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Black Eyed Peas with ham hock in white bowl with cornbread surrounding it
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4.80 from 15 votes

Black Eyed Peas Recipe

This traditional Southern Black Eyed Peas recipe is the perfect way to kick off the New Year! Made with smoky meat and a handful of spices, these hearty beans in a thick sauce are warm, comforting and packed with flavor. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: soul food, Southern
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 197kcal


  • 1.5 lb ham hocks
  • 16 oz black eyed peas (see substitute for frozen black eyed peas in notes)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper Optional
  • 6 oz frozen okra You can go up to an entire 12 oz package of okra if you enjoy it.


  • Rinse the ham hocks (or turkey wings) very well then add to a large pot along with enough water to fully submerge them then cover with a lid.  This is usually about 6-8 cups of water depending on your pot size.
  • Boil over medium high heat for at least 1 hr or until meat is near being tender  Pierce with a fork to check tenderness. This can take up to an hour and a half. Add more water if necessary so it doesn’t dry out.  There should be enough water to always cover the meat.
  • Add rinsed or frozen black eyed peas to pot along with salt, garlic powder, sugar, paprika, onion powder and cayenne if using. Stir together, cover with the lid and allow the peas to come to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and checking as water begins to evaporate and peas become tender.  This will take about an hour to an hour and a half. If peas begin to look dry, add a cup of water (or chicken broth) and check bottom of pot to make sure they don’t stick.  You will want the peas to be softened.
  • Finally, if using, add frozen okra and allow to cook covered for 20-30 minutes or until tender and softened.
  • At this point, you will need to check the peas and liquid to make sure you have it how you prefer.  If you like it more brothy with more liquid, add additional broth or water and stir. Add until you reach the consistency you like.  If you like your peas thickened more than they currently are, you can either use an immersion blender to blend a few peas in the pot or you can remove a cup of peas along with some broth and add to a heavy duty blender and mix until smooth then stir back into the pot.  Remember the peas will continue to thicken in sauce after heat is turned off and they settle so you may want to check first before doing to step.


You can replace the ham hocks with smoked turkey wings or legs.
You can also use frozen black eyed peas instead of fresh.  Use a 24 oz bag of frozen peas.


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 500mg | Potassium: 308mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 166IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg