a person dipping fried okra into a vinegar sauce.

Crispy Fried Okra: A Tasty Southern and Asian Appetizer

Craving a crispy, flavorful appetizer that’s easy to prepare and irresistible? Look no further than Crispy Fried Okra, a popular delicacy in the Southern United States and a staple in Filipino kitchens. In this article, we’ll guide you through the entire process, from selecting the perfect okra to achieving that golden, crunchy exterior. We’ll also share a tangy dipping sauce recipe, tips for serving, and answers to frequently asked questions. So, let’s get started!

a wooden plate topped with fried okra next to a bowl of dipping sauce.

The Origin and Stories of Crispy Fried Okra

Fried okra is a classic Southern American

Fried okra is a classic Southern American dish with African roots. The okra plant, originally from Ethiopia, was brought to the Americas by enslaved Africans during the 17th century. The Southern United States, with its warm climate, proved ideal for okra cultivation, quickly becoming a staple ingredient in the region.

Fried Okra In the South

In the South, okra is often incorporated into dishes like Gumbo, which is used as a thickening agent or as a tasty side dish. Crispy Fried Okra, however, has become a beloved snack and appetizer throughout the region. Its crunchy, golden exterior, paired with the tender, slightly slimy texture of the okra interior, creates an irresistible combination.

Fried Okra In the Philippines

In the Philippines, okra is a common ingredient in various dishes, including Sinigang, a sour soup, and Pinakbet, a mixed vegetable dish. The Filipino version of crispy fried okra, which features a slightly different batter and dipping sauce, showcases its versatility and how it has been embraced in other culinary traditions worldwide.

Crispy Fried Okra is delicious and has a rich history, representing the fusion of African and American culinary traditions in the South and Filipino cuisine’s adoption of the dish.

a series of photos showing how to cook fried okra.

Watch My YouTube Video of Crispy Fried Okra

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Tips, Alternatives, and FAQ

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a mix of flour and cornstarch for the batter, as cornstarch inhibits gluten formation, creating a lighter, crispier coating.
  • If you prefer a thicker breading, dredge the battered okra in additional flour or cornstarch before frying.
  • Increase the number of red chilies or add a dash of hot sauce for a spicier dipping sauce.


  • For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free flour in place of regular flour.
  • If you don’t like okra, try using other vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or green beans in this recipe.
a pan filled with fried okra being cooked in oil.

Dish Variations: Exploring Different Takes on Fried Okra

Kurkuri Bhindi (Crispy Okra)

Kurkuri Bhindi, an Indian dish, is another delicious way to enjoy crispy okra. Coated with gram flour (besan) and spices like turmeric, red chili powder, and chaat masala, the okra is shallow-fried to golden perfection. This Indian-style crispy okra is an ideal appetizer or side dish for various Indian meals.

Recipe: Kurkuri Bhindi – Crispy Okra

Cajun Fried Okra with Cajun Dipping Sauce

For a spicier twist on the classic Southern fried okra, try this Cajun Fried Okra with Cajun Dipping Sauce. The okra is coated in a seasoned cornmeal mixture featuring Cajun spices, then deep-fried until crispy. Served with a creamy, zesty dipping sauce made from mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, and Cajun seasoning, this dish will become a favorite for those who love a little heat in their appetizers.

Recipe: Cajun Fried Okra with Cajun Dipping Sauce

These two alternatives take on crispy fried okra to showcase the incredible versatility of this simple yet delicious dish. In addition, each variation highlights the unique flavors of its respective culinary tradition, providing exciting new ways to enjoy this classic appetizer. So, why not try these alternative recipes and discover new ways to savor the delightful combination of crispy coating and tender okra?

a person cutting up spices on a cutting board.

Now that you’re equipped with everything you need to make the perfect Crispy Fried Okra, gather your ingredients and get ready to impress your friends and family with this tasty Southern and Filipino-inspired appetizer. Happy frying!


Crispy Fried Okra

5 from 1 vote
Course: AppetizersCuisine: Southern, FilipinoDifficulty: Easy


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Discover the secrets to making crispy, golden fried okra with this easy-to-follow Southern and Filipino-inspired recipe. Bring the perfect appetizer or side dish to your next gathering!

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  • Crispy Fried Okra
  • 250 grams 250 grams Okra

  • 1/3 cup 39.6 g Cornstarch or Tapioca Flour

  • 1/4 cup 31.25 g Flour

  • 1/3 cup 78.07 ml Water

  • 1/4 tsp 1.15 g Baking Powder

  • Dipping Sauce
  • 2 tbsp 29.57 ml Fish Sauce (Vegan Fish Sauce)

  • 1 tbsp 14.79 ml Calamansi or Lime Juice

  • 1 small 1 small Red Onion

  • 1 clove 1 clove Garlic

  • 4 pcs 4 pcs Red Chili

  • 2 cups 473.18 ml Cooking Oil (I used sunflower oil)


  • Choose the Okra – Pick small, young okra pods that are bright green and free of brown spots or blemishes. These will be softer and less woody, ensuring a better texture for your dish.
  • Prepare the Okra – Rinse the okra well and pat dry. Trim the ends and slice the okra lengthwise or into bite-sized pieces, depending on your preference.
  • Create the Batter – In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, water, and baking powder. Stir until you achieve a smooth, thick consistency. The batter should cling to the okra without being overly drippy.
  • Batter the Okra – Dip each piece of okra into the batter, ensuring an even coating. Shake off any excess batter and set the okra on a plate or tray.
  • Heat the Oil – Pour the cooking oil into a deep frying pan or pot, ensuring it’s at least 2 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches an optimal temperature of 350°F to 375°F. Use a thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • Fry the Okra – Carefully place the battered okra into the hot oil in batches, avoiding overcrowding. Fry the okra for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Drain the Fried Okra – Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried okra from the oil, allowing any excess oil to drain. Transfer the fried okra onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any remaining oil.
  • Season the Fried Okra – While it is still hot, season it with salt and pepper to taste. Experiment with other spice blends like garlic powder, paprika, or cayenne pepper for added flavor.
  • Dipping Sauce
  • Finely chop the red onion, garlic, and chilies. Combine these ingredients with the fish sauce and calamansi or lime juice in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  • Serve the Crispy Fried Okra
  • Arrange the fried okra on a serving platter, and serve it alongside the tangy dipping sauce. Enjoy this delicious appetizer or side dish with friends and family!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover fried okra?

Store any leftover fried okra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, place the okra on a baking sheet and heat in a preheated oven at 375°F for 10-15 minutes or until crispy.

Can I freeze fried okra?

Yes, you can freeze breaded raw okra for later use. Arrange the okra on a baking sheet and flash freeze for about an hour, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. When ready to cook, fry the frozen okra directly from the freezer without thawing.

What other dipping sauces can I serve with fried okra?

Aside from the fish sauce-based dipping sauce, you can serve fried okra with various dips such as ranch dressing, honey mustard, or spicy mayo.

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