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.
    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. 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.

    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 before transferring 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!

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

    Serve warm with your favorite dippers. (We love a combination of ketchup and hot 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
    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. This is so timely because I’m actually about to fry okra right now! Thanks for this recipe, I had most of the ingredients right for oven fried goodness, but not the cornmeal and the oven temp. YAY!

    2. This is so timely because I’m actually about to fry okra right now! Thanks for this recipe, I had most of the ingredients right for oven fried goodness, but not the cornmeal and the oven temp. YAY!

      1. Thanks, Angie. They really are crunchy and delicious… and best news, they stay relatively crunchy if you have to store them in the fridge for later. I actually just ate them straight out of the fridge… and they still had a nice crunch on ’em.

      2. This was easy- not messy!- and delicious!
        As a true southern raised gal- I have been frying okra since I was knee high to my grandmother !
        So I did have to add a little sugar to your recipe… it was great and I will never “fry” 0kra again! Your secret is the buttermilk(which I used but a fat free version) – thanks for the update on a family favorite!

    3. Josh is going to LOVE you for this! He grew up in Oklahoma, so fried okra was his childhood. My official stance on okra has always been “Yuck”, but I’m totally willing to try them when they’re baked instead of swimming in grease. Question though, what do I do with the oil after I’ve set it asside? I couldn’t find it I’m supposed to drizzle it or something else?

      1. Aww, I love that Josh loves fried okra, too! I’ve always thought any kind of okra NOT fried was gross and slimy… but that’s another story for another time. 😉

        For the oil, you’ll pour it on the aluminum foil on your baking sheet, then season it. The okra will go directly down on that, and you’ll flip them halfway through the cooking process so both sides can crisp up. Let me know if you’ve got any more questions and what Josh thinks!

    4. Everyone does it different. I did not grow up eating anything ‘battered’ and fried. I did eat fried okra and squash a lot but not battered. I grew up in Eastern NC. My husband grew up in deep south GA and they battered everything.
      These look good and I may try it. I normally do more of a saute in a pan than a ‘fry’.
      Sorry to hear about the grill incident. Be careful. It can be scary.

      1. You’re right about that, Dawn. And interesting that in eastern NC, you didn’t have anything battered and fried. Though based on your description, it sounds like my hometown was a bit more like your husband’s. 😉 And if you do try these, let me know what you think.

        Thanks. We are careful. The grilling incident happened years ago, but it’s still on my mind as I cook most days. A good reminder to be safe.

          1. Thanks, Diane. If your okra is already breaded and frozen, I’d follow the instructions on the packaging if there is some. I don’t know how pre-breaded would work with this recipe.

    5. I LOVE okra. We just pickled some today. I think I’ll stop by the store later this week and pick some more up to make this recipe. Looks amazing! Can’t wait to make it. Yum!

      1. You and me both, girl, and I love that you pickled some the day you read this post! What fun! And if you happen to make this recipe, let me know what you think!

    6. This is so timely because I’m actually about to fry okra right now! Thanks for this recipe, I had most of the ingredients right for oven fried goodness, but not the cornmeal and the oven temp. YAY!

      1. That’s AWESOME, Brittany! Let me know what you think if you give this recipe a shot, and I hope your fried okra turned out wonderfully!

    7. I’ve never eaten fried okra before. I’ve always been put off by the little ‘hairy’ and ‘slimy’ bits, but I imagine that you wouldn’t really notice them in the crispy batter! I need to try this recipe. I feel like I’m missing out 🙂 I love the fact that this is an easy oven dish…. yay for less pot splatters and fire hazards! xx

      1. You know, the sliminess of okra always freaks me out a bit, but that disappears with the batter. And I fully support you trying this recipe, as it’s delicious. Let me know what you think if you do, mmkay?

    8. I oven fry almost anything that requires frying: potatoes, chicken, fish etc. I’m no fan of a large vat of oil on my flaming stove in the kitchen. Then there’s the cleaning afterwards! But Erin, I think I can finish these beauties in one sitting. No need friends and family over. We get okra (or ladies’ fingers as we call it here) so easily! Never fried, always in curries or stirfries. Now I get to enjoy it in an all new way. Yippies!

