Guarantee yourself a prosperous New Year the Southern way! This easy recipe is full of traditional, lucky ingredients.
Save this recipe by clicking on the ❤️ heart on the right-hand side of the screen or in the recipe card.
Table of Contents
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
This smoky black-eyed pea soup is one of those homestyle recipes that invites you to sit down in your comfiest clothes and snuggle in for the night.
It allows you to make all kinds of substitutions and create numerous variations - and it's even better the next day. No wonder it's been a Southern tradition for generations!
Don't wait until New Year's Day to have it - it's perfect any time of year.
SO good served with a side of cornbread!
I like this flavorful soup served with an easy, 30 minute baguette to soak up the broth.
This is a simple dish and doesn't require a lot of ingredients - it's one reason why I love it so much!! Be sure to check the expert tips section for variations and substitutions.
- Black-eyed peas can be canned, fresh, or dried. If you use fresh or dried just make sure they are completely cooked before using in this recipe.
- Ro*Tel Tomatoes and Chiles come in the original flavor and a new extra spicy. The extra spicy is very, very spicy! If you don't like the spice you can use plain diced tomatoes.
- Use smoked sausage, ham hock, or leftover ham instead of bacon.
- Use V-8 juice or vegetable stock instead of chicken broth.
- Spoon it over cooked rice for an even heartier meal similar to hoppin' john.
- Add leftover veggies like corn, sliced carrots, or even green beans.
- Make it a vegan meal by leaving out the bacon and using vegetable broth.
- Add diced sweet potato or winter squash.
If you start with canned black-eyed peas you only need to rinse them before using and your soup will be ready in about 15 minutes!
- Cook the bacon in a heavy stockpot until the fat is rendered and it is crispy.
- Remove the bacon and add the chopped onions. Sauté onions until they begin to soften.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the cooked bacon) and simmer for 15 minutes.
- I like to add some collard greens to my bowl before I add the soup, since not everyone in my family likes them!
- Ladle the soup into the bowls and stir in the greens if you are using them.
- Sprinkle the bacon on top and serve.
- heavy dutch oven or stockpot
🥫 How to store leftovers
Black-eyed pea soup is better the day after it's made so you can make it a couple of days ahead of time and keep refrigerated - just warm it up when ready to serve.
Let soup come to room temperature then spoon into an airtight container. I wouldn't store the soup in the stockpot because the acids from the tomatoes can pit the inside.
It's best to freeze it for longer storage - up to 6 months.
Pour it into a food-grade, airtight plastic container or a canning jar, cover, and freeze. If be sure to leave about ½ inch of headspace at the top of the jar.
If it's too hot outside for soup try this black-eyed pea salad, instead.
- Use a large pot!
- Be sure to drain and rinse canned black-eyed peas or beans really well before using
- Make it less spicy by using 1 can of tomatoes & chiles and 1 can of plain, diced tomatoes
- This is such an easy, inexpensive recipe that I suggest keeping the ingredients on hand for those times when you need something to stretch the budget
- Be sure to leave the cooked bacon out until just before serving or it will get rubbery and soggy.
- Serve the collard greens separately to allow people to add them in if they want them. Not everyone loves greens as much as I do!
Here are the questions I am most frequently asked about this recipe.
Sure! You'll want to leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I'd add a little extra onion and garlic to make up for the bacon flavor.
You can actually use any kind of bean. Black-eyed peas have an earthy flavor that some people don't care for. Try -
*Kidney beans (but if you have these I recommend the Cowboy soup!)
*Purple hull peas
Any other dried legume will work fine!
Yes. Cook the bacon and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of bacon fat to the crock pot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cooked bacon and cook on low for 4 to 8 hours. Add the bacon just before serving.
*If you are using fresh black-eyed peas then you can put them right in without cooking. They'll cook in the slow cooker but be sure to give them the full 8 hours.
*If you're using dried black-eyed peas soak them overnight in salted water before using. Then you can just drain, rinse, and add them to the slow cooker.
📞 The last word
This is my favorite recipe - I'll eat it any day of the year until I am so full I could pop.
It's classic southern cuisine and one of the New Year's Day traditions in our family. My mom used to make it so it holds a lot of memories for me.
It is supposed to ensure prosperity and bring good luck for the coming year when eaten with greens and pork.
The greens represent paper money, the black-eyed peas represent coins, and the pork represents success.
One time I questioned my dad about the tradition saying (as only a smart alecky teenager can) that things didn't seem so different despite the gallons of soup he was eating.
He quipped back, "Yeah...Imagine if we hadn't had them!"
Don't wait for New Year's Day to have this black-eyed pea soup. It makes a great, inexpensive meal any time of year.
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need.
If you love this recipe please comment below and give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Black Eyed Pea SoupPrint Pin Recipe Save Recipe
- ½ pound bacon
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 48 ounces black eyed peas, 3 cans, or 1 lb of dried (soaked overnight), or 1 pound fresh
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes & green chilies, 2 cans
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 14 ounces collard greens, drained (optional)
I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying purchases.
- Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, reserving the bacon grease in the pan.
- Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until almost tender.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the bacon.
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the bacon just before serving.
- Add a generous spoonful of the cooked greens to each bowl before adding the soup. This way people who don't like greens can enjoy this recipe as well.
- Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp. Set aside.
- Add all of the ingredients except the bacon to the slow cooker. Stir in a tablespoon or two of the bacon grease.
- Simmer for 3 to 10 hours or until black eyed peas are cooked and flavors have blended.
- Add the bacon just before serving.
- Be sure to drain and rinse canned black eyed peas or beans really well before using
- Make it less spicy by using 1 can of tomatoes & chiles and one can of plain, diced tomatoes
- Use smoked sausage or ham instead of bacon
- Use V-8 juice or vegetable stock instead of chicken broth
- Add leftover veggies like corn, sliced carrots, or even green beans
- Make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and use vegetable stock or V-8 instead of chicken stock.
- Substitute any kind of beans for the black eyed peas - kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans... etc.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
First published January 4, 2011. Last updated December 27, 2023, for more information and helpful tips.