Southern Fried Squash Recipe

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Enjoy this Southern Fried Squash Recipe that's pan fried to golden perfection with a crispy and crunchy batter! It's made with yellow crookneck squash that tastes amazing straight from the garden, grocery store, or farmer's market.

rounds of squash patties with ranch dip in the middle.
Side Dishes
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Why You'll Love It

  • Delicious: crispy and crunchy fried squash is hard to resist!
  • Easy to Make: this easy recipe only uses a few simple ingredients
  • Perfect Side Dish or Appetizer: goes with all types of poultry, beef, pork and fish
  • Affordable: a nutritious and budget friendly veggie
  • Resourceful: best way to use summer vegetables from the garden!

Recipe Highlights

In the south, you'll often find fried yellow squash on the dinner table alongside heirloom tomatoes, green beans, and roasted potatoes. Yellow squash pops up in every summer garden because it's fun and easy to grow. It's one of our favorite things to serve with burgers, salads and an egg salad sandwich.

This classic southern dish is made the old fashioned way by dredging yellow summer squash patties in a corn meal and flour mixture, then frying it in a regular or cast iron skillet. (ad) Squash slices are dipped in buttermilk, then breaded by hand to create the perfect crunch!

There's nothing like a southern supper made with a mess of pan fried squash and fresh veggies. It's quick, easy and delicious as a side dish with fried chicken or as an appetizer dipped in tangy ranch or blue cheese dressing.

slice of squash being lifted out of ranch dressing.
Fried squash makes a great appetizer!

Ingredients

This is a simple recipe when using White Lily Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix. (ad) With only a few ingredients, you'll be enjoying this classic southern dish in no time at all!

  • yellow squash - choose firm squash with very few blemishes
  • buttermilk - use either whole fat or the low fat version
  • cornmeal mix - pre-mixed cornmeal and flour combination
  • garlic salt with parsley - found in the spice aisle in the grocery store
  • vegetable or canola oil - use an oil with a high smoke point for best results
  • sea salt - the larger granules of salt add intense flavor
  • black pepper - a favorite spice in the south!

Quantities are listed in the recipe card.

Equipment

  • large skillet
  • small and large mixing bowls
  • wire rack
  • large fork
ingredients needed to make fried squash.

How to Make Southern Fried Squash

1 - Wash fresh squash, then slice into ¼ inch slices (round circles).

2 - Create a dredging station. Pour buttermilk in a bowl and add a sprinkle of garlic salt. Add cornmeal mixture to a shallow dish and mix in garlic salt.

dredging process with buttermilk and cornmeal.

3 - Dredge squash rounds into buttermilk, then cornmeal mix. Set aside on a baking sheet or in a separate bowl.

battered squash after dredging process.

4 - Pour vegetable oil in a skillet until it covers the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Set temperature to medium heat. When oil temperature is hot, (about 325 degrees), add battered squash rounds one at a time until the bottom of the skillet is covered.

frying squash in a single layer in skillet.

5 - Fry 3 to 5 minutes on one side, then flip over with a fork and fry a few minutes on the other side until golden brown. Watch out for hot oil splatters!

squash being fried in a skillet.

6 - Remove squash from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towels or a wire rack. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper on top. Serve hot. Repeat process in small batches.

Recipe FAQS

Can you eat the seeds in yellow squash?

Yes! The seeds in yellow squash are soft and perfectly fine to eat. The skin is also thin and edible.

What kind of cornmeal is best to use?

The easiest way to fry squash is to use cornmeal mix which is a combination of cornmeal and flour. It's already mixed, so it's ready to use and creates a delicious batter for yellow squash. If you don't have access to a mix, create your own by combining ½ cup cornmeal and ½ cup of self-rising flour.

What type of oil works best?

Any type of oil that can withstand high temperatures works well for frying such as canola, vegetable, and avocado.

Can I substitute zucchini?

Absolutely! Since zucchini and yellow squash are cousins, they're easily interchangeable. You might have to adjust the time on the recipe to allow for zucchini's thicker skin.

How do you keep fried squash crispy?

Using a dredge of buttermilk and cornmeal mix creates a very crispy crust. Fried squash will stay crispy if drained and kept on a paper towel lined plate or cooling rack until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat in a 350 degree oven to crisp up again.

dredging station with bowls and dips.
Prepare dredging station in advance

Top Tips

  • For best results, organize your dredging bowls ahead of time and things will go more smoothly.
  • Dredge all of your squash rounds before heating oil in the skillet. If you heat the oil first, it may burn before you finish the dredging process.
  • Use a shallow pan of oil instead of filling it to the top. ¼ inch of oil will usually be enough at first, but you might need to add more later as you fry each batch.
  • Each squash produces enough rounds for one skillet. Plan on frying a small batch for each squash you slice.
  • Cook rounds in a single layer and fry in small batches to avoid clumping together.
  • Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.

