Crispy cornmeal-crusted fried okra makes for a fun grilled cheese filling in these comfort food sandwiches!
cornmeal-crusted fried okra grilled cheese

Those who can’t do, teach.

And those who can’t grill make grilled cheese.


I’m gonna argue that is total bumper sticker material.

And just SO TRUE.

Don’t get me wrong, some people in Manhattan definitely have grills. Those with balconies or rooftops that aren’t deathtraps in disguise.

Those people probably also have doormen and central air conditioning and paint on their walls that doesn’t start peeling as soon as the humidity hits 80%.

We are not those people.

So until that happens I’ll be making all the grilled cheese. And I’m totally okay with that.


In full disclosure, these were originally supposed to be fried green tomato grilled cheeses but finding actual green tomatoes in NYC is like finding a  rent-controlled apartment on the upper east side – it’s just not happening. So after a few fruitless (<– I’ll be here all day folks) farmer’s market searches, I settled on okra.

And by “settled”, I mean, I ate three of these for lunch one day and cried because there wasn’t enough filling left for me to have three more.

I know there are certainly some okra skeptics out there, so let me set you at ease: this is not the weird slimy gooey stuff you were probably traumatized with at some time in your life. It’s crispy and crunchy aaannnnnddddd then you cover it in double layers of melted cheese. A good thing. For sure.

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Okra Grilled Cheese
Crispy cornmeal-crusted fried okra makes for a fun grilled cheese filling in these comfort food sandwiches!
Yield: 4-5 sandwiches
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 lb okra, trimmed and sliced into ½-inch pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 8 oz provolone or mozzarella
  • 8-10 slices bread
  1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the okra and stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the okra is bright green, stirring frequently.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the okra and add in the remaining oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the okra is tender and coated in the crispy cornmeal. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  3. Heat oven to 400F.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese on 4 of the bread slices. Top with the okra, another layer of cheese, and a slice of bread. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.
Okra recipe from Cook Like A Champion
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 sandwich

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41 Responses to Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Okra Grilled Cheese

  1. I am drooling over those grilled cheese recipes, Joanne. Those crisp fried okra would be great for pita pockets too.

  2. I tried Okra for the first time when we were in Jamaica and I fell in love with it. I must admit, I am not sure what to do with it though, so I will try this first. You can’t go wrong with a grilled cheese.

  3. I’ve never had okra, but it looks delicious!
    Bread + Cheese = Best EVER!

  4. oh my gawd!!! Crispy cornmeal-crusted fried okra GRILLED CHEESE?! I love this! My friend just made a marinated okra dish on Saturday for a dinner party and I loved it. . honestly, have never been a fan of okra until Saturday night. . have to try this next!

  5. While I love okra, Eric’s not a huge fan. Which I guess isn’t a bad thing… means more for me!

  6. Sues says:

    I’ve never actually cooked with okra before and I’m pretty sure this is the most perfect way to start!

  7. These sammies are basically EVERYTHING one could ever ask for in a grilled cheese! Who could say no to something so awesome?!

  8. Agness says:

    I love to have the brown one, looks super yummy!! 🙂

  9. Josh’s southern heart thanks you for these. He LOVES okra (and ate his weight in it when we were in Oklahoma last year) and I refuse to make the little fried slime balls for him, so he never gets it (because where do you get fried okra in Michigan? No where I’m willing to eat). He’ll be SO excited about this!

  10. Balconies and doormen are over-rated. Hmpfh. YOU GRILL IT GIRL!

  11. Nicola says:

    You should try trying to find green tomatoes in London or tomatillos or poblano peppers! Impossible! I’ve resorted to growing them this year!

  12. Heather says:

    I can’t even remember the last time I had okra! Granted, it was battered and fried, but mmmm.

  13. I love grilled cheese and I love fried okra, and I know I would LOVE this amazing sandwich. Fried okra is even better than fried green tomatoes, in my opinion. This is so brilliant!

  14. Hahaha … “And those who can’t grill make grilled cheese” … as I clean up my snorted coffee I gotta say – I love that line! And Joanne – fried okra in a grilled cheese?!?! WOW!!!!

  15. cheri says:

    I love okra when it is cooked right and this looks perfect. Happy Monday!

  16. I looooove fried okra, so these are totally my jam. That paired with gooey cheese and buttery bread? I just died.

  17. Lori R. says:

    Haha! We’ve gone through can’t-have-a-grill phases as well. It’s a bummer, but I can definitely see how this sandwich would make it better. What a brilliant way to use okra!

  18. I am always down for some grilled cheese action! This is so creative – I love the crunch factor from the crispy okra paired with gooey cheese. Yum!

    And thanks so much for the link love, darling!

  19. Pam says:

    I haven’t had okra in a very long time. This sandwich has me drooling.

  20. This looks AWESOME! I love this southern comfort food that is actually vegetarian, but doesn’t feel it at all!

  21. Zainab says:

    Hahah door men and balconies in NYC!! I happen to love okra, fried or slimy as half of our Sierra Leone dishes come with okra. Love that these are in a grilled cheese.

  22. I’ve never had orka! It looks very yummy in this grilled cheese. Crispy and crunchy is always dishes, and grilled cheese beats balcony grilling any day (so much more comforting food!).

  23. I’ve never had okra at home – and love this idea! Having just discovered grilled hummus sandwiches I’m also thinking this would be great with hummus…

  24. Kate says:

    I have grilled cheese on the menu for almost every night this week!

  25. This looks heavenly! I loooove okra, even though I’ve only really had it in the form of Indian bhindi masala, and I need this in my mouth stat. Pinning!

  26. I’d like central AC and this grilled cheese plz.

  27. tigerfish says:

    I have been enjoying roasted okra recently. Now, this is a great way to fill up a sandwich.

  28. Susan says:

    I had a bad experience with okra once and never tried it again! This cheesy sandwich is making rethink all that!

  29. Wow! What a creative and fun grilled cheese this is, Joanne! It looks awesome.

  30. Oh, I do love okra – but it is one thing we don’t see much of here!

  31. Sarah says:

    Bahaha I am not one of those people with a doorman either.. We don’t have a grill, but I definitely can make a mean grilled cheese! Looks like a great combo of ingredients right here 🙂

  32. easypeasy says:

    We will have to give this a try! We can’t buy okra where we live but we just planted some so it is awesome to find a recipe for it! 🙂

  33. Katerina says:

    What a fun idea to add okra in a sandwich!

  34. I would never have thought to put okra in a sandwich, great idea!

  35. Hotly Spiced says:

    I wish I could jump through the screen and have one of your sandwiches. We don’t see a lot of okra in these parts; it’s not a common vegetable. I grill a lot too as I don’t have a BBQ but it’s definitely on my want list along with an apartment in NYC with a doorman xx

  36. grace says:

    i can’t figure out why okra isn’t beloved by all. i think it has the potential to be the next kale. 🙂

  37. That saying should absolutely be a bumper sticker!! You need to copyright that. Stat. Then send me a bumper sticker so I can put it on my ride. 🙂 Anyways… these grilled cheese bad boys look scrum-did-i-lee-umptious! I LOVE okra (I am from the south, so I think its a requirement) and I have never thought to stuff it in a grilled cheese sammie! Say Whaaa!? Yes Please! Love these! I’ll take a dozen (to start)!

  38. We don’t get okra here, but green tomatoes are usually available 🙂

  39. Kelly says:

    This is definitely my kind of grilled cheese! I LOVE okra and such a genius idea to add it to grilled cheese! So fun and delicious!

  40. Johanna GGG says:

    so that’s how to eat okra – sounds perfect to me – and we don’t have a bbq but we call your broiler a griller so I do grilled cheese sandwiches quite a lot 🙂

  41. I’m going to have to try this because my daughter is actually obsessed with fried okra. As in she will eat fried okra as a meal on its own. Me, I like fried okra only if it’s battered and really spicy. This cornmeal addition will definitely be able to satisfy both our cravings!

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