Garlic Sautéed Okra

Garlic sauteed okra on a plate with tomatoes

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 pound
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
46 Calories
2g Fat
5g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 46
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 152mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 19mg 94%
Calcium 89mg 7%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 156mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Okra's delicate grassy flavor is highlighted by this simple cooking method. By cooking the pods whole, quickly, and without liquid, you avoid the factors that make it slimy. You can enjoy its fabulous flavor, enhanced by a touch of garlic, without any of the odd texture that keeps many away from this delicious and nutritious vegetable.

Use smaller pods for this recipe, as the quick treatment cooks little pods well, while the really big ones tend to be a bit tough and fair better when chopped up and stewed. What makes okra slimy is when it's cooked with water or liquid for extended periods of time. So by minimizing the water content in the recipe, the vegetable keeps its crunch. Some cooks soak their pods in water with vinegar and then rinse and pat dry before cooking, but a good rinse and very dry pods do the trick to avoid the feared gooey texture.

There is no one way to cook okra; it all depends on personal taste. Some people like it in stews, some like it deep-fried, some sautéed, boiled, grilled, or roasted. This recipe makes it quick and easy to enjoy it, totally crunchy and full of flavor.


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"This recipe is very simple and can easily become a favorite way to cook okra. You can make as much as you want without adjusting the recipe. It cooks up nicely and is not slimy; the grape tomatoes are a great contrast. A versatile recipe, you can also add random ingredients to the pan." —Colleen Graham

Garlic sautéed okra in a bowl with tomatoes
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for garlic sautéed okra gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Trim off and discard the stem ends of the okra pods. Rinse the trimmed pods, carefully pat them dry, and set them aside. Extra water in the cooking process can lead to the slick factor this okra recipe is designed to avoid, so the dryer the better.

    Garlic sautéed okra trimmed

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Peel the garlic clove, cut it in half lengthwise, and slice it crosswise as thinly as possible.

    Garlic peeled and cut on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil, swirl the pan to coat the bottom with the oil, and heat until the oil shimmers, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and let it sizzle until it just starts to turn golden, about 1 minute.

    Garlic cooking in oil in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats

  5. Add the okra, stir to coat it with oil, and combine it with the garlic. Cover and cook, shaking the pan frequently to move the okra pods around inside until the okra is starting to brown on the edges and is tender to the bite, about 8 minutes. 

    Garlic and okra sautéed in a skillet

    The Spruce Eats

  6. Transfer the okra to a serving platter or individual plates. Add the optional tomatoes if using and sprinkle with salt. Serve and enjoy.

    Garlic sautéed okra with tomatoes on a serving platter

    The Spruce Eats


  • Frozen okra works surprisingly well if you don't have fresh okra. Drying the okra is key: just lay the thawed okra on a lint-free cloth and cover them up, pressing gently. After about 30 minutes, the okra’s perfect and ready to be cooked.

Additions and Substitutions for Delicious Okra

Here are a few of our favorite additions and substitutions:

  • Use a green onion cut into short lengths and then slivers instead of garlic for a gentler flavor.
  • Drizzle on a teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari instead of using salt.
  • Add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger alongside the garlic for a flavorful kick.
  • Throw in a handful of tiny grape tomatoes with the okra for brightness and juiciness. Tomatoes have acid in them that keeps the slime in check.
  • Add fresh crunchy vegetables from the garden, such as sweet peppers and onions, for a nice textural contrast.
  • Make an herby sauce by blending 1/2 cup of basil, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1/2 cup of parsley, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Toss the cooked okra in it before serving.
  • Sprinkle on some freshly chopped mint before serving. The sweetness of mint is a particularly good match for the grassiness of okra.
  • Add 1/2 cup of raw unsalted cashews during the last minute on the stove.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes or a small fresh green chile, chopped, added along with the garlic to spice things up.
  • Add a simple spritz of fresh lemon juice before serving for a lovely brightness.