Skip to Content

Skillet Okra Recipe: Quick and Delicious Southern Dish

I’ve included some videos below for those who prefer to watch rather than read.

Skillet Okra Recipe

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious way to prepare okra, a skillet is your best friend. One of the easiest methods is to slice fresh or frozen okra and cook it in a hot skillet with garlic, salt, and pepper until it’s tender and slightly browned.

Whether you prefer a simple sauté or a crispy fried version, there’s a skillet okra recipe for everyone. For a Southern twist, you can coat the okra in cornmeal and fry it in bacon grease or butter for an extra layer of flavor. This technique adds a crunchy texture to the outside while keeping the inside tender and flavorful.

These recipes are straightforward and require minimal ingredients, making them perfect for a quick side dish or even a snack. With just a few pantry staples, you can transform humble okra into a crowd-pleaser. Happy cooking!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make delicious skillet okra, you’ll need a few key ingredients. Here is a list of what you’ll need and some possible substitutes.


  • Fresh okra: Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Substitute: Frozen chopped okra if fresh isn’t available.

Flour and Cornmeal

  • Cornmeal: For coating the okra.
  • Flour: To mix with cornmeal for extra crispiness.
  • Substitute: Panko breadcrumbs or a gluten-free flour mix if preferred.


  • Salt and Pepper: Basic seasoning.
  • Cajun seasoning: Adds a spicy kick.
  • Substitute: Paprika and garlic powder if you don’t have Cajun seasoning.

Liquid Ingredients

  • Buttermilk: Helps the coating stick.
  • Substitute: Plain milk with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice.

Oil and Fat

  • Vegetable oil: For frying.
  • Bacon grease or butter: Adds extra flavor.
  • Substitute: Olive oil or coconut oil if you prefer.


  • Garlic: Minced for added flavor.
  • Substitute: Garlic powder.

Tip: You can also add a bit of adobo seasoning, which includes a mix of garlic, oregano, and other spices, for a unique flavor twist.

Feel free to mix and match these substitutes based on what you have in your kitchen!


First, wash and cut the okra into half-inch pieces. Discard the tips and stems.

If you like, rinse the cut okra under cool water. You can drizzle a little buttermilk over the okra to help the coating stick.

In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Toss the damp okra in this mixture until well-coated.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You can add a little bacon drippings for extra flavor if you like.

When the oil is hot, add the okra. Make sure not to crowd the pan. Cook the okra on one side until it’s nicely browned, and then flip to the other side.

Add chopped garlic or adobo seasoning if you want to give it an extra kick.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the okra is tender and lightly browned. This should take about 10 minutes.

Serve immediately while it’s hot. Enjoy your skillet-fried okra!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Prepping Okra:
Wash and dry your okra thoroughly. Wet okra can become slimy when cooked. Cut the ends off and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. If using frozen okra, make sure to thaw and dry it first.

Cooking Tips:
Use a large skillet and heat the oil over medium-high heat before adding okra. Stir constantly to keep it from sticking. Season your dish with garlic, adobo seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned.

Reducing Sliminess:
To reduce sliminess, always dry the okra before cutting. You can also cook the whole pods first or keep them raw. Avoid overcrowding the skillet, as this can make the okra release more moisture.

Storing Fresh Okra:
Store fresh okra in a paper bag in the warmest part of the fridge. Keep the pods dry and use them within 2-3 days. You can also store okra in a breathable bag to prevent moisture buildup.

Freezing Okra:
If you have extra okra, you can freeze it. Wash, dry, and cut the okra into pieces. Blanch in boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Dry thoroughly and store in airtight containers in the freezer.

Using Frozen Okra:
When using frozen okra, there’s no need to thaw it first. Just toss the frozen pieces directly into the skillet. This is convenient and helps to keep the texture intact.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can make skillet okra in different ways to suit your taste.


  • Spicy: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes for a kick.
  • Garlic: Toss the okra with minced garlic while cooking for extra flavor.
  • Buttermilk Coated: Dredge the okra in buttermilk before coating with cornmeal for a tangy twist.
  • Bacon: Cook some diced bacon in the skillet first and use the drippings to fry the okra.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Dip: Serve with a side of ranch or hot sauce for dipping.
  • Main Dish: Pair with grilled chicken or fish for a full meal.
  • Salad Topper: Use fried okra as a crunchy topping on salads.
  • Snack: Enjoy as a tasty snack on its own.

These tips can help you enjoy skillet okra in new and fun ways.

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.