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Purple Hull Peas

Purple hull peas are similar to black-eyed peas, but with less granular texture and much more flavor!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 1 quart of peas
Calories: 100kcal
Author: SmartyPantsKitchen


  • 1 quart purple hull peas shelled and hulled
  • 6-8 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 smoked ham hock, or 2-3 slices of bacon, uncooked (optional: see recipe notes)
  • pinch of garlic or onion powder optional
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Rinse and drain fresh or frozen peas
  • In a large stockpot, add peas and 6 cups of water or broth; enough to cover peas
  • Bring to boil for 10 minutes; if a foam appears, either scrape it off or leave it; (it will dissolve)
  • Reduce heat to low, add about 3-4 more cups of water; cover and allow to cook for 1½-2 hours
  • Once peas are tender, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste; remove from heat and allow to sit for about 10 minutes;
    if you want to add okra, do it now: bring the peas back up to a rolling boil, add okra, allow to boil for 2-5 minutes: cover and allow to rest for 15 min
  • Serve with cornbread and sliced tomatoes


How to Cook and Season Southern Purple Hull Peas

How Do I Season Peas?

There are many ways to season peas. Southern folks usually put a salty piece of pork in the beans while they're cooking, such as a smoked ham hock, slices of bacon, or chopped ham. Add a little salt, pepper and garlic powder and allow the delicious flavor of the peas to shine!

How Do I Cook Fresh Peas?

If you're lucky enough to have fresh peas, cooking them is a breeze! Now days, most farmers mechanically shell their crops, but if your peas are still in their shells, you'll want to shell and rinse them first. 
  • Shell and rinse the peas
  • Add them to a large stockpot with your choice of meat (bacon, ham hock, fatback, ham),
  • Fill the stockpot with water or chicken broth and bring to a rolling boil.  (A foam forms early in the cooking process, which is just water soluble proteins released from the peas. You can either scoop it off or leave it--it will seep back into the peas.)
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; be sure to check the liquid level and add more if needed
  • Once the peas are tender, add salt, pepper and garlic powder

How Do I Cook Frozen Field Peas?

Cook frozen Southern peas the same way as fresh, but rinse the frozen peas prior to adding them to the stockpot in order to remove any ice crystals.

How Do I Store Southern Peas?

Storing Cooked Peas

Store fresh and frozen cooked peas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. If you want to freeze cooked peas, use a freezer-storage container and store them up to six months.

Storing Fresh, Uncooked Peas

NOTE: If you buy peas that have been shelled, blanched and packaged, just put them directly in the freezer. Do not rinse peas that have been blanched or they will go sour in the freezer!!
  1. Wash shelled peas and bring a pot of water to boil
  2. Blanche peas in water or broth for 2 minutes then place them in a bowl of ice cold water until they are no longer warm
  3. Drain peas and place them in airtight plastic bags; don't fill the bag all the way up; leave about 2 inches of space
  4. Reduce air in bag, zip the bag, label the package with the date, and place in the freezer
  5. Store fresh peas up to 6 months

Variations for Cooking and Seasoning Southern Peas

  • Vegetarian/Vegan: use vegetable broth or water, add a few splashes of Liquid Smoke® as a substitute for the meat flavor
  • Add Fresh or Frozen Okra: 
    • Okra and Southern Peas go great together and many cooks add okra to their peas.
    • Bring the cooked peas back to a boil 
    • Add whole or chopped, fresh or frozen okra to the peas
    • Allow to boil 2-5 minutes until okra is tender
    • NOTE: okra is a thickening agent; after adding the okra, you might want to add more liquid to the peas
  • Hoppin' John:
Most Southerners serve Hoppin' John on New Year's Eve for Good Luck. It typically consists of black eyed peas, rice, bacon, chopped onion and bell peppers. Substitute purple hull or pink eye purple hulls for the black eyed peas.
Other Southern Dishes You Might Like: Restaurant Quality Fried Catfish, Chicken Fried Steak, Mom's Homemade Meatloaf