Pickled Okra

A good pickle is all about texture. It should have a satisfying crunch as you bite into it. It should be firm and crisp. It should make your eyes light up with delight as you eat it. Which brings me to okra, the poster child of vegetables with texture issues. “Eww, it’s slimy!” Yes. Yes, okra often suffers from slipperiness. But it all depends on how you prepare it. Cooked fresh into a pickle, like this, it’s not slimy. It’s crunchy. I am convinced that okra makes the best pickles ever. The inside of an okra pod is somewhat hollow, with tender seeds, but a lot of air. These air pockets fill up with the pickling juice when you pickle the okra, and it’s a texture wonderland when you bite into them. That and okra just tastes good.


I planted okra in the garden for the first time this year, so I now have my own steady supply. I have not found any decent looking okra at the stores, but the farmers market this time of year has plenty of beautiful fresh okra. Look for unblemished pods, and if you are using pint sized jars, no more than 4 inches long.

As for making the pickles, it couldn’t be easier. You actually pack the fresh okra into the jars with the pickling spices. Pour in pickling liquid, put lids on, and put the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. If you are canning for shelf storage you’ll want to take the extra precautions of sterilizing the jars up front, and sterilizing the lids. But you can skip that if you just want to store them in the fridge and eat them up quickly.

Pickled Okra Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 pint jars.

You can either use the pickling spice combination recommended here, your own favorite pickling spice blend, or already packaged pickling spices. You'll need 4 tablespoons for 4 pint jars of pickles.



  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh okra (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 1/4-inch thick slices of lemon
  • 2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Pickling spices:

  • 2 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Special equipment needed:

  • 4 pint canning jars, lids, and screw bands.
  • A large (at least 16 qt) pot for canning


1 Prepare for canning by sterilizing jars and lids. Put a steamer rack at the bottom of a large (16 quart) pot, and place the jars on the rack. Fill the pot with water to the rim of the jars. (Note if you don't have a level steamer rack you can put a clean dish towel at the bottom of the pot, you just don't want the jars touching the bottom of the pot or they may break from the heat.) Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes. To sterilize the lids, place lids in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them.


2 Place vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar, reduce heat and keep warm.


3 While the water is heating in step one, prepare the okra and the spices. Rinse the okra and trim the stem ends to 1/4-inch.

4 Place all pickling spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.


5 Lay out a clean towel on your counter. Use canning tongs to remove the jars from the boiling water, emptying the water from the jars. Place the hot, sterilized jars on the towel on your counter. Placing the hot jars on a towel will help prevent them from getting shocked by a cold counter surface and potentially cracking. Place a lemon slice at the bottom of each jar. Add a tablespoon of the mixed pickling spices to each jar. Place a peeled garlic clove on top of the spices and lemon.

6 Pack the okra in the jars, alternating stem-side-up and stem-side-down to allow you to pack the okra well into the jars. The top of the okra should come between an inch to 1/2 an inch from the rim of the jar.


7 Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the jars, up to 1/4-inch from the rim of the jars. Run a thin knife between the okra and the jars to dislodge any obvious air bubbles. Okra is filled with air, so while you run the knife between the okra and the jars, air bubbles will be released from within the okra as well. If the top level of the pickling liquid lowers while you do this, just top off with more of the pickling liquid. If for any reason you don't have enough pickling liquid for all the jars, just add equal amounts of cider vinegar and water. No need to heat first, the liquid will get boiled in the hot water bath.

8 Wipe the rims with a clean damp towel. Place sterilized lids on jars. Screw on the the lids, firmly, but not too tight.


9 Place packed jars back in the pot with water you used to sterilize the jars. The water should still be hot. Because you are putting back in full jars, rather than empty jars, some water will be displaced. Allow for 1 to 2 inches of water to cover the jars. Beyond that you may want to remove excess water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove to towel lined counter or to a rack (you want to avoid putting a hot jar on a cold surface, or else the jar might crack.)

10 As the jars cool, you should hear a popping sound as the vacuum created by the cooling air in the jars pulls the lid down and seals the jars. A properly sealed jar can last in a cool closet out of direct sun for about a year. If any jars do not seal, store them chilled in the refrigerator. Opened jars should last one to two months in the refrigerator.

