The BEST Fried Green Tomatoes with Garlic, Bacon and Buttermilk Sauce
It’s true! Fried Green Tomatoes are a cherished, summer tradition in the South!
Whether eating at home or dining out in the South in the hot days of summer, if you know that fried green tomatoes are going to be served or are on the menu, you won’t hesitate to order this famous staple! In fact, it would almost be an unthinkable sin to pass up on this iconic regional dish!
Bet you can’t eat just one!
This fried green tomatoes recipe is so simple and so delicious. Biting into the crunchy golden breading and into the tangy green tomato flavor takes you to summer food bliss in every single bite! Oh yes, they may be stubbornly unripe and green, but that’s the perfect time to whip up a batch of this easy Southern specialty treat throughout summer! It’s OK to indulge now and then on some fried food. Besides, if you just eat a few bites, my philosophy is that it’s perfectly fine to enjoy everything . . . in little bites!
When garden season is in full swing and farmers’ markets and stands are open, these shiny, green beauties will be waiting to appear on your table. I’m always so jazzed when my garden produces green tomatoes so that I can make the BEST Fried Green Tomatoes EVER! Don’t have a garden? No problem . . . head to your local farmers’ market or roadside stand to pick up some. Green tomatoes are available throughout the summer, but primarily early in the season.
So for those of us who have green tomatoes in your gardens, it’s time to prepare this traditional Southern recipe.
Before the big batch of red tomatoes is ready to harvest, you simply pluck off the vine, some unripe, green tomatoes, and then encrust them in a perfectly delicious, seasoned breading. And then fry them until crispy, golden brown! To top it off, take those babies for a dip in this amazing buttermilk sauce! It really is over the top!
And YES, this is THE. BEST. Fried Green Tomato recipe. EVER!
The secret ingredient in this recipe: GARLIC!
With a superb buttermilk sauce to slop all over the fried tomatoes, filled with fresh-cut herbs from my garden PLUS more garlic and chunks of thick-cut bacon . . . totally heavenly . . . not quite totally Southern with the addition of the garlic . . . but TOTALLY AWESOME! The character of this recipe also comes from some hot sauce added to the garlic-y buttermilk and Italian breadcrumbs to the crust!
If possible, use a heavy cast-iron pan. Also remember to select firm green tomatoes, and fry in very hot oil at 360° (F).
So go grab an ice cold glass of sweet tea and just sit on a couple of rocking chairs on the front porch while enjoying the company of those you love and nibble on this classic Southern treat — The BEST Fried Green Tomatoes with Garlic, Bacon and Buttermilk Sauce!
our front porch in South Carolina where we go to simply smell the roses, to sip on some ice-cold sweet tea and nibble on good eats!
What’s the Best Breading for Fried Green Tomatoes?
- Breading is often a personal choice.
- Some cooks prefer cornmeal and others prefer flour.
- Many people prefer to use panko today.
- And then, of course, you can always create a blend of any of these to come up with your own breading.
How To Make Fried Green Tomatoes
Make this classic Southern dish in three simple steps!
- Slice green tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. You’ll need about 3 large green tomatoes for this recipe.
- Coating the tomato slices in breading. You’ll need 3 shallow dishes or plates to bread the tomato slices: Fill the first with flour, salt, and paprika — this layer seasons the tomatoes and gives the eggs something to cling to. Fill the second with whisked buttermilk, eggs, and hot sauce together, and in the third, combine breading (cornmeal, flour, panko, etc.).
- Fry the tomatoes in a cast iron skillet that retains heat, making it the best choice for frying.
Cook the breaded tomatoes in hot oil in a heavy cast iron skillet . . . cook until a beautiful golden color results!
Helpful Tips for Making Fried Green Tomatoes
- For the best results, the first step to great fried green tomatoes is picking the right tomatoes:
- Always select the firmest, shiny, totally green, unripe tomatoes without blemishes, spots, etc.
- Do not use tomatoes that have the slightest yellow, orange, or red tint as they are becoming to ripe and will be mushy.
- Do not use tomatillos or heirloom tomatoes for the same reason.
- You want a full-sized tomato that is firm, not hard to the touch.
- Choose any variety of tomatoes that you like, they basically all taste the same when they are green.
- Use a serrated knife to slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Tomatoes contain a lot of water so it’s CRUCIAL to draw the juice out of the sliced tomatoes to help the breading stick nicely. So remember to ‘salt’ and ‘blot’ with paper towels. The salt helps remove the liquid. Blotting also helps and then removes the salt.
