Crockpot Southern Black-Eyed Peas With Ham Hock

Southern crockpot black eyed peas recipe

The Spruce / Nita West

  • Total: 9 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 9 hrs
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
69 Calories
1g Fat
10g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 69
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 512mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 5g
Calcium 20mg 2%
*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.)

Our recipe uses dried peas, bacon, ham hock, seasonings, and a crockpot to slow cook the ingredients and bring out all their wonderful, earthy flavors. For cold winter days when you have family and friends visiting, simply place all of the ingredients in the pot in the morning and come back home to a wonderful hearty dinner.

With very little prepping to do, this is a great dish for busy days, and it's also a perfect dish for a large family or gathering. Leftovers freeze beautifully and can be kept for up to 3 months, or bring some leftover soup to work in a thermos the next day; the flavors only get better with day-old soup.

In many traditions and cultures, black-eyed peas, or lentils, are often served on New Year's Day to bring good luck. It's said the many beans represent coins​ and when eaten they bring financial prosperity in the coming year.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 large smoked ham hock
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 2 ribs celery (cleaned, chopped)
  • 2 carrots (peeled, chopped)
  • 2 to 4 strips bacon (diced, cooked)
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 fresh clove garlic, minced)
  • 3 cups water
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Southern black eyed peas
    The Spruce / Nita West
  2. Place the peas in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water to 3-inches over the peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for 15 minutes, drain and reserve.

    Put black eyed peas to boil
    The Spruce / Nita West
  3. While the beans cook, place the ham hock, sliced onion, celery, carrots, bacon, pepper, cayenne, and garlic in the slow cooker. Add 3 cups of water.

    Place hamhock in crockpot
    The Spruce / Nita West
  4. Cover the ingredients and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.

    Cover
    The Spruce / Nita West
  5. Add the drained peas to the slow cooker.

    Drain peas
    The Spruce / Nita West
  6. Set the crockpot on LOW, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 hours, stirring half-way.

    Cook
    The Spruce / Nita West
  7. Once the cooking time is done, remove the ham hock from the pot, pick the meat, and shred it or chop it depending on your preferences. Add the meat back to the peas.

    Remove hamhock
    The Spruce / Nita West
  8. Taste for seasoning and add Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Stir well.

    Taste and add salt
    The Spruce / Nita West
  9. Serve the peas freshly baked cornbread and enjoy!

    Southern black eyed peas
    The Spruce / Nita West

Softening-up the Beans

  • Many people have difficulty with peas and beans becoming tender in the slow cooker. This can be caused by salt or acidic ingredients, the hardness of the water used for cooking, or the age of the peas or beans. An overnight soak isn't essential for black-eyed peas, but if you regularly have trouble with peas and beans becoming tender in the slow cooker, soak them for 8 to 12 hours or overnight covered in water. Discard the soaking water and use clean water to start the cooking process; during a long soak, the beans and legumes release undigestable sugars and these sugars cause gas during digestion.

Other Flavor Profiles

Mix and match one or two of the following suggestions to give your soup a different flavor profile:

  • Add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper.
  • Add 1/2 cup of chopped green or red bell pepper to the crockpot along with the onions.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of jalapeño peppers to the crockpot.
  • Instead of a ham hock, add a meaty ham bone along with leftover or purchased diced ham.
  • Replace the ham with about 12 to 16 ounces of sliced or diced smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa.
  • For Southwestern flavor, add a teaspoon of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to the crockpot when you add the peas.