Simply the best fried green tomatoes recipe! The secret to Perfect-Every-Time Fried Green Tomatoes recipe revealed! Crispy, crunchy cornmeal coating on the outside. Tangy, tender-but-not-mushy on the inside. I'll tell you my secret to keeping the crunchy coating on even the sides of these easy, no-fail fried green tomatoes!
In the South, we eat fried tomatoes like potato chips. You can never eat just one- unless you are using Grand Champion-size tomatoes, then maybe, just maybe you could stop at one.
Try my Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes if you have unripe cherry tomatoes in your garden. They are perfect for game day or any party appetizer.
I like to use small to medium size green tomatoes so I can get more of the crunch coating in every bite. And to be honest, that's the size my little garden produces!
I did not grow up eating fried green tomatoes but when I tried them for the first time 20+ years ago, it was love at first bite, for sure.
I did eat my fair share of Southern fried side dishes, though, including fried yellow squash, okra, and potatoes.
Simple fried green tomatoes can be made with really green and slightly yellowish green tomatoes. If they get any more ripe than that, the sugars have developed and the tomato gets a little too sweet for my taste.
Plus, tomatoes that are starting to ripen are juicier, which makes it a little harder to get that crunchy crust and begins to get "mushy middles".
- 3 small to medium green tomatoes
- Vegetable oil, canola oil or peanut oil
- All-purpose flour
- Whole milk, buttermilk or or 2% milk
- Large egg
- Cornmeal (I prefer yellow)
- Fine dry breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
To make fried green tomatoes without cornmeal, simply double the fine dry breadcrumbs and omit the cornmeal. These will still be delicious but slightly less crunchy.
How to make the best Southern-Fried green tomatoes
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the detailed, printable recipe. Pictures below will help guide you as you read the recipe.
The perfect width to slice them is 3/8". One-half inch is too thick.
Now, if I was specifically making them to fit on a grilled burger or a BLT sandwich, 1/4" would be just fine, but as a side dish, go with the 3/8".
The secret to keeping the coating on the green tomato slices
Here's where the magic happens.
- Prepare three separate plates for dredging the tomatoes before frying them. In one plate, combine all-purpose flour and salt. In the second one, whisk together the egg and milk, and in the third plate, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
A good rule of thumb for coating amounts is:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- One egg and 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup cornmeal and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
This is a general rule. You may have a little left over but it's better than scraping to the bottom and not covering the entire green tomato.
- Next, press the tomato slice into the flour mixture on both sides. Don't forget the sides of the tomato!
This is where many recipes fall short of explaining how to make the perfectly coated fried green tomato.
The flour sticks to the cut side of the tomato easily because it's already damp. If the sides of your tomato are dry and the flour is falling off, quickly run the edge of it through the egg/milk mixture and tap it back into the flour.
Voila! All surfaces are coated.
- Always start with the flour because that gives the egg/milk mixture something to "hang onto". Otherwise, if you just dip in egg/milk mixture then cornmeal mixture, it will drip back into the bowl leaving the cornmeal mixture struggling to adhere to the tomato. As a bonus, the added layer of the flour boosts the thickness and crunch of outside crust. Boom! Secret revealed!
- Lastly, after dipping the flour-coated tomato into the egg/milk mixture, gently press it into the cornmeal mixture.
This isn't a video, but can't you just hear that sizzle when I drop in the cornmeal-coated tomatoes! You don't have to have a lot of oil to have the texture of deep fried green tomatoes.
I don't fry nearly as much as I used to but get excited when I hear that old familiar sound. Ya know, it's just like Pavlov's dog. When I hear that sizzle, my mouth starts watering.
How much oil do I need to make fried green tomatoes?
The oil in the pan doesn't have to be very deep at all. One-fourth inch is plenty if you are small batching it. One-half inch is a good amount if you are frying 3 large tomatoes because the coating does absorb some of the oil.
The oil gets too hot for some nonstick skillets so I recommend a cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat to between 365F and 375F degrees or until very hot but not smoking.