      1. High-five for oven frying, Jayne! It’s just SO MUCH EASIER, and in my opinion, safer. I love, love, love that okra are called ladies’ fingers over there!

        And yeah, I think I finished about 3/4 of this serving photographed here, so it’s definitely do-able. I just mention the friends and family bit because, uh, it’s nice to share… And if you try these, let me know how they turn out!

    9. This looks really good for an okra recipe! In general I do not like the texture of okra but I would love to try it all battered up with some dipping sauce, what a wonderful idea! My mom will go wild over this for sure, huge okra fan she is!

      1. Thanks, Natalie! I feel ya on the sliminess of okra and its’ texture when not fried (or oven fried, as the case may be). It’s delicious, and the texture doesn’t bother me with this, so I hope it’s the same for you.

      1. Thanks, Jess! It took me a while to come to this conclusion, but I am SO HAPPY I did. And if you make these, let me know what you think of ’em.

    10. We tried this recipe this weekend and it was DELICIOUS. I actually had some frozen sliced okra hanging out in the freezer so I decided to try that. I put the frozen okra directly into the buttermilk and just let it defrost a bit (not much) in there, and then followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Worked marvelously.

      We made grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it, but I wish we’d skipped the sandwiches 😉

      1. Ah! So glad you tried this recipe and that it turned out so nicely for you with the frozen okra. Makes me want to do the same with our frozen okra now…

        Thanks, Courtney! Hope you’re well!

    11. 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!

      1. Mindy, glad you think the recipe looks really good. Sadly, I do not have a fried okra recipe without an oven, though, as I don’t fry things at home. Sorry!

    12. Picked small okra today … and followed your recipe exactly … perfect … for the two of us 🙂

      Thanks SO MUCH! for the great recipe

      ELLEN

      1. So, so important! It took me a while to get to this recipe, but I’m so happy folks are loving it. Thanks for stopping by, trying the recipe and leaving a comment!

    13. I made these…trying to avoid the fryer….and being from North Carolina and growing up eating fried okra…WOW! I am a chef by trade…and always looking for heart healthy options! I used grapeseed oil. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Wow, Amelia! Thank you for the compliment! I’m so happy you enjoyed this healthier “fried” okra recipe, and I’ll have to try it with grapeseed oil next time.

      1. Thanks for reporting back on the green tomatoes, David! I’ve adapted this recipe for oven fries, and now, I want to try all kinds of different veggies to see if it works!

    14. 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!

      1. Like you, I don’t like deep frying anything for the very same reasons you’ve listed out here. 😉

        I’m so happy that despite your skepticism of the okra, this recipe turned out great for y’all and that you enjoyed the recipe and taste! Whenever we’ve got an abundance of okra, we make huge batches of this, and I hope y’all continue to enjoy this as we have!

    15. Here is my concern; I have a freezer full of okra; can it be cut up directly out of the freezer & put into the batter mix & directly into the oven?

      1. Hey Lisa. I’ve never made this recipe with frozen okra, so I cannot attest to how it will turn out or what exactly to do. However, one of my friends said she made this with frozen okra, and it turned out nicely. So assuming she didn’t change anything up with the recipe or cooking time, you might be good to go.

        Sorry I can’t provide much more guidance than that. If you do use the frozen okra, let me know how it turns out, and good luck!

    16. 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.

      1. I’m so happy to hear the frozen okra worked for you, Joe! I love the idea of adding crushed red pepper flakes to the cornmeal mix to add a bit of heat, too. The crunch on this dish is one of my favorites, and I’m thrilled you love it, too!

      2. I think I let mine cook too long in the oven; will try again; seems as though I do have plenty; maybe because I used whole milk as well instead of buttermilk (that is also that I had). I also forgot to turn them (3 yo needed my attention)!

    17. 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.

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