Southern Fried Eggplant

You’ve probably heard the expression “Southern Fried” many times over the years, right?  We take it to heart in our family and my mama is a Southern cook to the bone.  And she fries.  Lots of things.  We all know that fried foods are not the best for the arteries and cholesterol and although mama fries in moderation more now than she used to, during the summer months, we can’t help but fry up those fresh veggies from the garden, like okra, squash and eggplant.

If you’ve never had fried eggplant, oh my word, is it delish!  I could eat my weight in fried eggplant, especially the way my mama does it.


Dad has always grown eggplant in his garden and this year was no exception.  They are gone now, but I wanted to share this one with you in case you might want to try this Southern delicacy.

Fried Eggplant

Doesn’t that look scrumptious?  I can assure you it is.  Fried or not, it tastes delectable.

Southern Fried Eggplant

1 or 2 eggplant, peeled and cut in strips (see shape above)

salt the eggplant, letting the water come out of it

Dip in flour

Dip in egg mixed with milk (beat)

Dip in Panko bread crumbs

Add enough oil in appropriate pot to deep fry the eggplant.  Mom uses Canola oil.

Guardian Service

She uses an old time cooking pan that I will show you a picture of.  She has fried in this pot for about 50 years now (and yes, it looks it).  It was her mother’s and she got it when her mom passed away in the early 60’s.  She lost her mom way too young, at only 59, from heart disease.  I don’t think fried foods did it, it was something she was born with.

Guardian Service cookware

It’s by Guardian Service and my mom told me that her mother bought an entire set of this probably back in the 50’s when door to door salesmen came around, doing cooking demonstrations with this cookware.  She had the whole set and when my grandmother passed away, mom got this one and some of the other siblings got the other pieces.  She has used this pot for so long and it was a huge part of my childhood.

Mom cooked up fried potatoes in this pot too and they are/were the best.  If you think that fried eggplant sounds good, you should see the fried potatoes that come out of this frying machine.

Lip smacking delicious!  Remember that pic I showed a couple weeks ago of mom and dad digging potatoes.  Yep, those potatoes get fried up and they are better than good.

Here’s to some fried Southern food.  In case there is any argument that fried foods are bad for you, well, they might not be the best, but how can you argue with these 2, who have been eating some fried foods for a long, long time.

I think growing their own veggies must offset the badness of frying, don’t you?  

Do you fry anything?

For more information on the good health benefits of eggplant, check out this article.

- Rhoda


  1. pork chops, okra and Vidalia onion rings. ummm to all.

  2. I have never fried eggplant but that looks so good, I’ll be sure to try it. I had fried green tomatoes on a Southern trip, (I had just thought it was the name of a book!) and with my bounty crop of green tomatoes have been feasting on them everynight as a appetizer. I love them! I think everything in moderation is the key and don’t eat processed food…I’m sure your parents home grown food is one of their secrets to good health.

  3. Fried shrimp!!! Also… fried okra, fried fish, etc. I now get my fried chicken from my local Piggly Wiggly deli! Everything in moderation is the key – you just can’t eat it too often. Your mother’s frying pot reminds me of my cast iron frying pan which was handed down from my late mother.

  4. Eggplant! My favorite! My grandma would put a slice of mozzarella cheese between two slices of eggplant, bread it and fry the same way you do. delicious! Italian style!

  5. I’ve never heard of fried eggplant, but since I’ve got some eggplant in my refrig I think I might try it.

  6. My grandparents were the same way. Fried, used leftover bacon grease (remember the little container by the stove?), ate breakfast every morning – eggs, sausage or bacon, biscuits with gravy, etc. and my grandmother is still living at 95. Healthy as a horse!! My pappaw did die of heart trouble, but he was in his 80’s. Myself, I don’t fry very often at all. I do not like the taste of any greasy. Heart disease runs in my hubby’s family, so we try to eat healthy. I do break down in the summer and fix fried okra occasionally. My hubby LOVES fried potatoes, but I rarely ever fix them. I do a oven baked version that is almost as good.

