How to Make Pickled Okra (Refrigerator and Water Bath Canning)

Pickled okra is a classic dish that packs a flavorful crunch. We'll show you two simple ways to make this tasty snack from the South.

Southern menus involve comfort food galore. From sides like buttermilk biscuits to hearty meals like fried chicken with gravy—these recipes hit the spot every time. Among these treasured dishes, you’ll find pickled okra.

The pickled pods are a favorite to use in salads and sandwiches and as a side for casseroles and grilled meats. They have a crunchy texture and briny, spicy tang!

You can make pickled okra two ways. With the refrigerator method, hot brine is poured over okra in a jar, then they’re stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. This is similar to making cucumber quick pickles, except that you should give okra 2-3 days to rest in the fridge before eating. You can also use a water bath canning method, where sterilized jars of okra and hot brine are sealed and preserved in a boiling water bath. This pickled okra will last for up to a year.

How to Make Pickled Okra: Water Bath Canning Method

Canned vegetables in glass jars.Newell's photography/Getty Images

This recipe from Taste of Home Community Cook Joan Hallford requires a hot water bath on the stovetop and takes several weeks to complete. But trust us—it’s worth the wait. If you’re new to this method of canning, check out our Canning 101 guide before you start.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon dill weed (or a couple sprigs of fresh dill)
  • 13-16 okra pods
  • 1 cayenne pepper pod
  • 1-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Instructions

Step 1: Fill the jars

Place the dill in the bottom of a hot, clean mason jar. Pack in the okra, cayenne pepper pod and pieces of garlic.

Step 2: Boil the brine

Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil.

Step 3: Pickle

Carefully ladle the hot liquid over your okra, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary. You don’t want to overfill the jar—it’s one of the most common canning mistakes people make.

Wipe the rims, then center a lid on the jar, screwing on the band until it’s fingertip tight.

Step 4: Process

Place the jar into a canner with simmering water, ensuring that it’s completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jar and cool.

How to Make Pickled Okra: Refrigerator Method

Pod of pickled okra skewered on forkJackF/Getty Images

This pickled okra recipe comes to us from Taste of Home Community Cook AJ Lively. It involves simple ingredients and no boiling or fussy canning. Simply make room in your fridge! If you’re not familiar with canning, this is the method to start with.

Ingredients

  • 13-16 okra pods
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for salting okra
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

Step 1: Prep the pods

Carefully trim the stems off the okra pods so the tops are flat, but the pod isn’t opened. Place the okra pods in a strainer and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Place the strainer over a bowl or in the sink to drain the moisture.

Step 2: Make the brine

Combine the vinegars, sugar, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds and water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the vinegar mixture cool. Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse and pack the okra pods into a large, clean mason jar.

Step 3: Pickle

Carefully pour the brine over the okra pods until the jar is full. Tightly screw on the lid. Refrigerate for 48 hours before enjoying. (We know the wait may be hard, but this ensures the perfect pickled consistency.)

Tips for Making Pickled Okra

How do you pick the best okra pods?

Choose smaller okra pods that are 3-4 inches in length. Larger okra are likely overripe and will create pickles with a tough or slimy texture. Skip any pods with bruises or soft spots.

What other spices can you add to pickled okra?

You can experiment with all kinds of ingredients that pair well with okra: fresh dill or dill seeds, citrus flavors like lime juice or lemon slices, cilantro, fresh ginger, cumin seeds and even curry powder. You can also add whole peppers like Thai chiles, habaneros or jalapenos in with the okra for more flavor and heat.

How should you store pickled okra?

Jars of pickled okra that have been sealed with the water bath canning method can be safely stored at room temperature for up to a year. Once opened, pickled okra can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 months. The same goes for quick-pickled okra.

What can you serve with pickled okra?

While tasty to snack on right out of the jar, the versatility of pickled okra is one of the best things about it. As a side dish to meals like cheesy casseroles, grilled meats and fried chicken, the salty, vinegary flavor of the pickles helps refresh the palate between bites of heavier foods.

Pickled okra can also be chopped and added to salads or coleslaw for crunch and flavor. You can even create a unique pickle martini or Bloody Mary—just place a whole, pickled okra in the glass instead of a regular pickle!

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.