Let sit 24 hours before eating.

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Pickled Okra from Jen Yu of Use Real Butter
Spicy Pickled Okra from Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Sarah

    Yes!! I ADORE okra so so much, and pickled okra is like heaven in a jar! (Although several people close to me will disagree…)

    When I lived in Sacramento I could never get okra to grow properly, but I’m happy to see you’ve got a good crop and I know it can be done. Now that I’ve moved to Denver I’m hoping I have better luck here!

  2. Smeds

    If you live near a Wegman’s they sell fresh okra. I might have to try this. I LOVE a pickled okra in a Bloody Mary.

    And if you don’t want to take the time to pickle, just skewer them, brush in olive oil and salt, and grill over high heat for 2 minutes/side. Great stuff.

    If I haven’t made it clear, I love me some okra. And I haven’t even mentioned gumbo yet.

  3. The Steaming Pot

    Wow…I cook with okra often in various ways but would never have thought of pickling them. Thanks for the recipe, will try this out.

  4. Julie

    We make an easy “roll-up” appetizer with pickled okra. Take Danish ham and spread it with cream cheese. Cut off the ends of the okra pickles and lay one or two at the short end of the ham. Roll up, chill, and then cut into slices. It’s a very pretty take on the more usual roll-ups. The seeds make it almost look like a flower. I can, and often do, eat these by the handful.

  5. Sarah

    Roasting okra also helps with the sliminess, and it also has the benefit of being delicious and super simple. Chop okra into large pieces, toss with oil and s&p, roast until browned and tender. I never knew it was this easy until a friend cooked it for me.
    Who knew okra pickles could be so beautiful? Great “pics”!

  6. Daniel

    Sounds good. I think my Grandmother’s recipe is just fennel seed, garlic, and salt. I pack 1/2 of a large jalapeno in each jar for just a little kick.

  7. Zeeona @ Basil and Strawberry

    This is the first time I even hear about okra. First I thought it was a type of cucumber, which I very much like pickled.

  8. Olithée

    Luv pickles
    I feel like a nice home made burger now !

  9. Lee

    When I was catering in South Carolina, I would cut pickled okra in half and stuff it with homemade pimento cheese. Oh my lord, is it good!!!

  10. J.

    Lee – that does sound delicious. I’ve got the pickled okra already. I think I’m making some pimento cheese this weekend.

  11. dancing kitchen

    I’m with you…pickled okra is my thing.

  12. Cindy

    Hi, I would love to do this because I LOVE pickled okra…had just bought a jar at the store and then saw yours. Was wondering, what does the lemon do and is it necessary for the canning process? I don’t want my okra tasting ‘lemony’
    Thanks and your okra is beautiful in the jars.

    Hi Cindy, the okra doesn’t taste lemony. The lemon does provide a brightness due both to its bitter in the peel and its acidity. ~Elise

  13. Sheeijan

    I’ve never tried pickled okra and never had any urge for it. But after reading your description and looking at those gorgeous pictures, I have got to get my greedy little mitts on some. They look that good.

  14. Amy L.

    We planted okra for the first time this year too… And like you, we are only getting two or three okra(s?) a week. My hubby makes the most delicious gumbo – family is from Louisiana and he grew up cooking – so he is slicing them as we harvest them and freezing them in quart bags. Every week we add some more and we should have enough for a big ole pot of gumbo for the LSU game next week… Can’t wait, we’ve never had gumbo made with home-grown okra before!

    That’s a great idea to slice and freeze, thank you! ~Elise

  15. Mardi

    Lovely pictures! Pickled okra is a staple here in Texas, they are like zucchini you can never get rid of them once they start to really come in.

    I always add about 1/4 cup sliced jalapeno in each jar, more if you like it hot! I love adding a handful of garlic cloves as well, just peeled but left whole. You can eat the okra, garlic and the pickled jalapenos and the juice is great for cooking greens.

  16. Carol

    I would love to try this, but will not be canning. Do you still have to process for 15 minutes in boiling water if you are just going to refrigerate?? Thanks…I can see trying this with other veggies!!

