Okra, Why I Don’t Think I Will Ever Like It, and an Ask the Readers Question

Ask The Readers

Today’s Ask the Readers question was one I almost used for a What Is It Wednesday, but I decided that many of you would guess this right away. So instead of using it for What Is It Wednesday I decided to turn it into an Ask the Readers.


See many of you would have known exactly what that was if I posted it for What is Wednesday. Wouldn’t you have?

For those of you that might not know, that is okra. Yes, today we are talking about okra.

Okra is one of those foods that I am not sure I will every understand or enjoy. I actually have a little bit of a funny story to tell about the first time I ate okra.

I grew up in Oregon and okra was a not a common food. As in we had never had it and never saw it in the grocery store. My husband’s family though was from Texas and Oklahoma and okra was, and still is, pretty common.

My husband’s grandparents lived in Oregon for a few years. When my husband and I first started dating his grandparents had us over for dinner. The conversation before dinner involved talk about okra, eating it for dinner, and all the work it took to get this okra that we were having.

You see this was in the early 1990’s in Portland. Food was a little different back then. Yes, Portland is a big city with a wide range of people, but okra was still hard to find at a regular grocery store back then. Actually, okra may still be hard to find in the Portland area. Okra is just not a common food in the northern part of the US.

The grandparents started talking about all the trouble they went to getting this okra we were having for dinner. They lived in a smaller town on the far west side of Portland. It turns out that they had to drive to the east side of Portland to find any stores that sold okra. Now at this point of the conversation I was a bit intrigued about okra and what it must be like if they went to all this work to find it. Since I had never had it I was curious to see what it was going to be like.

Dinner was served and a bowl of boiled okra and tomatoes was set before me. Yes, boiled okra.

Now for those you that are not familiar with okra, when you boil it, it gets a bit slimy. Like really slimy. Hard to describe slimy. I know a lot of people like it that way, but for someone not familiar with okra it was not at all appetizing.

I took one bite of the okra and could not figure out how I would get it all down. Seriously it was bad. They liked their okra cooked for a really long time, so not only was it super slimy, it was super over cooked and mushy.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband’s grandparents. They were the sweetest people. But they way they cooked their okra was not for me. It took years for my husband to get me to try okra again. And I still don’t like it.

My daughter on the other hand requested this on her birthday.

okra 2

Yes, she wanted okra. We were out shopping for her birthday and I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. She saw the chip okra and knew it was not something that I normally buy since it is a bit expensive. She really wanted some and since it was her birthday I gave in a bought it.

If you have never had chip okra it is okra, but also kind of hard like a chip. It is crunchy and salty, but still tastes like okra. To me it is odd. It still tastes like okra after all. But the rest of my family loves it. They would eat it all the time if I bought it.

So now I want to hear your thoughts on okra.

Do you like it or can you do without it? And how many of you have never had it? 

And for those of you familiar with chip okra what exactly is it? From what I can tell it is okra that has been seasoned with salt and oil and then dehydrated.

If that is the case can you make your own? Because if you can make your own my family might just be able to convince me to grow okra in our garden this year. Making my own chip okra would be much cheaper than buying it like this from the store.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I LOVE okra. In fact, I had fried okra with dinner last night. I’m not a fan of okra cooked with tomatoes, though. In my opinion that was pretty much the worst way for you to try it for the first time. Yuck.

    If you want to give okra another chance, try it pickled. Even my picky Ohio born husband likes pickled okra. Roasted okra is good without being slimy, too. Just rub with a little olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and bake at 450 until it starts to brown and crisp up a bit. A friend of my mother, who grew up in Germany, loves to eat it raw, but I find it to be a bit too fuzzy. :-)

    As for chip okra, this is something new to me. I’ve not been brave enough to try it yet, but my mom enjoys it. It does seem like it would be simple enough to make at home if you know how to dehydrate other foods. I recommend you go to directly to Christy Jordan at Southern Plate for some advice on how to handle it. She has become a bit of an expert on dehydrating just about anything.

    Good luck! I truly hope you find a style of okra that makes it palatable to you. It really is a fantastic and versatile southern vegetable.

    • I need to try roasting it because several readers have mentioned it! I love Southern Plate and yes she has a lot of good dehydrating stuff on her site.

  2. I am sorry your first experience with okra was seriously boiled, slimy okra. Nasty! You should have had it sliced, battered in cornmeal and flour, and then fried till crispy. That should have been your introduction. Please try fried okra next time and you just might like it.

    • Fried is about the only way I will eat it. It is still not my favorite, but it is the best way I have had it.

      • Fried is the only way I can tolerate it, barely. I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it. I grew up in Minnesota, where okra was not common either, and I’ve never developed a taste for it. I’m not inclined to experiment much with vegetables that I know I don’t like.

