Our Favorite Ways to Cook with Okra

Okra is a staple of cooking in many cuisines

Okra is a green, fiber-rich pod popular across the American South, India, and parts of Africa. As it cooks, it can become gooey or slimy. This turns some people off of the vegetable, but it’s actually useful. Okra’s texture makes it a vital thickener for classic New Orleans gumbo. Many recipes, like the one for our chicken and sausage gumbo, use a flour roux to ensure the proper thickness. But also try our Creole gumbo, which is just thickened with okra. Both versions are great served over rice.

Like much Southern food, gumbo can trace its roots to Africa. Soupoukandia is a Senegalese seafood stew flavored with chiles and palm oil and thickened with okra. Another great Senegalese recipe is màfe ginaar, a peanut and chicken stew. If you want to cut the sliminess of okra, acid is the way to go. To make our Greek stewed okra, the vegetable is tossed in a lemon juice-water mixture to preserve its texture. Similarly, pickling okra is a great idea. Our okra pickles are flavored with dill, fennel, mustard seeds, and Scotch Bonnet chile.

Check out all these dishes and more in our collection of our favorite okra recipes.

Stuffed Okra

This recipe, from Madhur Jaffrey’s A Taste of India, is part of SAVEUR’s November 2017 cookbook club. Though we’ve tested this recipe in the SAVEUR test kitchen, we present it in its original, unedited form from the book. Get the recipe for Stuffed Okra »

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

During cooking, okra exudes a thick liquid that gives this hearty Cajun stew a sumptuous, silky texture; a little file powder, made from dried sassafras leaves, further thickens and enriches it. Get the recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo »

Stuffed Quail Gumbo

This dish is sort of a gumbo in reverse—quail, roasted to a deep golden brown, is stuffed with dirty rice and smothered in a chocolate-colored purée of roux, andouille, duck, and vegetables. Get the recipe for Stuffed Quail Gumbo »

West African Peanut Stew

Spicy Okra Pickles

These spicy pickles are a delicious accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal.

Seafood Soup (Iraü Lau Juyeirugu)

Fresh basil, oregano, and sage lend their fragrance to this hearty soup loaded with five different types of seafood. Get the recipe for Seafood Soup (Iraü Lau Juyeirugu) »
Red pepper jelly and pickled okra and onions add piquancy to this dish.

Sweet and Sour Caramel Catfish Soup

Sour Fish Soup (Canh Chua Cá)

Okra Soup

Okra is often boiled or fried and served as a simple side in soul food restaurants, but in Charleston it often comes as a luscious vegetable soup with tomatoes, onion, and celery. Get the recipe for Okra Soup »
North Indian Okra Stir-Fry (Bhindi Masala)

Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

This dark, thick, rustic stew has just the right amount of heat. Get the recipe for Fried Chicken and Andouille Gumbo »

Creole Okra Gumbo

Unlike many gumbos, this one doesn’t use a roux. Instead, a combination of tomatoes and okra acts as a thickener. Get the recipe for Creole Okra Gumbo »

South Indian Vegetable Stew (Sambar)

Any combination of vegetables, such as yams, zucchini, or eggplant, can be added to this aromatic south Indian dish, which is often served with dosas. Get the recipe for South Indian Vegetable Stew (Sambar) »

Smothered Okra

Pickling okra is great when smothered with tomatoes and other vegetables. Get the recipe for Smothered Okra »