Southern Black-Eyed Peas

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. + standing Cook: 45 min.


6 servings

Updated: Sep. 08, 2023
I find that pork is the secret to a good black-eyed pea recipe. A double dose of ham for flavor and slow, gentle cooking creates this perfect side dish. —Emory Doty, Jasper, Georgia


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces sliced salt pork belly, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 smoked ham hocks


  1. Place peas in a Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse peas, discarding liquid; set aside.
  2. In the same pan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, pepper flakes and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.
  3. Add the broth, ham hocks and peas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water if desired.
  4. Discard bay leaves. Remove ham hocks; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones if desired; finely chop meat and return to pan. Discard bones. If desired, top with additional fresh thyme.
Black-Eyed Peas Tips

Do you have to soak black-eyed peas?

It’s important to sort and rinse the peas for this black-eyed peas recipe. Sorting is a crucial step to remove any rocks or debris from the field when the beans were harvested. Soaking the dried beans isn't necessary, but it will speed up the cooking process and improve the bean’s texture. Plan on increasing the cooking time if you’re not soaking, or simply quick soak the dried beans if you forgot the night before.

What do you serve with black-eyed peas?

We love serving soul food recipes like black-eyed peas alongside other Southern sides like cornbread, collard greens, fried okra and biscuits. The most popular time of year to serve black-eyed peas is on New Year’s Day. The long-standing tradition is thought to bring good luck and prosperity.

How do you store black-eyed peas?

Store cooked black-eyed peas in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftovers will last up to 4 days.

Lindsay Mattison, Taste of Home Contributing Writer

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 359 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 788mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 14g fiber), 20g protein.