Pro Tip: You will know it is ready when you sprinkle a few grains of cornmeal in it and it immediately sizzles.
You can also use a candy thermometer if the oil is deep enough. I absolutely love using a digital, no contact infrared thermometer. You just point it at the oil and it reads the temp.
Amazing! Remember, this carpernter's tool is meant for surface temperatures, not internal temps or on humans.
You want the temperature to be between 360 and 375 degrees. Keep a close watch on the oil while dredging the green tomatoes.
Drain them on paper towels and enjoy!
Should I use yellow or white cornmeal?
I use yellow cornmeal in most of my recipes. It is a personal preference but I believe we also eat with our eyes and the sunny yellow color is much more inviting to me and stands out on my plate.
And as a food stylist, I would always pick the colorful yellow over white. On the flip side, I prefer to eat white Silver Queen corn on the cob over yellow corn because of its sweet creamy flavor.
The variety of tomato is not as important as the firmness of the green tomato when choosing a tomato for fried green tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes tend to be unevenly shaped and harder to get that perfect round slice. Any evenly round green tomatoes like Beefsteak are the best choice.
Click on the images below to watch my video how-to's for Perfect Every Time Fried Green Tomatoes on ABC 33/40's Talk of Alabama and WBRC's Good Day Alabama.
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Perfect Every Time Fried Green Tomatoes
- 3 small to medium green tomatoes (unripe tomatoes)
- Vegetable oil, canola oil or peanut oil (About 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 cup whole milk, buttermilk, or 2% whole or 2%
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup cornmeal (I prefer yellow)
- 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Rinse the tomatoes with cool water and pat them dry with paper towels. Slice them into 3/8" thick slices. (That's between 1/4 and 1/2" thick).
- Pour enough oil into a cast iron or stainless steel skillet to reach a depth of 1/4" to 1/2". Heat the oil over medium heat until very hot but not smoking. You will know it is ready when you sprinkle a few grains of cornmeal in it and it immediately sizzles. You can also use a candy thermometer if the oil is deep enough. I absolutely love using a digital, no contact infrared thermometer. You just point it at the oil and it reads the temp. Amazing. You want the temperature to be between 360 and 375 degrees. Keep a close watch on the oil while dredging the tomatoes.
- Gather 3 small plates or shallow bowls. I like to use paper plates for the dry mixtures for easy clean up. In one plate, combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. In the second plate, whisk together the milk and egg with a fork. In the third plate, the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, pepper, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Working with 2 or 3 tomato slices at a time, press the tomato slice into the flour, coating both sides. If the flour doesn't stick to the edge of the tomato, run the edges through the egg/milk mixture, then back in the flour. Dip the flour coated slice into the egg/milk mixture, then gently press it into the cornmeal mixture.
- I use tongs to lower the tomatoes, 3 at a time, into the hot oil and to remove them. Cook them about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown on both sides.
- If the tomato slices do not sizzle, the oil is probably not hot enough and will absorb too much oil and take too long to get brown on the outside. This also causes the tomatoes to overcook and become mushy. Drain the tomatoes on paper towels and enjoy!
Nutrition analysis on GritsAndGouda.com recipes are mostly calculated on an online nutrition calculator. I am not a dietitian and nutritional information is an estimate and can vary based on products used.
Updated October 28, 2022 with valuable information.
I made your fried green tomatoes recipe today, along with pork cutlets, both done on cast iron ! Fantastic!,, I only had herb & garlic bread crumbs, and my Hubby said it was the Best Fried Green Tomatoes that I’ve ever made !!!! I totally agree ! I had watched your video as well ! ❤️ The paper plates idea too ! Thanks again ! Sharon P from Michigan !