  3. My favorite way to eat okra is to sauté it along with red bell pepper, onion, corn, and a little garlic. It isn’t slimy at all and all the flavors are so good together!

  4. I, too, am sorry to hear of your experience with okra! I HATED okra when I was a child and only recently learned to LOVE it. My husband’s nephew taught me how to eat it. All you do is take whole Okra pods, toss in a little olive oil and roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. I don’t usually even time it very well, I just take it out when it is kinda charred in places. If you have a chance, try it this way once. It has NO SLIME!! This way I taste the okra without the slime.

    • Several readers have mentioned roasting it so I am going to have to try it. I think my family would enjoy it that way. Thanks!

  5. Cathy Turner says:

    I’m not from the south, but I do like okra. The most non-slimy way to cook it is to cut it into 1″ bites, then egg and milk wash, seasoned cornmeal and a bit of flour, then deep fry. Yum. Well, at least yum for me. 😉

  6. Oh, bless. I cannot do okra. Just cannot. But yay for folks who can! :)

    As far as okra chips, it’s kind of like kale chips, green bean chips, or even homemade potato chips. Drizzle olive oil, salt to taste, toss, then spread on a roasting pan and bake them. I don’t know details about how long/temperatures personally, but this might help: http://www.lanascooking.com/2013/06/25/okra-chips/ The recipe looks more like a pickling seasoning of sorts, but the actual cooking info might be helpful. And if the rest of the family loves them, then it’s definitely a budget winner to grow them and then make them into okra chips yourself! :)

  7. Agreeing with the fried okra people! YUM! Or in soups, also yum.

    If you grow it: pick early. If you wait until it’s nice and big, it’s hard and doesn’t taste nearly as good. We learned that the hard way.

  8. There is nothing worse than boiled okra. Literally, nothing worse. However, pickled okra and fried okra are amazing, with no slime. I recently roasted okra with olive oil salt and pepper and the tray never made it to the table. There might or might not have been a scuffle/melee between me, my husband and daughter for the last piece.

    • Fried okra is really the only way I will eat it. :-) Several readers have mentioned roasted, so I am going to have to try that. I think my family would enjoy it that way.

  9. sondra spencer says:

    I am Southern and grew up with okra. I do not like it pickled or boiled at all! I love it in vegetable soups. (In smaller slices it isn’t slimy.) We also eat it fried with a mixture of flour and cornmeal. I have even baked it and that is okay, but not our favorite. I can stand it cooked whole in purple hull peas, as the peas keep it from being too slimy. I had never had the dehydrated okra until recently, when my husband brought some home from a trip. It is okay, but not my favorite because it is so dry. I haven’t grown okra in years, but I remember we cut it almost every day. Once it started producing it grew fast. I also remember we wore gloves when we cut the okra off, because it would stick you.

    • Fried okra is one of the few ways I will eat it. Still not my favorite, but the best way I have had it. My family loves pickled, but I am not a big fan of pickled food in general so i don’t care for it that way. We have never grown it, but we have had neighbors that do. Thanks for the tips!

  10. Hi. I’m from Wisconsin, so I feel you about not being too familiar with this veggie. And when I’ve had it I’ve either been grossed out or unimpressed. But now I like it – when I make it. It’s awesome on the grill. I use olive oil and salt & pepper and throw it in a grill basket. Then I cook it until slightly charred (I think – I haven’t made it since it was last in season). And then I squeeze some grilled lemon over it and eat it all up (minus the stem part). You still have the strange tapioca like things inside, but the rest is more like asparagus. Kinda grassy like that. And I may have micro planned a little Romano on it too. Seriously so good.

    Have a good day.

  11. I grew up eating fried okra and okra in veggie soup. But I absolutely can’t stand it boiled. Cut in pieces, seasoned, rolled in egg and cornmeal and fried to crispy is the best way. I am a divorced mom and my daughter doesn’t like it but I grow it in a long flower pot on the patio so that it gives me just enough to satisfy me.

  12. Michelle says:

    I love Okra but only if it is breaded and deep frie,d it is the only way to eat it. I use Martha Stewarts recipe to make mine. I am like you I could never eat it boiled!

  13. I am from rural PA and would have been one of those people who would not have known what it was. Never seen it whole, they may sell it here but have never ventured into a store to buy it! LOL I have only ever seen it cut in little circles in pictures so I can also say that I have never tasted it. ~smiles~

  14. LOVE ! okra .. Its an acquired taste for sure . Some of the all you can eat restaurants serve a fried okra and its great. Some of the chicken chains serve it also and its great. Okra is served in gumbo as well as fried. My Dad was a southern cook and he used to make that dish (gumbo) and it was awesome, I grew up eating it and eat it as an adult.
    Again, its an acquired taste for sure !

