Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are a dish I have loved for years. Growing up in North Dakota, it wasn’t a dish I was actually raised with because it’s not as popular in the Midwest, but when the 1991 movie came out, I became curious. We all know the movie wasn’t actually about the tomatoes, but my love for and curiosity of food had started at a very young age.

Throughout my young adulthood, I would order them just to try them anywhere they were on a menu. As with most dishes, some styles were much better than others. I came across my favorite style at a restaurant titled after the infamous dish in Galena, Ill.

After culinary school, I worked at a resort nearby. If I was lucky enough to be off of work on a day they were open, I would often stop in for a glass of wine and an order of tomatoes. If I was really lucky, it would be a day they were open for brunch so I could enjoy them with a lobster omelet.

Those tomatoes were served breaded and topped with cheese and marinara sauce. Today, I am going to share with you my version of Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes.

The first step in the recipe is the easiest. Go to your garden—or your wonderful co-worker’s garden—and look for green tomatoes.

The best part about frying green tomatoes is the only thing you are looking for to see if they are ready is making sure there aren’t any red or pinkish areas on the tomatoes. Even slightly pink tomatoes will soften too much when they are fried.

The next step is to wash the tomatoes and set up a proper frying station. I set my frying station up in a row, just like I was taught in culinary school. The first part of my station is my cutting board or plate with the sliced green tomatoes. The next is a shallow bowl that is filled with enough buttermilk for dipping the tomatoes in. The next dish in the seasoned cornmeal.

My favorite part of the station is the hot pan with about ¼ inch of olive oil in the bottom. This is where the magic happens. The final part of your station should be a platter lined with a few paper towels to absorb any extra grease.

To make the tomatoes, take a sliced green tomato and dunk it into the buttermilk until coated. Let the excess buttermilk run off then lay it in the cornmeal, flip it over and press the other side gently into the cornmeal to ensure the tomato surfaces are covered.

Next, when your oil is shimmering over medium-high heat, pan fry three or four tomato slices at a time.

They should take about three or four minutes per side and should come out golden brown and crispy. Make sure they are frying and not just sitting in the pan soaking up the oil. If you start to run out of oil while you are frying your tomatoes, just add more, but be sure to heat the oil again before continuing to fry.

Once they are done, drain them on the paper towels.

Serve these delicious tomatoes hot with your favorite marinara sauce. Warning: Make a bunch.

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3-4 green tomatoes, cut into ½-inch thick slices

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cracked pepper

1 cup olive oil

1½ cups marinara sauce, heated through


Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork until evenly combined. Set aside.

Pour buttermilk into small bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in shallow frying pan over high heat until shimmering.

Dip tomato slices in buttermilk and let excess drain off. Dredge each side of the tomato in seasoned cornmeal.

Pan fry, about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove tomato slices from the oil and drain on paper towel lined plate.

Serve warm with warm marinara sauce.

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