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Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Fried green tomatoes, a dish steeped in rich history, have become an emblematic feature of Southern cuisine. Their origin, surprisingly, traces back to the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, emerging in the early 1900s. Initially, this dish was a resourceful way for farmers to use unripe tomatoes before early frosts. However, its popularity in the South skyrocketed, particularly after the 1991 film “Fried Green Tomatoes” showcased the dish in a quintessentially Southern setting. This cinematic portrayal not only heightened its popularity but also cemented its association with Southern culture and hospitality. Today, fried green tomatoes are celebrated across the South, not just as a culinary delight but as a symbol of Southern identity, tradition, and creativity in the kitchen.

The Recipe and Cooking Techniques

Creating the perfect fried green tomatoes begins with selecting the right tomatoes. Firm, unripe green tomatoes are ideal, as they hold up well during the frying process. The basic ingredients include green tomatoes, all-purpose flour, cornmeal or breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, and your choice of spices.

Preparation Steps:

  1. Slice the Tomatoes: Cut the tomatoes into half-inch thick slices.
  2. Season: Lightly season the slices with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat: Dredge the slices first in flour, then dip them into a mixture of beaten eggs and milk, and finally coat them with cornmeal or breadcrumbs.
  4. Fry: In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and fry the coated tomato slices until they are golden brown on both sides.

Variations in Recipes:

  • Some recipes add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the coating for a spicy kick.
  • Others use buttermilk instead of regular milk for a tangier flavor.
  • For a gluten-free version, almond flour and cornmeal can replace all-purpose flour.

For a detailed recipe and more tips on cooking these delicious slices to perfection, visit Betsy’s Round the Corner, known for their classic Southern dishes.

Nutritional Value

While fried green tomatoes are often enjoyed for their taste rather than their health benefits, they do offer some nutritional value:

  • They are a good source of antioxidants and vitamins.
  • The green tomatoes themselves are low in calories.

However, as with any fried food, moderation is key. For a healthier twist, some chefs bake them instead of frying. Check out Big Mike’s Soul Food for an authentic soul food experience that includes healthier cooking methods.

Serving and Pairing Ideas

Fried green tomatoes are incredibly versatile, making them a delightful addition to various dishes. Traditionally, they are served as appetizers with a dipping sauce like a creamy remoulade or ranch dressing. Modern culinary twists have seen them stacked in sandwiches, adding a crunchy, tangy element to BLTs or burgers.

Pairing Ideas:

  • With Seafood: Top fried green tomatoes with shrimp or crabmeat for an elegant entrée.
  • In Salads: Add them to a fresh salad for extra texture and flavor.
  • As a Side Dish: Serve alongside grilled meats or fish for a Southern-inspired meal.
  • With Eggs: Incorporate them into breakfast dishes, such as in an eggs Benedict variation.

These serving suggestions highlight the dish’s adaptability, making fried green tomatoes a beloved component in both traditional and contemporary Southern cuisine.


Regional Variations

Fried green tomatoes exhibit delightful regional variations that reflect the diverse culinary landscapes of the United States. In the Deep South, they are often served with a hearty helping of grits or draped in a rich, creamy gravy. Some regions prefer a cornmeal-only coating for extra crunch, while others opt for a mix of breadcrumbs and flour for a lighter texture. In coastal areas, chefs creatively top them with local seafood, integrating flavors like spicy remoulade sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon. The Midwest sometimes adds a twist by incorporating beer batter for a unique, airy crust. These regional adaptations not only showcase the versatility of fried green tomatoes but also represent the local tastes and ingredients, making each version a discovery of the region’s culinary identity.

Cultural Significance

In Southern culture, fried green tomatoes are more than just a dish; they are a symbol of tradition, resourcefulness, and hospitality. They embody the Southern spirit of turning simple, often overlooked ingredients into something extraordinary. This dish has been celebrated in various forms of media, most notably in Fannie Flagg’s novel and the subsequent film “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which played a significant role in popularizing the dish beyond the South. In literature and film, they often represent Southern identity, evoking nostalgia and a sense of community. The dish’s presence in Southern-themed restaurants and its frequent appearance in cookbooks and on cooking shows further cement its status as a cultural icon, beloved for both its taste and the stories it carries.


Can fried green tomatoes be made in advance?

  • While best served fresh, you can prepare them ahead of time and reheat in the oven for crispiness.

Are fried green tomatoes always made with unripe tomatoes?

  • Yes, unripe, firm green tomatoes are ideal for frying as they hold their shape and provide a tangy flavor.

What are the best dipping sauces for fried green tomatoes?

  • Popular choices include remoulade, ranch dressing, or a spicy aioli.

Can fried green tomatoes be made gluten-free?

  • Absolutely! Substitute all-purpose flour with almond flour or a gluten-free blend and use gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Are there any vegan options for frying green tomatoes?

  • Yes, use plant-based milk and a flaxseed egg substitute for a vegan-friendly version.

How can I prevent the breading from falling off while frying?

  • Ensure the tomato slices are dry before coating and let them rest for a few minutes after breading before frying.


Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

This classic Fried Green Tomatoes recipe brings a taste of Southern comfort to your table. Perfectly crispy and tangy, these fried delights are ideal as an appetizer, side dish, or a unique addition to sandwiches and salads. A simple yet flavorful dish that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 4 people
Calories 200 kcal


  • 3 shallow dishes for dredging
  • Large skillet for frying
  • Paper towels or cooling rack for draining
  • Tongs or spatula for flipping


  • 4 large green tomatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika optional for a bit of spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal or breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • Prepare the Tomatoes: Start by slicing the green tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In a shallow dish, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix well.
  • Egg Wash: In another shallow dish, beat the eggs and milk together.
  • Cornmeal or Breadcrumbs: Place the cornmeal or breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.
  • Coat the Tomatoes: Dredge each tomato slice in the flour mixture, then dip into the egg wash, and finally coat with cornmeal or breadcrumbs. Make sure each slice is well coated on all sides.
  • Heat the Oil: In a large skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. The oil is ready when a little flour sizzled in it bubbles and fries.
  • Fry the Tomatoes: Fry the coated tomato slices in batches, for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Don’t overcrowd the skillet.
  • Drain: Remove the fried tomatoes and drain them on paper towels or a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
  • Serve Hot: Serve your fried green tomatoes hot. They are delicious on their own or with a dipping sauce like ranch dressing, remoulade, or a spicy aioli.


  • For a healthier version, you can bake the coated tomatoes at 375°F (190°C) for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden and crispy.
  • Spice it up by adding cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.
  • Ensure tomatoes are firm and green for the best results.
  • Let the coated tomatoes sit for 5 minutes before frying to help the coating stick better.
Keyword Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

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