Fried Green Tomatoes

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There’s just something magical about the first bite of a perfectly fried green tomato. The crispy, golden crust giving way to that signature tangy-yet-sweet burst of flavor from the still-firm tomato inside. It’s a taste of the South that instantly transports me back to my grandma’s kitchen on a sunny afternoon.

I can vividly remember the aroma of tomatoes sizzling in the cast iron skillet, filled with the promise of something downright delicious. Grandma would let me help by dredging the bright green tomato slices in the seasoned cornmeal batter, her hands coated in that signature yellow hue. Then we’d watch, mouths watering, as they transformed into a crispy golden-brown masterpiece in the hot oil.

Those fried green tomatoes were always the star of the show, but we never minded. Grandma would make a simple remoulade sauce for dipping and that’s all we needed for pure bliss. Biting through that crunchy exterior into the juicy, tangy tomato was like taking a sweet little bite of summer.

Fried green tomatoes hold such a special place in my heart and my culinary heritage. They’re a true taste of the South that I’m so excited to share with you today. This recipe stays true to those classic, simple flavors while giving you all the tips and tricks you need to fry up perfection at home. Grab your cast iron skillet and let’s get frying!

Why This Fried Green Tomato Recipe Hits the Spot

  • It’s a true Southern classic that allows the unique flavor of green tomatoes to shine. No boring red tomatoes here!
  • The light, crispy cornmeal and panko crust gives you the perfect crunchy texture in every bite.
  • It’s a great way to use up any green tomatoes from your garden before the season ends.
  • You only need a few simple ingredients to make something totally craveable.
  • They’re so versatile! Serve them as an appetizer, side dish, on sandwiches or salads.
  • It’s a taste of nostalgic, homestyle comfort food that never goes out of style.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Green tomatoes: Look for firm, unripe green tomatoes about the size of a tennis ball. Overripe ones will be too soft.
  • All-purpose flour: This helps create a nice even coating on the tomatoes.
  • Eggs: Beaten with a splash of water, the eggs help the breading adhere.
  • Yellow cornmeal: A must for that classic Southern fried flavor and crunch.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: These coarse Japanese breadcrumbs give an extra crispy exterior.
  • Paprika and cayenne: For a little kick of smoky, savory spice.
  • Oil for frying: I prefer using vegetable or canola oil with a high smoke point.

Fun Flavor Twists

  • Cajun Fried Tomatoes: Add 1-2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning to the breading for a kick of heat and spice.
  • Italian Fried Tomatoes: Use Italian breadcrumbs instead of panko and add dried Italian seasoning.
  • Cheesy Tomatoes: Fold 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan into the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Fried Green Tomato BLT: Make a killer BLT by adding fried green tomato slices to your sandwich.
  • Fried Green Tomato Caprese: Layer fried green tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes

  1. Prep the tomatoes by slicing them into 1/4-inch rounds and seasoning both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Set up your dredging station with 3 shallow bowls – one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with the cornmeal and panko breadcrumb mixture seasoned with paprika and cayenne.
  3. Dredge the tomato slices by dipping them first in the flour until fully coated. Then into the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Finally into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  5. Working in batches, fry the breaded tomatoes for 2-3 minutes per side until deep golden brown.
  6. Transfer the fried tomatoes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  7. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce!

Pro Tips for Perfection

  • Use a cast iron skillet if you have one – it holds heat so well for frying.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry the tomatoes in batches so they get crispy, not soggy.
  • Keep an eye on the oil temp and make sure it stays between 325°F-350°F.
  • For extra crunch, you can do a double dredge by dipping the tomatoes back in the egg and breadcrumb mixture.
  • Let the fried tomatoes drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to keep them crispy, not soggy.
  • Fry up any leftover breading bits and sprinkle over the tomatoes for a crispy garnish.

Serving Suggestions

Fried green tomatoes are a Southern delicacy that deserve to be the star of the show! But they also pair beautifully with:

  • Remoulade or Ranch dressing for dipping
  • Pimiento cheese or bacon jam as an appetizer
  • BLTs, po’boys or veggie sandwiches
  • Salads like Cobb or wedge salads
  • Grits, greens, biscuits or cornbread on the side
  • Fried chicken, catfish or shrimp for a real Southern feast

Make-Ahead and Storage

These fried green tomatoes are best enjoyed immediately after frying for maximum crunch. However, you can make them up to 1 day ahead and reheat before serving.

To store leftovers, let the tomatoes cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes until heated through and crispy again.

I don’t recommend freezing fried green tomatoes, as the tomatoes can become mushy and soggy when thawed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between fried green tomatoes and fried red tomatoes? Green tomatoes hold their shape and texture much better during the frying process than red, ripe tomatoes. Red tomatoes tend to get mushy and fall apart when fried.

Why do you need to dredge the tomatoes in flour, egg and breadcrumbs? This classic three-step dredging process helps create an evenly crispy, crunchy coating on the outside of the tomatoes. The flour helps the egg adhere, while the breadcrumbs give you that signature crispy texture.

Can I make fried green tomatoes ahead of time? You can make the tomatoes up to 1 day ahead and reheat before serving. However, they really are best fresh out of the fryer when ultra crispy. I’d avoid making them more than a day in advance.

What kind of oil is best for frying? You’ll want to use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like vegetable, canola or peanut oil. Avoid olive oil which can burn at higher temperatures.

There’s just nothing quite like that first bite of a crispy, golden fried green tomato fresh out of the skillet. It’s a taste of summer and the South all wrapped up in one addictively crunchy little package. This is the kind of down-home cooking that brings people together and fills your soul with warmth and comfort.

So pick up some green tomatoes and get frying! I guarantee these fried green tomato slices will be the star of your next picnic, cookout or just a random weeknight dinner. They’re nostalgic, delicious and a true celebration of simple, classic flavors. One bite and you’ll be hooked for life!

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

These crispy fried green tomatoes are a true Southern classic! Tangy tomatoes are dredged in a light and crispy cornmeal batter, then fried to golden brown perfection. Addictively delicious!
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 3 green tomatoes sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Season the tomato slices all over with salt and pepper.
  • Set up three shallow bowls – one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs, and one with the cornmeal, panko, paprika and cayenne mixed together.
  • Dredge each tomato slice first in the flour until fully coated, then in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Finally coat in the cornmeal/panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place on a baking sheet or plate and repeat with remaining slices.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Working in batches, fry the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes per side until deep golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve the fried green tomatoes warm with remoulade, ranch or your desired dipping sauce!

Notes

  • Use firm, unripe green tomatoes for best results. Overripe ones will be too soft.
  • For extra crunch, you can do a double dredge by dipping the tomatoes back in the egg and breadcrumb mixture after the first coating.
  • Reheat leftovers in a 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes until crispy again. Do not freeze.

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5 Comments

  1. June Hall

    For fried green tomatoes my mom always just covered them in flour, added salt and pepper and died in vegetable oil. I will try your way this summer.

  2. Teresa Antosyn

    4 stars
    I just made some tonight but put some dijon mustard with the egg and I did not have the cornmeal so used Italian bread crumbs with grated parm cheese! I will try your 4 tray separate dips next time. Do you use really green tomatoes or let them sit a day or two to develop some color? I thought the ones with some color were more mushy but more flavorful. Thanks, Teresa

  3. mary

    Sprinkle sugar on them before frying it will carmelize them. Oh so good.

  4. Annabelle Martis

    Hi there! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you’ve got here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  5. Beverly rytlewski

    5 stars
    I like mine best with just a touch of color.

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