Have you ever made Black Eyed Peas before? I’m going to walk you through how to make black eyed peas on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot, and in the slow cooker. These tips and tricks will leave you with perfectly cooked beans every time.
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WHAT ARE Black eyed peas?
Black-eyed peas are a member of the legume family along with beans (like black beans) and lentils. Black-eyed peas are a pale, creamy colour with a distinctive black "eye" in the middle. They have a creamy texture and a mild taste, with a flavor similar to black beans.
Despite the name, black-eyed peas are not actually peas. They are a variety of the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), a member of the bean family, and are also referred to as "goat peas" or "southern peas."
Black eyed peas are believed to have originated in North Africa, where they have long been part of staple diets, and were introduced to North America by enslaved people from Africa. Black-eyed peas are traditionally cooked on New Year's Day, and are thought to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.
ARE black eyed peas HEALTHY?
You bet they are! Like other beans, black-eyed peas are nutrition powerhouses, and pack a ton of both plant-based protein and dietary fiber into each serving. A one-cup serving of black-eyed peas offers up 13 grams of protein, and 11 grams of dietary fiber.
Black-eyed peas also have a lot on offer in the micronutrient department, with vitamins including folate, copper, iron, magnesium, and thiamine.
How to make black eyed peas
Alright my friends, we're going to talk through a variety of cooking techniques for making black-eyed peas including stovetop, pressure cooker, and slow cooker. You'll find detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but if you scroll through you'll find a deep dive into each technique.
Looking for more beans?
Be sure to check out our other guides to cooking beans!
- How to Cook Mung Beans
- Spicy Instant Pot Black Beans
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- How to Cook Adzuki Beans
- Instant Pot Chickpeas
DO YOU NEED TO SOAK black eyed peas?
Whether or not you want to soak your black-eyed peas is totally up to you! To be honest I rarely soak my beans, usually because I don't remember to do it in advance.
If you're cooking dried beans in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, they cook up incredibly quickly whether you soak them or not. If you are cooking black-eyed peas on the stovetop, soaking them overnight will definitely save you some cooking time.
Soaking beans overnight and discarding the water does remove some flatulence-causing compounds, and many people find that soaked beans are easier to digest.
COOKING black eyed peas STOVETOP
Cooking black-eyed peas on the stove top is the most simple and straightforward method. The stovetop is great if you want to keep an eye on your beans as they cook and pull from the heat when they’re perfectly tender. If you’re making a salad, for example, you may want a more “al dente” bean than if you were making soup or veggie burgers.
If you're using pre-soaked beans, your black-eyed peas will be nicely cooked in about 45 minutes. Unsoaked beans take longer to cook on the stovetop, but not by much.
You can also use the "quick hot soak" method if you forgot to soak your beans overnight. Simply cover the beans with water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, let stand for 30-60 minutes, and then drain, rinse, and cook as you would with soaked beans.
To cook black-eyed peas on the stove top, place in a pot and cover with plenty of water (I usually go with one part beans to four parts water). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender.
INSTANT POT Black Eyed Peas
Cooking black eyed peas in the Instant Pot is a major time saver, but the drawback is you can't stop and test them as you go. Much like when I was doing my instant pot trials for How to Cook Mung Beans, it took several trials to get it right.
For every trial I used one cup of dried black-eyed peas (rinsed, but not soaked) and 3 cups of cold tap water.
Trial 1 (top left): 15 minutes high pressure, 15 minute natural release. These were very soft beans that would be great turned into hummus or veggie burgers, or even stirred into soup. Not so great for salads and that kind of thing.
Trial 2 (top right): 15 minutes high pressure, 10 minute natural release. There were still pretty soft, and could be used as stated above.
Trial 3 (bottom left): 10 minutes high pressure, 15 minute natural release. These beans were still really soft!
Trial 4 (bottom right): 10 minutes high pressure, 10 minute natural release. These beans were PERFECT! Soft, but not too soft. Would be great in salads, but you could still use them in other recipes like soups or veggie burgers.
Keep in mind that there are many factors that can affect bean cooking time, including how old your beans are (that package that's been at the back of your cupboard since the beginning of time is probably going to take longer to cook) and whether or not you have hard water.
SLOW COOKER Black Eyed Peas
I tend to not cook beans in the slow cooker these days since the Instant Pot is so much faster, but for those of you who want to “set it and forget it” you can certainly use your slow cooker for black eyed peas.
Just as cooking black eyed peas on the stove top, you’ll want to add one part beans to four parts water. You can set your slow cooker on high for 3 hours, or low for about 6 hours.
Cooking times will vary from slow cooker to slow cooker, but the advantage of this method is being able to take the lid off and test the beans when they are close to done.
THE BEST WAY TO COOK Black Eyed Peas
If having perfectly cooked black eyed peas that is neither too soft nor too firm is important to you, my recommendation is to cook them on the stovetop so you can monitor them to see when they are perfectly done.
If you’re ok with erring on the side of slightly soft, then the thoroughly-tested pressure cooker instructions above should work for you. It is always a bit of a risk with not knowing how old your beans are, and not being able to remove the lid to check doneness.
Having said that, you can’t beat the convenience of the Instant Pot if you’ve got one!
HOW TO STORE Black Eyed Peas
If you cook up a big batch (or five) of black eyed peas, they’ll last about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze your beans for longer storage!
To freeze your beans, simply portion them into freezer bags (I love these reusable silicon freezer bags), squeeze the air out, label them, and pop into the freezer. Your beans will be good for about 3 months in the freezer.
Ways to use Black Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas can be used in a variety of different dishes from soups and stews, used in salad or other mixture, or simply tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and eaten as is. Or try simmering them with garlic and onions and a bit of black pepper for a flavourful vegetable broth.
A favourite black eyed peas recipe is this Simple Texas Caviar Recipe with just a handful of ingredients from The Full Helping. Or try this Vegan Hoppin' John recipe from Connoisseurus Veg made with chard instead of the traditional collard greens.
How to Cook Black Eyed Peas
- 1 cup black eyed peas rinsed well and checked for stones
- 3 cups water
- Rinse your black eyed peas well and check over for any stones.
- Place 1 cup black eyed peas and 3 cups water in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender. This will take about 45 minutes.
INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS
- Place 1 cup black eyed peas and 4 cups of water into the insert of an Instant Pot.
- Seal the lid and ensure that it is set to "sealing".
- Set to high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot has reached pressure it will beep and start naturally releasing the pressure. Allow to natural release for 10 minutes, and then flip the valve to "venting" and release the remaining pressure.
- Place 1 cup of beans and 4 cups of water in the slow cooker.
- Set to HIGH for 3 hours, or LOW for 6 hours. Check beans towards the end of the cooking time.
- You can scale the quantity of beans up or down, but it should always be one part beans to four parts of water for cooking.
- Drain any remaining water when the beans are cooked.
- Cooked black eyed peas can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer.