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Southern Fried Okra (Air Fryer)

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Southern fried okra (air fryer) has a deliciously spicy crunch that makes it an addicting snack, appetizer, or side any time. This super easy to make, healthier version of the fried classic offers the same great flavor with much less oil. It is the perfect appetizer for a party or a great snack any time you want.

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What is Fried Okra?

Fried okra is a Southern staple. It is traditionally made using a coating of egg, corn meal, and cayenne pepper and then deep fried to a golden brown. 

Our recipe skips the deep fryer and uses the air fryer to cook up a much healthier version of this classic okra recipe.

What is Southern Fried Okra?

Southern fried okra and fried okra typically refer to the same appetizer. If there is a difference, it comes down to adding some additional spice to the batter to give it a bit of heat.

What Does Fried Okra Taste Like?

Okra itself has a mild flavor often described as similar to eggplant. It is a fibrous, but tender veggie that often gets a bad rap for being slimy. Fortunately, if you follow our recipe, you will not get slimy okra in the end.

Vegan Southern Fried Okra

The Best Air Fryer Okra recipe

Our southern fried okra recipe uses the air fryer to deliver a healthier version of the classic dish with less fat and the same crunch and flavor as the deep fried version.

Also, we give you tips on how to avoid slimy okra, so you will get crispy okra every time.

And if you like variety, you can choose whatever spice blend you like to flavor the fried okra.  

Is Okra in Air Fryer Healthy?

Air fryer okra is generally healthy. Okra has a several vitamins and minerals that are great for you.

It also uses very little oil, so it does not have many calories. 

It does have a decent amount of carbs, so it may not fit great in a keto diet. But you can air fry the okra without flour or breadcrumbs if you want to reduce the carb count.

vegan fried okra ingredients

🥘Ingredients

When you make okra in the air fryer, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh Okra - We recommend not using frozen.
  • Corn starch or corn meal - Corn starch offers a good crunch when air fried, but you could use a different flour if you prefer..
  • Panko bread crumbs - These provide a good crisp, but you could use regular breadcrumbs instead if you prefer.
  • Garlic powder - If the seasoning your using has added garlic powder, you can skip the garlic powder.
  • Seasoning - You can use a different blend based on what you like or want to try. Our favorites include Italian, Cajun, or Indian spice blends.
  • Salt - You just need to add a small amount or omit all together.
  • Water - This creates a bit of a paste or dough to air fry the okra.

💭How to Cut Okra for Frying

To prep your okra, first wash and dry it carefully to avoid breaking it.

Once you have washed it, use your knife to cut off the ends.

Finally, carefully cut the okra at a slight angle into ½ inch long round pieces. 

vegan air fryer okra

🔪How To make Fried Okra in an Air Fryer

  • First, wash and dry the okra before cutting it into ½ inch long rounds.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the corn flour, panko, garlic powder, and water. Mix it until it forms a paste or dough.
  • Next, preheat the Air Fryer to 390 F or 200 C.
  • Toss the okra chunks in corn starch or corn meal mix until evenly coated.
  • Carefully remove the basket from the air fryer and then spray the air fryer basket with oil.
  • Next, place the okra in the air fryer basket in a single layer without overcrowding it.
  • Fry the okra for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to shake it occasionally as they cook.
  • Repeat these steps for as many  batches as you need to.
  • Enjoy them as is or with your favorite dipping sauce.Southern Fries Okra

Making Fried Okra using an Instant pot Air Fryer Lid

Preheat the Air Fryer Lid to 390 F or 200 C.

Place a trivet in the Instant Pot. Place the wire mesh on the trivet.

Spread the coated okra on the mesh evenly in a single layer and spray cooking oil.

Fry the okra for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to shake it occasionally as they cook.

💭Pro tips and tricks

When you want to make this air fried okra recipe, follow these tips and tricks for the best results:

  • Make sure to fully wash and dry the okra before using.
  • Work quickly with the cut okra to help prevent it from getting too slimy
  • Place the finished okra on a paper towel or on a wire rack to help prevent it from getting soggy as it sits.

Vegan Fried Air fryer okra

How To Fry Okra Without it Being Slimy?

There are a couple of tricks you can use to reduce the slimy texture of okra.

One way is to soak the cut okra in a bowl of vinegar for 30 minutes and then rinse them thoroughly.

Alternatively, simply cooking them at high heat in the air fryer should remove most of the sliminess. 

Finally, okra gets slimier the longer it sits once cut. The solution is to work fast and cut, bread, and then air fry it to help prevent it from becoming slimy in the first place.

How To Keep Fried Okra Crispy

The best thing you can do is eat the okra fresh from the air fryer. If you are making a large batch, you can place finished okra on a paper towel lined plate. The towel will help prevent condensation and keep them crispy while you finish the rest of the okra. 

