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Crispy Air Fryer Okra

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Here’s another favorite fair food you can make and enjoy at home, Air Fryer Fried Okra! But instead of paying 9 dollars for a tiny little basket, you can make two whole air fryer baskets full for a couple of bucks depending on the price of fresh okra! Everyone loves it and they can never believe this easy okra recipe tastes SO GOOD! 

Cutting board with fried okra and dipping sauce on a checkered napkin.

Take fresh okra, pantry spices, a little corn meal, flour, and buttermilk and you’ve got yourself the best damn fried okra around. And talk about easy, the air fryer means you’re not messing around with a deep fat fryer either! 

Crispy Okra with sriracha dipping sauce.

Easy Air-Fried Okra 

This is the EASIEST way to make fried okra. The best part about Air Fryer Recipes is you don’t have to heat up oil to fry it or use a deep fat fryer. Once you’ve preheated the air fryer it’s just a short 10-12 minutes until the okra is crispy and browned. Is it AS good as deep-fried Southern Fried Okra? Probably not but it’s a pretty good approximation!

Close up of air fryer okra.

Remember if you’re cooking foods in the air fryer you will need to spritz your items for cooking with oil from a spray bottle. Do not use any cooking spray that is an aerosol, that kind of spray oil has propellents that stick to your air fryer basket and ruin the finish. I like to use light olive oil or avocado oil in a spray bottle.

Dipping fried okra in a spicy sauce.

Ingredients for Crispy Okra

  • fresh okra pods for best results, you can use frozen see notes below
  • Buttermilk –or see notes on buttermilk below
  • all-purpose flour
  • Corn meal
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Salt
  • Cajun spice mix-see notes below
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Spray bottle with oil OR oil and a pastry brush
  • 3 medium or large bowls
  • Measuring spoons
  • Forks
  • Air fryer—I use and love the Cosori! 

fresh okra or frozen?

I used fresh okra because it makes the crispiest final dish. But if you can find frozen okra in the grocery store that can be used as well. Just leave the okra frozen until ready to use. If you thaw frozen okra before you make this dish you’ll just have one big slimy mess of okra. 

Air fryer basket full of crispy okra.

If it’s frozen in one big chunk the best way to break it up is to just whack it on the counter to break it apart, it’s a good idea to put it in a bag first.

If using fresh okra here’s how to clean it. Wash the pods lightly and pat them dry. Any gross or rotten okra can be tossed out. Then cut off the tops and tips from each pod. Cut the cleaned pods into ½ inch or so slices. The closer you get to uniform slices the better results you’ll get because they’ll all cook at the same time. 

BUT remember okra does get slimy when you cut it so don’t cut the okra before you’re ready to bread it and cook it. No one likes slimy okra unless it’s in gumbo! And then we’ll let it slide!

Breading fried okra.

A Note on Breading

I know a LOT Of recipes call for an egg wash for the okra in when breading it. I felt like I could taste the egg when I tried it that way. I discovered that I prefer buttermilk to eggs. If you can’t have milk simply swap out the buttermilk for a couple of beaten eggs. Either way, the coating will stick, I think it’s a personal preference. 

Tossing okra in cornmeal and breadcrumb coating.

Can I make Buttermilk if I don’t have any?

If you don’t have buttermilk you can make it! I mean you can make something akin to buttermilk if you don’t have any. It won’t TASTE like buttermilk but it will make a slightly sour and thickened milk product that you can use in this recipe. 

To make a FULL cup of buttermilk replacement simply put about a Tablespoon of vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup and top it off with milk. Give it a stir and let it sit for a few minutes. It will thicken and sour and then its ready to use. For this recipe you really only need about ½ cup of buttermilk so cut the ingredients in half. 

What if I don’t have a cajun seasoning mix?

That happens! I just happen to have people in my house who love a lot of spice and heat in their food so we keep it on hand. If you don’t keep it on hand use ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ tsp thyme and oregano, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix it all together and use about 1 tsp of it, and maybe even a little bit more because those spice mixes do settle a bit. This will get you there for spices! 

Okra dipped in spicy sauce.

Best dipping Sauce for Breaded Okra

I LOVE and make this spicy Sriracha Aioli or Jalapeño Ranch Dressing. But this Bacon Ranch Dressing or even a Marinara Sauce work just as well!

Inside of fried okra.

Yield: 4 servings

Fried Okra in the Air Fryer

Crispy Okra with sriracha dipping sauce.

If you find Okra in the grocery grab it and let's air fry some crispy fried okra!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk or homemade buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning like Slap Yo Mama or other blends or see notes of making your version
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

    1. Set out 3 bowls in one bowl put the plain flour
    2. in the second bowl put the buttermilk
    3. And in the 3rd put the cornmeal, bread crumbs, and spices
    4. Set up the air fryer and get it preheating at 400° for about 5 minutes
    5. Set out a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil
    6. Take about half of the okra and cut off the tops and tips
    7. then cut okra pods into about ½-inch rounds, don’t cut the other half until you’re about to coat them or they will get slimyToss in the bowl of flour
    8. Add to the buttermilk and toss to combine 
    9. then add to the breadcrumbs and use a fork or spoon to make sure every piece is coated
    10. Set on the baking sheet until the air fryer is done preheating, it should be really close
    11. When it’s ready lay the okra in the basket and spritz with oil, or use a pastry brush to dab it on 
    12. Air fryer on 380° for 5-6  minutes and gently shake the basket to turn the over
    13. Air fry for another 6-8 minutes or until the okra is browned and crispy and cooked through
    14. While the first batch is frying go ahead and prepare the remaining okra in the same way
    15. serve with your favorite sauce

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 212Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 4mgSodium 838mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 8g

This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.

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