Variations

  • Serve with hot sauce or sriracha for an extra kick.
  • Fry in a deep fryer for extra crunch.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or sharp cheddar cheese as soon as it comes out of the skillet.
  • Add a dash of sea salt, onion powder, Italian seasoning or chili powder for even more flavor.
  • Make fried squash fritters by mashing it up with eggs and bread crumbs before frying.
fried squash on a blue plate with ranch dip in the middle.

What to Serve with Fried Squash

Serve this southern fried squash recipe with barbecued meats like smoked chicken legs and smoked meatloaf. Or, try it with pork tenderloin made in a dutch oven. It also tastes great when paired with homemade macaroni salad, southern collard greens, crispy fried okra and fresh corn pudding.

I love it alongside a big bowl of yellow eye beans and creamy coleslaw. Now, that's some good eating right there!

For a delicious appetizer, serve squash patties with Sassy Ranch or Blue Cheese Dip as a dipping sauce. I promise those little nuggets will be gone in a flash!

Storage and Freezing

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place on a sheet pan or cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven and heat until crispy (about 10 minutes).

Freeze squash before or after it has been fried by placing rounds on a rack or pan and freezing until solid. Transfer rounds to an airtight container or freezer bags. Freeze up to 3 months.

More Southern Recipes

If you love this southern fried squash recipe, try my other dishes that are sure to please...

 

Recipe Card

fried squash on a blue plate with ranch dip in the middle.

Southern Fried Squash Recipe

Enjoy this Southern Fried Squash Recipe that's pan fried to golden perfection with a crisp and crunchy batter. It's the best you'll ever taste!
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings8
Calories: 325kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

FRIED SQUASH

  • 3 medium yellow squash (sliced into ¼ inch circles)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups cornmeal mix (White Lily brand)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt with parsley (and a dash for buttermilk)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

SASSY RANCH DIP

Instructions

FRIED SQUASH

  • Wash squash well, then slice into ¼ inch round circles. 
  • Create a dredging station with a bowl of buttermilk and a bowl of cornmeal mix. Add a dash of garlic salt to the buttermilk and a teaspoon to the cornmeal mix.
  • Dredge squash into buttermilk, then cornmeal. Repeat until all squash rounds are battered. Set aside in a bowl or on a plate.
  • Place oil in a skillet to cover the bottom. Turn heat to medium. When oil is hot (325 degrees), add battered squash in a single layer until the bottom of the skillet is covered.
  • Fry squash 3 to 5 minutes on one side, then flip over with a fork and fry a few minutes on the other side until golden brown. 
  • Remove squash from skillet and drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Repeat process in small batches. Each squash that is sliced equals one batch, so if using 3 squash, you will have 3 batches. 

SASSY RANCH DIP

  • Mix all ingredients together and serve alongside fried squash as a dip if desired.

Notes

  • This is an egg-free recipe. 
  • Dredge all of your squash rounds before heating oil in the skillet. If you heat the oil first, it may burn before you finish the dredging process.
  • Use a shallow pan of oil instead of filling it to the top. ¼ inch of oil will usually be enough at first, but you might need to add more later as you fry each batch.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place on a sheet pan or cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven and heat until crispy (about 10 minutes).
  • Freeze squash before or after it has been fried by placing rounds on a sheet pan and freezing until solid. Transfer rounds to an airtight container or freezer bags. Freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 321mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just need you to make this for me! I love fried squash and HATE To make it. This has made my mouth water. So I may have to break down and just do it!!

  2. 5 stars
    I love squash any way you fix it so this recipe is right up my alley. I've never had the Sassy Ranch Dip but it's delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this tonight using your recipe and it was just perfect. I loved the added touch of the ranch with Texas Pete!

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Dawn! That makes me so happy! I'm glad you loved that dip...it's a favorite of mine too. 🙂

    1. Thanks Carol. This squash is really crunchy. I like using White Lily cornmeal mix to make it.

    2. 5 stars
      This is such a simple recipe but delivers such delicious and crispy squash! I love it and it is a staple here in the south!

        1. 5 stars
          This is my favorite summer vegetable. I can’t wait to try it with the ranch dip.

  4. 5 stars
    I love that you used buttermilk to bind your cornmeal. I bet it makes it extra crispy that way.

    1. Yes, the buttermilk and the cornmeal mix seems to make a big difference in the texture. I've used plain flour in the past and it just doesn't create the same crunch.

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