This black eyed peas recipe is huge on flavor, with chopped bacon, smoked ham, the Cajun holy trinity and lots of seasonings. Big taste of the U.S. south!
We're cooking up delicious Black Eyed Peas in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends, and I think you are going to love them. Black eyed peas are a popular ingredient in the American south, where I now reside. I enjoyed them first during our travels there, particularly in Louisiana and North Carolina, though find them all over.
They're very easy to make and the result is a dish of creamy beans with loads of flavor, especially the way I cook them. If you're looking for a new side dish idea, or a good way to serve black eyed peas for dinner, this recipe will give you everything you need.
What are Black Eyed Peas?
Black-eyed peas are pale brown beans, not peas, with a distinctive black spot on each bean. They are also known as goat peas, which is a subspecies of the cowpea.
Eating black eyed peas to celebrate the new year is supposed to bring you good luck, so you may want to save this recipe for good fortune. It's perfect all year long for me, though, especially as a summer side dish to serve along with whatever I'm grilling, or for bringing to a larger gathering.
Let's talk about how we make black eyed peas, shall we?
Black Eyed Peas Recipe Ingredients
- Meats. I use 4 slices bacon along with 1 pound smoked ham. You can also use andouille sausage or other cuts of pork like ham hocks or a ham bone. If you skip the bacon, use olive oil to cook the vegetables.
- Vegetables. I use the Cajun Holy Trinity of bell peppers, onion and celery, and often garlic, along with some extra jalapeno pepper thrown in for some extra heat and flavor. Use 1 medium onion, 1 medium green bell pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1 stalk celery, and 4 cloves garlic.
- Cajun Seasonings. I call for 2 tablespoon of Cajun seasonings here, though you can adjust to your own preferences. I like to use 2 tablespoons of my own homemade Cajun seasoning recipe.
- Black Eyed Peas. Use 1 pound dried black eyed peas, sorted through, rinsed, soaked and drained. You can use canned black eyed peas, but reduce the cooking time as they only need to be warmed.
- Stock or Broth. I use 4 cups chicken stock, or more as needed if it starts to dry out while simmering. You can also use beef or vegetable stock for this recipe.
- For Serving. Chopped parsley and spicy red pepper flakes for serving
How to Cook Black Eyed Peas - the Recipe Method
Cook the Bacon. Heat a large pot to medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook for 5 minutes until the bacon starts to render the fat and crisp up.
Add the Vegetables. Add the onion, peppers and celery and cook them until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the Garlic. Add the garlic and smoked ham and cook another minute, stirring, until fragrant.
Seasonings and Stock. Add the Cajun seasonings, black eyed peas and chicken stock or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.
Simmer. Simmer for 1 hour to cook the black eyed peas, or until the beans are nicely softened, but not mushy.
Garnish. Garnish with chopped parsley and red chili flakes and serve.
Boom! Done! Easy enough, isn't it? As I mentioned, it really is very similar to Hoppin' John, the famous Cajun recipe of black eyed peas and rice. We're just skipping the rice and changing things up a touch, but you'll still get that awesome southern black eyed peas flavor.
Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas
If you'd prefer to cook your black eyed peas in a slow cooker or crockpot, or in your Instant Pot, cook down the bacon and vegetables per the recipe, then transfer them to your slow cooker along with the soaked black eyed peas and the remainder of the ingredients. Cook them on high for 5-6 hours on low or 8-10 hours, or until the black eyed peas are nicely softened, but not mushy.
If you start with unsoaked black eyed peas that are not partially softened, you may need to increase your cooking time.
Do Black Eyed Peas Need to be Soaked?
Soaking your black eyed peas will reduce the cooking time considerably, though it is not completely necessary. Some people swear by starting from dried beans, and believe that soaking them robs the beans of some of their nutrients, though you can use the soaking water in your recipe. Soaking does soften the bean skins, which can be tough. Also, some people say they get bad gas from unsoaked beans, which may weigh into your decision.
If you do soak your black eyed peas, add 2-3 tablespoons of salt to the soaking water, which assists with softening and flavor building. Soak them 6-8 hours or overnight for a long soak, or bring your water to a boil, boil the black eyed peas for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover and soak them for 1 hour for a quick soak.
This recipe is so good! Serve it as a side dish or as a meal. I love it both ways. Serve it with some delicious cornbread!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Other Ingredients. Black eyed peas are great with andouille sausage, as well as any cooked greens, like collards or mustard greens. I love to mix those in.
- Canned Black Eyed Peas. Canned black eyed peas can be used for this recipe. If using canned, reduce
- Other Seasonings. You can use a good Creole seasoning blend if you'd like for this recipe instead of Cajun seasonings. They're very similar. Bay leaf is a nice flavor builder as well if you'd like to include one or two while the black eyed peas are simmering.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my black eyed peas recipe. Super tasty, and rather hearty. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear if you enjoyed it. Black eyed peas! Yes!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Hoppin' John Recipe
- Maque Choux (Cajun Corn)
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice
- Dirty Rice
- Boudin Balls
- Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Shrimp Creole
- Creole Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Seriously Awesome Jambalaya
- Red Eye Gravy
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Black Eyed Peas Recipe
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped (optional – I like it for a bit of extra heat)
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 pound smoked ham chopped
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend or more to taste - I usually use 2 tablespoons
- 1 pound black eyed peas sorted through, rinsed, soaked and drained
- 4 cups chicken stock or more as needed
- Chopped parsley and spicy red pepper flakes for serving
- Heat a large pot to medium heat and add bacon. Cook for 5 minutes until the bacon starts to render the fat and crisp up.
- Add the onion, peppers and celery and cook them until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and smoked ham and cook another minute, stirring, until fragrant.
- Add the Cajun seasonings, black eyed peas and chicken stock. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat.
- Simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are nicely softened, but not mushy.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and red chili flakes and serve.
SLOW COOKER BLACK EYED PEAS
- Cook down the bacon and vegetables per the recipe, then transfer them to your slow cooker or crock pot along with the soaked black eyed peas and the remainder of the ingredients. Cook them on high for 5-6 hours on low or 8-10 hours, or until the black eyed peas are nicely softened, but not mushy.If you start with unsoaked black eyed peas that are not partially softened, you may need to increase your cooking time.