- The key to breading the tomatoes is to use one hand for dry ingredients and the other for wet ingredients. You can also use tongs or two forks to handle the tomatoes.
- Arrange the breaded tomatoes on a wire rack to set the coating.
- Use a large heavy, cast iron skillet
- Heat your oil on medium-high heat until it reaches your desired temperature of 350° F.
- Once the oil shimmers, test the temperature and timing by frying one tomato slice. Once the oil is hot, continue frying.
- Carefully place each slice of tomato into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
- Don’t overcrowd the skillet.
- Drain the fried tomatoes on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
- SOGGY TOMATOES? Your cooking oil was not hot enough. A thermometer helps guarantee 350° F
What to Serve with Fried Green Tomatoes
Since tomatoes are a summer vegetable and are green only at that time, we HIGHLY recommend that fried green tomatoes be served alongside other traditional summer foods such as:
- Grilled hamburgers or hot dogs
- BBQ Ribs or Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Corn on the cob
- Garden-fresh leaf lettuce salad
- Strawberries, blackberries, and/or raspberries with vanilla ice cream
- Ice-cold tea (sweet tea in the South)
- Be CREATIVE and serve them stacked high on a plate with pimento cheese spread between each slice!
- Place them on top of a juicy hamburger.
- Include them in a bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT) sandwich.
- Even cut them up and toss in a salad!
PIN FOR LATER!
Highly Recommended Kitchen Gear To Prepare This Recipe:
OXO 5″ Serrated Utility Knife
Set of 3 Cast Iron Skillets
*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave a comment below!*
The BEST Fried Green Tomatoes with Garlic and Buttermilk Sauce
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- 8 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick.
- 4 tsp. freshly-cracked sea salt
- 2 cups whole buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 4 tsp. chili sauce
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp. freshly-cracked black pepper
Garlic, Bacon Buttermilk Sauce
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup whole buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped fine
- 1 tsp. French Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. chili sauce
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. (each) freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper
Prepare the Garlic, Bacon Buttermilk Sauce
- Cook at least 4 slices of bacon until nicely browned and cooked thoroughly.
- Allow bacon to cool and then chop it up into tiny pieces.
- Combine and mix the buttermilk and mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped bacon, Italian parsley, chives,mustard, chili sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Mix well, cover and chill.
Prepare the Tomatoes
- Lay paper towels on top of several cookie/baking racks and place in a baking sheet.
- Lay the tomato slices on the paper towels, generously sprinkling each layer of sliced tomatoes with approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of salt (on each layer).
- Allow the salted tomatoes to sit and sweat for 30 minutes.
- Shake the liquid from the tomatoes and pat dry with clean paper towels.
- Heat a deep heavy pan half-way full of canola or vegetable oil, on the highest setting.
Prepare the Garlic-Buttermilk Coating
- In a medium sized, shallow baking dish, mix the buttermilk, egg, chili sauce and garlic powder together.
Prepare the Breading
- In another medium sized, shallow baking dish, mix the flour, cornmeal, Italian breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper.
Preparation of the Fried Green Tomatoes
- Place each slice of tomato in the buttermilk mixture and coat well on both sides, and allowing extra milk to drip off.
- Place buttermilk-coated tomato slices in the flour-cornmeal mixture, covering both sides and slightly pressing down for the dry coating to stick.
- Repeat the dipping into buttermilk and back into the flour-cornmeal mixture a SECOND time, again gently pressing so that the double-coating sticks.
- Immediately and carefully place the coated tomato slices into the ‘very’ hot oil in a heavy cast iron skillet, being careful not to splatter the hot oil and not overcrowding the tomatoes.
- I like to cook about 5 or 6 slices at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop and cause the tomatoes to cook slower and become more greasy.
- The slices of tomatoes should be golden grown after about 2 – 4 minutes.
- When cooked, carefully remove tomato slices from the hot oil with a large slotted utensil and place on clean paper towels to absorb oil.
- Very adapted from Taste Of The South, most especially by adding the garlic and Italian breadcrumbs to the recipe, making it 10 times better! You’ll taste the difference!!!
This post was first published in 2014 and re-posted with more information in 2020.
If you enjoy BOTH Fried Green Tomatoes AND Italian Cuisine, here’s a superb recipe that I created that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
Fried Green Tomatoes with Marinara Sauce and Mozzarella
And here’s the simple and freshest Marinara Sauce recipe that I make fresh from the garden:
Garden Fresh Marinara Sauce
Finally, here are TWO (yes, two) more fantastic and authentic Southern recipes to use with my Fried Green Tomato Recipe:
Fried Green Tomato Stacks with Pimento Cheese
Carolina Breakfast Sandwich with Fried Green Tomatoes, Pimento Cheese, Applewood Thick-Cut Smoked Bacon and Egg
Tips for Frying Vegetables
- When breading veggies the rule is: dry sticks to wet and wet sticks to dry. Wet with wet doesn’t work; likewise, dry with dry doesn’t work.
