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!


127 responses to “How to Cook Okra”

  1. Tonight after reading all of the above, I sauteed slices of okra, cherry tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, roasted garlic, in coconut oil, tossed in black sesame seeds and some wasabi seeds…..,, a little water…..,no salt or pepper or other seasoning, and it was excellent. We ate every morsel.

      • The real southern way of cooking okra is to chop it, add salt and pepper, then put it in the fridge for a while to reduce sliminess. Then put it in a big freezer bag with enough white corn meal to lightly coat and shake. Fry with a small amount of olive oil.

        Some folks beat an egg and add that in the cornmeal okra shake bag. I think that makes it too heavy.

    • I’m trying to get better with my cooking skills . I like okra allot and will be definitely trying this

  2. I loved all of the responses! I am cooking okra tonight, a new way I just read. My normal way is to fry in a cast iron skillet with a tbsp of oil coating the pan. I season the okra we with a cajun mix, then put the okra in a bag of flower and shake. Remove the powdered okra and place in hot pan. Brown as desired. My favorite is a good fish stew with whole okra!!!

  3. I cook okra in little cubes y fry them in a pan with olive oil , low sodium soy sauce, paprika, cayenne Pepper and dill. I cook them army crunchy, not soft. They taste delicious!

  4. Fake southern fried okra is a favorite in my kitchen but it gets eaten before dinner every time. Toss frozen sliced okra (not thawed) in old bay seasoning and gf crumbs or gf flour, oven roast in a pan with oil at about 400, stirring occasionally til browned and crisp. Addictive.

  5. I love your website, Elana. Very inspiring, enlightening, and educational. I have so many health issues and am often left wondering what in the world I can EAT! That’s where your wonderful recipes come in!

    One suggestion – perhaps others have the same question? Can you find a way to allow readers’ comments to also be copied, along with the recipe? Oftentimes, their suggestions add to the variety of ways an item can be prepared, with the various “tweaks”. This okra recipe, for instance. Tiresome, trying to hand-copy all the comments – much easier if I/we could print them out along with the recipe.

    Thanks so much – keep on keepin’ ON, girl! Your help is invaluable to so many………………

    • Judi, thanks for your comment. We used to have the website set up that way, however, readers were often upset with the amount of paper that this consumed when they printed a recipe. Feel free to take a screen shot of the comments so that you can print them out :-)

      • Thanks for your suggestion of taking a screen shot to print out comments. However, I tried to print two different ways and neither worked, only printed the original recipe, down to “Is Okra Low-Carb? “paragraph. Perhaps you could research a way to compact the comments, so are printable. A lot of good recipe tweaks I’d love to have (on this and other recipes), without timely hand writing!

        • I highlight and copy the comment and then paste it into an email – I paste all the comments I’m interested in and then send it… you can also copy the recipe and paste it at the top/beginning of the email with all the comments at the bottom….

  6. Hi Elana,
    I live in the South and have eaten okra all my life. Some might consider me hardcore as I even enjoy it boiled with all the sliminess intact. Many do not like the slime and that is the reason that okra and tomatoes go perfectly together. The acid of the tomato cuts the slime of the okra. Stew them together and they make a nice gravy to serve over rice.
    Also, fried okra and pickled okra have no slime. Try making refrigerator pickles by putting okra, garlic, and hot peppers in jars and covering with vinegar for a few days. Great to snack on.

  7. Another voice chiming in here agreeing with the benefits of vinegar to help the sliminess. My husband’s great aunt from southern Mississippi taught me that trick!

    • Another vote for vinegar to cut slime in okra. I am 77 yrs old and learned how to cook okra from my mother. Over the years many friends have become okra lovers following Mother’s recipe. Bring a pot of water to boil, add a healthy splash of white vinegar (couple of Tablespoons), drop trimmed whole tender pods into the boiling vinegar water and cook until tender. It does not take long. Drain the water from the okra but DO NOT rinse. Pour the okra onto a sheet pan creating one layer. Add a generous amount of butter plus salt and pepper to taste. Put pan into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until liquid has evaporated and okra is moist and chewy. You will need to stir it a couple to time to ensure the butter is distributed to every pod. Enjoy!

        • I substitute water, with a seasoned stock, { i like chicken], then add sauted onion and mushrooms . and last but not least add the diced Okra with a touch of garlic butter , and plce on top a serving of wild rice mmmmmm good And of course your fav. wine

  8. In south India, orka is prepared in many different ways. While stir frying, the best trick to reduce slime is to spread cut orka on a dish, keep it covered with paper towel for 3-4 hours or overnight before cooking.

  9. I’ve recently become a fan of okra, eating it roasted with chili powder and cumin. A farmers’ market vendor told me the red pigment fades in cooking and you end up with green.

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Recipes » Cooked Veggies » How to Cook Okra