tomato okra corncake

Almost ten years ago, I, along with hundreds of thousands of other readers, discovered the perfect summer appetizer among the glossy pages of Southern Living‘s July issue. These Okra, Tomato and Corn Hoecakes are the quintessential Southern summer small bite. Although best served piping hot after frying, these would be perfect for a potluck or summer BBQ.

I love food magazines. I am the first to admit it; I’m slightly obsessed. They stand sentry in a row in my kitchen, my butler’s pantry crammed with back issues (some almost 20 years old) of GourmetSouthern LivingFine Cooking, and Bon Appétit. I particularly look forward to pulling out the winter holiday and summer issues. Staring at photos of a glistening, crispy Thanksgiving bird or a basil-flecked, farm fresh corn salad does wonders for my psyche. And my obsession leads me to discover recipes like these, so it’s a win for everyone.

This Okra, Tomato and Corn Hoecakes summer appetizer recipe combines my favorite flavors of our sultry, so-hot-you-peel-off-your-clothing Alabama summers: okra, tomatoes, corn, basil, and a personal staple, pimento cheese. You could use storebought (in Mobile, we are partial to Bake My Day) or follow this recipe below to make your own (make it the day before and let it chill in the fridge). My sister, Emily, took one bite and said, “this is summer on a plate.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Homemade Pimento Cheese

1 8 oz block sharp cheddar grated by hand
1 4 oz jar of diced pimentos
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
2 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise (or more)
Cayenne and salt and pepper to taste

Put shredded cheese in a bowl. Add pimentos and wet ingredients. Stir until all incorporated. Add spices/seasonings to taste. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight before serving. Let stand 15 minutes to warm before using.

tomato okra corncake
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Okra, Tomato and Corn Hoecakes

These Okra, Tomato and Corn Hoecakes are summer on a plate.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword best pimento cheese, corn appetizers, hoecakes, okra recipes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 hoecakes
Author Amanda


  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups okra thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 small jalapeno seeded and minced
  • 4 small heirloom tomatoes sliced into rounds
  • 16 basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Homemade Pimento cheese recipe in post


  1. Mix the first four ingredients in a small bowl.

  2. Beat in water and egg and mix until batter is thick and wet.

  3. Add in okra, jalapeno, corn and stir.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet until hot but not smoking. Pour batter in tablespoonfuls and cook each cake until bubbles appear on the surface and edges look dry.

  5. Flip cakes and press down with spatula.

  6. Cook 2-3 minutes and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Salt and pepper. Repeat with all of the batter and oil.

  7. To assemble cakes, place eight corn cakes on a plate. Top each cake with a tablespoon of pimiento cheese. Top with a basil leaf and then a tomato round, pressing down slightly.

  8. Garnish with basil and season with salt and pepper. Summer on a plate. I promise.

Recipe Notes

Although I pretty much stuck to the original recipe (you can’t mess much with perfection), I did add a few handfuls of cooked, fresh corn kernels, cut straight off the cob, to the corncake batter. We also added more basil, because as far as I’m concerned, you can never have too much basil. I omitted the arugula because we didn’t have any.

Pin recipe here:

22 thoughts on “The Perfect Southern, Summer Appetizer: Okra Tomato and Corn Hoecakes with Pimento Cheese”

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