How to Make Black Eyed Peas Taste Good

How to Make Black Eyed Peas Taste Good

These legumes have long been a star in Southern American cuisine, but not everyone is a full devotee. Learn how to make black eyed peas taste good enough that everyone will be in love with these beans!

Black eyed peas have plenty of protein and lots of great applications, but many people just don’t know how to make these beans sing! This guide is here to help you through the process of cooking black eyed peas into a dish that everyone will love!


What are Black Eyed Peas?

bulk package of black eyed peas

Black eyed peas tend to be misunderstood, starting with their plant classification. They’re not peas at all, but rather legumes or beans. These beans are hardy in lots of weather and are grown worldwide. In some areas, these light-colored beans are called “cowpeas.”

Black eyed peas have a versatile flavor. They are earthy, and when cooked, they have a nice smooth consistency. They are perfect for cold salads, stews, and soups, and their unique appearance makes them stand out!


Varieties Available

There are two main varieties of black-eyed peas commercially available: canned and dried. The dried version requires a little extra preparation, whereas canned black eyed peas are fully cooked and ready to use in recipes.


How to Cook Dried Black Eyed Peas

How to Make Black Eyed Peas Taste Good

Dried black eyed peas are great for all these hacks, but they do need to be fully cooked before use. Always be sure to sort the beans before cooking and remove any broken or damaged beans.


On the Stove Top

  • Before cooking on the stovetop, the black eyed peas need to be soaked. Soak the black eyed peas overnight or quickly by boiling for one hour, then straining and rinsing.
  • Place fully soaked black eyed peas in a medium saucepan and cover with water and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and enjoy.


In the Instant Pot

  • There’s no need to soak black eyed peas before cooking in the Instant Pot.
  • Add dried beans and water to the Instant Pot, close the lid, and pressure cook on “HI” for 23-27 minutes.
  • Release the steam for 15 minutes, then enjoy.


In the Crock Pot

  • This method works with both soaked and unsoaked beans, so choose whatever option your timing allows.
  • Rinse the black eyed peas, drain, and transfer to a crock pot.
  • Cover the black eyed peas with water and spices (if desired).
  • Slow-cook the beans on low for 5 hours, then check for tenderness and add any additional seasonings.


How to Make Black Eyed Peas Taste Good

Spice Things Up

It may sound simple, but a little spice goes a long way. The black eyed peas have a nice texture on their own and a fairly neutral flavor, so you can amp it up with seasonings. Mix olive oil and your favorite spice blend, then toss the black eyed peas in. Toss to coat and serve warm for a perfectly seasoned bean dish.


Make them Southern-style

Southern-style black eyed peas use tons of pork products and butter to help elevate the rich and creamy flavor of the beans. Cook some ham hocks and/or bacon, then add collard greens and the black eyed peas and allow the mixture to simmer.


Use in Salads

Black eyed peas have a great white bean flavor that works really well in a salad. Try making a fun mixed bean salad with black eyed peas. Their double-colored look makes them an interesting addition to the appearance of a bean salad.


Try an Irish Spin

Many people are familiar with the classic Irish shepherd’s pie because it tastes so good! Add a little something extra to your next cozy Irish casserole by mixing some black eyed peas into the veggie blend. These beans have such a nice creamy texture that they are a welcome addition to this heart casserole.


Make Nachos

Nachos are a perfect food. They have chips, cheese, beans, veggies, what else could a person want!? Why not mix up your regular nachos by swapping the black beans for black eyed peas!? The black eyed peas have a great neutral flavor that meshes well with other nacho ingredients without brewing overpowering.


Ready Some Rice

Rice and beans are a classic! The beans paired with a hearty grain like rice just works! Try mixing black eyed peas and rice together for a fun twist on the classic beans and rice. Be sure to add in plenty of seasonings and enjoy this protein-packed delight while it is hot!


Make Refried Beans

Refried beans are just beans that have been boiled or steamed, then drained and cooked again with some added fat. Black eyed peas work very well for making this style of beans.

Add fully cooked black eyed peas to a pan with some oil. Cook on medium, smashing the beans as they cook. Add extra spices or peppers, and voila, black eyed pea refried beans!


Include in Chili

Black eyed peas are wonderful white beans that can be swapped into chilis in place of other white beans or as a flavor-boosting addition. Try pairing them with pinto beans and kidneys for a nice color mix of chili beans.



Are black eyed peas healthy?

These tasty beans have lots of protein, iron, and dietary fiber, but they are high in carbs.


Why is soaking black eyed peas suggested?

The soaking process helps to wash away the sugars in the beans that are harder for some people to digest. It is not a 100% required step, but if you choose to skip this, you may experience some tummy troubles. Monitor your body’s handling of beans and adjust your process accordingly.


Are black eyed peas low carb?

Black-eyed peas are not considered low-carb. They contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates. For example, one cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains around 35 grams of carbs. Individuals following a low-carb diet often limit their carb intake to under 50 grams per day, so a serving of black-eyed peas could take up a significant portion of that limit.


Final Thoughts

Black eyed peas are a great basic white bean to start using all the time, but they need a few tweaks to make them taste good. Mixing these beans up with other ingredients is a great start, and don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild. Try one or more tips at a time, and remember to have fun because, in the end, you are sure to have black eyed peas that taste good!


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Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.