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Crispy Pan Fried Okra

Tags: side dish, urban gardening

There are many variations of fried okra, but I find that I return time and again to my mom’s pan fried okra recipe. It just works. The simplicity of the cornmeal, salt, and pepper coating on the fresh okra is the perfect Southern combination. Fried okra pairs especially well with fried catfish or bream and a side of beans. I always serve fresh tomato slices as well. If you have leftover pan fried okra (which rarely happens in my house), store it in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator. To reheat, cover a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper, spread the okra on it, and place it in a pre-heated, 200-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until crunchy.


  • 1 pound fresh okra, stems removed
  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 red jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, minced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  • Cut okra into ¼-inch round pieces.
  • Put cornmeal, salt, pepper, and both jalapeños in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Place okra into bag and shake until it is well covered in the cornmeal mixture.
  • Remove okra, place in a colander, and shake to remove excess cornmeal.
  • Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet. Place over medium heat until oil is shimmering (about 370 degrees). Put okra in skillet and allow it to brown (about 5 to 7 minutes). Turn okra over and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it is golden brown.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer okra to a cooling rack covered with paper towels.
  • Adjust seasoning as desired and serve.
pan fried okra ingredients
To form a slightly lighter-textured crust on the okra, add 1/8 cup of flour along with the cornmeal.

Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families. For more recipes like this, check out her website at and her Facebook page.

Stacy Harris at home

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