Stewed Okra and Tomatoes Creole Style

Side DishComfort FoodGluten-FreeOkra

Classic southern stewed okra and tomatoes, with bacon, bell pepper, onions, celery, okra and tomatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

There’s a reason why the Southern dish of stewed okra and tomatoes is timeless. It’s just plain good!

First you start with browning some bacon, then you add the holy trinity—onions, bell pepper, and celery, then the tomatoes, okra and spices. Everything is cooked together until tender and almost falling apart.

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Okra is a summer vegetable but you can get frozen okra all year round which is perfectly fine stewed like this. If you don’t have access to okra at all, you can prepare green beans in a similar manner (see recipe).

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Do you have a favorite summer okra dish? Please let us know about it in the comments. I love okra and am always looking for ways to cook with it.

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes Creole Style Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

You can use either whole or thickly sliced okra for this recipe.

Obviously we believe this dish is best with bacon, but if you don't eat bacon or want to make a vegetarian dish, leave it out and use a tablespoon or two of olive oil instead.


  • 2 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch wide slices (lardons)
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (about 1 bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (about one rib)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 pound (16-ounces) of frozen or fresh okra, whole or thickly sliced, trimmed of tough tops if whole, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 scant pinch of ground cloves (watch it on the ground cloves, a little goes a long way, and you can easily overdo it!)
  • 1/2 cup water


1 Cook bacon lardons until lightly browned: Place the bacon lardons in a thick-bottomed pot (3 or 4 quart). Heat on medium and cook until the bacon is lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered out.

2 Add onions, celery, bell pepper, then garlic: Once bacon has browned, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. The bacon should have rendered enough fat to cook the vegetables, but if not, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.

Cook over medium high heat until onions, celery, and bell peppers are lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

3 Add remaining ingredients, water, then simmer: Add the tomatoes, okra, and salt to the pot. Add the black pepper, cayenne, thyme, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir to combine.

Add 1/2 cup of water.

Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Okra cornmeal cakes with chèvre and roasted tomatoes from Annie's Eats

Persian Okra Stew from My Persian Kitchen

Tangy Tomato Okra Soup from Cafe Liz

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

14 Comments / Reviews

No ImageStewed Okra and Tomatoes Creole Style

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kate

    Loved this!!! It was delicious and I will make it often!


  2. Strawberry

    Sorry,forgot to tell you add citrus or lemon juice to broth …

  3. Strawberry

    Hi, I found this site by coincidence,I cook and create some meals.
    About Okra we used to cook it in different way but so delicious.
    the way to keep it always at home either frozen or dry in necklace (always guests wonder what is this necklace doing in the kitchen where I hang it !

    The way to prepare the dry okra for cooking is:
    Boil water in a pot with lemon or orange peels and dash of flour ,then add the dry okra till tenderness and cook it as broth as follows:
    Okra- 500g
    Tomato- paste fullspoon
    Tomato juice-3cups
    Garlic-2 or 3 cloves
    Cubes of cooked Lamb or beef- 5 or 6 pieces ,with Lamb more tasty ( fry onion in oil,then add the meat with herbs as cardamon,cinnamon,bay leaves and cloves) then add boiled water till tenderness.
    Coriander seeds- grinded-teaspoon

    Put cooking oil in a pot and add tomato paste ,then add the cubes of beef
    Add coriander
    Add Okra till color change into yellow
    Add tomato juice with garlic cloves
    Let it boil for awhile till you test an okra by pressing a fork into an okra so if it’s tender you can reduce the heat till done.
    You can have it with rice or put bread* pieces( even old) into the broth. onion and fresh basil suit the meal.
    * Afghani or Pakistani bread preffered

    Bon Appetit

  4. Reir

    I love okra. This sounds delicious and I will have to try it soon!

    My favorite go-to recipes are African or Middle Eastern chick pea and okra stew. They are quite similar, with slight variations.
    I also like okra sautéed in Indian style, with onions and a pinch of asafoetida.

  5. The Steaming Pot

    It’s fantastic to learn of the variety of ways in which a vegetable is cooked around the world. Okra is a pretty popular vegetable in India, and it’s available fresh – haven’t heard of frozen okra over here. I often make it into a dish called “bhindi do pyaza” (literally, okra with two onions).

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