Okra powder, made from dried and ground okra pods, is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add flavor, texture, and visual appeal to many savory dishes.
From hearty stews to crispy battered okra and more, read on for 17 delicious ways to cook with okra powder.
Add Depth and Silky Texture to Soups and Stews
One of the best uses for okra powder is adding it to soups, stews, and braises. Okra contains high levels of mucilage, a soluble fiber that helps thicken liquids and gives them a lovely silky texture.
When added to gumbos, curries, chili, and other long-cooked dishes, okra powder gently thickens and enriches the broth. Start with 1-2 teaspoons per batch and adjust to your desired consistency. The okra flavor will also permeate the entire dish.
Some classic dishes that are delicious with okra powder include:
- Gumbo - The quintessential Creole stew gains even more body from okra powder. Use it in tandem with file powder or other thickening agents.
- Vegetable chili or lentil stew - Sprinkle okra powder into the pot towards the end of cooking. It adds its thickening power without sliminess.
- West African peanut stew - Also called maafe or domoda, this dish tastes wonderful with the addition of okra powder.
Make Crispy Okra Chips and Snacks
On its own, okra powder makes an addictively crunchy, savory snack when toasted in the oven. Simply spread onto baking sheets and bake at 300°F, stirring occasionally, until fully dried and crisped to a chip-like texture, 15-25 minutes. Then season to taste with spices like cayenne, paprika, cumin or garam masala.
You can also toss okra powder with sliced vegetables before roasting, or use it to bread chicken, fish, or veggies before frying or baking. The okra powder forms a deliciously crispy crust while also imparting flavor.
Liven Up Salads and Slaws
Bright salads and crunchy slaws deserve a sprinkle of toasty okra powder too. It provides subtle flavor and pleasant texture to:
- Cabbage slaw - Toss shredded cabbage with mayo or yogurt dressing, then finish with okra powder.
- Hearty roasted veggie salads - Top your favorite mix of roasted squash, eggplant, zucchini and more with okra powder instead of breadcrumbs.
- Leafy salads - A delicate sprinkle of okra powder on lettuce and mixed greens adds nuance.
Make the Best Battered and Fried Okra
No article on okra would be complete without a fried okra recipe! When you coat sliced okra in an egg and cornstarch batter, then dredge it in spiced okra powder before frying, you get the best flavor and crunch.
- The egg and cornstarch allow the okra to fry up extra crispy, while the spiced powder provides both heat and the essence of pure okra flavor. It's a harmonious melding of textures and tastes.
Serve these okra fries on their own with spicy aioli, or try breading and frying cubes of firm tofu or fish in the same manner.
Lend Body and Nutrition to Smoothies
In smoothies and protein shakes, a spoonful of okra powder brings unique benefits. Its soluble fiber thickens up the drink for a milkshake-like sip. And with high amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, folate and more, okra powder boosts the smoothie's nutritional value.
For the best flavor, use no more than 1-2 teaspoons okra powder per 16-20 oz smoothie. Any fruit flavors work well. Mango, peach, mixed berry and banana okra smoothies are extra delicious.
Make Cornmeal Even More Delicious
What pairs better with corn than fresh okra? By adding dried okra powder to dishes featuring cornmeal, you echo their natural affinity.
Two tasty ways to use okra powder with cornmeal include:
- Crispy okra cornmeal pancakes - Add a few teaspoons okra powder to pancake batter along with the cornmeal for flavor and nutrition.
- Crunchy cornmeal fried okra - After slicing okra, dredge it in cornmeal mixed with okra powder before pan-frying.
Perk Up Breads, Cornbreads, and Baked Goods
Just like cornmeal, dried okra integrates seamlessly into all kinds of baked goods:
- Cornbread - Add 2-3 teaspoons per cornbread recipe for more texture and tang.
- Savory scones - Include okra powder in any cornbread or cheesy scone.
- Hearty seeded bread - A teaspoon okra powder per loaf adds character to multigrain doughs.
Go easy on the dried okra in sweeter baked goods. A little goes a long way. But used sparingly, it can lend interest to:
- Banana bread or zucchini bread
- Seed & grain mixes like muesli or granola
Make the Fluffiest, Most Flavorful Eggs
For the creamiest scrambled eggs and omelets ever, stir a teaspoon or two okra powder into the beaten eggs before cooking. As the eggs solidify, the okra powder helps them retain an impressively fluffy texture. Plus it lends subtle flavor that complements any omelet fillings.
Okra powder also jazzes up frittatas, quiches, and stratas baked with eggs. Simply add it along with any other dry seasonings.
Liven Up Dips and Sauces
Vegetable crudités, chicken wings, grilled meat, and more taste delicious paired with dips and sauces containing okra powder. Blend it into:
- Yogurt dips - Stir in okra powder just like other spice blends
- Cheese dips - Folks fond of Southwest flavors will enjoy okra powder in queso
- Salad dressings - Shake okra powder into vinaigrettes
- Barbecue sauces and marinades
Start with 1 teaspoon per cup of dip or sauce, adding more to thicken or for extra okra taste. The flavor pairs particularly well with smoky, spicy seasonings.
Key Takeaway: From flavorful dips to feathery omelets and beyond, okra powder brings subtle taste and texture to all kinds of recipes. Use it anywhere you want a touch of tangy green flavor and soluble fiber.