    I would do just a 10 minute boil. You do need to process because the okra does need to be cooked. If you don’t have the set up for that, I would cook the okra and garlic in the vinegar water solution for 10 minutes, then pack the jars with the spices, okra, lemon, and garlic, and then cover with the solution and put in the fridge. ~Elise

  17. Kevin H.

    My Mother loves them. She has a case full of them in her pantry right now. I’ve never tried them, but maybe I’ll give them a shot.

  18. Daniel

    Why does the okra need to be cooked? My family has never done anything other than pour the boiling vinegar/water over the okra and processed enough to get a seal.

    The processing of the jars does cook the okra. The okra does need to be cooked to kill any residual bacteria or mold spores in the okra. You can accomplish this with less than a 15 min water bath, but to be on the safe side, if you are going to store the pickles on a shelf in room temp, not chilled, almost every canning book I’ve read says to process for 15 min. That said, I eat these up so quickly, and often just store them in the fridge, so I’ll often process for just 10 min. ~Elise

  19. Bob C

    You don’t need to sterilize jars or lids if processing time is over 10 minutes. Just wash the jars with warm soapy water and rinse well; the lids should be new. Also, proecessing time must be increased with altitude. If the time given applies at sea level, usually about a minute/thousand feet of elevation is added.

  20. Patty Martins - Aqui na Cozinha

    Elise does not comment much time here, but I’m always reading.
    This week I was surprised that pickled okra. Here in Brazil we use very okra, but had never seen such preserves.

  21. Garrett

    Outstanding recipe, Elise. I used a pre-made pickling spice mix and added extra garlic. Not slimy. Super crunchy. A winner of a pickle.

  22. Bill Harris

    I grew up in Mississippi and have eaten a lot of okra in my day. I use it in several dishes that I make regularly. I love it in all forms and pickled is one of my favorites. Great post! I’ll be trying this one.

  23. Mike Abrams

    I am a big fan of pickled anything, but especially Okra! I live in Phoenix, and found out that Okra is one of the few veggies that LOVES our blistering summer sun. I pickled seven jars yesterday, and am expecting many more! I also put half a jalapeno pepper seeds and all in each jar. Grow your own Okra if you can and save tons of money too!

  24. Lindsay

    I LOVE … in a deep way … pickled okra! SO glad you posted this recipe. Thanks! I was just telling my bf who is a pickle fanatic abut how scrumptious pickled okra is and now I can make it for him fresh. Good on you growing your own! Rockstar ;)

    Hi Lindsay, For the record, I’m only harvesting a few okra a week from my plants at the moment. So for this recipe we got our okra from the farmers market. That said, I think I’ll plant a few more plants next year! So good. ~Elise

  25. Autumn Cabral

    I bought “pickling spices” by McCormick. Is that pretty similar to what you have listed in your pickling spices recipe?

  26. Bryce

    I don’t get it. I followed the recipe but my okra turned out soggy and the brine was very cloudy. My okra was fresh farmers market. I brought them up to 15 psi as quickly as I could and I quick released the pressure and got them out of the canner as quickly as I could after the 15 minutes was up. Does anybody know where I went wrong?

    • Bryce

      Oh… you didn’t use a canner… I saw mason jars and the word “process” and assumed a canner instead of boiling…

      Well. Back to the market I guess.

  27. MeWagner

    Great Recipe! Even my mom who doesn’t like other pickled okra she has tried, loved it. We like things a little spicy, so I did add a few more pepper flakes and 1/2 Jalapeno sliced length wise to each jar. Thanks for a keeper recipe!

  28. Harley

    Cloudy liquid is usually a sign of spoilage. In starchy foods, cloudiness may occur because the vegetables were too old or gathered too long before canning. Be sure you are choosing the freshest available.

  29. larry rinehart

    What do i have to do to make my Okra crispy?

    • Elise

      Okra prepared as pickles in this recipe should be have a crunch to them because they haven’t cooked long. I don’t think they’ll ever get as crispy as a dill pickle though.

  30. Amanda

    Would it work if I added a few other veggies to this recipe? We grew our own okra, but do not have enough! Was thinking of adding a mixture of veggies maybe cucumber, carrots, green beans or asparagus. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Elise

      Hi Amanda, I think other veggies added in would work fine, though I would recommend consulting a canning book for a more definitive answer.