You can also place them on a wire rack, which won’t allow moisture to build on them either.

Either way, you can place them in a oven set on warm to keep them hot while you finish cooking the rest.

Air fryer southern vegan okra

How to Serve

Air fried okra is a great sharable appetizer or snack. It goes great with any of your favorite dipping sauces.

Can Air Fryer Fried Okra be Made in Advance?

You can fully make the fried okra in the air fryer the day or two before you intend to serve it. To do this, allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cooled, place the okra in an airtight container and place in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer set at 300 for a few minutes until warmed through.

How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat

Southern style fried okra in the air fryer tastes best when you serve it hot and fresh. But if you have left overs or are making it ahead, you can definitely store leftovers.

To do this, allow the okra to cool completely on paper towels or a wire rack. Once cool, place the okra in an airtight container and place either in the fridge or freezer.

If you use the fridge, they should stay fresh for about 3 to 5 days. If you freeze them, then they should stay fresh for about 6 months.

To reheat, you can set your air fryer to 350 and air fry them until they warm through.

vegan air fryer southern okra

Fried Okra Air Fryer FAQ

Here are a few more frequently asked questions and their answers about frying okra in the air fryer.

Do you wash okra before frying?

Yes! You should wash and thoroughly dry it before air frying the okra. 

How do you fix frozen breaded okra in an air fryer?

Whether you use a store bought bag of fried okra or follow this recipe, you should let the frozen okra thaw completely in the fridge the night before. We recommend placing the okra on a wire rack so the frozen water drips off and does not cause them to become soggy.

You can then cook them in the air fryer for about 10 minutes at 390 F.

Do you thaw frozen breaded okra before frying?

We recommend thawing the okra first. To do this, place on a wire rack and then thaw them in the fridge overnight. This helps prevent too much liquid from soaking into the breading, which can result in soggy okra.

Vegan Fried Okra

Let us know what you think

If you make this delicious fried okra recipe, let us know how it went! When you make this, be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

More Air Fryer Recipes

If you are serving a crowd, you can prepare some of our other healthy air fryer foods:

 

Air Fryer Fried Okra

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Fresh Okra, cut into ½ inch thick round.
  • Corn starch or corn meal 2 tbsp
  • Panko 3 tbsp
  • Garlic powder 1 tsp
  • Seasoning 1 tsp, Itaian, or Cajun or Indian
  • Salt to taste
  • Water 2.5 tbsp

Instructions

How to Cut Okra for Frying

To prep your okra, first wash and dry it carefully to avoid breaking it.

Once you have washed it, use your knife to cut off the ends.

Finally, carefully cut the okra at a slight angle into ½ inch long round pieces. 

How To Make Fried Okra in an Air Fryer

  • First, wash and dry the orka before cutting it into ½ inch long rounds.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the corn starch, panko, garlic powder, and water. Mix it until it forms a paste or dough.
  • Next, preheat the Air Fryer to 390 F or 200 C.
  • Toss the okra chunks in corn starch or corn meal mix until evenly coated.
  • Carefully remove the basket from the air fryer and then spray the air fryer basket with oil.
  • Next, place the okra in the air fryer basket in a single layer without overcrowding it.
  • Fry the okra for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to shake it occasionally as they cook.
  • Repeat these steps for as many  batches as you need to.
  • Enjoy them as is or with your favorite dipping sauce.

How to make fried okra using an air fryer or crisper lid


Preheat the Air Fryer Lid to 390 F or 200 C.

Place a trivet in the Instant Pot. Place the wire mesh on the trivet.

Spread the coated okra on the mesh evenly in a single layer and spray cooking oil.

Fry the okra for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to shake it occasionally as they cook.

Notes

Pro tips and tricks

When you want to make this air fried okra recipe, follow these tips and tricks for the best results:

  • Make sure to fully wash and dry the okra before using.
  • Work quickly with the cut okra to help prevent it from getting too slimy
  • Place the finished okra on a paper towel or on a wire rack to help prevent it from getting soggy as it sits.

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Brenda Davis

Friday 18th of March 2022

You can use frozen okra too. Thaw then follow with seasoned cornmeal. Place in air fryer or this recipe should work.

April

Thursday 17th of February 2022

You say to place the okra in the flour mixture but there is no flour listed in the ingredients. Was it accidently ommited or did you mean to say dry mixture or planko mixture?

TheBellyRulesTheMind

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Fixed the typo. you can coat it on corn meal or corn starch

Rita

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

Southerners do not consider okra an appetizer. For us, it’s a big part of the meal. We also use cornmeal for breading.

Merci Jameson

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

You might want to fix the typo in t he photo from Southren to Southern. Otherwise looks great!

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