How to Cook Okra

If you've always wondered how to cook okra, but haven't yet tried, you'll love learning about it below. Okra is one of the most underrated vegetables around. It's also one of my all-time favorites, although admittedly, I don't cook it very often, making it a couple of times a year.

All About Okra

Okra is believed to have originated in Africa or Southeast Asia, it did not come to the United States until the early 18th century. This healthy vegetable is a staple in the American South where it is often fried, grilled, and pickled. Okra is also commonly used in the cuisines of Africa, the Middle East, and India. I learned all about okra back in the early 1990's when I took my multi-year Ayurvedic training.

There are 3 types of okra -green, red, and purple. Truth be told, I have only cooked green okra. Please leave a comment if you've cooked with other colors of okra as I'd love to hear all about it!

When to Buy Okra

Okra is in season in from mid to late summer in the United States, approximately July to September. Okra grows best in the hot, humid climates described above.

How to Buy Okra

When you buy okra you'll want to choose smooth, unblemished pods. It's very important to select okra that does not have brown spots or shriveled dried ends. One trick we learned in our Ayurvedic training was that if the tips are not healthy and robust looking the okra will be tough, fibrous, and impossible to chew. If you get home and you can't snap the end off of a pod you won't want to stir-fry it. I toss those in the compost bin to cut my losses. I recently purchased frozen organic okra at our local health food store and it worked in this recipe too!

How to Cook Okra

My favorite way to cook okra is in a stir-fry with onions. If you can eat nightshades, okra is also fantastic with tomatoes, a natural pairing since okra and tomatoes are part of the same late summer crop.

How to Cook Okra

Print Recipe
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat
  2. Carmelize onion, sautéing 10-15 minutes until golden brown
  3. Add okra, water, and salt
  4. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and okra is tender
  5. Serve
I found this and am so glad I did. Absolutely delicious! My husband laughed and said he never thought he would see the day that he would have to fight me to share the okra.

Is Okra Slimy?

Some people think that okra is slimy. And this definitely bothers those people. I love both the flavor and texture of okra and while I wouldn't call it slimy, I would say that it does have a unique texture. Nevertheless, I love okra!

Is Okra Low-Carb?

Okra is a low-carb vegetable, containing around 5 grams of carbohydrates in a cup. If you are on a low-carb diet, check out my Keto Diet Recipes page, all of those recipes are sugar-free.

Have you ever cooked okra? What's your favorite way to prepare okra? Leave a comment and let me know!


133 responses to “How to Cook Okra”

  1. The “slime” in Okra is what gives it that delicious, unique flavor!
    My southern family would throw a whole pod into a pot of peas or beans
    as they cooked and the okra imparted a wonderful flavor. I live in the north
    now and have found some great frozen okra. Hard to find fresh okra
    in PA markets.

    • Robbie, thank you so much! I’m so glad someone said this, the slime is my favorite thing about okra :-)

  2. Thank you! It has been a very enlightning experience to read your article. I have only cooked green Okra. I have never seen red or purple. I don’t even know if these two varieties are planted here in Cuba. I’ll try to find out. Best regards!

  3. Can you save the top part of the okra and cook down ,maybe blender it. Is it edible? The part you cut off when cutting this doable?

    • No, the cap of the okra shd never be eaten, it’s not only tough it’s also very fibrous. My grandmother wld always instruct the family cook in our home to top n tail the okra.
      To tell if the okra is young n tender…. perfect for cooking, one should snap the tail end with the thumb n if it has a nice crisp snap you know its the perfect one. Hope this helps.

  4. Great way to fix okra is to wash, trim ends, and split lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with your favorite spicy seasoning followed by a drizzle of avocado oil. Roast for around 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. While this cooks, take Greek plain yogurt and add spicy seasoning to taste. Use this as a dip for your okra.

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Recipes » Cooked Veggies » How to Cook Okra