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. I need to edit this to make it more clear! In the Instant Pot, you allow the peas to “slow release” after pressure cooking. Then I let them “sit in the pot” to stay warm until serving. This proves is usually about 3 hours give or take. Stovetop peas take a minimum of 30 minutes, and I like to let them sit longer in the warm pot so that they keep softening and getting more flavor. Longer is better with peas!!

  2. I’m confused. The pink box above the recipe states to cook the fresh Southern-style peas for 3 hours 10 minutes. But the recipe below it states to cook for 30 minutes. Which is correct? Seems like the 3 hours peas would cook to mush with that long cook time. Did I misread the instructions?

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!!!

  6. 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.

  7. Thank you for this. Our fresh white acre peas came out PERFECT!! I used a ham bone and ham pieces from a ham I cooked last night instead of bacon, but would totally use bacon had I not already had a ham bone.

  8. Lori, I am so happy that the recipe worked for you! I love field peas and snaps!!!!! I hope you enjoy all of the recipes you try from the blog. Happy 2021 to you also!!!!

  9. I made field peas and snaps for New Years’s day because my neighborhood store was out of black eyed peas. Fortunately for me I came across your IP recipe. They are fabulous! Lots of flavor & not mushy.
    I looked over some of your other recipes and they look delicious! So glad I found you Jamie! Have a Happy & Healthy 2021!


  10. HI Viktor! I LOVE field peas!!! Glad to hear the pork flavor packet worked!!!! Slow release takes around 45 min for me, but I leave my IP locked for as long as I can before releasing. The longer they sit, the better!!!

  11. Thank you so much for this recipe! It is so easy. It is my first time making field peas – a family favorite my mom makes.
    I didn’t have any bacon, but I used a leftover prime rib steak cut up very small, plus a pork flavor packet. Maybe the packet is cheating, but it turned out great!

    Question: How long does your natural release usually take for this recipe? Mine took forever!

  12. Hi Monique! I have sauteed this exact “mixture” of bacon, bones and onions (garlic too in most cases) for years with no burn notice. I have gotten a burn notice maybe twice in 7 years, but that was mostly from no liquid. Just try it…..a burn notice isn’t really a big deal~if you get one, just empty the pot, rinse it, and you are good to go!!!!

  13. Hi there, this looks wonderful but I have a question. All my IP recipes say to deglaze the pan or you will get a burn notice. So every time I’ve sauted anything in it before pressure cooking I am scraping the bottom spotlessly clean on the saute setting. I leave the yumminess in the pot but I thought the bottom had to be completely clean. Then I saw you make these with the bacon, neckbones and onions all browned nicely on the bottom and no burn notice? Help! :)

  14. Hi Angie! I love this!!!! You and I are birds of a feather LOL. SO many folks haven’t heard of, much less tried, zipper peas. It is a perk of being Southern born and bred:-) Thanks for reaching out!!!!! XoXo

  15. I was raised in the south and have tried zipper peas every way you can imagine. This is the best recipe I have ever tried!

  16. Luv zipper peas. Have made this recipe a bunch of times. Smoked turkey wings work well too

  17. This sounds delicious! What about smoked turkey wings/parts instead of the bacon? I’m allergic to pork, so wrong!! LoL thanks for the varied recipes

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