These healthy air fryer fried green tomatoes have a crispy outside coating of cornmeal and panko bread crumbs with a juicy tomato inside. These fried green tomatoes are a delicious appetizer!
I don’t plant a big garden, but I always plant tomatoes because fresh tomatoes beat supermarket ones any day of the week. This means I always have unripe tomatoes at the end of the season, which I usually turn into pickled green tomatoes.
This year I had amazing gardening success, which means I ended up with far more tomatoes than I could possibly use. So I made lots of jars of Instant Pot marinara sauce with the red ones and this green tomatoes with the green ones!
Why You Will Love Air Fryer Fried Green Tomatoes
- This classic southern appetizer is fun to make and eat.
- Air fried green tomatoes are much healthier than frying tomatoes in oil or bacon grease, so you can indulge without guilt.
- This easy to make appetizer is crispy with only a little bit of added oil.
- It is a great way to use up unripe tomatoes, either during the summer as they grow or as frost threatens.
- It is fun to use a high tech gadget to create this classic Southern dish.
You can find the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below. But there are a few key ingredients to describe.
Green tomatoes are obviously the most important ingredient in this recipe. This appetizer is made with green, unripe tomatoes. Red, ripe tomatoes are too juicy to fry.
If you have tomatoes that are just starting to turn color don’t use them. You want tomatoes that are full size, but still green and firm.
If you don’t have a garden you can find green tomatoes at a farmer’s market or farm stand. Some grocery stores also stock them in the summer.
Plus if you have neighbors who gardens they will probably be willing to give you some. Most people end up with more unripe tomatoes than they know what to do with.
The tomatoes are coated with flour and a mixture of cornmeal and panko breadcrumbs. Cornmeal is essential because of the southern roots of this appetizer!
If you want to this keto friendly you could use a gluten free flour and pork rinds in place of panko crumbs. You could also skip the cornmeal and just use panko crumbs if you prefer.
Some recipes for fried green tomatoes include buttermilk, but this one does not. My son has a dairy intolerance and so I wanted a dairy free recipe that he could enjoy.
Step by Step Instructions
1. Cut the Tomatoes
Cut the tomatoes into slices about 1/4 of an inch thick. Lay the on a cutting board and pat them dry with a paper towel. Let them sit for 5 minutes air dry.
2. Prepare the dipping bowls
While they dry prepare three bowls. The first bowl has flour, along with salt and pepper. The flour is first layer on the tomatoes and it helps dry them out before the coating is put on.
In the second bowl break an egg and beat it with a fork to mix the yolk and white. The egg is the second layer on the tomato slice and it helps the breading stick.
The last bowl has equal parts panko crumbs and cornmeal. It forms the main coating layer that will get brown and crispy.
3. Dip the tomatoes
The dipping process is messy and your fingers will get covered in the panko mixture. But the result is worth a little mess!
Pick up each tomato and dip it first into the bowl of flour. Shake off any excess flour.
Then dip the tomato into the egg. Let an excess egg drip back into the bowl. Finally dip the green tomato into the panko breadcrumb mixture. Make sure it gets thoroughly coated.
Then place the coated tomatoes back onto the cutting board. If there are any spots on the tomato that don’t look coated you can press some more of the bread crumb mixture on top.
Keep going until enough tomatoes to fit in the air fryer basket are coated. Then take an oil sprayer and spray the coated tomatoes with a little bit of oil.
I suggest not using commercial spray oil like Pam. These preservatives in those oils can damage the nonstick coating of the basket. A simple refillable oil spray bottle is inexpensive and easy to use.
4. Cook the tomatoes
I don’t always preheat my air fryer, but for quick cooking appetizer like this one that you want to be crispy it makes a difference. So preheat at 400 F for 3 minutes.
Then use tongs to place the coated slices in the air fryer basket. Cook at 400 F for 5 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the slices and leave them in a single layer.
After 5 minutes pull the air fryer basket out and flip the tomatoes over using tongs. Then spray the tops of the tomatoes with some cooking oil and put it back in at 400 F for 3 minutes.
After the 3 minute are up check and decide if the tomatoes are crispy enough. You want the coating to be golden brown and not have uncooked spots showing.
Mine usually need another 2 minutes for 10 minute total cooking time, but air fryers vary, so check yours. Once the tomatoes are done remove them to a serving platter and cook another batch.
How to Serve
These are delicious served as an appetizer with a dipping sauce. You can dip them in almost anything, including ranch or ketchup. We like to serve them with Sriracha mayonnaise.
Fried green tomatoes have a unique taste, which is hard to describe. It is sort of like a fried pickle, but with more tomato flavor. In addition to serving them as an appetizer the are also great on a sandwich or burger.
How to Store
You can make these air fried fried green tomatoes and then freeze them to enjoy after tomato season is over. To freeze them place them in a freezer bag in a flat layer in the freezer.
Once they are frozen you can put the bag upright, but keep it flat until they are frozen. To reheat them cook them in the air fryer at 360 F for 3 minutes, then flip them over and cook another 3 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Oil frying uses less oil, but it doesn’t mean no oil. To get the coating to brown on the tomatoes you have to use oil. Just spray a light layer on, it doesn’t take much.
Find More Air Fryer Appetizers
- 3-4 green tomatoes
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- Cut the tomatoes into slices 1/4 of an inch thick. Lay them on a cutting board and pat them dry with paper towels. Let the sit of 5 minutes.
- In one small bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper and stir.
- In another bowl bread the egg and stir to mix the yolk and white.
- Combine the panko bread crumbs and cornmeal in a third bowl. Stir to mix.
- Take a tomato slice and dip it into the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg, letting extra drip back into the bowl. Finally dip it in the bread crumb mixture. Make sure it gets thoroughly coated in bread crumbs. Place the coated green tomato on the cutting board.
- Repeat with all the slices.
- Take a mister bottle of oil and spray the coated slices with a thin layer of oil.
- Preheat the air fryer at 400 F for 3 minutes.
- Place the tomatoes in the air fryer basket, without overcrowding. You will probably have to make two batches.
- Air fry at 400 F for 5 minutes. Then open up the air fryer and flip the slices over and spray this side with cooking oil. Air fry at 400 F for another 3 minutes.
- Check the tomatoes. If they are golden brown and crispy they are done. If not put them put them back in for another 2 minutes and check again.
It is best not to use commercial spray oils because they can damage the non stick finish on the basket. A pump spray bottle with oil is easy to use and doesn't risk damaging the basket.
If you like you can add extra spices to the flour, like cayenne pepper for a spicy appetizer.
If you want to this keto friendly you could use a gluten free flour and pork rinds in place of bread crumbs. You could also skip the cornmeal and just use bread crumbs if you prefer.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g
Nutrition facts are estimates.