Appalachian Food

Fried Okra


One of The Deer Hunter’s favorite summertime foods is fried okra. Granny made a lot of fried okra when I was growing up, actually she still does, so I make mine like she taught me.

Slice up as much okra as you’d like to make and then toss it in a mixture of cornmeal and flour (more cornmeal than flour) that has been salted and peppered well.

Heat up a cast-iron frying pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Once the pan is hot throw in the okra and cook for about three minutes. Try your best to turn the okra over and cook for another three minutes. I never turn every piece over I just give it a good try with a spatula. Put the pan in a oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees and cook for about ten minutes and you’ll have a perfect pan of fried okra to eat.

When I read back over this post to see if it made sense I thought something was funny about it. I finally figured it out. It is okra but I say okry. I actually doubt I’ve ever said okra in my entire life. However you say it-it’s good eating!


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  • Reply
    Ray C. Presley
    February 22, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    We’ve always called it okrey as well. But we still recognize the “Yankee” pronunciation as “okra.” Regardless of how you say it, there ain’t nothing better than fried okrey, some pintos and a tall glass of buttermilk

  • Reply
    Paula Vibert
    February 1, 2020 at 7:28 am

    My mom always fried up some crispy bacon first; removed and crumbled it. Then fried the okra in bacon drippings and added the crumbled bacon. So good!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    I love okry. My husband gets mad cause I won’t call it okra. I refuse because life would be boring if we all had the same sound. I don’t care if I do sound like a Hillbilly.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    My mom (in Ohio) was buying some okra at the grocery store one day and the boy packing the groceries said “What is this ‘OR-ka ’, I’ve never heard of it?”

  • Reply
    August 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    We love okra to Tipper. Yrs ago, i didn’t like it but i sure do now.

  • Reply
    Agnes Farr
    August 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Love the article…also fried okra. Through the years< I have found that a 'Fry Daddy' is the better than cast iron (Never thought I would make that statement). I slice the okra; make sure that it is very damp; salt and pepper it and shake in the following mixture: 1 cup each of self-rising corn meal and flour, 1/2 cup corn starch, salt and pepper to taste, and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper in s zip lock gallon bag. Mix well and add sliced okra. Toss to coat, dump in a large strainer and shake excess breading back into bag. Heat oil in Fry Daddy to recommended temperature, add okra and cook until desired crispness. Remove and drain. Store any left over breading in freezer for later use. (One of my son's cooks for the freezer this way. When ready to eat, we put it (frozen) on a paper lined pan and heat in a moderately low oven until it has crisped.)

  • Reply
    libby rouse
    August 6, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Like you Tipper, I have never said okra in my life! It’s always been okry in our family. I have always cooked in cast iron, but never with finishing in the oven, will be doing this next time!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 6, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    When okry is just starting to come in…I sometimes add cubed potatoes to mine as well as cubed zucchini…and I always add some good chopped onion mild Vidalia’s or sweet yellow…all dipped in the mixture before frying…the flavors the bomb…love it…
    Thanks for sharing your recipe…mines about the same…however I like the idea of popping the pan in the oven as well..

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    August 6, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Tipper, Exactly how my Mama fixed it and exactly how I fix it. A favorite of mine also. I don’t have a garden but I buy it several times during the summer from a great produce stand near me. My favorite plate is fried okra, thick creamed corn, tomatoes and a hot biscuit. For dessert a great fresh berry cobbler. Yummy PS and a big scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on the cobbler.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Now that’s some fine eatn, and my wife is a professional okree cook, everybody wanted her to bring her oakree at family get togethers.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    August 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Dear Tipper, I love, love, love fried okra. It is my favorite summertime vegetable and the first thing I look for when I go to a church dinner. I also love it steamed and in soup and almost any way it is cooked. It goes especially well with mashed potatoes. It is usually one of the last things to harvest in the garden so I haven’t had any yet. It sort of reminds me of popcorn, I guess that comes from the cornmeal.

