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Southern Black Eyed Peas Recipe

This Southern Black Eyed Peas Recipe is the perfect soul food meal for New Year’s, Sunday dinners, or any celebration. This dish is made with a rich broth using smoked turkey, ham hocks, bacon, or salt pork for amazing flavor.

southern black eyed peas in a Dutch oven
smoked turkey, broth, chopped onions, Creole Seasoning, and a bay leaf in separate bowls

Why Do We Eat Black Eyed Peas?

My family has always eaten black eyed peas to bring in the New Year. We would also eat them for typical family dinners alongside a nice pot of collard greens. A pound of peas costs about $1. Making the entire meal is less than $10 in cost. It’s such a cheap meal and is delicious!

The Southern Tradition for New Years surrounds the belief of luck and prosperity. The tradition states this dish should be your first meal of the year.

And though they are called peas, they are actually beans. Like most beans, these are very nutritious and loaded with fiber and protein.

black eyed peas soaking in hot water

Do You Need to Soak Them?

This recipe uses fresh, dried beans. If you want to lower the cook time you will need to soak them in advance. You have two options. You can soak them overnight in a large bowl filled with water. Or you can boil a large pot of water on the stove. Once the temperature reaches boiling, remove the pot from heat and add the beans. Allow the beans to soak for at least one hour.

Not soaking them in advance will likely add a couple of hours to your cook time.

You can completely avoid this soaking process and make this dish a lot faster by using my Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas recipe.

What Meat is Used to Season the Peas

My family switched from using salt pork and ham hocks to season our beans and collards years ago. We now use either a smoked turkey leg or turkey wing. I love to use turkey wings, too, but sometimes they are harder to find. I find it in the meat section of my grocery store. You may have to ask around for it or use another option listed below.

You can of course still use ham hocks, a leftover ham bone, salt pork, country ham, or even bacon. If you are planning to use bacon I recommend that you cook the bacon first and omit the olive oil used in this recipe. Cook the onions in the bacon fat.

Remove the bacon and crumble. Set aside until after the black eyed peas have cooked. Sprinkle the bacon throughout once cooked.

What Kind of Stock/Broth to Use

I like to use chicken broth or stock. You can use either and you can use whatever you like, such as vegetable.

collage of 4 photos showing how to saute onions and add black eyed peas, broth, and smoked turkey to a Dutch oven

How to Make Southern Black Eyed Peas

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Place a pot on medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  2. When hot add onions and garlic. Saute until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add in broth, black eyed peas, smoked turkey, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. Stir.
  4. Place the lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook.

How Long to Cook/How to Tell When Done

Decide how you like your beans. Do you like me them firm, soft, or mushy? Check in on the beans frequently while they cook. They will typically need anywhere from 1 1/2 hours – 3 hours depending on your texture preference. I like to cook mine for 2 hours. I like for them to be soft, but not mushy.

You can test if they are done by grabbing one bean out of the pot and mashing it with a spoon or fork.

smoked turkey on a bamboo cutting board

Optional Ingredients and Ideas

  • Collard Greens (Add these to the pot while the black eyed peas cook)
  • Chopped Celery
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Chopped Green Peppers
  • Chopped Red Peppers
shredded smoked turkey on a bamboo cutting board

How to Use Leftover Broth in the Pot

Don’t throw out that broth! That “pot liquor” or “pot likker” is loaded with tons of nutrients. It’s the reason I like to use 6 cups of broth in the recipe. You can use it in other soup recipes, enjoy it with the beans, or simply sip it.

How to Double the Recipe

You can double the black eyed peas and use the same amount of smoked turkey or opt for one slightly larger. The cook time will remain the same.

black eyed peas in a white bowl with smoked turkey

How to Make the Dish Vegan or Vegetarian

Omit the smoked turkey. Use vegetable broth. Add in 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for flavor.

How Long Will They Last in the Fridge

They will last 3-5 days in the fridge, tightly covered.

black eyed peas in a white bowl with smoked turkey

Freezer Tips

These will freeze for up to 9 months. I often freeze my batch for New Year’s in advance! This is a great hack. Be sure to store them tightly sealed. I like to leave them in the broth so that when I defrost they are loaded with flavor.

Pair With These Recipes

Southern Soul Food Cornbread
Southern Soul Food Collard Greens
Southern Soul Food Mustard Greens
Baked Turkey Wings
Air Fryer Turkey Wings
Smothered Turkey Wings
Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes

Southern Black Eyed Peas

More Southern Soul Food Recipes

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
Homemade Creamed Corn
Sweet Potatoes Au Gratin
Southern Coleslaw Recipe
Southern Potato Salad
Southern Green Beans
Fried Cabbage

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
Okra and Tomatoes

black eyed peas in a white bowl with smoked turkey

Southern Blacked Eyed Peas Recipe

This Southern Black Eyed Peas Recipe is the perfect soul food meal for New Year's, Sunday dinners, or any celebration. This dish is made with a rich broth using smoked turkey, ham hocks, bacon, or salt pork for amazing flavor.
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine southern
Keyword black eyed peas New Years recipe, black eyed peas recipe, Southern black eyed peas
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 10 servings
Calories 119kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fill a Dutch oven or soup pot with water (enough to cover the black eyed peas) and place it on the stove to boil. Once the water has boiled, remove it from the heat and add the black eyed peas. Allow the beans to soak for 1 hour.
  • Place a Dutch oven or soup pot on medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  • When hot, add the onions and garlic. Saute until translucent and fragrant.
  • Add in the chicken broth, black eyed peas, smoked turkey, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. Stir.
  • Place the lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 2-3 hours until the beans are soft. You can test if they are done by grabbing one bean out of the pot and mashing it with a spoon or fork.
  • Open up the pot and remove the bay leaf and smoked turkey. If you like meat in your black eyed peas, use 2 forks and shred the turkey and return it to the pot. Taste repeatedly and add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  • Cool before serving. I like to use a slotted spoon to serve.

Video

Notes

  • Not soaking the black eyed peas in advance will likely add a couple of hours to your cook time.
  • You can reduce the amount of broth used in the recipe if you wish. 6 cups will produce rich and flavorful broth we call “pot liquor,” because it’s loaded with nutrients and great for sipping. 4-5 cups is adequate for a pound of beans.
  • Decide how you like your beans. Do you like me them firm, soft, or mushy? Check in on the beans frequently while they cook. They will typically need anywhere from 1 1/2 hours – 3 hours depending on your texture preference. I like to cook mine for 2 hours. I like for them to be soft, but not mushy.
  • You can of course still use ham hocks, a leftover ham bone, salt pork, country ham, or even bacon. If you are planning to use bacon I recommend that you cook the bacon first and omit the olive oil used in this recipe. Cook the onions in the bacon fat.
  • You can double the black eyed peas and use the same amount of smoked turkey or opt for one slightly larger. The cook time will remain the same.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 2g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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