  31. Linda

    How do you keep your okra from shrinking so much? I pickled some several days ago and I packed the jars VERY TIGHTLY and whenever they came out of the water bath canner they had shrunk so small….Didn’t look like I had hardly any in the jars. What can I do to keep them from shrinking?

  32. George

    To make the pickled okra crisper, you could try soaking the pods in a pickling lime solution (following the instructions on the package). I use that with my watermelon rind pickles.

  33. Tina landrum

    These pickled okra are outstanding !! I was a little afraid of putting the lemon in there …. but glad I did ! I think it is what makes the taste really come to life Working on my third batch of the season now Thank you for sharing this receipe ! All my old recipes are outta here !

  34. Elane

    I had pickled okra at Thanksgiving and am now in love. I must try this, but don’t think I can get fresh okra at the market at this time of year. I know this is sacrilegious, but is it possible to use frozen okra?

  35. Erin

    So if I want my okra hot I use this same recipe just add some jalapenos?

    • Elise

      Actually, I think it would be better to add red pepper chili flakes to make the recipe hot.

  36. Matt

    What kind of kosher salt are you using, Morton’s or Diamond Crystal (or another)? Because of the volume difference between the two, I’m curious if using either would make a difference, since as a rule of thumb I try not to deviate from a canning recipe at all. Could you perhaps give the weight in grams for the salt (I also tend to use Morton’s pickling salt for canning recipes)? Thanks!

    • Elise

      Hi Matt,
      I’m using Morton’s but in this case I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Everyone’s salt tolerance is different. Here the salt is mostly for flavor, not for its preservative value. The important ingredient for canning in this recipe is the vinegar.

  37. Larry

    I’m going to try you recipe it looks great. First time canning. Live in OK. and okra loves the heat. And this year we received some rain. I planted 400 okra, 40 tomato, and 8 Jalapeno plants. We are going to can Salsa, okra (Hot and Mild), and Jalapeno peppers. Yes 400 it’s not a type-0. LOL

  38. Bonnie N

    I bought some okra at the farmer’s market this morning with the intention of pickling. I’ve now searched and gone through 10+ online recipes and I’m stopping with this one. I’ve been buying already pickled okra and like it so much that I decided that I can do this. Thanks for the best recipe.

  39. Freya

    So glad to find these instructions! They will be really useful as I just came across some okra in an Asian supermarket yesterday. I live in Germany and it’s basically an unknown ingredient here.

    It’ll be my first time pickling anything, so wish me luck ;-).
    I’ll be back in a few weeks and report. But now I’m off to get some spices. Celery seeds are another thing that are hard to get in Germany…


  40. Simone

    I pickled my okra and can hardly wait to eat it! However, the level of the water went down about 1/2 ” after the processing. The lids all sealed perfectly. Do I open them and add more pickling juice and reprocess?

    • Elise

      Hi Simone, great question. Because the okra is so filled with air pockets and those air pocket get filled with the pickling liquid as the jars set, the over level goes down. I’ve noticed this too. What I’ve done is just eat them up within a few months or store them in the fridge. I haven’t seen a reference anywhere about what to do about this or if it is an issue. You could add more juice and reprocess if you want to store them longer.

  41. Simone

    @ Elise from Oklahoma-I’m jealous! Next year I’m planting!

  42. Diana

    This is a fantastic recipe. One of my friends ate a whole jar in one sitting! Thank you so much, this one has been added to our family favorites.

  43. tracy sheehy

    How long should it take for the jars to pop? If they don’t are they safe? When I filled the jars with the vinegar, the okra kept floating to the top! Could this be why they aren’t popping?

  44. rosa dillon

    I tried the pickled okra recipe and love it, it is so easy and delicious. I made it right the first time and it has been over 25 years since I had pickled okra. thank you for posting this recipe.

  45. Mary W

    FYI Don’t think your plant is finished in late summer if you lost most of your leaves.
    Once the weather gets below 95 (In Texas) the plants starts putting on new growth from the bottom. At list mine did this year, Now I’m getting loads of okra.

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