    I love eggplant – that looks good!


  7. Rhoda, my goodness if I have not had some fried eggplant in my life. Being also from the south i grew up on fresh veggies . When we fried our potatoes we cut up sweet onions along with them and we always had to have a pan of fresh corn bread with them . I was raised with a garden and the summer was always filled with not only eating fried veggies but also canning them for later in the winter . This brought back memories of my childhood. P S love the old skillet .

  8. Rhoda, my goodness if I have not had some fried eggplant in my life. Being also from the south i grew up on fresh veggies . When we fried our potatoes we cut up sweet onions along with them and we always had to have a pan of fresh corn bread with them . I was raised with a garden and the summer was always filled with not only eating fried veggies but also canning them for later in the winter . This brought back memories of my childhood. P S love the old skillet . Every good southern cook has a black skillet .

  9. I hear you Tina. My mom is 90 years old, low cholesterol, no high blood pressure. She was a Southern cook too, married to a Georgia boy. She grew up on a farm which produced everything the family ate except for basics they couldn’t grow like coffee, sugar and flour. Everything else, including eggs, poultry, beef and pork, right from the farm, nearly all of it fried in bacon grease or lard. We grew up that way too; all our veggies came from the big garden my mom planted out back. We ate from that garden all year, either fresh, canned or frozen. I think the most important thing is moderation and hard farm-type work to burn it all off. To this day I cannot eat a grocery store tomato.

  10. Yep. I think that it is a lifetime of homegrown veggies that keeps the old timers healthy until their late 80s or so.

    I don’t fry much, but I do cook thick fried potatoes (with garlic and rosemary added at the end) whenever we cook hamburgers outside on the grill.

    I am just loving seeing photos of your parents – they are such an inspiration!

  11. Rhoda – I just found your blog by “accident” and I’m amazed by your content and your style. You have a new follower. I’m new to blogging and sure have a lot to learn. I’d much rather be creating than struggling with technical difficulties. My goal is to have a blog that looks as beautiful as yours. The next thing I need to do is just figure out how to “grab a button”!

    Thank you for sharing from your heart. May God continue to bless you in all that you do. Patti

  12. My mom has the very same set of Guardian pots and pans and I remember them from my childhood! She got them in the early ’50s and I was born in the late ’50s. Greetings from the west coast of Canada… your blog is at the top of the list of my bookmarks!

  13. One of my most prized possessions — two of my grandmother’s cast iron skillets delivered by my uncle after her death.

  14. Eggplant is one of my alltime favourite things ever. I never thought of deep frying it. Looks wonderful!

  15. Marianne in Mo. says:

    I’m not a fan of Eggplant, but my, that looks so good I may have to try it! I don’t do much frying, hubs has had 2 heart attacks in the last 5 yrs., so try to stay away from anything not healthy. But I do pan-fry tilapia and pork chops ( not very often!). I used to fry southern chicken, but now if we want that, it’s from the deli. Not as good though! I have to think that it’s not so much the fried food, but all the processed food we now eat. Growing up, we cooked fresh or home-canned food, and sodas were a treat once or twice a year!

  16. Yes – grew up frying alot. Not so much now as times/schedules don’t allow it. But I had fried chicken from the Colonel last night. We used to pick up a bucket at least once a week from the “Big Chicken” in Marietta when I was growing up! Also we had the “Shrimp Boat” on Roswell Rd. in front of the East Marietta Shopping Center and you could smell their fried shrimp for miles! We didn’t know about “trans” fat in those days….we fried okra, squash and fish with homemade hush puppies! My grandma lived to be 96 and my dad is turning 82 in October. So I guess a little fried something every now and then doesn’t hurt you!

  17. Okra is about the only thing I fry because how can a real southerner NOT fry okra. I could eat fried okra like popcorn I love it so.

