Easy Refrigerator Pickled Okra – Two Ways

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. Make these okra pickles two ways — sweet and tangy or hot and smoky!

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. Make these okra pickles two ways — sweet and tangy or hot and smoky! | www.pinchmeimeating.com

I have two confessions to make:

  1. I am a terrible gardener (but I plant vegetables every year).
  2. I am afraid of canning (but I love pickles).

I’ve been utterly neglecting my garden since mid-June — seriously, I could count the number of times I’ve weeded and watered in the last two months on one hand.

It’s no surprise that I’ve only gotten one cucumber, three eggplants, a few banana peppers, and no zucchini, and only one of my four tomato plants have given me fruits this whole season.

So it’s pure luck that at this point in the year, I am getting okra, and abundantly! 

Okra pods in my garden, destined to be refrigerator pickled okra.

I may be a terrible gardener, but I did learn one thing from growing a single okra plant four years ago — one plant is not nearly enough.

You get one pod every few days per plant so it’s never enough for a recipe, unless you’re throwing that pod in with some extra okra from the store or the farmer’s market, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a vegetable garden.

So this year I got two pots of three seedlings each and separated them out. I now have six big, beautiful okra plants that just keep producing pods!

It’s pretty much my dream come true since, as a Southern girl, I love okra. You can read more about my passion for okra in my three meat and okra gumbo recipe post – Mmmm, it’s about time for some more of that soon!

And there’s always classic Southern fried okra if you’d rather!

I’ve just been accumulating okra, two to four pods at a time, every couple of days, until I end up with enough for a jar of this amazingly easy and delicious refrigerator pickled okra. 

Okra pods in my garden, destined to be refrigerator pickled okra.

I mentioned earlier I’m afraid of canning. I’ve never done “real” canning with the sterilization and the shelf-safe-ness and I’d be a bit afraid that I wouldn’t seal something properly and I’d end up poisoning myself with botulism from a poorly canned tomato sauce. (If anyone wants to prove me wrong, I’d welcome a great beginner’s resource for canning!)

People seem to can stuff when they have an overabundance of summer produce, so fortunately for me and my terrible gardening skills, I never have that problem. So for this recipe I opted for refrigerator okra pickles instead.

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. Make these okra pickles two ways — sweet and tangy or hot and smoky! | www.pinchmeimeating.com

You don’t have to learn a new skill or buy any new equipment, and it’s perfect for small batches from non-abundant gardens. I used 12-15 okra pods, accumulated from my plants over the course of about a week and a half, for each jar of okra pickles. Really it was however many I could jam into an old, cleaned out spaghetti sauce jar.

How to make refrigerator pickled okra

This refrigerator pickled okra recipe works by first salting the okra and letting it sit in a colander. While it sits, you heat up some vinegar and spices. (Warning: do not take a whiff of said vinegar and spices to see if it smells good – hot vinegar fumes are painful to inhale! Ask me how I know. Instead, just dip your wooden spoon in the mixture, blow if off, and taste it.)

You rinse off your okra and stuff them in a jar. Since these are refrigerator pickles, you don’t need any fancy canning jars or sterilizing water baths or any of that other scary stuff that seems (to me) complicated and easy to mess up in a botulism-friendly way. 

All you need is a nice clean jar large enough to hold all the okra pickles you want to eat. So basically, a giant one.

Okay, this recipe is actually good for a spaghetti-sauce-sized jar but you could adjust it for a giant one.

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. Make these okra pickles two ways — sweet and tangy or hot and smoky! | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Let the vinegar cool down a bit and pour it over the top of the okra until the jar is full. Screw on the lid and let it sit in the fridge for a couple days, and voila!

Okra pickles. Addictively delicious okra pickles. 

Making it your own

The best thing about this recipe is that the concept and process is the most important part, so you can mix up the flavors however you want.

That’s how I ended up with refrigerator pickled okra – TWO ways. I made one recipe, wanted to tweak it a little, and made it a second time using my altered recipe.

The first recipe (left) was sweet and tangy, using a mix of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, combined with a little sugar.

The second time (right) I wanted to try something a little less sweet, so I opted for all white vinegar, much less sugar, and added a bit of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. 

I actually brought both jars of okra pickles to work because I couldn’t decide which one to post. I had several willing taste testers at work, two of whom preferred the sweet and tangy and one of whom preferred the hot and smoky — although all three testers wanted more tastes of both kinds. 

One said the sweet and tangy refrigerator pickled okra made her want a Bloody Mary. Another said it would be perfect with a charcuterie board. The smoky version? Good with jams and cheeses. Basically, make whichever one contrasts and complements your main event. But for stand-alone snacking, they were divided on their favorite version. I am craving a few more of the sweet-tangy ones myself.

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. Make these okra pickles two ways — sweet and tangy or hot and smoky! | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Feel free to mix it up with your own blend of vinegars and spices! I’d love to know what other versions you come up with!

Which okra would you prefer? Your call!

If you want to stay in touch and hear about what else is cooking, sign up for my email newsletter!

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. Make these okra pickles two ways — sweet and tangy or hot and smoky! | www.pinchmeimeating.com
5 from 3 votes

Refrigerator Pickled Okra (Two Ways)

Easy refrigerator pickled okra is perfect for small batches! No canning experience necessary. This recipe is for sweet and tangy okra pickles OR hot and smoky okra pickles!
Print Recipe
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 1 jar
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Time in the refrigerator:1 d
Total Time:20 mins

Ingredients

  • 13-16 okra pods or however many will fit in a clean spaghetti sauce jar

For Sweet and Tangy Okra

  • 2 banana peppers sliced, seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed with the side of a knife but not cut
  • 3 tbsp sugar reduce for a less sweet pickle
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt plus more for salting pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

For Hot and Smoky Okra

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed with the side of a knife but not cut
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt plus more for salting pods
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Trim stems off okra pods so the tops are flat, but the pod isn't opened up. Sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside in a colander, along with banana peppers (if making sweet and tangy version).
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Rinse off okra pods and pack tightly into a clean spaghetti sauce jar or other jar, along with banana peppers (if making sweet and tangy version).
  • Let vinegar mixture cool for about 10 minutes, then pour over the okra until the jar is full. If there is slightly too much liquid, make sure you get all the “good stuff” in the jar before disposing of any excess vinegar.
  • Screw on the top and refrigerate for 48 hours. Enjoy!

Notes

Keeps, refrigerated, for at least 2 weeks.
For sweet and tangy okra:
Serve with a charcuterie board, bloody Mary, or straight out of the jar.
For hot and smoky okra:
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper gives these pickles a very mild kick. Adjust the amount to your desired level of spiciness.
Serve with jam and cheese hors d’oeuvres, or straight out of the jar as a snack.
Tried this recipe?Mention @pinchmeimeating or tag #pinchmeimeating on Instagram!

Want to enjoy the things you love about dining out — while you’re eating in?

Join my newsletter to receive

5 Secrets for Restaurant-style Eating at Home!

46 Comments

  1. Is it normal for the amount of liquid in the jar to decrease? I know the okra is absorbing it but after two days almost half of the liquid is gone and the okra isn’t covered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating