This Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe is an old-fashioned favorite, and it’s especially popular for ushering in the New Year. Here’s how to make black-eyed peas the authentic way!
Pin this recipe now to save it for laterPin Recipe
If you live in the South, you know that black-eyed peas are a New Year’s tradition. They say that eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the year will bring you wealth, good luck, and prosperity—and who doesn’t want all that, right?! And if you pair your black-eyed peas with collard greens, that’s even better because collard greens are also said to bring wealth, since they’re the color of money!
Southern Black-Eyed Peas Recipe
Of course, good fortune isn’t the only reason to make black-eyed peas on January 1st—they’re also delicious! Black-eyed peas are actually beans, not peas, and when they’re cooked the classic Southern way with pork shoulder and bacon, they take on a meaty, smoky flavor. You can use canned or dried black-eyed peas in this recipe, but I recommend dried if you’ve got the time—the texture and flavor is a lot better than canned!
The traditional way of eating black-eyed peas is with greens and piece of homemade cornbread, which makes for a simple, filling meal on a chilly winter day. You can also make another Southern classic called Hoppin’ John by serving your black-eyed peas over steamed rice.
- Dried black-eyed peas – Fresh black-eyed peas or canned can be used, too.
- Olive oil
- Pork shoulder
- Onion – A standard yellow onion or white onion will work.
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper – Adjust the amount to your taste preferences!
- Garlic powder
- Chicken stock – You can use chicken broth instead, but because it’s already seasoned, you’ll want to be careful not to add too much salt.
- Bay leaves – Make sure you take them out before you serve your black-eyed peas!
How to Make Black-Eyed Peas
- Soak the beans: If you’re using dried black-eyed peas, rinse and sort them, then place the beans in a large pot and cover them with about 4 inches of water. Soak overnight, then drain and rinse.
- Sear the pork: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the pork shoulder. Sear on all sides for 4 to 5 minutes, until browned.
- Cook the bacon and aromatics: Add the bacon, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the onion and garlic are softened and just beginning to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Season: Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder to the pot. Stir to coat and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the liquids: Pour in the stock and water, then add the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the pork starts to fall apart.
- Add the beans: Remove the lid and add the black-eyed peas to the pot. Continue to simmer until the beans are soft, about 60 to 90 minutes.
The exact amount of time needed to cook black-eyed peas depends on their age. If they’ve been sitting on the supermarket shelf for a long time, they’ll take longer to cook!
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Black-Eyed Peas
Keep leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend reheating them on the stove in a saucepan
This is up to you! It won’t shave all that much time off the recipe if you don’t soak them first, but some people think beans are easier to digest if they’re soaked overnight before cooking.
Don’t overcook them—keep a close eye on them and pull them off the heat as soon as they’re tender.
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas fresh or canned black-eyed peas can be substituted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces pork shoulder diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 strips thick sliced bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion small diced
- 4 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water and rinse. Drain and rinse the peas.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork. Sear until the pork is browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the bacon, onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and water and drop in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
- When the pork begins to fall apart, add the prepared peas to the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.