Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

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Southern Fried Green Tomatoes are seasoned with a cornmeal flour mixture, then deep fried to perfection. They’re golden and crispy on the outside, and taste incredible when served with a variety of dipping sauce recipes!

stack of fried green tomatoes with unripened tomatoes on a white plate with a fork
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What is a Fried Green Tomato?

Classic fried green tomatoes start with firm fruit that is unripened and green (or sllightly pink). Slices are dipped in seasoned breading made from a flour mixture of white cornmeal and spices.

A traditional green tomato recipe is dredged in a buttermilk mixture, then deep fried in a cast iron skillet (ad) until golden brown and crunchy.

The secret to a crispy green tomato is drawing out extra moisture beforehand and using the right oil temperature when frying.

If you remember the Whistle Stop Cafe in the Fried Green Tomatoes Movie, you know that southerners cling tightly to our green tomatoes recipe.

The dredging method used is similar to how we prepare other fresh veggies like okra, squash and zucchini.

fried green tomatoes in a circular pattern with ranch dip in the middle

What does a Fried Green Tomato Taste Like?

Green slices taste more sour than sweet, but soften and change flavor once they’re fried. They become milder, but still a little tart, which balances nicely with their crispy coating.

There’s nothing quite like tangy green tomatoes after they’ve been dredged in a flavorful batter and deep fried.

The only thing better is dunking them in hot sauce, buttermilk ranch dressing, or homemade blue cheese dip. Oh my goodness!

green tomatoes sliced in rounds on a sheet pan

Ingredients

Most authentic southern recipes don’t add Panko breadcrumbs, but you can if desired. I’ve had better luck with the old fashioned flour and cornmeal mixture. See recipe card for quantities.

  • green firm tomatoes
  • buttermilk
  • egg
  • cornmeal
  • all-purpose flour
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • sea salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil (or peanut oil, canola, avocado)
stack of fried green tomatoes on a white plate with green tomatoes on the side

How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes

An important tip to making delicious green tomato slices is in the batter. If the batter isn’t seasoned properly, the tomatoes will taste bland.

Get ready to dredge the slices by preparing your work station.

1 – Slice the tomatoes in ¼ inch round slices.

2 – Place them on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt so the excess water will drain away.

3- Combine buttermilk and egg together in a shallow dish. Prepare dry batter mix by combining cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, pepper, salt and ground red pepper in a shallow bowl. Mix well.

a dredging station of flour, buttermilk and flour in white bowls

4 – Scoop out ¼ of dry batter into another bowl. Now, you’re ready to start dredging. Dip slices into dry batter bowl, then dip in egg mixture bowl, then dip in dry batter bowl again.

5 – Place slices on a large baking sheet, then repeat the process until all slices are dredged.

6 – Pour oil in a large cast iron skillet (ad) until it is about ¼ inch thick. Heat to medium high (350 degrees). Place slices in hot oil in skillet in small batches. Only add a few at a time in a single layer so they can be turned easily.

7 – Fry slices for about 3 minutes on one side, then flip over and fry on the other side until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt.

cast iron skillet filled with grease and a small batch of fried green tomatoes with tongs
A cast iron skillet (ad) retains the heat.

Dips and Dressings

Some folks like to eat their slices plain, while others love to dip them in cajun ranch dressing, chili sauce, or homemade blue cheese dip.

My favorite serving suggestion is to drizzle a little raspberry jam, balsamic glaze, and goat cheese over the tomatoes just before serving. Now, that’s fancy…and scrumptious!

fried green tomatoes drizzled with balsamic glaze, raspberry jam and goat cheese on a green floral plate
Drizzled with raspberry jam, balsamic and goat cheese.

You can also make a remoulade sauce with mayonnaise, mustard and pickles. Comeback sauce made with mayonnaise and ketchup is another fun dip to try.

I’ve dunked these beauties in every delicious dipping sauce imaginable, but my favorite way to eat them is hot off the wire rack with a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

blue cheese sauce being dipped out of a green bowl with celery.
Blue cheese dip makes a great dunker!

Serving Ideas

What dishes go well with fried green tomatoes?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to pairing these slices with side dishes and entrees. They go great with Pulled Pork BBQ, sides like Calico Baked Beans, and appetizers such as Sour Cream Sausage Balls.

If you really want to be a true southerner, make a sandwich layering fried green slices, pimento cheese and bacon!

This dish is versatile enough for a light lunch or hearty side item at supper. It’s also a great way to use up produce from your garden.

Recipe FAQS

Can you fry red tomatoes?

I’ve tried to fry red slices, and they turned out to be a mushy disaster. When they mature and ripen they’re not good for frying because they’re too soft to stand up to hot grease.

Choose fruit that is firm and unripened, but not so hard that it feels like a brick. I’ve used fruit that has streaks of yellow and pink, which means it’s softened just a bit, but bright green is recommended.

How do you prevent soggy fried tomatoes?

The best way to prevent sogginess is to heat the oil to medium high in a cast iron skillet (ad) before adding the slices. You’ll know the oil is ready when you drop a little flour in the skillet and it sizzles.

For best results, keep the oil shallow. You don’t want to drown the slices in oil or they’ll cook too fast and cause a heap of trouble. They’re also harder to turn if they’re drenched in oil. It helps if you drain them on a wire rack instead of paper towels.

Expert Tips

  • Use sea salt to draw out excess moisture.
  • Bring oil to medium high heat before frying. (350 degrees is best)
  • Fry slices in a single layer to avoid crowding.
  • Drain slices on a wire rack instead of paper towels to avoid sogginess.
  • Reheat slices in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes at 350 degrees.

A visit to our local farmers market in the summer months is my favorite past time. Try these other recipes when heirloom garden tomatoes are at their peak…

 

Recipe Card

stack of fried green tomatoes with unripened tomatoes on a white plate with a fork

Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

Southern Fried Green Tomatoes are seasoned with a cornmeal flour mixture, then deep fried. Perfect for dunking in a variety of dipping sauces!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers, Sides
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 272kcal

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

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 firm green tomatoes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch round slices.
  • Place tomatoes on paper towels and sprinkle with half of sea salt. Let sit 10 minutes so excess water will drain away.
  • Whisk buttermilk and egg together in a bowl.
  • Prepare dry batter mix by combining cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, pepper, other half of salt and ground cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Scoop out 1/4 of dry batter mix and place in a smaller bowl.
  • Dredge a slice of tomato into the smaller dry batter bowl, then dip into buttermilk bowl, then dredge in the larger dry batter bowl.
  • Place tomato on a large sheet pan, then repeat the process until all tomatoes are dredged.
  • Pour oil in a cast iron skillet until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Heat to medium high.
  • Place tomatoes in hot oil in skillet. Only put a few in at a time so they can be turned easily.
  • Fry tomatoes for about 3 minutes on one side, then flip over and fry on the other side until golden brown.
  • Transfer tomatoes to a wire rack to drain.
  • Sprinkle tomatoes with extra sea salt.
  • Serve with homemade blue cheese dip.

Notes

  • Serve fried green tomatoes plain, or add toppings and sauces to make them your own.
  • Make sure oil is shallow in the skillet and hot enough to cook tomatoes to a golden brown hue.
  • If the oil isn't hot enough, the tomatoes may turn out soggy. If it's too hot, they may burn. Heat oil to a temperature of 350 degrees for best results. 
  • Fry slices in a single layer.
  • Drain slices on a wire rack instead of paper towels to avoid sogginess.
  • Reheat slices in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes at 350 degrees.

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 419mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve had lots of fried green tomatoes in my day, but this recipe is the only one I ever use. It’s authentic to southern cuisine and delicious. I love that you mention several dipping sauces for fried green tomatoes and offer recipes for those as well.

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