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Southern Fried Green Tomatoes are a classic summer treat! This easy recipe straight from the Lowcountry can be on the table in less than 30 minutes!
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There are certain foods you just have to try if you ever come to the Lowcountry of South Carolina or here to Savannah, Georgia: Shrimp and Grits, Lowcountry Boil, Southern-style Collards, Boiled Peanuts, and of course, Fried Green Tomatoes!
Fried green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes which are breaded and fried up to perfection. They are more firm due to the unripeness and usually served as an appetizer although they are wonderful on a salad or sandwich as well.
- green tomatoes – Green tomatoes are simply unripe tomatoes, be sure not to purchase the few heirloom varieties (like green zebra) of tomato that are green at ripening, they will be too soft. Pick the firmest tomatoes you have available so they hold up to the frying.
- salt (optional) – always blot the tomatoes with paper towels but if extra juicy, salting the tomatoes before breading them reduces the moisture and helps the breading stick
- cornmeal – some versions use only cornmeal for the breading but here in the Lowcountry we tend to use a mixture with flour to prevent the gritty texture and improve the “stickiness” of the breading
- flour – this is mixed with the cornmeal to improve the texture of the breading
- egg – egg is the glue to help the breading stick to the tomato
- milk – if you have buttermilk on hand you can use that for a more authentic Southern taste, but regular milk works fine in this recipe
- hot sauce – helps deepen the flavor
- spices – I only use salt and pepper but I have seen many recipes that add Lawry’s seasoning salt, garlic and onion powder, or paprika. This is an area you can play with after mastering the basic recipe to make it your own.
Tips for best results
- Dry the tomatoes – you can do this by blotting them with a paper towel if they are not too juicy, or if you have time you can sprinkle them with salt and allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes on a paper towel lined plate
- Use a cast iron skillet if possible. The cast iron retains heat better and will keep the oil temperature from dropping when the tomatoes are added.
- Use an unbreaded test slice…to get the frying time perfect, grab the top or bottom slice of the tomato that you won’t be using and add it to the skillet to see if the oil is hot enough (it should be shimmering) and how long to cook each side
Step by step
- Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and lay on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Blot with paper towels or alternatively salt generously and let sit 15 minutes.
- Lay out three bowls for breading the tomatoes. In the first bowl add 1/2 cup flour. The second bowl should contain the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper. In the third bowl combine eggs, milk, and hot sauce and stir to combine.
- Place a wire rack over a baking sheet.
- Dredge tomato slices in flour and set on the rack, allow to sit 5 minutes.
- Dredge again in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally in the flour and cornmeal mixture. Return to the wire rack.
- Heat oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once shimmering you can test one of your tomato end slices (unbreaded) to see if it is ready. It should sizzle immediately if you sprinkle a little flour in it.
- Fry tomatoes 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Work in batches and do not crowd the slices. When finished cooking remove the tomatoes to a paper towel lined plate, do not stack the slices.
- Serve immediately with remoulade sauce, comeback sauce, hot sauce, or buttermilk dressing!
Fried green tomatoes are most often served as an appetizer with remoulade sauce but you can also add them to other dishes such as salads and sandwiches as well. For all our favorite ways to serve them, see what to serve with fried green tomatoes.
I hope you enjoy this classic Southern recipe as much as we do!
If you try this recipe, please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!Print