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Crunchy and golden, this crispy Air Fryer Okra and creamy dipping sauce recipe is THE perfect southern staple! 

Making roasted okra in an air fryer is the difference-maker in its delicious goodness, not to mention a great healthy alternative to traditional frying.

air fryer okra served as an appetizer with old bay dipping sauce on a table with plates and napkins.

I love a recipe that is versatile, and what’s really wonderful about air fryer okra is you can serve it as either an appetizer OR side dish (with or without the dipping sauce). Add crispy Air Fryer Chicken Legs for a juicy main dish complement. 

Or perhaps you want a snack for game night? Air Fryer Okra is the perfect sharable snack alongside my Cheddar Cheese Popcorn or even some crispy chips or crackers with Loaded Buffalo Hummus.

Looking for more tasty air fryer appetizers? These crispy Air Fryer Asparagus Veggie Fries and Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips are great options. 

Equipment

Air Fryer This NuWave 8-quart Air Fryer is what I have and I love it! If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon of air frying yet, there’s no time like the present!

Key ingredients & substitutions for today’s Air Fryer Recipe 

  • Okra — Choose fresh okra with bright green pods that are smooth, tender, and blemish-free.
  • Egg — Do a quick whisk before dipping to make sure it’s mixed well.
  • Cornmeal — Make this dish gluten-free by simply using all cornmeal and omitting the flour from the breading mixture. 
  • Flour — All-purpose is what the recipe calls for but alternatives like wheat or almond will work also. 
  • Kosher salt — Coarse sea salt or Himalayan is the best substitute if you don’t have this on hand.
  • Black pepper — Papaya seeds can be used for those with a pepper allergy.
  • Air fryer safe cooking spray — I personally haven’t had issues with a build-up in my air fryer from using regular Pam cooking spray; however, some manufacturers recommend not using a spray that includes propellants. A good alternative is this propellant-free olive oil cooking spray by Bertolli OR try using a refillable oil mister. The bottom line, though, is the okra needs to be well coated for crispy results.
ingredients for air fryer okra on a table.

Ole Bay Dipping Sauce ingredients

  • Mayonnaise — Mayo adds creamy deliciousness to the dip base. A great vegan option is avocado mayo.
  • Sour cream — Use yogurt as your best option for a sub here. Look for Greek or natural yogurts. 
  • Lemon juice — Keep the flavor bright with lemon juice. Lime or orange juice will work or even vinegar. All are one-to-one substitutes.
  • Dijon mustard — If you don’t have Dijon, stone ground mustard or even yellow mustard is okay but yellow mustard isn’t quite as spicy though.
  • Old Bay seasoning — The two main ingredients are celery salt and paprika. In a pinch, you can use ¼ teaspoon of each for 1 teaspoon of OB seasoning. 
  • Red cayenne pepper — Hot paprika is a good alternative. Want to turn the spice up? Season the dip to taste!

How to make Crispy Air Fryer Okra Recipe

I guess technically it’s not frying as we know it, but it’s more like a convection oven. Air fryers work by blowing hot air around the food that’s placed inside a perforated basket.

The temperature, though, has to reach at least 320 degrees to allow foods to form that crispy and golden outer layer. 

STEP 1 | Preheat the fryer

Before prepping the okra, preheat the air fryer for 5 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees. The recipe does not take long to prepare, so it should be ready right in time.

pouring a beaten egg into a bowl of sliced okra.

STEP 2 | Prep the okra

First, cut the crown and tip from the okra and slice into about ½-inch pieces, and place them in a large bowl.

Then beat the egg and pour it into the bowl with the okra and gently stir them together until all the okra is coated nicely. 

STEP 3 | Add dry ingredients

Now, take the cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper and throw them in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. You’ll want to use a slotted spoon to move the okra to the bag.

Make sure to allow any excess egg to drip back into the bowl so it does not cake up your dry ingredient mixture.

using a slotted spoon to place okra in a ziploc bag with breading.

STEP 4 | Bag and shake

Take the sealed bag and gently shake it until you see all the pieces are completely coated. Then use the slotted spoon again to move the okra from the bag to a plate.

STEP 5 | Placing fried okra in air fryer

The air fryer should be ready, so go ahead and spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with the cooking spray. You’ve got about 4 cups of okra which means you will be working in batches to get optical crispiness.

First, add a single layer of the breaded okra and spray generously with the cooking spray. That way, each piece gets exposure to the air flow.

okra in an air fryer basket.

STEP 6 | Cook until crispy

Fry okra for 5 minutes. Then shake the basket and spray the okra again and cook for another 5 minutes or until you see the breaded okra form a nice crisp and golden layer.

Air fryers may vary a little, so continue cooking at 3 to 5-minute intervals spraying each time until the okra has reached a golden brown and crunchy perfection! Repeat the same with the remaining breaded okra batches.

tips

  • Okra in air fryer may be prepped/breaded ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  • The same for the dipping sauce — make a batch, then store in an air-tight container in the fridge. 
  • Add a dash of garlic powder to the seasoning for an extra garlicky flavor.

whisking together Old Bay aioli dipping sauce for air fried okra.

STEP 7 | Make the dipping sauce

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and Old Bay seasoning, and whisk together until fully mixed and scrumptious. This is where you can turn up the heat, or add any additional ingredients you like to the sauce. 

And there you have it: the perfect dipping sauce to go with your air-fried okra. It’s also a delicious alternative to tartar sauce when you’re making fried catfish.

a bowl of air fryer okra on a table with a serving spoon.

Just look at how golden and yummy that looks!

Now you’re ready to enjoy! For the best results, serve right away while it’s nice and warm and that extra crispy. 

Frequently asked questions

Can air-fried okra be stored and reheated? If so, how?

You may, but it is really best served straight from the fryer. If you have leftovers you want to reheat though, store them in an air-tight container and refrigerate them for about 3 days. Then to reheat, pop back in the air fryer for about 4 minutes for that crispy crunch. 

Will frozen okra work for this air fryer recipe?

I would not recommend using frozen okra for this recipe. When you thaw the okra it may get too mushy and sticky to fry up nicely. No one wants soggy okra.

What about the stickiness and slime?

Make sure to completely dry the okra before cutting, and that will reduce the sliminess. Since the air fryer cooks quickly, it helps prevent the gel from releasing. 

air fryer okra with old bay dipping sauce with a wooden spoon and pods of okra as garnish on a table.

Serving suggestions

Serve on a nice platter with the side dipping sauce for an eye-popping grab. To give your munchers options drizzle a little over half the okra and leave the other half without. You can also add some bright orange carrots and beautiful green celery to the platter for another option to dip in the sauce!

My Grilled Balsamic Chicken lines up perfectly with this fried okra for a summer cookout and you might want to add a touch of spice with Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob. When you’re having guests over, Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers is another great one to add to your air fryer recipes.   

If you’re looking for more okra recipes, my Peppery Grilled Okra is a delish dish too!

Behind the recipe: Okra in air fryer

Did you know okra is classified as a fruit? The pods come from a flowering plant and they contain seeds that make it a fruit. Fresh okra has a wealth of benefits too: they’re rich in nutrients, contain several antioxidants, and may lower heart disease risk. 

Tasty goodness and healthy! I’ll take it!

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

air fryer okra with old bay dipping sauce with a wooden spoon and pods of okra as garnish on a table.

Air Fryer Okra

Crunchy and golden, this crispy Air Fryer Okra and creamy dipping sauce recipe is the perfect southern staple! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Vegetables & Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 325 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. fresh okra sliced (~ 4 cups)
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • air fryer safe cooking spray

Old Bay Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper optional

Instructions
 

  • While you are prepping the okra, preheat the air fryer for 5 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Slice okra into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Pour in the beaten egg and stir gently until all the okra is coated.
  • To a gallon size ziploc bag, add the cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the okra to the bag, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the bowl.
  • Seal the bag and shake gently until all the pieces are completely coated. Use the slotted spoon again to transfer the okra from the bag to a plate.
  • Spray the bottom of the preheated air fryer basket with cooking spray. Working in batches, add a single layer of the breaded okra and spray generously with cooking spray.
  • Cook for 5 minutes; shake the basket and spray the okra again and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the okra is crisp and golden. Continue spraying and cooking at 3 to 5 minute intervals until the okra is done to your liking. Repeat for the remaining breaded okra.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and Old Bay seasoning. Serve as a dipping sauce with the air fried okra.

Notes

  • Okra in air fryer may be prepped/breaded ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  • The same for the dipping sauce — make a batch, then store in an air-tight container in the fridge. 
  • Add a dash of garlic powder to the seasoning for an extra garlicky flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 418mgPotassium: 494mgFiber: 7gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1045IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 126mgIron: 2mg
Keyword air fryer, air fryer recipe, okra
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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