Best Okra Substitutes For Your Recipes

by Christopher Jones

Your perfectly optimized content goes here! Okra is a prevalent ingredient that you can use to thicken your soups and stews. This vegetable is high in demand among different places where people love making gumbo or fried okra.

If you properly cook fresh okra, you will get a crunchy texture, and if you slow cook it, the okra becomes tender and taste delicious.

There can be a situation where you are out of okra, and you need to make a cooked okra dish immediately. Moreover, okra pods are not available in the grocery store. In this case, the only solution you can focus on is to look for something like a proper okra alternative.

From the following article, you will find different okra substitutes and other information (related to okra) that can benefit you in the long run. Read on to find out more.

Best Okra Substitutes For Your Recipes
Best Okra Substitutes For Your Recipes

Top Okra substitutes

Below is the list of all the okra substitutes that you can go through so that you can choose the ideal one according to your cooking requirement. Check them out.


It is a corn extract that is nearly identical to the flour and is a good thickening agent for a dipping sauce, casseroles, pies, soups, stews, marinades, ranch dressing, and other mouthwatering recipes.


Fortunately, this okra substitute contains carbohydrates and is gluten-free. For your recipe, you should take 2 teaspoons of cornstarch or flourand 1 tablespoon of cold water. Stir the mixture gently and then add it to the recipe.

After 5 to 10 minutes, you will notice that the mixture is getting thick, and the best thing is, it won’t add any type of new flavor to your beloved dish since it has the same characteristic as flour.


Zucchini is considered one of the best substitutes for okra because zucchini is versatile and you can use it to make zucchini sticks, desserts, fillings, and other dishes. As you can see, zucchini works very well as a side dish, and if you serve it to the guests, they will definitely love it.

You won’t have a problem cooking it, and surprisingly, it easily grows in the garden. Zucchini has a sweet flavor (mild) and produces a soft and beautiful texture (like okra) after it is properly cooked.


If you don’t like cornstarch, you can easily opt for arrowroot powder. It is an excellent thickening agent that you can include in various recipes without thinking twice.

This powder is white and has no taste. People from several places loves using it on dishes where they prefer to have a glossy outcome on their food without any change in color. For every 2 cups of okra, you should substitute it with a mixture of 2 teaspoons of water and 2 teaspoons of arrowroot.

File powder

File powder is an excellent choice when you are looking for a proper okra substitute. It is a powerful thickening agent and works very well on chicken stock gumbo, soups, stews, etc.

You should add file powder into the gumbo before you serve it. Besides, you can sprinkle the gumbo file powder when the dish is ready. Keep in mind that, for every 2 cups of okra, you should use 1 tablespoon of this gumbo file powder.

Green beans

You will find green beans all the time in the market, and luckily, this okra substitute is highly nutritious and juicy. Green beans consist of manganese, fiber, silicon, folate, carotenoids, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Green beans
Green beans

It is loaded with antioxidants, and due to that, these beans effectively works in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

You can steam, blanch, sauté, or even stir-fry the green beans and create a vegetable side dish.

Broccoli florets

Not only is this vegetable good in terms of taste and texture, but also it is a very healthy option. It is very low in calories and fat and high in vitamin C and fibers. You can use it directly on the salads or cook it in a way that goes with your taste buds.

You might not get the same taste as okra, but you will always get the crunchiness that you might be looking for in the first place.



Though it is available all year, you have to pay some extra cash for this vegetable as this one is expensive than the others. You can boil, roast, fry, grill, or steam it, and you will get the same result as okra.

Asparagus is popular as a fried dish and goes very well with a normal or hot sauce.



Eggplant is a healthy choice if you are not looking for a thickening agent but prefer a vegetable to increases your dish’s flavor. It is low in cholesterol, calories, and sodium.

Moreover, it is high in magnesium, copper, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and vitamin A and B1. 

Xanthan gum

For making a side dish at home, this one is not a famous option, but it is in high demand in manufacturing industries. Food manufacturers always use this ingredient in different products like ice cream, and even cake mixes (gluten-free).

You can thicken the food without the need to add extra flavor.



This vegetable is highly renowned in Mexican cuisine because it comes with a taste of tartness and bitterness. It is also a good alternative to pickled okra.

You can grill, pickle, fry, bake, broil, or even turn it into a healthy juice. Plus, it works as a thickening agent for different soups and stews.


You can make it at home with only two ingredients, flour, and butter. It is considered a fantastic base for several sauces since it has flour. If you plan to make gumbo, you won’t have any issue using it instead of okra.

Gumbo filé

Many professionals claim that Gumbo filé can be a fantastic option for making okra gumbo when someone is looking for a proper way to thicken this dish. 

Other than its thickening properties, it brings a new flavor that is identical to root beer. Though it is a good okra substitute, you might not like the overall flavor.

For every 2 cups of okra, you should use one tablespoon of Gumbo filé powder.


Here are some of the common frequently asked questions related to okra.

What vegetable is most similar to okra?

Eggplant is most similar to okra. You can even use green beans instead of okra but eggplant is the popular alternative in recent times.

How do you thicken gumbo without okra?

Thickening gumbo without okra is very easy.
·     For every 4 cups (1 quart) of gumbo, you should mix 2 tablespoons of cool water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
·     Use a whisk and mix it very well. After that, add this cornstarch slurry straight to the gumbo.
·     Finally, mix all the ingredients with a spoon (wooden-made).
That’s it; you have finished the task without okra.

Do you need okra in gumbo?

You can make gumbo with or without okra. If you don’t have okra, there are other substitutes like cornstarch, zucchini, arrowroot, eggplant, etc.

What does okra taste like?

Okra has a grassy flavor and also tastes mild. If you cook okra quickly, you will be able to make fried okra and get its crunchiness. On the other hand, okra becomes tender when it is slow-cooked. Pickled okra also has a unique flavor.


Hope you have got what you were looking for from this article.

Don’t get panicked if you are out of okra because there are alternatives that will give you the same result all the time.

Share this informative article with your friends and family members so that they can enjoy the cooked okra substitutes.

Best of luck!

About Christopher Jones

Chris is a true globetrotter. He has been to many destinations and tried different types of food from all over the world, yet he still loves finding new places and tasting their specialties. Chris has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and so he decided to go back to school at age 24 for his MBA at University of San Francisco so that he could have a better understanding of business strategy in order to start his own company. His favorite motto is “how can one live well, travel well, and work well without having good food every time?”

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