Creamy & Comforting Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas

I’ve been making Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the south, I was surrounded by family recipes, and this one is a favorite of mine. It’s an easy dish to make and is always a crowd-pleaser. If you’re looking for a delicious and flavorful recipe that is sure to please, this is the one for you. The combination of ingredients creates a unique flavor that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

Prep Time

10 mins

Cook Time

165 mins

Additional Time

120 mins

Total Time

295 mins


8 servings

Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound smoked ham hocks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 bay leaves


  • Soak the dried black-eyed peas in a large bowl of cold water overnight.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the smoked ham hocks and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Drain the soaked black-eyed peas and add them to the pot.
  • Pour in the water, season with the seasoned salt, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add the bay leaves and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the black-eyed peas are tender.
  • Remove the bay leaves and ham hocks before serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 23g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Sodium: 870mg

The history of black-eyed peas in southern cuisine

The history of black-eyed peas in Southern cuisine dates back centuries. Indigenous to West Africa, the black-eyed pea was brought to the Southern United States during the transatlantic slave trade. Over the years, black-eyed peas have become a staple of Southern cuisine and are often served at family gatherings, holidays, and other special occasions.

The black-eyed pea is a legume that is the size of a small pea and has a black spot on its shell. This spot is where the term “black-eyed” comes from. The legume is often cooked with ingredients such as onion, garlic, bacon, and other spices to create a savory, hearty dish.

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Black-eyed peas are also known as cowpeas, field peas, or Southern peas. They were originally grown in Africa, but when they were brought to America, they quickly became an important part of the Southern food culture. The first known recipe for black-eyed peas was published in an 1845 cookbook and the dish has been a staple of Southern cuisine ever since.

Black-eyed peas are often served on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. This tradition dates back to colonial times when the peas were believed to bring good fortune. The dish is also often served during the summer months in the South, as it is cool and refreshing.

Today, black-eyed peas are enjoyed around the world for their unique flavor and texture. Whether served as a side dish or as the main course, black-eyed peas are a delicious and nutritious way to bring a bit of Southern culture to your table.

The nutritional benefits of black-eyed peas

The nutritional benefits of black-eyed peas are numerous, making them a great addition to any diet. The following are some of the key benefits of this versatile legume:

  • High in Protein: Black-eyed peas are a great source of plant-based protein, providing about 8 grams of protein per cooked cup. Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and repairing tissues.
  • High in Fiber: A single cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains 7.6 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for digestion, promoting healthy bowel movements, and aiding in weight management.
  • Low in Calories: Black-eyed peas are low in calories, making them a great addition to any weight-loss plan. A single cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains only 195 calories.
  • Rich in Vitamins & Minerals: Black-eyed peas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are important for overall health and well-being. They are especially rich in iron and folate, providing 20% of the recommended daily value of both nutrients per cup.
  • Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas: This classic Southern dish is prepared by simmering black-eyed peas in a flavorful broth made with bacon, onions, bell peppers, and spices. This dish is a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutritious and delicious meal.
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Tips for selecting and preparing black-eyed peas

Tips for Selecting and Preparing Black-Eyed Peas:

  • Look for black-eyed peas that are firm, large, and uniformly colored. Avoid any that are discolored, soft, or have any dark spots.
  • Rinse the black-eyed peas for about three minutes. This will help to ensure that all dirt and debris have been removed.
  • Soak the black-eyed peas in cool water for at least four hours. This will help to soften them and reduce the cooking time.
  • Place the black-eyed peas in a large pot and cover them with enough water so that there is at least two inches of water above the peas.
  • Add salt and other seasonings, such as garlic, onion, and bay leaves to the black-eyed peas.
  • Simmer the black-eyed peas for about one hour. Check them periodically to make sure that they do not become too soft.
  • Serve the black-eyed peas with rice and collard greens for a classic southern-style dish.

Variations on the traditional southern-style black-eyed peas recipe

Variations on the traditional Southern-style black-eyed peas recipe can range from subtle to extreme, offering something for everyone. The traditional recipe typically includes black-eyed peas, bacon, smoked ham hocks, onions, garlic, and seasonings. However, there is plenty of room for creativity when it comes to making this classic dish.

For those who like the classic flavor but want to lighten it up, you can substitute the bacon for Canadian bacon or turkey bacon, or you can skip the meat altogether and opt for a vegetarian version. To make it even healthier, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and add some fresh herbs or diced tomatoes.

For those who love a bit of heat, try adding some jalapeno peppers or cayenne pepper to the dish. You can also add other vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or celery to give the dish a nice balanced flavor.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different types of beans. White beans, pinto beans, and Great Northern beans are all delicious alternatives that can add a unique flavor to the dish. You can also add other flavorings like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or molasses to give the peas an extra kick.

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No matter what kind of variation you choose, you can be sure that your Southern-style black-eyed peas will be delicious. With so many options to choose from, you can create a dish that is perfect for any occasion.

Creative ideas for using southern-style black-eyed peas in recipes

Southern-style black-eyed peas are a popular ingredient in many Southern recipes. They are savory, flavorful, and pack a punch of protein. They can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to salads and even side dishes. With the right ingredients, you can create some truly delicious dishes with this versatile legume. Here are some creative ideas for using Southern-style black-eyed peas in recipes.

  • Southern Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas: This classic Southern dish combines savory collard greens with smoky black-eyed peas. Simmer the collard greens in a pot with some bacon, garlic, and onion until they are tender. Add in the black-eyed peas and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy this delicious side dish with a piece of cornbread.
  • Southern-Style Black-Eyed Pea Soup: Start by sautéing bacon, garlic, and onion in a pot. Add in chopped carrots and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add black-eyed peas and simmer until tender. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and some fresh herbs for flavor. Serve this hearty soup with crusty bread.
  • Black-Eyed Pea Salad: Make a delicious salad by combining cooked black-eyed peas, diced red onion, diced bell pepper, diced cucumber, and diced tomatoes in a large bowl. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and pour over the salad ingredients. Serve this colorful salad as a side dish or as a main course.
  • Black-Eyed Pea Fritters: Make some savory fritters by combining cooked black-eyed peas, diced onion, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and an egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix until combined. Heat oil in a skillet and drop the fritter batter in by the spoonful. Fry until golden brown and enjoy these delicious fritters with a dipping sauce.

These are just a few ideas for using Southern-style black-eyed peas in recipes. With a little creativity, you can create some delicious dishes with this versatile ingredient.

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