    I’ve been canning soup mix, relish, and pickles, and yesterday I froze corn and blackberries. This is a wonderful time of year!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    If okree isn’t picked when it’s very young it starts to get “woody”. It still tastes good but you can’t chew it up. I made some one time like that and told my kids it was like trying to chew up a toothbrush.
    Under ideal growing conditions okree is ready to eat as soon as two days after the bloom drops off. Let it go a week and it will start to be tough. It’s trying to grow a hard shell to protect its seeds inside. So as Barney Fife would say “You’ve got to nip it in the bud!” Well maybe not in the bud but soon thereafter. If the seeds fully develop inside and start to turn dark, you have tough okree. Flip the tip and if it wiggles freely, it is still good.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 6, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I like fried Okry, but I’ve never tried it in the oven. I take a fork and turn every piece, like Ed. I’ve thought about the “shake and bake” method and in the oven, but never tried it. That stuff will shore tickle your taste buds no matter how it’s fixed.

    When I fix homeade soup, I usually get those 2 lb. bags of frozen vegetables at Ingles. While I was washing it, I noticed several pieces of sliced Okry and that just made the soup better. …Ken

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    August 6, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I taught my Japanese wife to make fried okra, She also loves it and makes it frequently. She also took immature pods of okra tempura battered them whole and fried them as part of a tempura dish. Delicious! Okra grows well in Hawaii. I have managed, through pruning, to keep plants producing for well over a year. Hibiscus and Okra are close cousins of the Mallow family. Hibiscus is the State Flower of Hawaii.

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      August 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Garland, this has been the year for my hibiscus…several different varieties blooming…the hummingbirds are beside themselves deciding which blooms to choose and try to protect from the other hummers…I love Hibiscus…wish someone would hybridize a yellow okry flowery to a red okry flower…that would bloom all up and down the stems…lol

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    August 6, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Mama put half-ripe tomatoes in her okry. She used flour to coat. It came out looking awful but everybody loved it.

    I have trouble getting it to brown. I’m going to try your method.

    I like it cooked every way but hate to have to pick it. I remember when it was hand picked commercially–don’t see how anyone could stand that. I wonder how it’s done nowadays.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    August 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I love okry any way you can fix it, though frying is my favorite. But we never have put it in the oven afterwards; we’ll have to try that. Also, I don’t remember ever adding flour to the meal. I don’t think you can make okry taste bad no matter how you cook it.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    August 6, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Oh my goodness! I never knew to bake it i n the oven after frying. That must be the secret! Thanks, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    August 6, 2018 at 10:28 am

    It’s a favorite of mine, too! I also like it steamed with black-eyed peas — and pickled okra, too. Also, check out this beautiful okra creation:
    My sister and I are going to make it this weekend!

    • Reply
      aw griff
      August 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Ann, I checked that out . That okra cornbread sounds delicious. I have to try that.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Love fried okra! Our former neighbor called it okry. You can also make pickled okra which is really good, and you can find recipes for it on the internet.

  • Reply
    kathy hardin
    August 6, 2018 at 10:03 am

    One of my favorite things….Learned to do fried okry from my Grandmother. Love the old ways and wish more people knew and appreciated all the things and the way our Grand parents lived…

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Okry is great with Pinto Beans, Cornbread, Milk and Pork Chops. This is country cuisine. I call it Okry also even though I know it’s Okra.

  • Reply
    Shirley Storms
    August 6, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I say okry too, just like my mother did. I so appreciate you sharing your life.

  • Reply
    Darrell Cook
    August 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

    I learned from a friend to place cornmeal and flour in a store plastic bag, add the egg soaked okra into the bag and shake. The okra is well coated and this is fast and easy.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Love that okra! Oddly enough in my part of the country it is rare to find anyone that eats okra. Maybe our ancestors tended to eat more of what grew well in the area. Just my personal idea of why it never caught on in southern WV. I learned to love okra after living for a time in the south. I made a couple of attempts in this area to grow okra, but the result was small and tough. It cannot be found fresh in grocery stores. It is especially great in okra or chicken gumbo. I freeze it in containers, as it is just as good as freshly made.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 9:00 am

