Southern-style Peas in Instant Pot Recipe to Die For


Here is my foolproof recipe (and video tutorial) for making Southern-style peas (from fresh or frozen) in the Instant Pot.

Southern-Style Peas in the Instant Pot

Southern-style peas from fresh or frozen.

You can create your own delicious “meat and three” at home if you learn how to make Southern-style peas. This Instant Pot technique is a foolproof way to turn any peas into savory peas befitting any country cooking spread. You can use this technique with fresh and/or frozen peas. Both turn out beautifully with this recipe.

What are Southern-style peas?

Southern-style peas are typically cooked with a bone and/or meat that renders fat to release flavor. Some common fats used for Southern peas are smoked neck bones, ham hock, smoked turkey neck, fatback, salt pork, and bacon. In addition to one of these, some Southern cooks add onion and garlic to peas while others do not. 

What kinds of peas are cooked Southern-style?

You’ll find myriad varieties of peas at Farmer’s Markets in the South. Some of the most common are field peas, zipper peas, black-eyed peas. lady peas and purple hull peas.  When fresh peas aren’t an option, the frozen version of any of these will turn out well if cooked with this technique. 

How long can you safely store cooked Southern-style peas?

After cooking Southern-style peas, they can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For best results, reheat just the amount of leftover peas you plan to eat. Reheating a whole container of cooked peas over and over is not best. The peas will dry out, and the quality will deteriorate with multiple reheating.

Three keys to Southern-style peas.

The three keys to delicious Southern-style peas are 1) sauteeing the meat/bone/fat, 2) adding rich broth(s), and 3) cooking low and slow or with pressure. For tender peas, a long slow stovetop simmer or a pressure cooking can yield the same or similar results. In the short video below, I do a tutorial using frozen zipper peas. 

How to serve Southern-style peas.

If you make these Southern-style peas, I’d love to hear how they turn out! Always feel free to leave comments in any post; I love hearing from readers. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!

lady peas

Instant Pot Southern-style peas

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 2 hours 1 second
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes 1 second

How to make Southern style peas easily in an Instant Pot.


  • 3-4 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 slices hickory smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bouillon cube (optional but adds more richness)
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Set Instant Pot on saute.
  2. Heat EVOO in the pot along with bacon pieces.
  3. When bacon begins to brown, add the onion.
  4. Cook until onion is transluscent and bacon cooked.
  5. Add chicken broth and bouillon cube.
  6. Add water to go 1" above the peas.
  7. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
  8. When pressure cooking stops, allow slow release.
  9. Leave peas in IP until time to serve.
Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 129Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 5mgSodium 447mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 7gSugar 8gProtein 8g

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  1. These tender legume morsels of zipper pea deliciousness cook in exactly the same way, in an ordinary medium saucepan on the stovetop, with exactly the same ingredients, in the same amount of time (& even 5-10 minutes less in some cases. About 25 minutes is the max amount of time I’ve found needed for perfectly tender peas.) Unlike dried legumes, fresh or frozen zipper peas/cream peas/ field peas don’t require a long cooking time. It’s possible that IP pressure cooking is overcomplicating this dish. It’s basic & simple enough for a 10 year old child or any beginner-cook to use simple tools for easy, excellent results as they learn the art & science of food preparation. Your ingredient list is spot-on for perfectly tasty results!

  2. So easy and yummy! Thank you for the perfect IP directions. I make a variety of beans, lentils and peas regularly. Now, I can’t go wrong.

  3. Hi Bridget! I got to you too late~I hope they turned out! As long as you add at least 1 cup of liquid to the Instant pot, the beans should be fine!!!!

  4. This recipe sounds wonderful!! I plan to make it today but I have already soaked my zipper peas. Please let me know how this affects the instant pot cook time! I love the simple, But tasty, ingredients.

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