Gold Standard: Okra Beignets

Two great Southern specialties—okra and deep-frying—come together in this James Villas recipe.
Okra Beignets

Okra Beignets

Turn your garden-fresh okra into delicious nuggets of deep-fried goodness with the help of Southern Fried cookbook author James Villas.

©2013, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Southern Fried by James Villas. Photography by Jason Wyche

2013, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Southern Fried by James Villas. Photography by Jason Wyche

Turn your garden-fresh okra into delicious nuggets of deep-fried goodness with the help of Southern Fried cookbook author James Villas.

Carolina Okra Beignets

Makes 4 servings

These spicy beignets were inspired by the ones Bill Neal fried up when he opened Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and, quite frankly, you’ll never taste a more delicious okra dish. Just remember never to crowd the skillet when frying the beignets, and don’t try to keep them warm in the oven, which only makes them soggy. When shopping for fresh okra, always look for small, firm pods with no dark spots.—James Villas

  • 1 pound small, firm, fresh okra
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1⁄2 small green bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Vegetable shortening for deep frying

Rinse the okra, remove the stems, and thinly slice the pods. In a bowl, combine the okra, onions, and bell pepper and toss till well blended. Add the flour, bread crumbs, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and toss again. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, half-and-half, and Tabasco till well blended, pour over the okra mixture, stir till well blended, and let stand for about 30 minutes.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat about 1 inch of shortening to 375°F on a deep-fat thermometer, drop the okra mixture by tablespoons into the hot fat, fry till golden brown and crisp on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. If you like, sprinkle with a little extra salt. Serve piping hot.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Spicy Dried Okra

It may not be pretty, but dehydrated okra is a crunchy snack that’s hard to resist.

Caramelized Okra With Fresh Tomato Ragu Recipe

Tomato and okra is a favorite pairing: try this foodie variation on the classic.

How to Freeze Okra

Okra is a Southern favorite, thanks to its heat-loving disposition. Stock up on okra in season and freeze it for later use.

Perfect Pickled Okra

This tangy recipe stirs up memories of summers at grandma's house.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Tradition takes a holiday with this seasonal candy recipe.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Bake up a fall favorite using seasonal pumpkins.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe

A dairy-free dessert you don’t have to be vegan to love.

Pumpkin and Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches

We all scream for pumpkin with this frozen fall dessert.

Pumpkin Mousse Recipe

Whip up this light-as-air holiday dessert with fresh fall flavor.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Pumpkin pie and cheesecake come together to silky perfection in this seasonal recipe.

On TV

Desert Flippers

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

8:30am | 7:30c

Desert Flippers

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c
2pm | 1c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Love It or List It

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.