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This easy to make Southern Black Eyed Pea Recipe has a Texas flair for a bit of spice and heat. Hearty and comforting, this classic southern recipe is smokey and spicy with bits of ham and bacon in a rich, flavorful broth.
A Southern Tradition…
Eating black eyed peas on New Years is said to bring luck and prosperity in the new year. However, in our household black eyed peas are enjoyed year round! These little beans cook up smooth and creamy making them a hearty, comforting dish that is packed with nutrients and makes a quick and easy dinner the entire family loves. This particular dish is my 5 year old sons favorite!
These beans remind me of the classic Charro Bean that is served as a side dish with most Tex Mex meals. Serve with some Buttermilk Cornbread for a comforting, traditional meal. If you’re looking for more uses for Black Eyed Peas, check out this Texas Caviar recipe!
Notes on Some Ingredients:
- Black Eyed Peas: this recipe uses dried beans, which is how we will get the most flavorful broth for the finished dish. Soaking the beans overnight will cut down on the amount of time needed to cook the beans fully. If you are short on time, substitute for canned black eyed peas, but I would recommend using a no sodium broth in place of water for simmering the beans in so that the broth is still flavorful.
- Bacon: cook the bacon and keep the grease to saute the onion, jalapeño and garlic.
- Ham Hocks: smoked ham hocks give wonderful flavor and heartiness to this dish. You can sub for a ham shank if needed which is shown in the images. Ham hocks are shown in the video.
- Jalapeno: this will add just a bit of heat to the finished dish. You can cut out and remove the membranes if desired, this will reduce the amount of heat.
How to make:
- Soak the beans: if using dried beans be sure to soak them overnight. This drastically cuts down on the cooking time. Rinse and soak the beans and then the next day, strain out the soaking liquid before adding the beans to the pot.
- Meats: Cook the bacon and sear the ham hock or ham shank in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Veggies: Add in the onion and jalapeño to sauté. Cook the garlic once the onion and jalapeño are softened.
- Broth: Add the beans and cover with water, stir in the seasonings and let simmer on the stovetop until the beans have softened. (Keep in mind, if the beans you are using are old they will need longer cooking time and may not get completely soft).
- Serve: dish up the beans to serve warm garnished with fresh cilantro. Best if served with a slice of Buttermilk Cornbread on the side!
- Texture: mash some of the beans against the side of the pot once cooked, this helps to thicken the broth up and gives a creamy texture to the dish.
- Canned Beans: easily swap out the dried beans for canned, the cooking time will drastically shorten. If you are making this swap, I also recommend switching the water with chicken broth to add additional flavor to make up for the long simmering time.
Black Eyed Peas: FAQs
It’s not required to soak the beans, however soaking does reduce the cooking time. Soaking can also reduce the quality of beans that can cause gas and digestive issues.
This goes back to the tradition of eating these beans on New Years, it’s said that whoever receives the penny in their bowl of beans will have the best “luck” in the new year.
Cooking these beans with the combination of bacon and ham hocks adds a depth and richness to the broth that contributes to the flavor of the beans. Always be sure to add enough salt according to your tastes to the dish to get the maximum flavoring.
More Southern Recipes to Enjoy:
Texas Black Eyed Peas Recipe
- crumbled bacon
- fresh herbs
- ground black pepper
- Night before:pour the beans into a large bowl. Cover with water. Let soak overnight. Strain and set aside.
- Add the bacon and ham hocks to a large stockpot or Dutch Oven. Cook on medium heat, until just starting to crisp.
- Add the onion and diced jalapeno to the pot with the bacon and ham, continue to cook until the onion is softened.
- Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Pour in the black eyed peas. Top with water.
- Stir in seasonings and add bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place the lid on, turn heat to medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are softened.
- Gently smash some of the beans against the side of the pot.
- Remove the bay leaves. Skim the top for any grease that may have pooled on the top.
- Serve while warm.
- If using canned black eyed peas: skip soaking step. Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the pot. And substitute the 6 cups of water for 4 cups of no or low sodium chicken broth.
- To make meat-free: leave out the bacon and ham, sauté the onion and jalapeño in a small amount of oil or butter.
- Storage: Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: reheat in a pot over medium heat on the stovetop.
- Freezing: place beans in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove to refrigerator overnight to thaw. Reheat on the stovetop.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe first published December 27, 2019. Updated December 30, 2022 with new images and video. Recipe now includes ham hocks for additional flavor and meat, the rest is unchanged.
Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co