Last updated on May 15th, 2023
Fried green tomatoes are a Southern food favorite. Sliced green tomatoes are are coated with flour, dipped in eggs, and then finally dredged in cornmeal coating before frying to a light golden brown.
Fried green tomatoes are synonymous with Southern cooking, but truth is, they likely didn’t originate here. You may be surprised to learn they can be traced back to Jewish cooking in the Mid and Northwest at the turn of the last century. So how did they become known as a Southern food? You can thank Fannie Flagg’s novel, Fried Green Tomatoes.
But the idea behind them is a practical one. If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, sometimes it seems like it takes forevvvver for them to ripen. Not so long ago, when people didn’t have air-conditioned grocery stores full of food on every street corner, you grew your own food and made due with what you had. Green tomatoes aren’t unedible, but they sure don’t taste good in their natural state. Anything tastes better fried, right?
How to make Fried Green Tomatoes
The key is to achieve a crispy golden crust without overcooking the tomato. You want tomato slices that are about 1/4-inch thick. Too thin and they will become mushy from being overcooked. Too thick and they won’t cook all the way through.
Heat about two inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. While the oil is heating, sprinkle both sides of the sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Next, mix 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour and one tablespoon of garlic powder together in a shallow dish. In a second dish, beat together four large eggs and two tablespoons of milk. In a third dish, mix together 1 1/2 cups of yellow cornmeal, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of paprika.
Start by coating the tomatoes slices in flour first. Then dip them in the egg wash. Finally, dredge the slices in the cornmeal coating. Double coating them in flour and cornmeal makes the coating light and extra crispy.
Add 3-4 tomatoes to the hot oil at a time. You don’t want to add too many tomatoes and overcrowd the skillet. It can cause the temperature of the oil to drop too much and your tomatoes won’t fry uniformly. Fry the tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden and crispy, then drain on paper towels. Immediately sprinkle the fried tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
Fried foods always taste better when paired with a dipping sauce, so I recommend serving them with homemade comeback sauce. Similar to a spicy thousand island, it’s actually a salad dressing my husband’s family introduced me to when we started dating. However, we frequently use it for dipping all varieties of crunchy fried goodness.
Storage, Reheating and Freezing
Storage: Transfer any leftover fried green tomatoes to an airtight container. I recommend placing waxed paper or paper towels between the tomatoes to absorb any excess oil. Consume fried green tomatoes within five days.
Reheating: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes on a baking rack and bake for 5-10 minutes until the coating is crisp and the tomatoes are heated through.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing fried green tomatoes, either fried or raw. Freezing and thawing changes the texture of the tomatoes, causing them to become watery and mushy.
You Might Also Like:
- Pimento Cheese and Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
- Homemade Comeback Sauce
- Southern Deviled Eggs
- Fried Okra
Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes:
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 4 green tomatoes cut into 1/4-inch slices
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- In a large skillet, preheat oil to over medium high heat
- Sprinkle both sides of tomatoes with salt and pepper.
- Mix the flour and garlic powder together in a shallow dish.
- In a second dish, beat together eggs and milk.
- In a third dish, mix together cornmeal, cayenne, and paprika.
- Coat tomatoes with flour, then egg wash, then cornmeal.
- Fry in batches until crisp and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt an pepper to taste.
My sister sent me your blog this morning and everything looks so easy! I can’t wait to try your recipes!
Absolutely AWESOME!!! I added a little more cayenne though 🙂
I have to do this when I have tomatoes this summer. Looks delicious!!!!!
I love the Neelys’ recipes. They look super delish.