How to Cook Black-Eyed Peas

If you're ready for a big helping of delicious Southern tradition, then you're in luck.

Lisa Cericola
"Big Easy" Gumbo
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Dried black-eyed peas are worth the extra prep because they have a more toothsome texture and can stand up to long cook times. Follow these four steps for perfect black-eyed peas every time.

1. Sort Them
Sometimes bags of dried beans (yes, black-eyed peas are beans!) contain small stones. Be sure to sort through your black-eyed peas and remove anything that doesn’t belong in there.

2. Soak Them
You’ll need at least six hours to rehydrate the black-eyed peas. Place them in a large bowl and add three cups of water for every one cup of peas. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and let the beans soak for six hours or overnight.

3. Simmer Them
Cook your beans low and slow, ideally in a slow cooker. For true Southern-style black-eyed peas, add a smoked ham hock to your pot. The meat will infuse the black-eyed peas with rich, smoky flavor, turning a humble bean into a hearty meal. Jazz up your beans even more with the addition of collards and sweet potatoes. Or make the classic Lowcountry dish Hoppin’ John.

4. Sneak a Bite
Be sure to test a black-eyed pea to make sure they are cooked thoroughly. A properly cooked black-eyed pea should be tender but still have a bite, not mushy.

Canned black-eyed peas are best in recipes that don’t require slow cooking or a long cook time, which can make them mushy. If you’re using canned black-eyed peas, simply rinse them in a colander to remove any liquid from the can as well as excess salt. Then you’re good to go!

Be sure to try our Chili-Roasted Black-Eyed Peas made with canned beans.