Caribbean Cow Heel Soup

A bowl of cowheel soup
Cynthia Nelson
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Resting time for dumpling dough: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 5

Cow heel soup (also called cow foot soup) is one of the most loved soups in the Caribbean. Hearty and always filling, it is cooked with yellow split peas, some vegetables and of course dumplings.

Cow heels are sold in almost all markets and grocery stores in the Caribbean. Depending on your location, you might only be able to get this delicacy from your butcher.

A pressure cooker is the best pot to use to make this soup as the cow heel takes a long time to cook. If using a pot, increase the cooking time and water. The aim is to cook the cow heel until it is fall-off-the-bone tender.


  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 cup onions (diced)
  • 6 sprigs thyme (divided)
  • 2 pounds cow heel (chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 6 to 8 okra
  • 2 carrots (cut into 1-inch rounds)
  • 12 flour dumplings

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat oil in pressure cooker.

  2. Add onions and half of the thyme and sauté until the onions are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Add cow heel along with salt and pepper to taste and sauté for 3 minutes.

  4. Add 5 cups of water, stir, cover the pressure cooker and let cook for 30 minutes. Start timing after the first whistle.

  5. Release the valve of the pressure cooker to let out the steam. Open the pressure cooker and add the peas and more water. There should be enough water to cook the peas and make a soup.

  6. Add more thyme and let the peas and cow heel cook on high heat until the peas soften.

  7. Add okra and dumplings to pot, cover and let cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through. Taste soup for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.

  8. Stir and serve.