Southern-style Black-eyed Peas for #SundaySupper

Southern-style Black-eyed Peas | Magnolia Days

Money is tight for a lot of folks these days. So many are watching their budgets closely and cutting spending. One of the ways I have been able to cut expenses is to cook at home more often. Going out to eat adds up even if it is only a couple of times a week. Getting back to basics is important. One of those basic recipes I have always enjoyed is Southern-style Black-eyed Peas.

Dried peas and beans are a staple in the South. They are inexpensive and make a filling contribution to a meal. Sometimes the meal is the peas or beans. A one pound bag of dried black-eyed peas cost about $1 and makes 8 to 10 servings (or more if you stretch it). Additional cost is for salt pork or bacon to flavor it although it is not necessary. A 12 ounce package of salt pork is about $3.50 and you only use 8 ounces of it. There is a tiny bit more cost with water, salt, and pepper. In total it is less than $5.00 for the whole batch.

To soak or not to soak? That was the question. I usually soak beans and peas overnight like for pinto beans or minestrone soup. I’ve heard black-eyed peas can be made without soaking. I wanted to be sure so I went directly to my experts; my mom and my mother-in-law. Both prepared them the same way. They do not soak them overnight. They both cook them low and slow for about 2 hours. They both use salt pork (also called fatback or streak-o-lean). After consulting with the experts, I knew I would have a winning recipe to share. Oh, and both serve them with chopped onions or chow chow on the side.

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Southern-style Black-eyed Peas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) dried black-eyed peas
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ pound (8 ounces) sliced salt pork*
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Rinse peas in a colander. Pick out and discard any discolored peas along with any small stones.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a large pot. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer (do not let get to a hard boil). Turn the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a slow simmer. Partially cover and cook until the peas are tender, about 2 hours. Check occasionally and add more water if needed. Remove and discard salt pork. Serve immediately. Optional serving condiment/topping: Chopped onion or chow chow.
*You can omit salt pork for a low-fat version. You can also substitute bacon if salt pork is not available.

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  1. says

    LOVE learning about Southern classics, Renee. Thank you for contacting the experts about soaking the beans. I’ve soaked beans overnight before for soup. But it’s nice to know I can simply slow cook for 2 hours…And I can boast that I’m doing it the traditional Southern way!


  2. says

    I don’t soak my black-eyed peas either, Renee. I think they are somehow less tough than other beans so it’s not necessary. We eat these every New Year’s Day for luck too. My grandmother always made the chow-chow but since she died, I have been at a complete loss. Okay, not really, since I do have her recipe but, dear God, it makes gallons of the stuff. Maybe I need to think about scaling it back and making an attempt.

    Such a simple recipe but so delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      I admit I do cheat occasionally with canned beans. However, the ones made from dried beans are so much better because of cooking them with salt pork or a ham bone or other flavorings.

  3. says

    My husbands favorite go-to dishes include some sort of bean or legume, and this is one I know he’d happily devour! I don’t know why I tend to cook black-eyed peas for the first month of the year and then forget about them for the other 11. I need to remedy that!

  4. says

    Maybe it’s time for me to try blackeyed peas again…before my Southern Card is revoked :)! I never liked them growing up, but many things I didn’t like as a kid are now my favorites as an adult. You’ve given me great inspiration…

  5. says

    I think we would do very well in the South :) Love black eyed peas, actually anything with beans. Yum!!! Thank you so much for sharing the expert opinions on the whether to soak or not soak the black eyed peas.

    Love this recipe, Renee.

  6. Diana @GourmetDrizzles says

    Ok, ok, so I’ve lived in the South now (for years) and have never tried Black-eyed Peas. They are sooo cute, and the fact that these have salt pork, makes me wonder even more where they’ve been all my life!!! Thanks for sharing. Lovely photo, too!

  7. says

    I’ve used black eyed peas in my Rice & Peas before. I didn’t have to soak it overnight, just a few hours. I usually buy my peas in the can to save me some precious time. I’m really liking this recipe, Renee. I think southern style cooking is awesome!


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