Fried green tomatoes are a classic Southern dish. Made with firm, unripe green tomatoes dipped in breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy.
Crunchy, tangy and so delicious, fried green tomatoes make the best use of unripened tomatoes. At the end of growing season, tomatoes don’t always have enough time to ripen fully. By pulling them while they are still firm and green, you can turn them into a tasty lunch.
Fried green tomatoes
FGT for shorthand, came to me in my 30’s. As a Northerner, I didn’t grow up with them. Like everyone, I’d seen the movie, but had never eaten a green tomato – fried or otherwise.
And then. I had my first taste. I was hooked instantly. Tangy, just a bit acidic, crunchy and so good.
How to prepare green tomatoes for frying
Line a baking sheet (cookie sheet) with a double layer of paper towel. Place the slices of tomato on the paper towel, then put another double layer of paper towel on top of them.
Let the tomatoes sit for 5 – 10 minutes while you prepare the breading station. Taking a bit of moisture off of the slices will help the breading stick when they are frying.
First, combine flour with seasonings and put in a shallow bowl. I use these small stainless steel kitchen bowls when breading, they are the perfect size.
Then combine milk and egg in another bowl.
Finally, put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. This is a standard breading procedure for just about anything that is fried.
After they have been breaded, gently slide them into a hot cast iron skillet and let them shallow fry until golden and crispy on both sides.
A quick word on frying – always place items into hot oil AWAY from your body, not toward you. Same rules apply when flipping tomatoes in oil. Gently turn them over with a slotted spatula toward the back of the stove. If oil splashes, you are less likely to get burned.
How to serve fried green tomatoes
You can eat them just as they are, but here are a few suggestions if you don’t eat food right from the pan like I do.
- Po’ boys – add a slice to your favorite po’boy.
- Burger – put a slice or two on your favorite patty.
- BLT – swap out the red tomatoes.
- Cajun shrimp – the tangy tomatoes go really well with these shrimp.
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- 4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4" rounds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- pinch cayenne pepper
- pinch paprika
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup milk or buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, any kind you have on hand
- oil for frying
- Remoulade sauce for dipping
- Place slices of green tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with a double layer of paper towel. Put another double layer of paper towel on top of them and lightly press to absorb a little moisture. Set aside.
- Combine flour, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper in a shallow dish and whisk together. Set aside.
- In a separate dish, whisk egg and milk together.
- In a third dish (it will be worth the dirty dishes, I promise) add the breadcrumbs. (see note)
- Lightly season tomatoes on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge through flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Then dip into egg mixture and coat with seasoned breadcrumbs. (see note)
- Heat a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) with enough oil to go about 1/4 inch up the side. Heat oil on medium high heat (350 degrees with a thermometer) and carefully slide tomatoes slices into the oil, dropping them in away from you, not toward you. If the oil splashes, it will not splatter you, but the back of the stove.
- Fry until golden and crispy, then flip over (see above!) and fry until crispy on the other side.
- Remove and place on a bed of paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately.
* I add a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano or thyme into the breadcrumbs if I don't have seasoned breadcrumbs.
* I used a combination of panko and fine Italian breadcrumb. The panko is great for crunch, but the fine breadcrumbs stick to the tomatoes better than the larger panko.
** When frying anything breaded, I have found it very helpful to let it rest before immediately frying - Place breaded slices on a cooling rack and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows your coating to adhere to the tomatoes. You know how disappointing it is when your breading falls off in the pan or as soon as you cut into it? Let it rest beforehand and that will be a thing of the past.
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Serving Size:3 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 11g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 6/25/13, most recent update 7/7/21.