How to Make Perfect Black Eyed Peas from Fresh or Frozen


Here’s how to make perfect black eyed peas from fresh or frozen, Southern style, just like Grandma (or Cracker Barrel) would serve.


Black Eyed Peas are a Southern Tradition

Whether you eat black eyed peas once a year (New Year’s Day is the tradition) or often, knowing how to make them perfect~every time~is super helpful. We Southerners tend to eat these peas throughout the year, especially when serving turnip greens and cornbread.  I make these often, and I’ve never had them fail~not once! 


perfect black eyed peas


Are black eyed peas healthy?

Absolutely! Black eyed peas are packed with protein and fiber making them a wonderful addition to any meal. They also have a lot of beneficial vitamins and minerals, for example, vitamin A. This black eyed pea recipe is a great side dish to add to your meal rotation.

What makes these black eyed peas taste delicious?

In this recipe, there are so many delicious add-ons that add flavor to this dish. Adding a crumbled bouillon cube adds a whole nother layer of rich flavors. Another really important addition to this dish is bacon. For this dish, dice 3-4 pieces of bacon and then cook the onions in the bacon. Once you’ve done this you can add all of the spices and contents for the broth. All of these delicious components make these black eyed peas packed with flavor and super yummy. You’re not going to want to skip any of these ingredients!

Fresh or Frozen Black Eyed Peas Work Best

Just before New Year’s Day, you’ll see shelves piled high with dry black eyed peas for pennies on the dollar. I’ve made many batches of black eyed peas from dried, but I never feel that they turn out the best. I prefer fresh or frozen. The texture just turns out better for me. Dried peas require soaking, which is an unnecessary “to do” unless you just like using dried.

First Make the Seasoning for Black Eyed Peas

The seasoning mix that I use to make my black eyed peas taste great includes chopped onion, bacon (and bacon fat), beef broth, and some seasonings. The first step is making the seasoning, typically in the same pan, you will use to simmer the peas (see my saucepan in the photo).  If you have an Instant Pot, you can use it also. 

Add flavor with broth, bouillon, and stock.

I like to add a variety of broth/stock to give flavor to these peas. For a milder flavor, use chicken or vegetable broth. For a richer flavor, use beef. Here are several options for adding flavor with broth/stock. 

  • Better Than Bouillon Base. This is a thick, concentrated paste that adds deep rich flavor. You can add a teaspoonful to the pot if you have enough liquid to dissolve it. You can also boil water, add the bouillon, and stir for a homemade broth taste.
  • Bouillion cubes. I keep chicken and beef cubes on hand to crumble into peas and beans when they need flavor. Knorr is the brand I like, but there are myriad options.
  • Bone broth. Bone broth is more concentrated with flavor and nutrients than regular broth and stock. It has protein and calcium and is the best choice for a healthy broth. I always try to keep small cartons on hand to add to peas and beans.
  • Stock and broth. The old tried and true Swanson broth and stock will do the job; however, it is much richer when mixed with some of the other options listed above.

Next Cook Peas Until Tender

Whether you use this method of a stovetop saucepan or an Instant Pot, the key is to keep cooking until peas are desired tenderness. Also, make sure to keep adding liquid (broth or water) to the peas as they cook, or they will dry out. The broth/liquid is what breaks them down and makes them tender and flavorful.

What should I serve with black eyed peas?

Black eyed peas are the perfect side for a warm and filling dinner. Since they are so filling, they pair super well with protein as the main dish, such as roasted chicken. Another side that goes super well paired with black eyed peas is collard greens. Here is my recipe for Southern Style Instant Pot Collard Greens, this side pairs so well with black eyed peas. Give it a try!

How to Make These Black Eyed Peas in An Instant Pot 

You can follow this recipe as written (using the same ingredients) except instead of cooking the peas in a saucepan, you can use an Instant Pot. The main things you adjust are liquid (broth and water) and time. I explain how to adapt this recipe to an Instant Pot in the video below. I also include the full recipe for the Instant Pot black-eyed peas below.

Make Peas Ahead of Time

Peas are the perfect make-ahead side dish, especially since they taste as good or better a day or two after cooking. To serve them, you simply reheat them on the stovetop.

Follow the recipe below for perfect peas every time. My favorite ways to serve black eyed peas are alongside Fall-Off-the-Bone Baby Back Ribs,  Best Ever Mac & Cheese, and Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Cornbread.

I’d love to hear from you if you try these! (and I try to reply quickly to everyone who posts a comment!)

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Thank you so much for visiting my site. As always, be blessed, and stay savvy!

perfect black eyed peas

Perfect Black Eyed Peas on the Stovetop

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

How to make perfect black-eyed peas on the stovetop.


  • 1-1/2 lbs fresh or frozen black eye peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-4 strips bacon, diced into pieces
  • 1 TB EVOO or canola oil
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1 tsp beef flavored Better Than Bouillon (or 1 beef bouillon cube)*notes
  • 1 -2 cans chicken broth or bone broth (lower sodium is best)


  1. On medium heat, saute chopped bacon in hot oil.
  2. When bacon is mostly cooked, add chopped onion.
  3. Saute onion until soft; add garlic for last minute of sauté.
  4. Add garlic powder, sugar, salt & pepper; stir well.
  5. Add beef stock and crumbled bouillon cube; bring to rolling boil.
  6. Add peas to pot; add broth to go 1" above peas. Add water if more liquid needed.
  7. Bring mixture to a boil.
  8. Reduce to simmer; cook for 2 hours or until peas are tender, adding more broth or water as needed.


