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cooked blackeyed peas in a white bow

Southern Black-eyed Peas

Classic recipe for Southern black-eyed peas made w/ smoked turkey. These are creamy, smoky, and well-seasoned like a pro & perfect for NYE or Sunday dinner.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Soul Food, southern
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 348kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas fresh can be substituted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium smoked turkey legs
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves


  • If using dried black-eyed peas, put them in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Soak the peas overnight, then drain the water (reserve 2 cups of the liquid for later) and rinse. If you’re pressed for time, boil the peas for 2-3 minutes, remove pot from heat and let soak for an hour.
  • Pre-mix the dry spices together in a medium bowl.
  • Carve one of the turkey legs, removing as much of the meat from the bone as possible. Place turkey pieces into a food processor and pulse to a grind. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the whole smoked turkey leg and saute for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the turkey and set aside.
  • Add onion, celery and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add a pinch or two of the seasoning to the vegetables as you saute. Add in the ground turkey.
  • Add ½ the spices and cook until the entire mixture is coated with the spices, about 2 minutes. Add the peas and mix well.
  • Pour in the stock and reserved water if using, and drop in the bay leaves. Add the turkey leg back to the pot along with more seasoning and bay leaves.
  • Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the peas are very soft, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  • Taste for seasonings, and add more if desired. Discard the bay leaves, then transfer the black-eyed peas to a serving bowl.



Use dry or fresh black-eyed peas. If using fresh peas, your cooking time will be shorter and no soaking is needed.
Make your own stock for more flavor and control of salt content.
Pork is traditionally used in Southern style black-eyed peas so feel free to keep this classic with smoked ham hocks or bacon. There are also smoked turkey options beyond legs, including turkey tails and necks.
These can be made vegan with a few tweaks. You’ll have to use a really high quality paprika to replicate the smoked meat flavor. 
For more flavor reserve 1-2 cups of the soaking liquid and add back to broth when cooking.
If you prefer to make this a true one-pot dish add a bit more stock or water for the rice to cook fully
Serve these with rice, for a Hoppin John recipe
Other black-eyed pea relatives like purple hull or crowder peas can be substituted for black-eyed peas in this recipe if they are available to you.
Serve with fresh hot pan of cornbread or go really old school with hot water cornbread.
In the South black-eyed peas are eating annually on New Year’s Day for good luck, wealth, and prosperity. Whether you believe in the superstition or not enjoy these on any day. 
These can definitely be made in an instant pot


Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 845mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 6mg
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