Oven Fried Okra

Get that fried okra flavor without frying at your home! This Oven Fried Okra recipe takes the Southern classic appetizer and makes it a little healthier by baking it in the oven instead of frying! Makes 6 servings.

Overhead of Oven Fried Okra on top of paper towels with a bowl of ketchup and two lemonades

We’ve established that I am a Southern girl… and I’m about to prove it again with a story of my childhood in the South.

When I was a kid, we’d occasionally drive to Mississippi for fried catfish.

Growing up in Memphis, we were close to the border, and it was certainly easy enough to make a trip.

We trekked south for special occasions, taking backroads for some fried catfish. Whenever we enjoyed this Southern delicacy, we would also order hushpuppies, fried pickles and fried okra.

We’d sometimes get dessert, too, assuming we weren’t stuffed to the gills when our meal was over. Because if you’re driving any distance for a meal, you might as well have a decadent sweet, too. (I’ll take two slices of the strawberry cake, mmkay?)

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    I’ve been obsessed with fried okra since my childhood. It’s a pleasure, and something I crave for no reason other than it is delicious.

    However, I don’t fry food at home. (Confession time: I’m terrified of setting my kitchen on fire. Also, I don’t like the smell of it.)

    So if I want something fried, I order the dish at a restaurant, and I view it as an indulgence.

    Because of this, I’ve learned how to make faux-fried okra in the oven!

    Why I love this recipe:

    This okra recipe is the exception to my whole frying rule, and since it’s technically fried in the oven, it’s a lot less stressful than babysitting a pot of oil. It’s also a lot less messy.

    The okra is crisp and bursting with flavor!

    It tastes like the deep fried goodness without requiring a fryer or an entire vat of oil on your stovetop.

    While I am hesitant to say this okra recipe is healthier than the classic (because we’re still coating it in breading and then using some oil to crisp it up), it’s definitely a more manageable recipe to make at home!

    More summer recipes to try: Oven Roasted Okra | Charred Corn Salsa | Cucumber Bruschetta (Easy Cucumber Appetizer) | Baked Eggplant Parmesan | Classic Potato Salad

    Looking for more side dishes to serve this season? Check out my Side Dish recipe index for more ideas.

    A hand holds a piece of oven fried okra dipped in ketchup

    What do I need to make Oven Fried Okra?

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Fresh okra — while I’ve been told this recipe works with frozen okra, I have never tried that. Use the freshest okra you can find, and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
    • Buttermilk — this is the “bath” for the okra, and it will go into this before we dip it into the coating mixture. If you don’t keep buttermilk at home, you can add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to milk to create a buttermilk substitute.
    • All-purpose flour — we keep unbleached AP flour at our house, though the regular kind totally works here, too.
    • Cornmeal — we keep yellow cornmeal at our house, but you could just as easily use white cornmeal, too.
    • Seasoned salt — this adds just a touch more flavor than a “regular” salt would. Penzey’s seasoned salt is my go-to.
    • Black pepper — we like to freshly grind ours!
    • Extra virgin olive oil — or another neutral oil, like avocado oil or even a vegetable oil. This will coat the bottom of the pan to give our okra a wonderful crispness.

    Please note that we are not using eggs as a binder, nor are we using classic breadcrumbs or panko bread crumbs in this recipe.

    A collage of three images showing the ingredients for Oven Fried Okra, the okra in the buttermilk mixture, and the soaked okra in the coating mixture

    How to make fried okra in the oven

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil or parchment paper. This will prevent sticking, as well as make the clean up easier. You do not have to use this, but I do since this is a rare treat we make in our house.

    Pour the oil onto the baking sheet. Season liberally with seasoned salt and black pepper. This will provide extra flavor to the okra!

    Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper) in a large bowl. This is the cornmeal mixture and is the breading.

    Pour the buttermilk into another bowl.

    Coat the okra. Place some of the sliced okra in the buttermilk and let it soak for a few minutes. Give it a stir, then let it drain slightly over the bowl.

    Next, transfer to the breading mixture.

    Use your fingers to gently toss to coat the okra before you transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.

    Pro tip!

    Work in small groups! You want to give the okra time to soak up the buttermilk before dunking it into the breading mixture.

    Continue this process until all of the okra has been breaded.

    Bake in the preheated oven.

    Halfway through the bake, flip the okra with a spatula. This will ensure the okra crisps up on both sides!

    When totally crispy, remove from the oven. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or bowl to soak up excess oil. Add an additional sprinkle of seasoned salt or kosher salt, if desired.

    Serve warm with your favorite dippers. (We love a combination of ketchup and hot sauce and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper! This would also be delicious dunked in Cajun Dipping Sauce.)

    Collage of images of coated okra on baking sheet

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is oven frying?

    Instead of using a big ‘ol pot of oil, oven frying is the process where you cook a food in oil in the oven.

    The final product will appear to be fried, but it’s actually been baked! It might be considered a healthier version of the fried variety.

    Can you cook fried okra in the oven?

    Yes! With this little technique that I’ve figured out, we can get fryer-crisp okra… from the oven!

    What if I don’t have buttermilk?

    Yes, you can. While it’s not an exact match, there is a way you can make this, assuming you have regular (cow’s) milk in your fridge.

    Add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then you’re good to go! This will give the milk the tangy, creamy flavor buttermilk provides.

    Can I use frozen okra instead of fresh?

    While I’ve never done it myself, I’ve been told by my readers that yes, it works! Let it thaw slightly (so the buttermilk doesn’t freeze), then follow the breading and baking instructions.

    Close up of a bowl of Oven Fried Okra

    What recipes can I serve with this okra?

    Then scroll on down to learn how to make these crunchy okra bites at home!

    Overhead of Oven Fried Okra on top of paper towels with a bowl of ketchup and two lemonades

    Oven Fried Okra

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Get that fried okra flavor without frying at your home! This Oven Fried Okra recipe takes the Southern classic appetizer and make sit a little healthier by baking it in the oven instead of frying! Simple and delicious, you’ll never know this Oven Fried Okra wasn’t deep fried!
    4.43 from 75 votes
    Servings 6 servings
    Calories 175 kcal
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 40 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    • 2 cups fresh okra sliced
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
    • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat the oven to 475°F.
    • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pour the olive oil onto a baking sheet, and make sure all surfaces are covered. Sprinkle the oil liberally with seasoned salt and black pepper before setting aside.
    • Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk into another bowl.
    • Working in small groups, transfer okra into the buttermilk, allowing a few moments to soak before moving into the flour and cornmeal mixture. Coat the okra pieces completely in the mix, then move to the baking sheet.
    • Continue this process until all of the okra has been breaded and placed on the baking sheet.
    • Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the okra from the oven, flipping with a spatula.
    • Place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes (or until cooked through.)
    • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and serve warm with ketchup and hot sauce.

    Video

    Notes

    Please watch your okra carefully, as the cooking time of this is based upon my 1950’s oven. I’d say check on it at the 10 minute mark and based on how it looks from there, flip it. You don’t want to overcook the okra, as it doesn’t taste nearly as good.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1 servingCalories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 299mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2g
    Keyword appetizers, easy appetizer, easy side dish, finger foods, summer appetizer, summer recipe
    Course Appetizers & Starters
    Cuisine American, Southern
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    How do you feel about frying dishes at home?

    Have you ever oven fried anything?

    Bowl of oven fried okra with ketchup on the side

    The photos and recipe for this Oven Fried Okra were originally published on July 30, 2013. The photographs, along with the text of this blog post, were updated on October 3, 2017.

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    78 Comments

    1. I can’t wait to try this. I’ve deep fried tons of okra but I’m trying to find healthier versions of my favorites and this looks great.

      Also: I’m from Louisiana and have been eating fried okra since I was a toddler, and in 41 years I have never seen anyone dip fried okra in ketchup until now. Was that common in Mississippi?

      1. Woohoo! I’m so excited for you to try this! I love that you’re trying to find healthier versions of your favorites, and I hope this fits the bill.

        That’s too funny! Maybe it is a Mississippi thing because it’s always been a part of my okra eating experience. Funny how eating fried okra can vary from state to state!

    2. My husband was NOT a fan of okra until this recipe. I love it. I also used it on squash and green tomatoes. Very delicious.

      1. Theresa, your comment makes me SO very happy! I’m so happy your husband is now an okra fan because of this recipe. I love that you’ve used the same process for squash and green tomatoes. I need to give those a go, too! I hope y’all continue to enjoy this for years to come!

    3. This makes my mouth water. looks really gooood!.
      but, do you have any fried okra recipe without an oven?
      If so, i would like to know so badly!.

      Thanks!

    4. My boyfriend got a ton of lovely looking okra at the farmers market this weekend. He’s been super excited about it and asked me to fry it for him…

      The only problem is I am not a big fan of okra, and I don’t like deep frying (the mess, the hassle, the possibility of setting myself and my house on fire…). However this recipe was amazing! It was so easy and much less messy than deep frying. And tasty enough even I couldn’t keep from popping more than a few in my mouth. Overall, a huge hit. Thanks!

    5. I can report that frozen okra works great! I only thawed them slightly so the buttermilk got a little frozen but they battered up fine. The only thing different I did was add a couple of teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes to my cornmeal mix for some heat! I like the crunch on these so much better than the greasy crunch of deep fried. Thanks for sharing this with the world.

    6. I oven fry okra and squash. I use cornmeal mix instead of cornmeal and flour. I don’t dip my okra in milk and egg but I do the squash. I find the meal sticks to the okra with out the extra moisture. I grew up eating it fried on the stove but since trying it in the oven I never fry it on the stove top. Thank you for showing an old Okie/Texan a better way.

    7. My husband was NOT a fan of okra until this recipe. I love it. I also used it on squash and green tomatoes. Very delicious.

    8. This makes my mouth water. looks really gooood!.
      but, do you have any fried okra recipe without an oven?
      If so, i would like to know so badly!.

      Thanks!

    9. My boyfriend got a ton of lovely looking okra at the farmers market this weekend. He’s been super excited about it and asked me to fry it for him…

      The only problem is I am not a big fan of okra, and I don’t like deep frying (the mess, the hassle, the possibility of setting myself and my house on fire…). However this recipe was amazing! It was so easy and much less messy than deep frying. And tasty enough even I couldn’t keep from popping more than a few in my mouth. Overall, a huge hit. Thanks!

    10. I can report that frozen okra works great! I only thawed them slightly so the buttermilk got a little frozen but they battered up fine. The only thing different I did was add a couple of teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes to my cornmeal mix for some heat! I like the crunch on these so much better than the greasy crunch of deep fried. Thanks for sharing this with the world.

    11. I oven fry okra and squash. I use cornmeal mix instead of cornmeal and flour. I don’t dip my okra in milk and egg but I do the squash. I find the meal sticks to the okra with out the extra moisture. I grew up eating it fried on the stove but since trying it in the oven I never fry it on the stove top. Thank you for showing an old Okie/Texan a better way.

    12. My husband was NOT a fan of okra until this recipe. I love it. I also used it on squash and green tomatoes. Very delicious.

      1. Hi Melissa! I’ve found this helps the okra not stick to the bottom of the pan and makes it a little less messy to clean up. Is it essential? No, because there is enough oil where the okra shouldn’t stick too much. I hope that helps!

    13. We grew up on great fried okra, so I was nervous. We loved it! It’s crunchy, flavorful, and turns out less greasy than fried. I also appreciated not having to stand over a hot frying pan. This recipe is my new go-to! My only feedback is to plan to make at least double because pre- dinner snacking will take away half of it!

    14. I basically use this same receipe but I was taught to use a cast iron skillet just like for cornbread. Preheat the skillet at 450 with just enough oil to be able to coat the okra. Once the skillet and the oil is hot, place your okra into the skillet, stir to coat the oil evenly on the okra, place back in oven at 450 degrees, stir okra every 15 minutes until all sides are golden brown! Yummy!!

      1. Thanks for sharing this, Cindy! Your okra sound absolutely delicious. I’ll have to try this in a cast iron skillet when I can find okra again.

    15. I have okra that is 4-5” long (is this beyond hope.)I did pickle some some last year &it ame out okI’ll try it and let u know how the oven method works

      1. Hey there, Marilyn! That sounds perfect. Just be sure to chop ’em up before you coat them in the breading and bake! I hope you like the recipe as much as we do!

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