- To get the breading to stick to vegetables, first, pat the veggies dry as much as possible. Then dredge them in a bit of seasoned flour (cornstarch or rice flour to make a crispier end product).
- Next dredge the vegetables in your wet batter – either an egg wash or egg-buttermilk combination or you can try a tempura batter consisting of 1 cup ice water, 1 egg, and 1 cup flour.
- Finish with a final dunk in some panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or other dried, seasoned fine breadcrumbs.
- You can either deep fry your coated veggies or fry them in at least 1″ deep of oil on moderate heat to avoid burning.
- Also, remember to be extremely gentle when flipping over the vegetables so that the coating stays in tack.
CAn you believe I have never had a fried green tomato? Omg these look fabulous. I have always wanted to make them and had no idea how. My mom never liked them so we didn’t have them growing up. I really want the ones with the bacon and garlic! sounds so good! Going to pin these so I can save this recipe thanks so much!
Claudia, if your family prepared ‘eggplant parmiganno’, this is basically the same thing and not as mushy. I don’t like eggplant and neither does my husband, so this really wins over our hearts! Super easy too!
You have me pegged Roz since I could not possibly eat just one!!! I do love fried green tomatoes and in sandwiches too. These would be perfect with some sauce, in a BLT.
I totally agree Val . . . in fact, you’ve just given me an idea for a great lunch sammie for tomorrow! More bacon added on top, of course!
The coating, breading, and sauce all sound very good and I can imagine how delicious the combo is. I love fried green tomatoes and am always looking for THE BEST recipe and this will be tried and enjoyed.
I hope you try this Larry and come back to let me know what you think. Plus, as you always do, amp it up the way that you prefer and tell me what you did, and I’ll also try it!
Love love fried green tomatoes! I love to dip them in Tzatziki sauce…have to try your buttermilk sauce next time.
Thanks Angie! I enjoy fried green tomatoes with a variety of sauces too, sweet or savory! Even hot sauces.
wow, i’ve never made or eaten FGT but these look so exceptional I must give them a go. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I can see how the garlic would be amazing here.
Before living in the southern region of the U.S., I’d never had fried green tomatoes either. But they do live up to their fame! Hope you try this recipe, the sauce is outstanding!
These look so good! I’ve never added garlic to my fried green tomatoes, but I love the thought of it. That buttermilk sauce looks good too. 🙂
Thank you so much Betty! The sauce is truly a winner too!
one of our favorite side dishes especially when we had a huge garden.
My problem is keeping the coating on the tomatoes. Do you have a secret that you would be will to share?
Barb, What I do to keep the coating on the tomatoes is first: salt those tomatoes and let them sit on a rack for a half hour. After that, tip the tomatoes on their side and allow the ‘sweated’ liquid to roll of. Then take a paper towel and pat each tomato slice dry. Then I dip into the buttermilk mixture and into the dry mixture, making sure that I completely cover each slice and PRESS down on each. Then I gently shake the coated slices and repeat the wet to dry, cover and press step again. I immediately put them in the hot oil. Hope that helps Barb! thanks for your visit, I greatly appreciate it. If you make these, I hope that you stop back by and let me know how they turned out for you!
This past year, and for the first time ever, I fried me some green tomatoes. I was so surprised at how delicious they were. I must try this recipe with the buttermilk sauce. Thanks for sharing.
You’re so welcome Lea Ann. I guarantee that you’ll love this sauce, my husband just about drank it!
Oooh, another one to add to my I-make list!
You’re so sweet Mindy! Let me know what you think if you prepare this. They’re addicting!
looks divine and gorgeous garden
Thank you kindly, Rebecca! The garden helps us focus on healthier food and eating!
Roz, I have never eaten fried green tomatoes either, but your pictures make me want to try them! I am going to save your recipe for next year to use when we have our garden as it is no longer producing. Thank you for the detailed directions. Your buttermilk sauce sounds wonderful, too. I always struggle with my weight so appreciated your philosophy of little bites of everything. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and gorgeous photos!
Shari, Fried green tomatoes are tangy, so they are like fried pickles and not as mild as fried okra. It’s a great way for gardeners to use early tomatoes and those that never ripen completely at the end of summer. But in Arizona, I doubt that would ever by a problem — running out of warm summer … except I do remember that winter got pretty chilly!