  18. My mouth is watering!!!! From one southern lady to another, you are so right…. nothing is better than fried eggplant!!!!

  19. Sandra White says:

    My goodness, we were both raised so much alike. I grew up in Blue Ridge, Ga. Your parents remind me so much of mine, whom are no longer with us. My mom used to fry chicken to die for, fried potatoes, squash, okra, etc. She also grew a great big old garden until her health would not allow her to anymore. There is nothing like that food, and especially when your mom is the one who cooks it for you.
    By the way, love your house and can’t wait to see it when it is all done and you can move in. You are one talented lady. I admire you and so enjoy your blog. A true inspiration you are!

  20. Rhoda,

    I just love you Mom & Dad! They are so cute!

    PS I love your blog too!

  21. Oh Girl! When I was a kid in West TN, we had fried taters for supper every night! NEVER any leftovers, either!

  22. Your parents are such wonderful subjects for your blog! I love fried eggplant but I would really like is recipes for the figs that must come off those gorgeous fig trees! Is that possible? LOL!

  23. I love fried eggplant , but I cut mine as rounds and use corn meal instead of panko. And I cook almost everything in my nana and moms cast iron frying pans. Mostly sautéed not fried tho!

  24. I have a similar pot passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me. Besides frying things well, it makes the best popcorn. This eggplant looks delicious!

  25. YUMMY! Nothing like fried okra, fresh creamed corn, sliced ‘maters from the garden, some butter beans and country fried steak…..and finish it off with some ‘nana puddin’. I LOVE living in the South! (this from a girl who grew up in PA ) 🙂

  26. I so love fried potatoes with onions, fried squash, okra, fried ANYTHING! I fry quite a bit, probably way too much. The hubby loves it being from Albany GA. He grew up on fried foods and requests certain foods fried.

    I remember washing potatoes like your Mom is doing in the photo. Great memories!

  27. Rhoda
    The egg plant looks like something I would like. Your Mom has to be the best cook! It’s always good to see your parents. I also would love to see their mountain home. I think when you work as hard as you all do, the fried foods just work off.
    I love your blog . It’s like pulling up a chair and enjoying everything. I love the cooking pot too.

  28. Oh my gosh Rhoda! That looks DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Love it! I totally agree that growing your own must burn calories that takes away those you take in when you eat all this good stuff. When I fry eggplant I normally cut it into small cubes so that I get MORE of the fried coating..very very bad girl here. I fry lots of veggies, but rarely fry chicken because I make the BIGGEST mess when I do! My fried eggplant recipe is here:

  30. I absolutely LOVE fried eggplant, okra, etc. I will have to try it with the Panko crumbs. I try not to fry that often, but those two things along with some chicken are occasional “must haves.” I grew up with a Mom that fried in a cast iron Dutch oven….with Crisco many times. Sadly, my Dad took it when he remarried and I did not ask for it when he passed away. However, I still have a few of my Mom’s stainless steel pots by Revere Wear, Duncan Hines, and New Dimensions by Sear’s. I remember her cooking in those as long as I remember and she’s passed away 22 years ago. Every time I see a beautiful new matching set of cookware for sale, I am tempted to get them, but there is nothing wrong with these and there is something wonderful about cooking in the same pots that she did!

  31. I love eggplant and this looks delicious. I don’t fry much – I try to grill or bake everything. The one thing that does hit my cast iron skillet, especially this time of year, is venison. One of my favorites. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  32. I don’t think I’ve tried fried eggplant, but bet I would love it. We always fried the yellow squash growing up and I still make it. My husband has his reservations about the food I grew up with:) He’s from Minnesota, so there you go. I also love fried okra and sweet tea which is about the best meal in the world to me.

  33. My Aunt Terry had that same set of pots. I loved them when I was growing up because she was such a great cook and because of the way they looked. I liked the way the sides looked hand hammered and the shape of the handles. I always thought they looked medieval.

