Fried Green Tomatoes are a true Southern delicacy in the summer! Learn how to make perfectly crispy fried green tomatoes with a cornmeal breading. I’ll also show you how to freeze them for later!
What are Fried Green Tomatoes?
Fried green tomatoes are unripened tomatoes that are picked when they are hard and completely green. The tomatoes are then sliced into nice thick slices, breaded, and fried in hot oil until they are perfectly crispy. Next, a sprinkle of sea salt and a dipping sauce finishes these tomatoes off. They are addictive, delicious, and actually quite easy to make!
Ingredients for Fried Green Tomatoes
You don’t need much to make this dish. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples you probably already have on hand. The one thing you may not have handy is a true green tomato. Don’t worry, I’ve got a few tips below to help make sure you pick out the best tomato for this recipe. Here is what goes into making these crispy fried green tomatoes:
- Green Tomatoes: the star of the show! You need a true green tomato. There can be absolutely no hint of red or pink anywhere. If you see any red this means the tomato has begun to ripen and will not stay firm when frying. It will be very mushy and unappetizing.
- Oil: you will need a neutral oil for frying such as canola, vegetable, or peanut oil.
- Flour and Cornmeal: I use a gluten-free variety but whatever brand you usually purchase will be fine.
- Breadcrumbs: I also use gluten-free breadcrumbs. For this recipe you can use Italian-style breadcrumbs or panko, it just depends on your own personal preference.
- Spices: Salt, pepper, and garlic powder are used in this recipe.
- Eggs: you will need a few beaten eggs to dip the tomato in and then toss in the breading.
How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes
If you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to master southern fried green tomatoes, don’t fret, it’s easy! You will need a cutting board, knife, frying pan and tongs to make this recipe. It is also quite helpful to have a few shallow bowls to make the breading station. I’ve documented the entire process below so you can see exactly how to make these at home.
Slice the Tomatoes
The most important step of this entire recipe is the first one, choosing the correct tomato. You need a super green, very firm unripened tomato for this recipe. If there is even a hint of red or softness anywhere on the tomato you don’t want to use it. If the tomato has started to ripen in the slightest it will become mushy and have a very undesirable texture and flavor once cooked.
After you pick a green tomato discard the tough ends and slice the center of the tomato into nice thick slices at least 1/4 of an inch.
Bread the Tomatoes
To achieve a nice crispy crust these tomatoes will be breaded twice. The first layer of breading is a mixture of flour, cornmeal, and spices. For this step take the tomato slices and dredge them in the mixture and place them on a baking sheet. After you have finished with the first layer you are going to put the whole pan of tomatoes in the freezer. Freeze them for 15-20 minutes just long enough that the first layer has time to set and they are nice and chilled.
Now onto the next layer! You are going to prep two shallow bowls, one with a beaten egg, and another with flour, breadcrumbs, and cornmeal. Dip each slice in the egg, then in the breading mixture.Place the doubled-crusted tomato slices on the baking sheet again and place them in the freezer for 10 minutes to help the breading set really well so it doesn’t come off as you fry them.
Fry the Tomatoes
When you are ready to fry the tomatoes heat a large skillet over medium heat and add about 1/2 an inch of oil to the skillet. When the oil is hot add a tiny pinch of the breading to the skillet. If the breading immediately sizzles it is hot enough. If the oil spatters and pops it is likely too hot and you need to reduce the heat slightly.
Carefully add the slices to the skillet. Be sure not to overcrowd the skillet and make sure they have room to cook without touching. Fry the tomatoes 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. When crisp remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Once the tomatoes have been fried place them on a paper towel to drain off any extra grease. Sprinkle with sea salt of if you love a little kick a sprinkle of Old Bay makes these unbelievable! Serve the tomatoes immediately with a dipping sauce of your choice. Some of my favorites include a cajun remolade sauce, ranch dressing or this wild jalapeno ranch for a real kick!
Now that you know how to fry green tomatoes, I can guarantee you’ll want to pair them with all of your favorite Southern dishes! Here are some entrees that pair nicely:
- Keto Chicken Tenders: crispy, tender, and delicious!
- Keto Crab Cakes: if you pair your tomatoes with a remoulade sauce it will go perfectly with these crab cakes.
- Cheesy Grits: you simply have to make these, they go with everything!
- Pecan Crusted Pork Chops: the sweet, nutty pecans are such a good flavor pairing with tangy fried tomatoes.
Once they’ve been fried, I recommend eating the tomatoes immediately. However, if you wind up with leftovers you can store them in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, preheat an air fryer to 350 degrees for 3 minutes. Add the leftover breaded tomatoes to the air fryer and fry 3 minutes or until warmed through. If you do not have an air fryer you can warm an oiled skillet over medium heat. You can shallow fry the tomatoes to reheat them.
How to Freeze Fried Green Tomatoes
To freeze these southern fried green tomatoes, follow the recipe all the way up until you’re supposed to fry the tomatoes. Instead of frying them, lay them out on a baking tray and freeze. Once hardened, transfer the breaded tomato slices to a Ziplock bag. When ready to fry the tomatoes, there’s no need to thaw them first.
Yes. Follow the assembly instructions but instead of frying heat an air fryer to 390 degrees for 3 minutes. Place the breaded tomatoes in the air fryer and lightly spray with cooking oil. Fry 4 minutes, flip and spritz the other side with cooking oil, fry an additional 3-4 minutes.
No, red tomatoes will be extreamly mushy. This works with green tomatoes because they have not ripened yet.
This recipe will work with any large, green slicing tomato.
Tips for the Best Fried Green Tomatoes
- You want to use totally green tomatoes for this recipe. Not green with a little red or mostly red but a little green. You want super green tomatoes.
- If there is any red at all, it means they have started to ripen. There is much more moisture in ripe tomatoes, than in unripe. You will have a much harder time getting a good crispy crust if you use anything other than a good, firm bright green tomato.
- Note that I used gluten-free Bisquick to make the fried tomato breading, but you can use any flour you’d like.
More Southern Side Dish Recipes:
- Keto Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
- Slow Cooker Spicy Greens and Black Eyed Peas
- Creole Roast Potatoes
- Sweet Potato and White Cheddar Corn Muffins
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes
- 5 green tomatoes
- Oil for frying use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil
- 2 eggs beaten
- Slice the tomatoes in fairly thick slices
- Mix the flour, cornmeal and spices listed for the first layer and dip each tomato slice in it making sure it is completely coated.
- Lay the slices on a large baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Crack eggs into a shallow bowl and blend with a fork.
- In a second bowl combine the breadcrumbs, flour and cornmeal.
- Dip each tomato slice in the egg and in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure to completely coat the tomato and lay back on the baking sheet in a single layer.
- At this point you can freeze the tomatoes in a single layer overnight and then place in a large ziplock bag.
- Add oil to a cast iron skillet. The oil should be about 1-inch deep. Heat until shimmering (careful, it will be very hot!).
- Fry until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.