Shari, I hope that you try them someday; they are truly a Southern recipe that I, too, had never tried until I moved here. YUMMY stuff though! In the meantime, try the sauce to dip carrots, celery and other veggies in . . . you’ll love it!
Garlic? Who’d have thought? I know what to do now with those green tomatoes in my garden. I just wish I had a porch like yours to while away the time.
Garlic is a God-send! I wish I could have you HERE to chat with on my front porch! And in Italian would even be better, Linda!
My husband asked me yesterday if I was going to make fried green tomatoes this year – and this recipe sounds great! Love the buttermilk sauce – it all looks wonderful!
Hi Tricia! Husbands usually know what they want and if likes F.G.T.’s, he’ll LOVE these. The sauce is the star too!
Thanks for your visit Tricia!
OMG I have to make these! They would be fantastic as an appetizer too! Oh I love the buttermilk dip with bacon and garlic- how can anyone resist? You are the best Roz!!
I know that you two have got to have a delicious fried green tomato recipe, but if you try mine please let me know what you think!
I’ll bet this would be delicious using Zucchini too… Mmmmm – gotta try it! Thanks for the recipes!
You’re so very welcome. It’s my pleasure, and I am thrilled to have you here reading my blog and recipes! WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME!
I made these tonight and they were amazing!!! Oh my goodness, the sauce just takes them completely over the top. Thank you for sharing!!!!
I’m SO GLAD that you enjoyed them! I’m thrilled that you had a great experience!
La Bella Vita Cucina
I have a question. If I am reading this correctly, the recipe says 4 tsp of salt for the whole recipe. Yet it says to sprinkle each slice of tomato with 1 – 2 tsp of salt. How can that be? I want to make this recipe, so please clarify for me.
Thanks so much for getting back to me about the fried tomatoes recipe. I should have worded my sentence more clearly that you kindly pointed out.
To ‘sweat’ the tomatoes first, use a total of 4 tsps. of salt to sprinkle all over them. If you have two baking sheets of sliced tomatoes laid out, you would sprinkle approximately 2 tsps. on top of each baking sheet of tomato slices. It was just a guess/an approximate amount of salt to state 4 tsps. As long as you generously sprinkle salt all over the tomatoe slices, you will “sweat” them to remove the excess tomato water out of them.
I hope that this was helpful. Thank you again for pointing this out and I will make that correction in the instructions as a result.
I hope you can send me a photo, so I can share with the rest of our community! I look forward to hearing more from you Linda!
Those fried green tomatoes do look amazing! Being from the North, I had only heard about fried green tomatoes but had never tasted them until we were driving to Florida and stayed overnight in Savannah! We went out for dinner and that’s what I ordered! Delicious!!
I’m from the Midwest and had never had them before I moved to the South. I’m totally addicted to them now!
I think my mom made these when I was growing up but I never tasted them. Picky kid back then. I would love to try them now. I love the ingredients so I bet I was really missing out, The memories are faint but as soon as I saw these gorgeous photos it came right back to me! Thanks
You’re welcome Claudia. Nice memories!
Just borrowed ” Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” to friends’ daughter and before writing this ,I sent her your link to complete the whole story… So beautiful Roz ! Grazie molto !
A great story and movie too!
a favorite dish during the summer and your recipe looks delicious.
thank you Jovina. It’s pretty classic, but the sauce I developed.
I noticed in your narrative you mention egg whites when talking about the ‘wet’ part of the dredging step. However, egg whites are not mentioned in the actual recipe. Does this recipe do OK without egg whites?
I am so sorry about that typo oversight! You need to add 1 egg and not egg whites. It’s a yummy recipe and you’ll love the buttermilk sauce (that can be used for fried pickles, onion rings, fried okra, etc. . . . ). If you take a photo, I’ll be happy to share it on this blog post for the blog community to see! That’s always fun!
Let me know how it goes!
Love this recipe!! Used regular whole milk and it worked great! Thank you!
I too am wondering the same thing as Susan. Do you mix a couple of egg whites into the buttermilk coating? They’re not listed in the ingredients but you list them in the coating. Thank you!
I am so sorry about that typo oversight! You need to add the egg for sure to the wet coating mixture. It’s a yummy recipe and you’ll love the buttermilk sauce (that can be used for fried pickles, onion rings, fried okra, etc. . . . ). If you take a photo, I’ll be happy to share it on this blog post for the blog community to see! That’s always fun!
Let me know how it goes!
What kind of chili sauce? Is it like Heinz chili sauce or like Thai chili sauce?