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Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe and History of This Classic Southern Side Dish Recipe

Does your vegetable garden have more unripe tomatoes than you can use in salads? Are you wondering what to do with unripe tomatoes? Try using some of the green ones for this fried green tomatoes recipe.

This delicious side dish makes a nice change from raw tomatoes and is very, very tasty.

There is nothing quite like the taste of a ripe, red garden tomato. But in the heat of summer, tomato ripening will slow down because of the high temperatures, leaving us with green tomatoes. often with tomato plant leaves curling and other tomato plant problems as well.

Also, with the onset of fall, many tomato plants still have lots of green tomatoes on them. This recipe is a great way to use them.

Fried green tomatoes in a frying pan.

My vegetable garden is producing tomatoes by the baskets full.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood squirrels have found them and started devouring them if I let them even slightly ripen on the vine. 

When I walked out this morning there were dozens of them on the ground. Some with just a bite out of them.

I figured that they would get the rest of them, so I brought in most of the green ones that the squirrels had not yet managed to get to. See my article on how to ripen green tomatoes off the vine indoors here.

But for some, I decided to try my hand at cooking them.

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Do you have a batch of green, unripe tomatoes? Make some fried green tomatoes with them. They are cooked in peanut oil and a seasoned cornmeal crust and just delicious. Get the recipe on The Gardening Cook. #friedgreentomatoes Click To Tweet

History of fried green tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are often associated with Southern cooking. However, if you were to examine Southern newspapers and cookbooks before the 1970s, it would be unlikely that you would find them mentioned.

The idea for the recipe dates to the 19th century and Jewish immigrants. Fried green tomatoes became popular in the South after the 1987 movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.

Lets make a fried green tomatoes recipe!

To make this dish, start with some green tomatoes from the vine.

green tomatoes on the vine

I had picked a basket of green ones yesterday and cooked fried green tomatoes last night. It was the first time I have had them and I must say, they were delicious.

To make this fried green tomatoes recipe, choose green, firm tomatoes. They will slice more easily and will hold up in cooking.

Green tomato slices on a cutting board.

The un-ripened tomatoes are coated with a perfectly seasoned cornmeal breading and fried in peanut oil until they are crispy and golden.

Green tomatoes and fried green tomatoes in a frying pan with a fork.

I used a combination of spices, corn meal and flour along with a rib rub for flavor.

They are not the same as having a vine ripened red tomato but at least I have a way to make use of the green ones I pick while I deal with the squirrel problem.

If you would like a bit of extra spice, serve them with a bit of hot sauce. 

Fried green tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are a very popular side dish to take to a Southern barbecue. These sliced and fried crunchy bites of tangy green tomatoes will delight your friends.

They are easy to make and will vanish in a second!

Pin this recipe for fried green tomatoes

Would you like a reminder of this recipe for fried green tomatoes? Just pin this image to one of your cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.


Green tomatoes and tomato slices in a frying pan with words Fried Green Tomatoes.

Admin note: this post for fried green tomatoes first appeared on the blog in June of 2013. I have updated the post to add new photos, a printable recipe card. and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: 6 servings

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes and fried green tomatoes in a frying pan with a fork.

Add some flour and spice rub with cornmeal and bread crumbs for a tasty side dish of these fried green tomatoes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 6 medium, firm green tomatoes
  • Kosher salt to season
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp of Famous Dave's Rib Rub, (any seasoning mix you like will work)
  • 1/2 cup of 2% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of dried Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of peanut oil.


  1. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices and season them with Kosher salt and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  2. Beat the egg and milk together.
  3. Put out three bowls and combine the flour and seasoning spices into one, the egg and milk in another and the corn meal and bread crumbs in the third.
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Dip the tomato slices into the flour mixture first, then the egg/milk mix and finally into the cornmeal and bread crumb mixture.
  5. Fry the coated tomato slices for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Don't crowd the pan.Cook them in batches.
  6. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 335mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

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Rubi Kaur

Monday 23rd of March 2020

These meatballs are so good. My family loves them…kids included. They’ve become my “go to” turkey meatball recipe. I’ve made them quite a few times and finally decided I should say thank you for a good recipe. Thank you 🙂

Rubi Kaur

Thursday 19th of March 2020

I think the size of chicken breasts has changed dramatically since Julia Child's day, which could account for some of her shorter cook time.

Carol Speake

Friday 20th of March 2020

I agree. Some of them are huge.

Rose Martine

Monday 27th of January 2020

You are AMAZING! Thank you thank you thank you so much for this. I was considering doing the same thing and you’ve just made the task a lot less daunting.

Rubi Kaur

Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Looks delicious ! I was wondering if you could post recipes for school lunches? I’m trying to eat healthier while trying to balance out homework and exercise and I would like some simple, quick and healthy lunch recipes. Thanks 🙂

Alisha Ross

Monday 20th of January 2020

One pot dishes are my favorite to make. This looks so delicious and easy to make. I will have to give it a try this weekend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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