Fried Green Tomatoes

a stack of fried green tomatoes

Traditional Southern fried green tomatoes are a little luxury of summer that we adore. Thick sliced green tomatoes are first dredged in buttermilk then in a cornmeal flour mixture, and finally fried to golden perfection. Do this in a skillet, in a deep fryer, or in your air fryer, but don’t miss out!

a stack of fried green tomatoes

fried green tomatoes stacked high!

I’ve never met a tomato I didn’t love, and that goes for tiny cherries, bold heirlooms, classic reds, and of course firm tart green tomatoes. When I got a bunch in my CSA box this week I knew just what to do. Like peach cobbler and homemade lemonade, fried green tomatoes are on the must-make list every summer.

green tomatoes

what are green tomatoes?

Green tomatoes are simply unripe tomatoes, they are not a specific variety. They’re green and very firm, in fact they don’t give at all when you squeeze them. These meaty tomatoes aren’t juicy, but they have a tart, citrusy flavor and are more acidic than ripe tomatoes. You wouldn’t want to eat them raw, but they’re fabulous fried up with a crispy golden cornmeal crust. In this recipe their firm texture holds up and that famously tart flavor is just perfect.

Note: there are heirloom varieties of tomato that are green when ripe, but that’s not what we want here.

gather your ingredients

  • green tomatoes ~ medium and large tomatoes work best, and they should feel hard to the touch.
  • buttermilk ~ look for cultured buttermilk in the milk section of your grocery store.
  • yellow cornmeal
  • all purpose flour
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
green tomato in cornmeal mixture

let’s make it!

  1. Slice your green tomatoes nice and thick, about 1/2 inch. Why so thick? You want your tomatoes to maintain their firm texture while they cook, and thin slices will tend to soften before the crust can crisp up.
  2. Pour cultured buttermilk into one bowl.
  3. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper in another.
  4. Dip the tomato slices into the buttermilk, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture.
  5. Fry in hot oil until golden on each side.
  6. Enjoy hot with your favorite sauce.
frying green tomatoes

4 ways to fry green tomatoes

You have a few choices when it comes to frying tomatoes, and I’ll list them here. I recommend either of the first 2 (skillet or deep frying) for the best and most authentic results.

  1. IN A SKILLET, the old fashioned way. Add about 1/4 inch vegetable oil to your pan and heat until it reaches about 350F. Fry the tomatoes in batches so you don’t crowd your pan. Cook until golden on one side, then flip and do the same on the other.
  2. IN A DEEP FRYER, heat the oil to 350F and, again working in batches, fry the tomatoes until golden. This should take about 2 minutes, and there is no need to flip.
  3. IN AN AIR FRYER: This will vary from machine to machine, but generally set your fryer to 400F and spray the interior with oil. Place your coated tomatoes in the basket and spray lightly with oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until golden, then flip, spray, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden on the final side. You will have to spray the tomatoes somewhat liberally in order for them to get crisp and golden.
  4. IN THE OVEN, spray a baking sheet with an oil sprayer (not a commercial spray) and heat in the oven as it preheats to 425. Place the tomatoes on the hot baking sheet and spray well with the oil. Bake for about 3 -4 minutes, or until golden on the bottom side, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until golden on the other side. You will have to spray the tomatoes somewhat liberally in order for them to get crisp and golden.
fried green tomatoes, stacked

we live for summer tomatoes

a stack of fried green tomatoes
5 from 11 votes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Southern Fried Green Tomatoes are dredged in buttermilk then in a cornmeal flour mix, and fried to golden perfection in a skillet, deep fryer or air fryer!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 225kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 3 large green tomatoes, or about 8 half-inch slices of firm green tomatoes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • vegetable oil for frying

optional lemon horseradish mayo

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • prepared horseradish, to taste. I used 2-3 teaspoons.
  • squeeze of lemon juice


  • Thickly slice your tomatoes to make 8 slices, 1/2 inch thick each.
    slicing green tomatoes
  • pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl.
  • In another shallow bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, if using, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper to combine.
    making cornmeal crust mixture for fried green tomatoes
  • Heat several inches of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350F. If using a skillet, heat about 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Note: if using a skillet you'll have to add more oil as necessary.
  • Dunk the tomatoes in the buttermilk,
    green tomato in buttermilk
  • Then dredge in the cornmeal mixture to coat well.
    green tomato in cornmeal breading
  • Fry the slices, working in batches, until golden on one side, then flip and cook until golden on the other side. This should take about 2 minutes in the deep fryer, and perhaps a little longer in a skillet, depending on how hot your oil is.
    fried green tomatoes in a skillet
  • Drain the tomatoes on paper towels and serve hot, with your favorite hot sauce, or my horseradish dipping sauce.
    fried green tomatoes on a plate

to make dipping sauce

  • Blend the ingredients together with a fork and taste to adjust.


Serving: 2slices | Calories: 225kcal
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
e book

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for this excellent but true recipe. Reminded me of my Grandma’s. Sometimes the best things are not the fancy 17 step recipes!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2021 at 8:33 am

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I needed to make my own buttermilk but it was great. Am having trouble signing up for your emails. Am older don’t do Facebook, Twitter etc. any ideas?

    Thank you

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 7:49 am

    5 stars
    These are a summer staple in MD, but we like to top them with another summer staple MD Crab Dip for a wonderful appetizer.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 8, 2021 at 8:07 am

      omg you’ve just got my mouth watering, that sounds amazing and I’ve never heard of it!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Luv fgt when they can be found at F/M in Cali,we like to salt the slices to drain some of the liquid out and to help the breading stick to get crispy.Really want to try the lemon horseradish mayo,sounds good.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Hi Sue, just thought I’d let you know that you have a little typo in your opening paragraph. It says thick sliced onion instead of tomato. Just thought you might want to know. These look interesting. May just have to give them a whirl!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 2, 2021 at 7:41 am

      Fixed it and thanks Lola ~ and yes, you neeeeed to make these 🙂

      • Reply
        Sandy Rosenthal
        August 2, 2021 at 10:57 am

        Your intro in the email is still showing as onions. That being said, this would be a good coating for homemade onion rings!

        • Reply
          Sue Moran
          August 2, 2021 at 11:25 am

          I know, it was a typo, but you’re right!

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