Yay! I'm so glad you both loved them! Thank you for sharing. It's great to hear from someone in Michigan!
you had mentioned fried green tomatoes baked in the oven but i can't find the recipe? thank you- can't wait to try this recipe this weekend
I have a recipe for Oven-Fried Okra. would that be the recipe you are thinking of? I don't have one for baking fried green tomatoes. Here's the link to the okra.https://gritsandgouda.com/fried-baked-okra/ I haven't used this coating on fried green tomatoes but it may work. Let me know if you try it!
When I served these tonight, I told my husband I didn't know what to expect. Neither of us had even eaten fried green tomatoes before. We're now converts - love these!! Best thing, I planted a new kind of tomatoe this year and although large, they're very bland. But they're fabu for this recipe! Thank you so much.
I love trying new things and so glad you tried my fried green tomatoes! Your new tomato variety sounds perfect for them. Green tomatoes are often overlooked as useless in the garden at the end of the season, too. I like to fry the small green ones and eat them like appetizers/chips! Thank you for sharing your recipe experience with me!
Best Fried Green tomatoes ever!!!!!! Used buttermilk in the egg mixture! Fantastic!
I love the idea of using buttermilk! Thank you for sharing and I'm thrilled you loved my fried green tomatoes recipe!
II made this for dinner . And this is the first time ever in my life and I did not have soggy fried green tomatoes God bless you for this recipe thank you
That makes me so happy! Yay! Best comment ever! Thank you for sharing and I'm so glad you loved them.
Ive always struggled to successfully fry tomatoes because the breading always came off! This recipe was perfect!! Easy and everything fried beautifully!
This comment makes me so happy! I'm thrilled to know my recipe solved a problem for you and that you loved it! Thank you for sharing.
Can I use this recipe and “fry” them in the oven?
It won't be quite the same but it is possible to bake them. I recommend spraying the cornmeal coated tomato slices with oil in a spray bottle (not aerosol cooking spray). If they do not have any oil on them at all, they won't get crispy. Brushing them with olive oil or vegetable oil would work fairly well, but be careful not to rake off the coating. Try baking them at 400F degrees fot 20 minutes, then turn them and bake until lightly browned. Let me know if you try it!
I made this with just panko bread crumbs (instead of cornmeal). They were awesome. First time ever making and eating fried green tomatos... I ate nearly all of them in one sitting.
I love the idea of using Panko! So happy you tried my fried green tomato recipe as your first experience with them. They are addictive, for sure!
I plan to make this in the near future, but I just wanted to let you know that your print recipe link just takes me to a duplicate of this page.
Oh! Thank you! I immediately put in a support ticket to get this looked into! Hopefully, it will be fixed in a jiffy. I'm so glad you are going to make these and that you alerted me to this issue!
John Rhoe aka. “Moose”
Good old-fashioned eats, and you know it.. My Sissy Francis came visiting back in 2010 and we spent a day hunting for okra, summer squash, paddipan squash, and green tomatoes. We did up a country fried dinner loaded with memories and special dips. We were tripping back to childhood. This post holds just such a ticket. Thanks!
I'm so glad you loved the post. It sounds like you had a wonderful time gathering and cooking up some good old fashioned memories! Thank you for sharing with me!
Want a few more tips for crispy breaded fried anything?
If the food can hold up to a cold water soak prior to battering them, do so. Then by adding baking powder to your flour mixture helps crisp your batter. Another step or trick to get crispy is cold batter and hot oil. If you can keep your batter items cold before placing them in the hot oil, it is amazing. Lastly, when draining your cooked food, lay them on a cooling rack with the paper towels underneath so that the food doesn’t lay in the oil. 😃
I'm always open to suggestions and love tips and tricks. I agree about the hot oil. I wouldn't go any hotter than my 375 degrees. That's an interesting tip about baking powder in a batter for fried foods. I'll be sure to try that when I am frying something with a wet batter like shrimp. Thanks for sharing!
I have a suggestion for an added little kick to fried green tomatoes. Prior to battering them sprinkle them with lemon pepper seasoning. Lemon brings up the tangy zip of the tomatoes.
Oh yes! I love that idea. I'll try it! Thanks for sharing.