Quick and Easy Snow Peas With Butter and Lemon

Snow peas and butter and lemon

The Spruce / Julia Estrada 

Prep: 11 mins
Cook: 4 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
214 Calories
13g Fat
18g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 214
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 82mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Protein 8g
Calcium 65mg 5%
*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, and they take just minutes to cook. These easy snow peas are prepared with a simple combination of butter and shredded lemon zest. Feel free to add sliced toasted almonds to the peas along with the lemon for a nutty crunch.

Unlike sugar snap peas, the peas in snow peas are tiny, making the pods flat and faster cooking. The quick boil shouldn't be more than one minute or the pods will lose their crunch. We recommend removing the string from snow peas before cooking to make them easier to eat.

Snow peas are an excellent side dish with shrimp, fish, or chicken. And since they are ready in minutes, it will leave you with plenty of time to prepare the rest of your dinner.


  • 12 to 16 ounces fresh snow peas
  • 2 teaspoons salt (plus extra for seasoning, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon (zested)
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds (or sliced, toasted)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for snow peas with butter and lemon
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  2. Break the stem ends off of the snow peas and pull off the strings. Rinse well.

    Strings removed from snow peas
    The Spruce / 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 with water and salt
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  4. Add the snow peas and then bring the water back to a boil.

    Snow peas in pot with water
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  5. Boil the pea pods for 30 to 45 seconds. Don't overcook them or they will lose their fabulous crunch.

    Boiling snow peas in a pot
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  6. Drain the peas in a colander and wipe the pan out.

    Snow peas draining in a colander
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  7. Add the butter to the pan and place it over medium heat.

    Melted butter in the pot
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  8. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the drained snow peas.

    Snowpeas added to butter
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  9. Sauté the pea pods in the butter, stirring, for about 1 minute.

    Sautéing pea pods
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  10. Add the lemon and toasted almonds (if using) and continue cooking for 1 minute. 

    Snow peas with lemon and almonds in pot
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 
  11. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then serve.

    Snow peas on a plate
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada 


  • To toast sliced or slivered almonds, put them in a dry skillet and place the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring and turning frequently until the almonds are lightly browned. To toast them in the oven, arrange them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, or until they are lightly browned.

Recipe Variations

  • It's easy to add extra ingredients to this dish. Some herbs and flavor additions that complement snow peas nicely are mushrooms, peanuts, ginger, garlic, parsley, basil, and chervil.
  • To add some garlic flavor, 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.