Today, I’m replicating a well-loved southern treat: Cracker Barrel fried okra.
If you’re yearning for something crisp and salty to snack on that’s a break from potato chips, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and umami-rich all over. This recipe transforms okra into a mouthwatering treat!
Trust me, it has the power to convert all okra-haters.
Hungry yet? Me too! Let’s get frying, shall we?
Cracker Barrel Fried Okra
Fried okra is a southern dish usually served as an appetizer, side, or a snack. Sliced okra pods are coated in cornmeal batter and deep-fried until golden.
They’re crisp, savory, and dangerously addictive.
One bite will get you hooked. It’s one of those dishes where you can’t just have one serving.
The okra is already rich and flavorful on its own, but when dipped in a creamy sauce, it becomes even more heavenly.
Fried okra is quick and easy to make, too. There are no fancy ingredients required for this recipe! Here’s everything you need:
Okra. Fresh is best, so you’ll use fresh okra for this recipe. Ensure the freshness by picking small, three-inch, bright green okra pods.
But in a pinch, frozen okra works in this recipe, too.
All-purpose flour. Just 2 to 3 tablespoons to coat the okra. This will give the okra pods a mild, crisp crust.
Cornmeal. For that signature, southern flavor and stunning golden hue.
Egg. It helps the batter stick to the okra.
Salt and Pepper. For additional flavor.
Oil. For deep frying. Use oil with a high smoke point to avoid burning. Canola and peanut oil are the most ideal.
Tips for Making Okra
- Pick small okra pods – they’re more tender than the large ones. Also, for the freshest okra, pick ones with a bright green hue with no black spots.
- Fried okra is usually coated in a cornmeal breading, but you can use panko breadcrumbs, too! I love the extra crunch they add to the okra.
- Give your fried okra a bit of a kick by adding cayenne pepper to the flour.
- Make sure you slice the okra pods into pieces so they cook evenly.
- Want to use less oil? You can fry okra in an air fryer instead. Add a tablespoon of oil to your fryer and fry away.
- Use a heavy bottom pot or cast-iron skillet when deep-frying as it will help maintain the oil’s temperature.
- Preheat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before frying the okra. You can use a frying thermometer to help you maintain the temperature as you fry. If the oil is too hot, it will burn the okra. If it’s too cold, the okra will be too greasy.
- Fry the pods in batches. Overcrowding will cause the oil’s temperature to drop, giving you greasy okra.
- Stir the okra slices occasionally with a strainer or slotted spoon to stop them from sticking to each other.
- Drain the excess oil to avoid greasy okra. Place the freshly fried okra slices on a wire rack lined with paper towels.
- For more flavor, sprinkle okra with salt right after frying.
Fried Okra Dips
Fried okra is best dipped in sauce. Which one, you ask? There are a plethora of dipping sauces that are perfect for fried okra, and these are three of my favorites.
Ketchup. Plain and simple. The sweet and tangy flavors of ketchup add a wonderful contrast to the saltiness of the fried pods.
Creamy Cajun Sauce. A mixture of sour cream and cajun seasoning, this dip is mega-rich and creamy with a bit of spice. It makes fried okra even more addictive.
Ranch. You can’t go wrong with a classic dip. Ranch dressing adds a wonderful umami flavor to fried okra, making it all the more amazing.
What Does Fried Okra Taste Like?
Let’s be honest – okra isn’t really the best tasting vegetable. I myself could not stand that sticky slimy stuff inside the pods!
The reason I love this appetizer so much is that it gets rids of all that gunk. In fact, I believe this is the only way anyone should ever prepare okra.
Coating okra in cornmeal batter and deep-frying it makes it super crunchy, savory, and addictive.
So much so that you can munch on the pieces like chicken nuggets or popcorn, and you won’t even be able to tell you’re eating vegetables.
Best of all, fried okra is (relatively) good for you. Sure, it contains a lot of oil from deep-frying, but since it’s mostly veggies, it’s only 183 calories per serving.
Okra is also proven to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, so that’s a plus!
Can I Use Frozen Okra?
Absolutely! Even if fresh okra is hard to come by where you’re from, you can still whip up this appetizer any time.
Just be sure that when using frozen okra, thaw it in the fridge or on the counter first. Then just follow the recipe, as is!
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