Smoky Spicy Fried Okra

1/2 lb okra, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

canola oil for frying

Place the okra and the buttermilk in a bowl and allow to soak 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the paprika, salt, pepper, chipotle pepper, and cornmeal. Set aside. Drain the okra and place it in the bowl. Shake to coat. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the okra in a single layer. Cook until all sides are golden brown, turning occasionally. This step should only take a couple of minutes, do not over cook. Remove to paper towel lined plates. Serve hot.

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My thoughts:

I love okra in any form but I know not everyone shares my undying devotion to the vegetable. Everything tastes good fried so this is a great way to convert people to the way of the okra. Okra doesn’t have an assertive flavor but it can stand up to some spice. In this case the chipotle and paprika add a bit of spice and smoky favor that adds flavor interest without being overwhelming. The trick to grease free fried okra is making sure the okra is thoroughly covered in the cornmeal mixture, the oil is really hot before you start to fry and quick draining afterwards. I like them plain, but I’ve heard rumours of people dipping them in ranch dressing if that is your sort of thing.


  1. aforkfulofspaghetti

    Having had a bad experience with okra in Turkey many years ago – in a stew that harboured food poisoning – I was converted back to them about 5 years ago, but haven’t ever cooked them myself. This looks like the perfect recipe for that, so thank you!

  2. properly fried okra is something everyone should try before claiming to not like okra. it’s one of my favorite side dishes, but so rarely is it offered on menus (especially since I moved to the northeast). i guess i’ll just have to make my own!

  3. I do like okra but have never eaten it fried. What a super appetizer this would make…your presentation photo is beautiful!

  4. Jessy and her dog Winnie

    This looks like a really yummy recipe to try!

  5. I love fried okra! And it must be fried!

    I’ve been eating it since I was a kid. A smoky-spicy seasoning sounds wonderful.

  6. Okra is a double-edged sword sort of food. If it’s done right it’s heaven. If it’s not done right, it’s disgusting. Frying it in a buttermilk batter sounds like my kind of okra. The only other way I’ve had it (where it tasted god) was done in a curry at the Indian Delight in Catonsville (I think it was there). Tasty stuff.

  7. I am an Okra addict 🙂 used to eat it with oily and spicy sauce. Your fried version certainly looks delicious and innovative!

  8. That looks awesome! Mmmm. Not sure if I tried okra, but I am willing to give it a try!

  9. Pink of Perfection

    i love that you’re on an okra rampage!

  10. Oh man! Growing up with a southern family I ate a lot of fried okra… it NEVER looked that good.

  11. Chelsea Talks Smack

    I had fried okra for the VERY FIRST time the other and i love it.

  12. Okra is seriously one of my favorite foods…and you just made it better. How gorgeous!