These crispy fried green tomatoes are going to be your new favorite summertime snack. This classic Southern recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and it’s the perfect way to use up unripe tomatoes at the end of the season!
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If your garden is overflowing with green tomatoes and you know they’re not going to have enough time to ripen before your first frost, there’s only one thing left to do: make a batch of fried green tomatoes.
The crunchy, perfectly seasoned breading and tangy green tomatoes are a combination that can’t be beat. Just add your favorite dipping sauce and dig in!
(Love crispy fried snacks? Try my Fried Pickles too!)
Southern Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe
Green tomatoes much firmer than red tomatoes, which makes them perfect for frying. They’ll hold up in the heat of the oil without turning into a watery mush. But don’t worry, once the green tomatoes are warmed through from cooking, they become juicy and tender!
This classic Southern recipe starts by dredging thick slices of unripened tomatoes in a buttermilk and egg mixture. The tomatoes are then coated in flour, cornmeal, and spices, which is key to that crispy-crunchy exterior. Finally, the breaded green tomatoes are fried to golden brown perfection.
I definitely recommend eating one (or several) straight out of the fryer, dipped in homemade ranch dressing, while they are still nice and warm. Fried green tomatoes are hard to resist!
Ingredients for Fried Green Tomatoes
See recipe card below for this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Green tomatoes – Use bigger unripe tomatoes like beefsteak or Better Boy varieties. Big, hardy tomatoes are best for slicing and frying.
- All-purpose flour
- Cornmeal – Yellow cornmeal is best but white cornmeal will also work.
- Black Pepper
- Paprika – Use regular paprika or smoked paprika
- Cayenne pepper – You can skip the cayenne but I like it to add a little heat to the tomatoes. Spicy fried green tomatoes are amazing!
- Vegetable oil – You can also use canola oil for frying. Both neutral flavored oils will work well.
Here are a few substitutions and variations that will work well if you’re looking to switch things up a little bit.
- Replace the buttermilk with regular whole milk. You can also add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the milk to make your own buttermilk and get that tangy taste.
- Replace the cayenne pepper with ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning to give the tomatoes an herby flavor. A little garlic powder in the dry mixture is also a great way to liven up this easy recipe.
- Substitute the flour and cornmeal with breadcrumbs. Breadcrumb-coated fried green tomatoes are just as delicious, but they have a different texture and flavor.
How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes
- Slice: Slice the tomatoes into thick rounds, about ¼ inch thick.
- Mix the dry ingredients: Stir the flour, cornmeal and seasonings together in a shallow bowl.
- Whisk the egg: Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together in a separate shallow bowl.
- Preheat the oil: Add the oil to a large cast iron skillet or frying pan and heat over medium heat.
- Dip and coat: Dip the tomato slices first in the flour mixture and then into the egg mixture, coating both sides of the tomato in the dry and wet ingredients.
- Fry: Add the dredged tomatoes to the hot oil and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes. The tomatoes will be golden brown. Use tongs to remove them from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Fry all of the tomatoes the same way.
- Serve: Enjoy the green tomatoes while they are hot! Dip them in ranch dressing, a remoulade sauce, or drizzle a little hot sauce over them for even more excitement. Lemon juice squeezed over the top is also nice.
Double-dip the tomatoes to make the crispy coating even thicker. Dredge tomato slices in the flour then in the buttermilk mixture then back into the flour and cornmeal mixture before frying. This is a great way to make extra-crunchy fried green tomatoes.
How to Store Fried Green Tomatoes
If you have leftover fried tomatoes, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat the tomatoes in your air fryer to re-crisp them. You can also heat them back up in a skillet over medium-high heat with a small amount of olive oil.
If you want to reheat the tomatoes quickly, you can microwave them, but they will be a little bit softer. Cold fried green tomatoes are also good on a breakfast sandwich or as a way to fancy up a delicious tuna melt. They’re also a fantastic side dish for almost any summer dinner!
Red tomatoes are too soft to fry. They fall apart in high heat and become too mushy. Green tomatoes are a little more sturdy and durable so they hold their shape when fried.
You can pick green tomatoes and let them turn red. However, frying the tomatoes while they are green is a great idea! This way, you can enjoy the tomatoes right away rather than waiting. Extend your growing season and start picking from your tomato plants early!
Fried green tomatoes are popular in the southern US. They are a true Southern classic! Louisiana is said to be where fried green tomatoes were first created, but the exact location is unknown. We do know they first came from the Southern states.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 4 green tomatoes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Slice the green tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
- In a shallow dish, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper (if using). Mix well.
- In another shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk until well combined.
- Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Dip each tomato slice into the flour mixture, coating both sides evenly. Shake off any excess flour.
- Next, dip the tomato slice into the egg mixture, ensuring it's coated completely.
- Place the coated tomato slice into the hot oil. Repeat the coating process with additional tomato slices, but do not overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary.
- Cook the tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn golden brown. Flip them carefully using tongs or a spatula.
- Once fried, transfer the tomatoes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Repeat the frying process with the remaining tomato slices until all are cooked.
- Serve the fried green tomatoes hot as an appetizer or side dish. They're delicious on their own, but you can also serve them with a dipping sauce like ranch dressing or remoulade.