Snow Peas With Butter and Lemon

Snow peas with butter and lemon in a bowl

The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

Prep: 11 mins
Cook: 4 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
100 Calories
6g Fat
8g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 84mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 56mg 281%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 278mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Snow peas are a crunchy and delicious vegetable. While they can be eaten raw, they take just minutes to cook, and this easy recipe is a fantastic way to prepare snow peas. The simple combination of butter and shredded lemon zest makes a brightly flavored side dish. Although optional, the sliced toasted almonds add a wonderful nutty crunch.

Unlike sugar snap peas, the peas in snow peas are tiny, making for flat pods and faster cooking, so you will have plenty of time to prepare the rest of dinner. These snow peas are excellent alongside shrimp, fish, or grilled chicken.


Click Play to See These Tasty Snow Peas Come Together

"Snow peas are a snap to make and can be ready to eat in minutes. Sauté them in butter for a luxurious mouthfeel. A bit of lemon zest adds a bright note, and the toasted almonds add just the right amount of crunch." —Diana Andrews

Snow peas with butter and lemon in a bowl
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 12 to 16 ounces fresh snow peas

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted, optional

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for snow peas with butter and lemon recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  2. Break the stem ends off of the snow peas and pull off the strings. Rinse well.

    Snow peas with stems and strings removed

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  3. Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 quarts of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

    Pot filled with water and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  4. Add the snow peas and let the water return to a boil.

    Snow peas in pot with water

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  5. Boil the pea pods for 30 to 45 seconds. Don't overcook them or they will lose their crunch.

    Snow peas boiling in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  6. Immediately drain the peas in a colander.

    Snow peas drained in a colander with a towel underneath

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  7. Wipe out the pan, making sure it is dry. Add the butter to the pan and place it over medium heat.

    Melted butter in a large stock pot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  8. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the drained snow peas.

    Snowpeas added to butter in a large stockpot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  9. Sauté the pea pods in the butter, stirring, for about 1 minute.

    Snow peas cooking in butter in stockpot with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  10. Add the lemon zest and toasted almonds (if using) and continue cooking for 1 minute.

    Snow peas with lemon zest and almonds in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 

  11. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve and enjoy.

    Snow peas on a plate sprinkled with salt and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Estrada 


  • It is recommended to remove the string from snow peas before cooking to make them easier to eat.
  • To toast the almonds, put them in a dry skillet and place the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring and frequently turning until the almonds are lightly browned. To toast them in the oven, arrange them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, or until they are lightly browned.

Recipe Variations

  • Ingredient additions that complement snow peas nicely are mushrooms, garlic, ginger, parsley, basil, chervil, and peanuts. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and ginger to the butter along with the snow peas and the herbs and peanuts toward the end of cooking.
  • To add some garlic flavor without including garlic in the finished dish, peel 1 clove of garlic and cut in half. Sauté the garlic pieces in the butter for 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard; proceed with the recipe as written.

Why Are They Called Snow Peas?

The name "snow peas" may come from the vegetable's ability to withstand frost. They're generally planted no earlier in the spring than other pea varieties, and some gardeners keep them growing through autumn. Another theory behind the name refers to its white appearance in bright light.

What's Another Name for Snow Peas?

Snow peas are also called Chinese pea pods due to their frequent appearance in Asian stir-fries. In the United Kingdom, they're known as mange tout. This French term for "eat all" is also used for sugar snap peas because the whole pod is edible.