This recipe for oven-fried green tomatoes is my healthier take on a traditional Southern favorite – fried green tomatoes! They are so yummy, crispy, and flavorful that you honestly won’t know that they were only baked when you taste them!
Today we are taking a trip down memory lane to the South and a dish from my heritage: fried green tomatoes! These crispy little delights, along with the movie, are one of my favorite elements of Southern culture that have been part of my life since I was a little kid. Fried green tomatoes are pretty much the premier Southern appetizer in the summertime when green tomatoes are abundant and you just don’t want to wait for them to turn red!
Green tomatoes are tangy, crunchy, and hold up perfectly to a crisp cornmeal breading and a dip in the deep fryer. Many a Southern menu will have them served alongside a pulled pork bbq dinner, as a burger topping, on pimento cheese sandwiches, or alongside fried chicken. Truth be told, it’s not the healthiest dish. But today the tomatoes are getting a healthy-ish makeover as part of the Sweet Cayenne VegFest – getting baked to crisp perfection in the oven instead of deep-fried. And you know what? They are so tasty that you can’t even tell they weren’t fried. Let’s make some!
Ingredients for Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes
- Green tomatoes – some green tomatoes are actually unripe versions of red tomatoes, while other green tomatoes are bred to be green and stay green when fully ripened. You can use either kind for this recipe, but you want to choose tomatoes that are somewhat unripe and slightly firm to the touch. This helps them hold up to breading and baking, and the baking process will soften them to perfection.
- Breadcrumbs – I like to use Panko breadcrumbs for any oven-fried recipe, as it gives a similar texture to the crust that forms when food is deep-fried.
- Cornmeal – the best fried green tomato recipes, in my opinion, are the ones that use a cornmeal crust! Coarse yellow cornmeal works best for this recipe for achieving a nice crispy texture.
- Flour – a little bit of all-purpose flour incorporated with the coarser breadcrumbs and cornmeal will help everything hold together and evenly coat the tomatoes.
- Cajun seasoning – I LOVE Cajun blend seasoning in my tomato breading. Tony Chachere’s and Slap Ya Mama are my favorites!
- Buttermilk + Egg – buttermilk imparts tanginess to the breading to balance out the salt from the Cajun seasoning, and when mixed with an egg, provides a wet coating for the breadcrumb mixture to cling to when the tomatoes are dipped.
How to Make Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes
- Slice the tomatoes – tomatoes are easier to slice when you use a serrated or bread knife. You will want to carefully slice the ends off of the tomato and slice each into about 4 rounds, depending on the size of your tomatoes. Avoid making slices that are greater than 1/2” thick or thinner than 1/4” thick for optimal even cooking.
- Prepare the dry and wet elements of the breading – you will need to shallow bowls or dishes to mix the dry coating and wet coating for the breading mixture.
- Dip the tomatoes – now for the fun, and kind of messy, part! You can use a fork to dip the tomatoes in the wet buttermilk mixture and then in the dry breadcrumb mixture, but I just use my hands!
- Bake the tomatoes – the tomatoes will crisp the best if you can bake them on a wire rack nestled inside your baking sheet. The elevation that the rack provides allows air to circulate under the tomatoes and get nice and crisp on both sides.
Modifications and Ways to Serve This Recipe
- Make it gluten-free – you can easily substitute gluten-free panko crumbs and flour blend in this recipe. The cornmeal is naturally gluten-free, so just make sure the brand you buy reads that it is certified gluten-free to avoid contamination in processing.
- Change up the seasoning profile – if you’d like to use something other than Cajun seasoning, I really enjoy Old Bay in this recipe, or a blend of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.
- Play around with different dipping sauces – these tomatoes are delicious eaten on their own, but some equally delicious dips would be avocado ranch, pesto, or pimento cheese!
Serve alongside pulled pork BBQ, on top of a burger, as an appetizer, on grilled or pimento cheese sandwiches, or with your favorite summer menu! Some suggestions you may enjoy include:
- The BEST Homemade Grilled Hamburger
- Sausage, Corn and Zucchini Kabobs
- Peach BBQ Chicken Kabobs
- Watermelon Flag Salad
- Cubed Watermelon, Peach and Feta Salad
- The Ultimate Build Your Own BLT Sandwich
- BLT Panzanella Salad
Are you ready to make these Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
For the tomatoes:
- 3 medium green tomatoes, sliced into ¼-½’’ rounds (you should have about 12 pieces total)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup white flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
For the hot sauce aioli:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Louisiana)
- Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top.
- In a shallow dish, stir together the breadcrumbs, flour, cornmeal, and Cajun seasoning. Set aside. In another shallow dish, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
- Use a fork to dip both sides of each tomato in the egg mixture, followed by the dry breadcrumb mixture. Place each breaded tomato on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet.
- Spray the tops of the breaded tomatoes with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the tomatoes over, and spray with cooking spray. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes until the tomatoes are crisp and golden brown.
- While the tomatoes bake, whisk together all ingredients for the aioli in a small bowl. Serve on the side for dipping with the hot green tomatoes.
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