You can add broth/base "to taste" rather than following a set amount. I usually toss in a bouillon cube, a tablespoon or so of Better Than Bouillon (dissolved in cup of boiling water), and a can of broth. Just have enough liquid to cover the peas and enough seasonings to flavor it as rich as you like!

Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 207Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 5mgSodium 443mgCarbohydrates 29gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 8gSugar 8gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 12g
perfect black eyed peas

How to Make Perfect Black Eyed Peas in the Instant Pot

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 1-1/2 lbs fresh or frozen black eye peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-4 strips bacon, diced into pieces
  • 1 TB EVOO or canola oil
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1 tsp beef flavored Better Than Bouillon (or 1 beef bouillon cube)*notes
  • 1 -2 cans of chicken broth or bone broth


    Set Instant Pot on saute.
    Heat EVOO in the pot along with bacon pieces.
    When bacon begins to brown, add the onion.
    Cook until the onion begins to caramelize.
    Add chicken broth and bouillon cube).
    Fill water to make liquid just above peas.
    Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
    When pressure cooking stops, allow slow release.
    Leave peas in IP until time to serve.

Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 177Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 6mgSodium 393mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 6gSugar 6gProtein 10g

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  1. can I cook my fresh peas and turnip greens in IP together since cook times seem to be the same?

  2. Instant Pot – I’m looking forward to trying this. Just thought I would mention that the directions for the instant pot method seem to be lacking a few instructions (such as adding the peas, garlic, garlic powder, salt/pepper, etc. Thanks for posting!

  3. I made these peas a while back. I have cooked peas all of my long life but thought “why not give this a try”. I knew they would be good because of the ingredients, but i was not expecting them to knock my socks off! They are definitely a wow! They are delicious and the only way i cook black eyes peas now. Thanks for the recipe. The peas will be cooking tomorrow!

  4. Hi Michelle! Yes! I simmer them on low covered. If they start to lose liquid before they are tender, I add more broth or water to just cover them. Enjoy!!!

  5. Just coming across this recipe……cooking Sunday Dinner for the whole family. Plan to cook today and feed them tomorrow. On the stove top, do you cover them with a lid while they simmer?

  6. Can you presoak, refrigerate for 2 days, then cook?

    I have to go out of town, returning on NYD and hosting a dinner that evening.

    Thank you

  7. Just wanted to let you know that I made these for New Years Day and they were delicious! Thank you for answering my earlier question so promptly. I will be making these again!

  8. Hi Michelle! Yes, I put a lid on whether stovetop or Instant Pot. You can “peek” if cooking stove top. In the IP, you need to leave until it comes down slow release. Hope this helps!!!

  9. I made these for our New Year’s day dinner. They were delicious. I came back to this page today to bookmark it so it can be my go to black eye pea recipe. Thank you.

  10. Hi Jaime. This recipe looks perfect for our New Years “prosperity” black eyed peas! Do you put a lid on the pot at any point while cooking ?

  11. Hi Mary!!!! The peas will be better the longer they cook (as far as flavor), and the consistency should soften but not get mushy. I like my peas to have a super soft consistency with a good thick broth, but if you prefer a “soupier” result with firm peas, cook a bit less. Just watch them as you go. But 15 minutes won’t produce great peas, so definitely cook them longer:-) LMK how they turn out!!!

  12. Hi, I’m making this today with frozen peas but the packages says it only takes 15 minutes or so to cook them. If I follow these directions and cook for 2 hours won’t they be mushy?

    Thank you!

  13. Hi Brenda!!! Soaking overnight (or two days before cooking) is great!!! If you are using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, you don’t have to soak (but I always do anyway). Best of luck to you!!

  14. Hi Linda! I added the full recipe card for Instant Pot peas on the black-eyed peas post! The video on that page also shows me making the peas in the Instant Pot, so that might be worth a watch also. Best to you!!!! XoXo

  15. May I please have the instant pot directions? I was unable to locate any video below your recipe. Thank you.

  16. Hi Lara! I updated the blog post! You can use any combination of beef broth, bouillon, stock, etc… flavor the liquid per your preference. I shared how I season mine, but you can use your imagination! Hope this helps!!!

  17. Direction #5 says to add beef stock and the boullion but there is no beef stock listed in the ingredients. So I add beef stock and chicken broth? How much beef stock?

  18. Hi Erin, I use the same times for frozen and have never had any problem. You can watch the peas on the stove top and remove them when they reach the desired consistency. Once the IP cooks, then the slow release just keeps them warm. You should be fine with the same IP setting. Hope this helps!!!

  19. How would the cooking time be different on stove top AND in the Instant Pot if using frozen? 2 hours seems appropriate for dried, but worried about frozen turning to mush… thanks for any help!

  20. Hi Mandy! I am so happy you have found the recipes; I think you’ll be pleased! As for the onions, there may not be a substitute other than onion powder IF they are not allergic to it. But I think if you make the recipe as is, maybe even using a good smoked or applewood smoked bacon, the flavor will be so rich that onion won’t be missed. Do let me know how everything turns out! Happy 2020!!!!

  21. I’m so excited – and a little nervous – to try making fresh greens and black eye peas again. I’ve never been able to get a good flavor, so I’m excited to have found your recipes!

    My problem is that we have 2 family members who are TERRIBLY allergic to onions…is there something else that you can recommend I use to replace them in these recipes?

    Thank you in advance!

  22. I made your black eyed peas for New Years Day and Mark declared them “the best ever’!
    Thank you for sharing!!!

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