The best Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe you’ve been looking for. Incredibly flavorful, creamy, and chock-full of richness. These soul food, black-eyed peas cook up in the Instant Pot for easy, no-soak quickness! Tender smoked turkey pieces, aromatics, cajun spices, and perfect black-eyed peas. This is the only recipe you need for southern comfort, gatherings, and beyond. Stovetop notes provided!

black hand holding black bowl filled with creamy black eyed peas with white rice on top

Coming back to Southern-inspired recipes will always be one of my deepest loves, y’all. Forever in lust with all things that have soul, depth, and rich history behind it. Listen, I’m so hype to be focusing more and more on these types of recipes. And today, we’re getting into these southern black-eyed peas! I know some folks either love ’em or hate ’em, not sure if there is a middle ground, ha!

Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas 🙌🏾

First, have you ever had them before? Black eyed peas have a very prominent presence when it comes to holidays such as New Year’s Day. However, they hold a large significance in culinary history, specifically in southern cooking. You can enjoy black eyed peas cooked regularly or you can have something far more magical. Yup, and that’s southern style for top tier, lip-smacking goodness!

What makes this recipe Southern? These black-eyed peas have big, bold flavor! There’s no watered down, unseasoned nonsense going on here…I’m just being straight up with ya. These peas are rich, creamy, and hearty with so much depth. When it comes to the best black-eyed peas, this recipe is the ONE!

Southern faves: the best collard greens, my cabbage and sausage, cozy smothered pork chops, classic baked mac and cheese, and sweet potato pie.

A Little About These Peas & More

Black-eyed peas, despite their name, are technically classified as a legume and not peas. However, both peas and beans are considered to be legumes because of their edible seeds/pods. Black-eyed peas originated in West Africa and made its way over to the West Indies and then to the American South (Lowcountry region and Sea Islands of the Carolinas as well as Georgia) via enslaved people.

These same enslaved Africans planted these peas in gardens as they were considered an economical type of fare. During the Civil War, these peas were often eaten in soups and stews while also being used to feed animals on the farm. Fast forward to today, black-eyed peas have maintained their status in the Black community as well as a beloved tradition in the South.

close up of creamy black eyed peas with white rice on top in black bowl

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Oil: I often use olive oil for sautéing the aromatics. However, sometimes I use rendered bacon fat or duck fat, too. Those will add more flavor and depth!
  • Veggies: You’ll need an onion, bell pepper, and celery– aka the Cajun/Creole trinity! This is the aromatic base that gives these peas extra oomph.
  • Jalapeño: Almost every dish (in my opinion) needs a touch of heat. I use one small jalapeño to give this dish just that. You can use a few dashes of hot sauce in place of or leave it out entirely if you’re sensitive to heat.
  • Garlic: No explanation needed…garlic is #bae, garlic is life!
  • Seasonings: You’ll need bay leaves and cajun seasoning. This type of seasoning is a blend that contains salt, red pepper, black pepper, garlic, and more. Brands such as, Slap Ya Mama or Tony Chachere’s, stay in my kitchen pantry.
  • Worcestershire: This condiment adds big flavor for soups/stew-like recipes.
  • Smoked meat: This is what makes these black-eyed peas southern in nature. The addition of smoked meat provides a heartiness and extra-filling richness. I use smoked turkey wings for my peas, but you can also use smoked ham hock, salt pork, cooked bacon pieces, or any other smoked turkey (neck/legs).
  • Black-eyed peas: Duh. I like to sort through them beforehand and give ’em a nice lil rinse for good measure. The reason for this is because sometimes you’ll find little scraggly odds + ends in your peas, and the rinsing of the peas is purely to make sure there’s no goop/debris stuck on them.
  • Chicken broth/stock: Flavor on flavor! This is one of the elements that makes this recipe so delicious, they’re not cooked in water. I like to use low-sodium because the cajun seasoning will give us plenty of salty vibes already.
ingredients for southern black eyed peas laid out on beige surface

How To Make Instant Pot Black-Eyed Peas

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

>> This recipe whips up super-fast thanks to the good ole Instant Pot!

  1. Sauté the veggies. Set the IP to the sauté function and cook the onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeño mixture until translucent and tender.
  2. Add in the garlic. Toss in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add in the remaining flavors. Then add in the bay leaves, cajun seasoning, worcestershire, smoked turkey pieces, black eyed peas, and chicken stock. Stir everything together to combine and lock the lid in place.
  4. Pressure cook. Set the IP to the pressure cook function and set the timer to 35 minutes. After the cooking cycle completes, allow all the pressure to naturally release in the vent function.
  5. Tear the meat. Take the meat out of the pot and let cool down for a few minutes. Then shred the meat off the bones and toss back into the pot.
  6. Stir the peas. The mixture will be more brothy at first, but as you stir, the peas will thicken and take on a creamier consistency.
  7. Serve. Taste the black-eyed peas and season with more cajun seasoning to desired preference, if you’d like. Serve immediately with fresh chopped parsley, white rice and/or cornbread, if desired. Enjoy!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe ♡

First, these southern style black eyed peas are simply amazing, chefs kiss! 😛 The flavors, textures, and taste are all on point >> this one is soul food scrumptiousness, mmm. Furthermore, beans and peas are one of my favorite things to make in the Instant Pot; the cooking time is reduced, and they come out perfect. It’s the best side dish to serve right alongside your main entrees, but also hearty enough to enjoy as a light meal on its own.