  15. WiffytoJ says:

    Hi Lynn!
    I am from coastal WA state and have never had okra before. My husband has and said it was really gross. But…my husband just got a job in Arkansas (in Texarkana) and so I was very intrigued to read your post as I might be exposed to it real soon! This reminds me of clams–When we moved here we dug clams with a neighbor and the digging was fun but the they were so chewy (like eating rubber bands!) and they were still moving when you cooked them!! Ugh! I like clam chowder but not homemade. Lol Hopefully I can have fried, roasted, or grilled okra the first time and not have such a bad experience.
    My husband just came in from running and I asked him how it was prepared when he had it the first time—he said fried but he also said he was in 6th grade so maybe (hopefully!) his tastes have changed a bit. 
    Well I better get my run in so we can keep painting and tidying—we’ve got a house to sell! 😉

    • I hope you enjoy this area of the country! I miss the NW, but there are a lot of good things about this part of the country as well. One of the first things I noticed about this part of the country is how nice and friendly people. And I am with you on the clams as well. I love them in clam chowder, but can’t stand them when they are chewy! When you try okra be sure to try it fried. Fried okra should definitely be your first experience with it. The other two foods that stand out as being popular here are biscuits and gravy and also grits. I did not eat either of those growing up and both are really popular here.

      • WiffytoJ says:

        Thanks Lynn! We’re pretty excited about the move. :) We noticed the friendly people too on our visit there. Grits are another thing I’ve never in my life tried. I do love biscuits and make biscuits and gravy for my husband and kids but although I don’t dislike it, I don’t like it enough to justify the calories. lol
        You never know, someday I may be able to meet you in real life! I love your posts and feel like I know you already. In the meantime, keep your faith and family first and then keep up the great posts (in your spare time. lol. :)

  16. Here’s something to make you enjoy okra, without all the breading, and without all the calories. You can even make it gluten free! Remember, the smaller they are, the more tender they are!


    1 lb. fresh okra, cut into 1/2″ -thick slices
    2 T. olive oil
    1/4 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (may substitute with gluten free)
    2 tsp. Greek seasoning (McCormick’s makes one, and it’s handy to have around for seafood, too)
    1/4 c. freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (I’ve used the canned grated kind in a pinch)

    SAUTE’ okra in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and seasoning, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.

  17. Hi,
    I grew up on a farm in the South and, yes, we grew okra. However, I don’t do slimmy anything. I can eat okra if it is fried – burnt to a crisp fried, but that’s it. I have eaten dehydrated okra, but it isn’t a top 50 favorite.

  18. Worst possible way to eat okra for the first time is boiled! For a first time fried is the way to go but there are other ways to enjoy it. Try it marinated with Italian salad dressing for at least 15 minutes then grill till it starts to get just a little brown, my kids fight for it done this way and so do my grandkids! An easy way to grill it is on skewers, thread using 2 so they don’t rotate. Pickled is another way to enjoy it,I make my own, then okra fritters and dehydrated. I love it all of these ways and can’t wait for my okra to get going in my container garden!

  19. Nia Hanna says:

    Hi Lynn,
    I’m with you and the others here that fried tastes a lot better than boiled. I also saw a video on youtube about pressure frying and that’s how veggie chips (like the okra you bought) are made today. I’ve also seen green beans and veggie mixtures. I’ve yet to try any variety, but knowing your family likes them might be just the nudge I need to give them a try.

  20. Karin Goodman says:

    I have never lived anywhere but Oregon. Never seen it in the store, even the healthy stores like New Season’s, but I have to say I have not looked hard. I had an opportunity to have some when at a friends in OK this last summer, but it was fried with flour. With being Gluten Free I did not try it, so I have to say I have never eaten it. My friend also grew up in Oregon and now lives in OK. She does not like it, but her husband does.

  21. Shirlene says:

    No thank you!!! I’ve tried it several times and I just don’t enjoy it at all. My husband loves it fried .

  22. I have never liked okra until I tried this recipe. http://simplysugarandglutenfree.com/oven-roasted-okra/ It makes okra tasted like popcorn. Love it!


  23. It’s quite simple. Just wash n pat dry okra. Cut into thin round slices. Heat oil. Add okra. Lower the heat n fry for some time. Stir 2-3 times in between. After about 4-5 mins, increase the heat to high, keep stirring. Once it becomes little firm, take it out n drain on an absorbent paper. Take care not to burn it. Add salt. Mix well n store in an airtight container

  24. I was wondering if I could use the okra too tough for slicing by blending it and making an okra cake to fry like a potato cake? Anyone try this?

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