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Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe

This Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe is one you’ll be asked to make over and over again. It’s spicy, smoky, and delicious.

Southern black eyed peas with smoky rustic flavor.

Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe

If you love black-eyed peas and other southern cooking, you’ll really like today’s recipe. There is more to this dish than meets the eye, however. Not only does it have a wonderful flavor, but it is also nutritious and easy to cook up.

Black-eyed peas can be made in a variety of ways, as long as it has a couple of key ingredients. The amount of spices I’ve added to this recipe is fairly minimal. It adds a burst of flavor without going overboard.  This allows the rich flavor and great texture of the peas to shine.

Often time, black-eyed peas and collard greens are often considered a meal that brings good luck and wealth in the new year. If this is true or not, I don’t know; all I know is that this recipe is always enjoyed by all whenever I make it because it’s hearty, warm, and soulful.

Southern Cuisine

The Southern cuisine is based on a blend of the cooking styles from the Old South, Creole, and African cuisines. All this makes for a rich culinary journey down south. Some favorite home-cooked meals, like black-eyed peas, collard greens, and fried chicken are staples in the Southern diet.

The cuisine is distinct from the rest of American cuisine because of its history and geography. Ingredients such as rice, collard greens, black-eyed peas, corn, okra, yams, sweet potatoes, etc. are all signature ingredients of Southern cuisine.

What you may not know is that these beans are actually native to Africa where they have been a popular food since the Middle Ages. If you think black-eyed peas are just a Southern tradition, you’re mistaken. It turns out, that these beans are not actually “peas” at all. They’re beans. Always have been.

Southern peas recipe made with smoked Turkey and bell peppers- so good!

The Myth – Good luck and abundance

Black-eyed peas have been a Southern tradition for generations. As delicious as they are, there’s also a myth that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring prosperity throughout the upcoming year.

Eating beans at the beginning of a new year is supposed to symbolize luck and abundance. There are more myths surrounding these little legumes: That eating black-eyed peas cooked with collard greens and ham represents wealth; that yellow peas represent gold and green ones represent silver – but only if eaten on New Year’s Eve. All in all, I guarantee it’s delicious— that you can’t beat!

If you’re looking for an easy Southern black-eyed peas recipe to celebrate the new year with extra good luck, then this is it!

How to Cook Black-Eyed Peas

  • Start by sorting the peas – remove the debris, and wash. You can soak overnight in a large bowl as well. Soaking is optional, and I’ve explained it further below. 
  • In this recipe, I substituted the traditional ham hock for smoked Turkey drums and wings. I used onions, garlic, bell peppers, Turkey, bay leaf, thyme, paprika, minced jalapeno, and salt. 
  • I also used smoked paprika to heighten the smoky flavor. That smoky flavor is important!.
  • Add the peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil; let it cook on medium-high heat for one hour or until tender. It has to really be tender but not mushy in order to achieve that creamy texture. Stirring a bit also brings out the creaminess. Add more water if needed.

Step by step directions on how to cook black eyed peas

Should I soak black-eyed peas?

This is one of the most debated questions when making black-eyed peas. Soaking is optional, however, it has its own advantages.

When you soak the peas, it helps to shorten cooking times, and it increases digestibility, especially for those who always have heartburn. 

How to soak Black-eyed Peas

To soak the peas, simply put the sorted and washed peas inside a large bowl, and add enough water to totally submerge the peas. This is important because the peas will swell.

The next day, drain the water and rinse. At this point, you can now use it for the recipe.

Alternatively, after sorting and washing the peas, put them in a large pot and add enough water to totally submerge the peas. Go ahead and bring it to a rolling boil for about 10 minutes. Discard the water and rinse. At this point, you can now use it for the recipe.

Black eyed peas recipe with smoked Turkey

How long to make Southern Black-Eyed Peas?

This recipe takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

What meat to use in Southern Black-Eyed Peas? 

I prefer to use smoked turkey for my recipe, but ham and bacon are just as great.

What to serve with Southern Black-Eyed Peas? 

This classic dish goes best with other soul food dishes like cornbread and collard greens.

Can you make Southern Black-Eyed Peas in a crockpot? 

Absolutely. You can check out my crockpot Black-Eyed Peas version here.

Do Southern Black-Eyed Peas keep well? 

They keep very well—storing them in the refrigerator allows the flavors to combine together even more until you reheat them.

Flavor Variations:

Add hot sauce, chopped tomatoes, celery, and okra, or make it vegetarian by taking out the meat and substituting vegetable broth.

Southern black eyed peas with smoky rustic flavor.

Southern Black-Eyed Peas

Southern Black-Eyed Peas are a savory, yet simple way to introduce soulful home cooking into your kitchen. Best of all, these flavors work any time of year!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: southern
Keyword: Black eyed peas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 329kcal


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 6-8 cups Chicken broth
  • 2 lb Smoked turkey cut into bits
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Jalapeno diced
  • 1 cup Bell pepper chopped (I used both red and green)
  • 2 Sprigs thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika


  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat until it becomes hot and shimmering.
  • Stir in onion and cook until it becomes translucent. About 3 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the bell peppers, thyme, Jalapeno, smoked turkey smoked paprika, and salt. Continue to cook until the vegetables become tender, stirring frequently.
  • Add the peas and the chicken broth and cook until the peas become tender. Stir and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • If you want the sauce a little thick, stir the peas a little longer. Serve with cornbread and collard greens.


Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 762mg | Potassium: 1023mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 810IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 6mg

Let’s connect

You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you!

If you make this Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

Recipe Rating

Sallie Simmons

Sunday 11th of July 2021

Just discovered your blog,your recipes seem easy to prepare and flavorable.

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 14th of July 2021

Thank you, Sallie, so happy to have you here. :)


Wednesday 17th of March 2021

Yum! Awesome recipe, I made it with bacon.