  34. I was born and raised in Indiana, but my mom is from the south. To my knowledge, there are very few foods that can’t be fried. I remember Mom used to make “wilted lettuce.” I’ve even made it a few times. Fresh leaf lettuce with chopped green onion, then you pour hot bacon grease over it and crumbled bacon. Served with cornbread and milk. Yummy!! My great-grandma lived to be 95. My grandpa is 85. All of his sisters are still alive and the oldest is 90. His mind is still as sharp as a tack.

  35. I was introduced to fried eggplant at one of our favorite restaurants, Fox Valley, near Birmingham. I was amazed at how much it tasted like fried green tomatoes! I’m so glad to get your mom’s recipe…I’ll have to try it!

  36. OMG! I LOVE fried eggplant! The only difference between your recipe and mine is I haven’t added milk to my eggs (but I will now!) and we use Italian herbed breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese added to them, but I want to try the panko… There is nothing better than this – I eat them while I’m cooking them! Last year I had to spend weekends frying the eggplants; we grew so many. This year we grew none and I.MISS.MY.FRIED.EGGPLANT! Surprisingly I found they freeze pretty well – we have one of those machines that freezes them airtight. They were as fresh as when I sealed them up! I’d bake them to dry the outside rather than fry them again, but I have to admit there were many meals where I wanted to eat them so badly I just microwaved those babies!!! YUM!

  37. I have never had fried eggplant…It looks so delicious…will have to try this recipe!!..Have a wonderful weekend!

  38. If I can look as beautiful as your Mom and Dad when I am 80 years young – i’m gonna start eating deep fried veggies every day !!

  39. Oh my Goodness, that pot brings back so many memories for me. My Grandma had one of those and she was a fine fine southern cook. Born and raised and never left the state of Alabama, my Grandmother died at the ripe old age of 92. She fried everything that needed it, just like your Mama.
    I’m filing this recipe away and I’m gonna start searching thrift stores for that pot, to do it justice. Love your blog – it always brings joy to my heart.

  40. I got back from my weekly market shopping this week and was unloading it into the fridge to find I had one eggplant left from the week before, now I know what to do with it and will be frying it up tonight. I have never had egg plant cooked in this way before, it looks yum. We don’t get “Panko” crumbs in New Zealand but I have something similar probably, just dried breadcrumbs so hoping they will be just as good.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Your parents look great for their age, I am sure all that gardening and eating home grown produce. May they have a long long life of health and happiness 🙂


  41. Glenda Harder says:

    Guard that Guardian Ware! It is higher than a cat’s back at antique stores, flea markets, etc. I think one reason people lived so long eating those fresh fried foods back then was because they did manual labor all day. Now we sit at a desk all day and don’t get enough exercise. I do enjoy fresh from the garden fried okra and squash.

  42. Oh yes being from the south to, yep I fry to. Although I used to use canola oil since I started doing Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis in Feb, he’s a cardiologist. I now fry in coconut oil.
    Your Mom and Dad are just something! So glad they have the health they have at their age!

  43. I agree that all those garden fresh veggies are offsetting the cons associated with frying,lol. Love fried eggplant, just add some mozzarella and tomato sauce and voila! Love fried zucchini, even more, I think. (Along with a side of ranch dressing for dipping. Oh my.)

  44. Nancy Kennedy Corbin says:

    Guardian Service was featured on The Lucy show. Every woman at the time watched it and wanted it! My mom (now gone 4 yrs) had the complete service and used it for years and years. I have seen some pieces in ‘antique’ stores which would have made my mother laugh! LOL!

  45. Yay! I’m gonna try this! It looks amazing. I believe that we still have some eggplant coming on. btw: Your parents are adorable. I hope that the Mr. and I look that great…in a few years…since we grow our veggies too. 😉 Thanks again! ~k.

  46. This recipe looks so good! And it is wonderful to see you using your grandmother’s Guardian Service cookware. I would love to include this recipe on our website. My I have your permission to reprint it?

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