    My Dad loves fried okra but I’ve yet to make it successfully. Think maybe your “trick” of putting it in the oven may be the answer. Will try it soon. Thanks.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I coat my okree in plain yellow cornmeal with plenty of salt and black pepper mixed in. I don’t use oil, I use bacon grease to fry it in. I fry it in a single layer on the stovetop flipping each piece one at a time. Since I am cooking for one now it isn’t too tedious a task. I never heard of putting it in the oven to finish but it makes sense. That way I could make me a big panful and eat til I foundered myself.
    I love okree. Fried and in soup. I don’t like okree with a breading on it because you have to use too much grease and it ends up tasting like the oil it was drowned in. With my method, if you do get the taste of the grease, it will be a taste of bacon, which in pert near heaven. I love squarsh cooked the same way.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 6, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Yum, tje best! I am a fan of okra, but most people aren’t I like mine cooked with stewed tomatoes too

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I have only grown okra one time in my life. That is because we didn’t grow up growing or eating okra. I love it and always order it as a side at Captain D’s.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 6, 2018 at 8:37 am

    About ten years ago a young man fresh out of the army came to my house looking for a place to bow hunt deer. He was from ny. state and heard I would probably let him hunt on the ole family farm.
    I had a nice garden that year and had two beautiful rows of okra. He kept looking at the okra and ask me if that was what he thought is was. I asked, what do you think it is. He said, okra. Ihate that stuff. They served it in the mess hall all the time at ft. Jackson sc.
    We drove the 40 miles to the farm so he could scout and get a feel of the land.
    He was a nice young man and I joked with him and offered him a mess of okra.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I guess when I talk about the plant I say Okra but I’ve heard and said Okry when fixing it or eating it. Why – I don’t know. That is funny, but I sure love to eat it. Always fried it in a cast iron pan but never put it in the oven so I might try that the next time.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 6, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I’ve been wishing the Deer Hunter was here the last week or so. After 26 years the deer discovered my garden fence could be jumped. I had okra until about three days ago, and tomatoes and sweet potatoes and field peas.

    I wonder how far north folks grow okra. I’m guessing – unless there are cold hardy varieties – only zone 7. It is the one thing I grow that I know can take a “cold set” if planted too early. It is more particular than corn.

    I’m thinking your recipe would work well for fried squash and catfish to. Do you toss in a plastic bag or other container?

    • Reply
      August 6, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Ron-I just toss it in a bowl, but I’m sure a bag would work great 🙂

    • Reply
      aw griff
      August 6, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Ron, I live in zone 6b of and it does well here. I’ve grown Clemson spineless, la. long. I tried growing hill country red but the deer loved it to death. My family didn’t grow okra when I was growing up, but more people grow it now. It is easy to find the seed locally and I see fresh okra sometimes at farmer’s market.

    • Reply
      August 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Ron – I’m trying to grow it in Zone 5b, and it’s ready to start picking some 🙂

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    August 6, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Maybe okry should be an Appalachian vocabulary word. I’ve always said okry, and so has all of my family. However, my wife, who grew up just one county over, says okra. I’m afraid okry is a dying word. Either way, it’s still one of my favorite vegetables as long as it’s fried!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your fried okra method, Tipper! That picture is really helpful, too. I’ll be trying this very soon, and maybe cooking two kinds of okra at the same time as a taste test. My pole beans have been keeping me busy picking and freezing between rainstorms, but I’ve got to start picking okra soon too 🙂

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 6, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Tipper–You offer two interesting options here I haven’t thought about. One is mixing corn meal and flour for the coating (I use only corn meal as a rule). The second is the oven portion of the process. I’ll definitely try both, although there’s one other piece of information i’d like. What is the approximate length of the okra pieces after you cut it up?

    Momma could fry chicken like nobody’s business, and part of her process involved putting it in the oven. I have no idea what temperature she set the oven on (it wouldn’t have been very high because regularly she’d put the chicken, already fried, in the oven to stay until we got back from church). When it went from the oven to the table is was a gustatory excursion into magic.

    Jim Casada

    • Reply
      August 6, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Jim-I’d say my pieces are a half an inch or less in size. I’ve seen folks who cut their pieces larger, but I guess I cut mine smaller because Granny does too 🙂

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