend of both flour and cornmeal. I think it’s perfect for okra! Yes, bless their hearts. The South just isn’t the South without okra… or, ah… okrey! My great-grandmother was my Bigmama. I think as a general rule of thumb, there only exist very fond memories about anybody’s Bigmama.

  6. Susan H. says:

    Okra looks good. I love it. Try to not eat too much due to some stomach problems..but I do love it. Nothing better to me than fresh white creamed corn, fried okra, and sliced tomatoes. I buy the frozen already breaded and it’s always good to me. My mother in law used to make more of the hash stuff I guess…she would just coat in corn meal and fry down in pan with not much oil until it was almost burnt looking (and tasting) I don’t like it that way. I prefer the “piece” kind with some flour in the breading and deep frying.

  7. Winniemom says:

    This transplanted Northener truly loves okra-fixed most any way. I’ll be trying your suggestion soon. However, my darling husband prefers me to cook it like his mother did. Cut up Okra, get the bacon grease or butter with little EVOO hot and add your okra. Season with Tony Chacheres creol seasing. Turning until browned but not burnt. Excellent!!!

  8. I have never fried okra before but want to try this recipe. I love fried okra but have always had it cooked by someone else. Can I use a frying pan instead of a deep fryer and how long would I cook it?

    • Oooh, fried okra is soooo good! Yes, you can absolutely do it in a pan. Just don’t fill your pan anymore than half way up the side with oil, heat, and fry as the recipe says. Cook until golden brown. Depending on the temp of the oil, it should be 3 to 5 minutes.

  9. Your Okra recipe sounds great, but I wanted to share my recipe with you. It is quite different and comes from my husband’s Grandmother – Mamaw Pauline and our family loves it.

    Wash and cut okra into half inch slices. (Approximately 6 to 8 cups)
    Wash and dice two medium potatoes and mix with okra.
    Pour one and a half cups of corn meal (or a little more for extra crunchiness. (I use White Lily Buttermilk Mix)
    one teaspoon of salt
    one teaspoon of onion powder
    and a half teaspoon of black pepper (or to taste)

    Have at least a half inch of hot grease in a medium high hot skillet.
    Fry without a lid until golden brown, turning often.
    You may have to add a little more oil after turning it the first time.

  10. Most people don’t like okra because it is slimey. They won’t try fried okra (okry) for the same reason. My gosh, if they only knew!
    I can hardly wait to get some fresh from my garden. I am going to try the fish fry mix although I usually use a meal/flour mixture I dump together. Thanks for the info.

  11. Debbie Strum says:

    I was one of those rare Notherners who was fortunate enough to be introduced to fried okra and enjoy it with just a touch of ranch dressing (and I KNOW your recipe for Ranch Dressing will be GREAT) on it! Do Southerners enjoy ranch dressing on their fried okra or would they be insulted if I ate it this way in front of them?

    • Debbie -If you’re eatin’ the stuff, I don’t know any Southerner that would be insulted if you eat it with ranch. As a matter of fact, I think it sound’s pretty darn good! I’ll have to give it a try. Anything fried with ranch is pretty good… pickles, french fries, fried green beans, onion rings… ~okay, gotta stop – getting hungry!~

  12. Hey since you used frozen okra, did you defrost it first?

  13. Southern Lady says:

    My mother, who is a South Georgia Southern Cook, adds corn starch – about 1/3 the amount of other ingredients she uses for coating anything she fries. So for your 12 ounce box of coating mix add 6 ounces corn starch. It will give it super CRUNCH……. makes fried anything super crunchy.

  14. SouthBamaGirl says:

    Thanks for this recipe! My aunt would fry okra using buttermilk and corn flour. My grandmother made the “hash” fried okra. Both are so good.

  15. I’m new to the north and not being able to find fresh okra is new to me. I bought frozen okra but I’m wondering if after thawing it I should rinse the slime off before dipping in the buttermilk. Could you spell out the process you would use? Thank you!

    • There’s not really any need to rinse it, but you can if you’d like. Just thaw it completely and then proceeds as the recipe says. Good luck!

  16. Shirley Wachtel says:

    Hi Stacy,
    I worked with you at Maxwell, CADRE. Don’t know if you remember me. I would like to purchase some of your cookbooks. What do I need to do? I sure enjoy your recipes.
    Thanks and blessings,
    Shirley Wachtel

    • Hi Mrs. Shirley! I absolutely remember you! I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes! When it comes to books, the Goat Hill Museum Gift shop in the capitol and Capitol Book and News both have signed copies available. If you need anything else, feel free to shoot me an email!

  17. Can this be fixed to bake in oven, to decrease calories ? Thank you !

    • I’ve never done it that way, Jo. If I’m going to do okra in the oven, I toss it with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and roast it.

  18. I have never cooked okra in my life! But I just love it! I have new deep fryer in a box that I have never used…guess I have a use for it now lol. I am going to store in morning to get my ingredients….yum…cant wait! Thank you so much! I love your recipes. Have you ever made hot water cornbread? My grandmother used to make it but shes no longer with us…if you have a recipe–I would certainly appreciate it!Thanks!

    • HI Jo Ann! This is the PERFECT recipe to use that deep fryer on! It’s one of my favs! And my recipe for Hot Water Cornbread is coming up in the next few weeks! 🙂

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