How To Serve These Black-Eyed Peas

You can enjoy these peas as is after cooking. However, I love to serve them up with some white rice on top (as pictured)! Serving this way is very much reminiscent of what’s called Hoppin’ John, which is mainly a black-eyed pea dish with rice, smoked meat, and spices. It gives these peas some extra razzle dazzle and a more fulling feeling. All in all, serve them however you desire!

Are Black-Eyed Peas Healthy?

Yes! Black-eyed peas have a ton of health benefits and hold plenty nutritional value as well. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, folate, potassium, and calcium to name a few. Many of these benefits come from just one cup of cooked peas, too! Additionally, they even help to improve digestion, prevent anemia, lower blood pressure, and improve skin/eye health as well. For more health-related information from registered dietitians, check out this and this.

creamy black eyed peas inside of instant pot with wooden spoon

Can I Make This Recipe On The Stovetop?

If you do not have a pressure cooker, no worries. You can still make this recipe!

⇢ First, you need to soak your peas. You can choose two different kinds of soaking methods. Cover the peas with cold water in a large bowl and let them soak overnight. For a faster soak alternative, bring about 6-7 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Then add in the peas and remove the pot from heat. Let the peas soak in the hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

After soaking, drain off the water from the peas and set them aside. At this point you will basically follow the exact steps in the recipe card, below, apart from cooking everything in a large dutch oven or stock pot on the stove.

After bringing everything together, cover the pot with a lid, and the cooking time on the stove will be about 45 minutes to 1 hour long (or until the peas are tender) over medium heat. Be sure to go back to the pot every so often to check on and stir the peas. If at any point that you see the pot needs more liquid to prevent sticking, simply add in more stock/broth or water.

Black-Eyed Peas & Southern Traditions

For years and years, specifically in the South; eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is a symbol of calling in good luck. There are even some tales of folks cooking their peas with either a dime or penny inside the pot, ha! It’s supposedly a way to up the good luck vibes and whoever finds the coin in their bowl will have the best luck! Lol. Also, combining your peas with collard greens represents money (green) for a financially prosperous year as well.

I eat my peas, greens, and cornbread (represents gold) almost every single year, y’all. It’s a time-honored, Southern tradition that dates back to centuries.

southern black eyed peas in black bowl with white rice on top

Cannot wait for you to try these southern black-eyed peas, I just know you’re gonna enjoy them! Don’t forget to tag @butterbeready in all your recipe remakes, I always love to see it when you do. Until next time, peeps! 🤟🏾

Print
clockclock iconcutlerycutlery iconflagflag iconfolderfolder iconinstagraminstagram iconpinterestpinterest iconfacebookfacebook iconprintprint iconsquaressquares iconheartheart iconheart solidheart solid icon
close up of creamy black eyed peas with white rice on top in black bowl

Southern Black Eyed Peas

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 35m
  • Total Time: 45m
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Southern

Description

The best Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe you’ve been looking for. Incredibly flavorful, creamy, and chock-full of richness. These soul food, black-eyed peas cook up in the Instant Pot for easy, no-soak quickness! Tender smoked turkey pieces, aromatics, cajun spices, and perfect black-eyed peas. This is the only recipe you need for southern comfort, gatherings, and beyond. Stovetop notes provided!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil- bacon grease/duck fat as substitute 
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeds discarded and finely diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 23 teaspoons cajun seasoning, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire
  • 1 lb smoked turkey wings- smoked ham hock as substitute 
  • 1 lb (16 ounces) black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • freshly chopped parsley, as garnish- optional

for serving

  • cooked white rice and/or cornbread- optional

Instructions

  1. Set the Instant Pot to the “sauté” function for 7 minutes. Coat the bottom of the pot with the oil. Once the oil is shimmering; toss in the onion, bell pepper, celery, and jalapeño mixture. Cook the aromatics together until tender, stirring frequently, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Toss in the garlic and continue cooking for another 1 minute.
  3. Add the bay leaves, cajun seasoning, worcestershire, smoked meat, black-eyed peas, and chicken stock into the pot. Stir everything together to combine and place the lid onto the pot to lock in place.
  4. Set the Instant Pot to the “manual” or “pressure cook” function and set the timing to 35 minutes. After the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally in the “vent” position for about 7-10 minutes or until all the steam has ceased.
  5. Unlock the lid and remove the smoked meat from the pot, set aside to cool down for a few minutes before handling. Stir the mixture together. Then back to the meat, use two forks or your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to tear the meat off the bones into bite-sized pieces. Add the pieces of meat back into the pot.
  6. Stir everything together to fully combine, then remove the bay leaves from the pot. You will see the mixture look very brothy at first, but as you continue to stir; the peas will break down some & thicken the pot. This will result in the mixture taking on a creamier consistency.
  7. Taste the peas and season with more cajun seasoning, if desired. Serve immediately with a garnish of freshly chopped parsley and cooked white rice or cornbread for extra comforting vibes. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. For cajun seasonings, I use Slap Ya Mama or Tony Chachere’s.
  2. For best recipe success, please read the blog post & notes in its entirety with video tutorial before beginning.

Keywords: black eyed peas, instant pot black eyed peas, instant pot beans, creamy black eyed peas, southern black eyed peas