How to Cook Black-Eyed Peas

published Dec 28, 2022
How to Cook Black-Eyed Peas

If you want to guarantee a year of good luck and fortune, follow this step-by-guide to making the most smokey and creamy black eyed peas.

Serves12 to 16

Makes about 4 quarts

Prep30 minutes

Cook4 hours 30 minutes

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black eyed peas in a pot being stirred
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Popular in cultures all over the world, black-eyed peas are a soul-food staple that was introduced to the United States from Africa during slavery. Although you may find a pot of black-eyed peas simmering on the stove any time of the year, many of us of Southern influence look to ensure that we include black-eyed peas on our New Year’s Day table. It’s a tradition that has been upheld in my family for generations. Black-eyed peas aren’t just tasty, but are also believed to be the ticket to prosperity, luck, and abundance if eaten on New Year’s Day. Served up with a little pork for seasoning, a bowl of rice, greens, and cornbread, you have all you need to start the new year off with a tasty bang!

If You’re Making Black-Eyed Peas, a Few Tips

  • Check the black-eyed peas for rocks. When preparing dried beans, filter, or sort, through the beans to check for rocks. This is an important step, especially if using one of the less expensive brands of beans. You can accomplish this easily by pouring dried beans on a sheet pan before soaking and picking out any rocks or stones you may see. 
  • Smash the beans. To obtain desired creaminess or thickness, smash softened beans with a spoon along the side of the pot.  The more you smash, the thicker the beans will become.
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

How to Cook Black-Eyed Peas

If you want to guarantee a year of good luck and fortune, follow this step-by-guide to making the most smokey and creamy black eyed peas.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 4 hours 30 minutes

Makes about 4 quarts

Serves 12 to 16

Nutritional Info


For the black-eyed peas:

  • 1 pound

    dried black-eyed peas

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper

  • 2 medium stalks


  • 1

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 12 cloves


  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil

  • 1 quart

    (4 cups) water

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 2

    dried bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    granulated garlic

  • 1 teaspoon

    granulated onion

  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the stock:

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1 medium stalk


  • 5 cloves


  • 3 pounds

    smoked pork neckbones, smoked turkey necks, or smoked turkey wings

  • 3 quarts

    (12 cups) water

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


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  1. Place 1 pound dried black-eyed peas in a large bowl or pot and add enough water to cover by 5 inches. Let soak overnight at room temperature. (This is a good time to make the stock.)

Make the stock:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to a large stockpot as it is completed: Coarsely chop 1 medium yellow onion and 1 medium celery stalk. Smash 5 peeled garlic cloves.

  2. Add 3 pounds smoked pork or turkey necks or wings, 3 quarts water (add more if needed to just cover the bones), and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the meat pulls away easily from bones, skimming occasionally if desired, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (This is a good time to chop the vegetables and garlic for the black-eyed peas.)

  3. Pour the stock through a strainer set over a pot or large heatproof bowl; discard the contents of the strainer or reserve the bones if desired if you want to pull off the meat.

Make the black-eyed peas:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 1/3 cups), 1 medium red bell pepper (about 1 1/2 cups), and 2 medium celery stalks (about 3/4 cup).

  2. Halve 1 medium jalapeño and remove the seeds; dice the jalapeño (about 1 1/2 tablespoons). Mince 12 garlic cloves (about 1/4 cup). Drain the black-eyed peas in a colander and rinse with cold water. Let sit in the colander.

  3. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion mixture and sauté until the onions are translucent, 4 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add the peas, jalapeño, 2 quarts (8 cups) of the stock (reserve the remaining for another use), 1 quart (4 cups) water, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon granulated garlic, and 1 teaspoon granulated onion. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer, stirring frequently, until the peas are very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more.

  6. Smash some of the peas up against the inside of the pot with a wooden spoon. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Smash more of the peas up against the inside of the pot again (this helps the broth thicken). Simmer for 10 minutes more. Check the consistency of the black-eyed peas: If they are not creamy enough for you, smash a few more peas. If the broth is too thick, thin out with a little more water.

  7. Remove the pot from the heat and let the peas rest for 15 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Serve over rice with the reserved meat pulled from the bones, or with cornbread or hoe cakes.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The stock can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight before reheating over medium heat on the stovetop.