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.

How to Cook Okra Super Easily

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 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 Fresh 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 Raw Okra

My favorite way to cook raw 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!


141 responses to “How to Cook Okra”

  1. Hi, my mother made it for us. Creole style. Garlic and onions sauteed in olive oil, add okra and fresh or stewed tomatoes, fresh lemon juice, flakes of red cayenne pepper if desired. Salt and pepper- served over white or basmati rice.

    Were you a student of MMY. is that why you took ayurvedic cooking classes? Private message if you like.

    • Dorothy, thanks for your comment! I was a student of Rasa Yoga in NYC which no longer exists. We studied yoga asamas, Ayurvedic herbs, and Ayurvedic cooking as part of our training :-)

  2. We grew some purple okra for a couple of years until the seed became hard to find. I would roast the pods whole, seasoning them with olive oil, chili pepper and salt. My husband hates the sliminess of okra but roasting it does away with that issue. Absolutely delicious,

  3. I don’t know if okra still maintains its nutritional contents after cooking with a bicarbonate of soda. But that’s how we cook it in Limpopo South Africa. Commly known as mandande. Cooking method : boiling water depending on the amount of okra, add a pinch of bicarb to help softening it, okra, spinach or any indigenous vegetable of your choice, then ripe chopped tomatoes and salt when okra is nearly cooked. It’s served separately in a bowl and served with pap for lunch or supper.

  4. Best way to eat okra is to brush whole okra with olive oil, s&p put on metal skewers and grill until tender and slightly charred. wow!! When fresh is not available we used whole frozen!

  5. Love these comments. This is the first tine I tried growing okra and needed recipes fast! Am cooking up a second batch, which will probably go into the freezer. Does it freeze well? I hope….

  6. I grow green okra and heirloom red. As you, I love okra in all its versions. I will certainly make this recipe!

  7. I want you to know that I have never been fond of okra unless it was stewed with tomatoes. Last year I tried this recipe and love it. My husband laughed and told me he never thought he would have to fight me for okra.

  8. My husband wanted to have either boiled or okra fried with cornmeal. 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. Thank you!

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