Make Memorable Mac and Cheese
Here's an under-the-radar way to bring uniqueness to everyone's favorite comfort food. Add a spoonful of okra powder to any baked mac & cheese, and it contributes flavor, color, and creaminess. The okra notes intermingle delectably with the cheese, while the soluble fiber helps make an ultra-rich sauce.
Kick things up a notch by adding diced ham, shrimp, or snippets of baked, crispy okra on top for an extra scrumptious and hearty meal.
Perk Up Any Rice Dish
In the vein of classic Southern dishes like Charleston red rice and jambalaya, dried okra can enhance any rice variety you choose to make.
- White rice - Before cooking, sauté the rice with diced aromatics like onion and celery. Then add water or broth along with 1-2 tsp okra powder.
- Brown or black rice - Cook the rice in broth seasoned with creole spices and okra powder for a hearty, nutty flavor.
- Fried rice - Sprinkle a little okra powder into the pan when stir-frying rice with veggies and proteins.
- Rice pilaf - Sauté the rice and orzo pasta in oil first before adding broth and okra powder.
The okra powder helps the grains cook up light and fluffy. Its savory flavor is perfect alongside spicy or smoky components.
Give Succotash Extra Flavor
A spoonful of okra powder is right at home in any succotash recipe - the quintessential Southern mélange of corn, lima beans, and sometimes diced tomatoes or peppers too.
As you sauté the corn and limas, sprinkle in okra powder along with smoked paprika, cayenne or other spices. Then simmer until the beans are tender. The spices and touch of thickening from the okra powder take this simple side dish up a notch.
Add Flavor and Nutrition to Mashed Potatoes
To make mashed potatoes even richer and more nutritious, add 1 teaspoon okra powder per pound of spuds as you mash them with butter and cream. Along with vitamins and minerals, the okra contributes the perfect savory flavor contrast to the sweet potatoes.
For bonus texture and nutrition, fold in some diced roasted sweet potatoes as well. Top with crispy fried okra strips if desired!
Make Corned Beef Hash Even Better
To make corned beef hash extra savory and delicious, add a teaspoon or two of okra powder to the pan when sautéing the meat, potatoes, onions, and other vegetables. As you chop and lightly brown the mixture, the okra powder adds subtle flavor contrast and helps bind the hash together.
Eggs scrambled with the hash are even fluffier thanks to the okra too. And a sprinkle of extra okra powder never hurts!
Lend Rustic Heartiness to Pizza
Here's an unexpected ingredient that can help make homemade pizza even tastier: Add about 1 teaspoon okra powder to the dough, preferably along with cornmeal.
As the crust bakes to a crispy, charred edge, the okra powder provides striking flavor contrast to cut through the cheese, sauce, and other toppings. Scatter extra on top just before serving for an irresistibly appetizing appearance.
Make Quinoa Better Than Ever
This trendy ancient grain cooks up perfectly fluffy with okra powder added to the pot. Before simmering quinoa according to package directions, stir a teaspoon or two okra powder into the dry grains. Then add water or broth and proceed as normal.
Once cooked, the quinoa is extra light with a hint of green flavor. Toss it with roasted veggies, greens, beans, nuts and vinaigrette for a stellar grain bowl.
Bake Flavorful Veggie Fritters
Almost any combination of diced vegetables turns into tasty fritters when held together with an egg and flour batter containing okra powder. Grate sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots or other produce, mix with batter and spices, then form into patties and pan-fry or bake.
The okra powder not only binds the mixture, its subtle flavor permeates each bite of fritter. Serve veggie fritters as an appetizer, side dish, or light meal with your favorite condiments.
Give Veg Burgers More Flavor and Bind
Veggie burger patties benefit from okra powder for the same reasons as fritters. When making patties out of beans, lentils, quinoa, or finely chopped vegetables, add 1-2 teaspoons okra powder per batch of 4-6 burgers. Then form patties and cook as usual.
The okra powder helps the burgers hold together better while cooking. And they pick up both flavor and nutrition from this versatile ingredient. Pile burgers high with your favorite toppings and condiments to make the meal complete.
Key Takeaway: With its soluble fiber and savory flavor, okra powder brings appetizing qualities to all types of recipes from hash to pizza, quinoa to veggie burgers.
What does okra powder taste like?
Okra powder has a subtly earthy, grassy flavor. When used in small amounts to season other foods, it adds an intriguing flavor contrast and savoriness.
Is it the same as dried okra slices?
Dried okra slices keep their shape and have a pleasantly chewy texture when rehydrated. Okra powder is made from okra that's fully dried and ground to a fine crumbly powder that easily incorporates into liquids and batters.
How should you store okra powder?
To retain maximum freshness and prevent moisture from causing clumping, store okra powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It will keep for about a year properly stored.
What cuisine uses okra powder the most?
Okra powder is very popular in Creole and Cajun cuisine, adding flavor and thickness to classics like gumbo. It's also widely used across South Asia and Africa. Anywhere fresh okra thrives in the local cuisine, cooks have found uses for dried okra powder too.
As this long list of recipes proves, dried okra powder is an extraordinarily versatile pantry ingredient. It brings nutrition, texture, visual appeal, and subtle flavor to dishes across the culinary spectrum.
Beyond classic okra-based recipes, creative cooks keep finding even more ways to incorporate okra powder's special qualities into soups, baked goods, veggie dishes, breakfast foods, and more.