Crock Pot Southern Black-Eyed Peas With Ham Hock

Southern crock pot black-eyed peas in a cast-iron skillet

The Spruce Eats / Nita West

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 10 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
246 Calories
4g Fat
37g Carbs
17g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 246
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 289mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 80mg 6%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 768mg 16%
*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.)

Black-eyed peas are a classic New Year's Day meal that many believe brings luck and wealth in the year to come. Although it's impossible to prove if your luck comes from a tasty bowl of peas, what's true is that this easy crock pot recipe makes these peas doable at any point in the year;' no need for a special occasion. You need one hour of hands-on cooking, and then let your slow cooker do its magic. Bacon, ham hock, and seasonings bring out all the earthy flavor of black-eyed peas.

A perfect dish for when you need to feed a crowd, this recipe makes excellent leftovers that also will freeze beautifully for when you need a bean fix. Serve this tasty meal with collard greens for a traditional New Year's Day meal or with white rice or cornbread for a flavorful dinner.

"The prep was easy, and the dish is full of flavor. You may need to add more water to the crock pot after adding the peas. Check the tenderness toward the end; if they’re not quite done, turn up the heat. It makes a lot of food and is a great choice for gatherings!" -Colleen Graham

Crock Pot Southern Black-Eyed Peas With Ham Hock
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas

  • 1 large smoked ham hock, about 3/4 to 1 pound

  • 1 large onion, sliced

  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 to 4 strips bacon, fried and diced

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 1 minced clove garlic

  • 4 cups water, plus more if needed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients gathered for Southern black-eyed peas

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  2. Place the peas in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water to at least 3 inches above the peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for 15 minutes, drain the water, and reserve the peas.

    Black-eyed peas and water boiling n a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  3. Place the ham hock, onion, celery, carrots, bacon, cayenne pepper, and garlic in the slow cooker. Add 4 cups of water.

    Ham hock added to crock pot with vegetables

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  4. Cover the ingredients and cook on high for 1 hour.

    Cover crock pot with lid

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  5. Add the drained peas to the slow cooker.

    Black-eyed peas drained and in slow cooker with ham and veggies

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  6. Set the crock pot on low, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 hours, stirring halfway. During the last hour of cooking, taste test the peas. If they're not quite tender, turn the slow cooker to high.

    Crock pot set on low, to cover and cook

    The Spruce Eats / 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 preference. Add the meat back to the peas.

    Ham removed from the slow cooker and shredded on a white platter

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  8. Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Stir well.

    Ham added back to slow cooker with salt and pepper added

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  9. Serve the peas with your favorite sides and enjoy.

    Southern black-eyed peas in a cast-iron skillet alongside slices of cornbread

    The Spruce Eats / Nita West

How to Store and Freeze

This black-eyed pea dish stores very well. Allow leftovers to cool to room temperature before refrigerating in an airtight container, and eat within three days. You can also freeze them in a freezer-safe container or bag for up two or three months. Reheat gently in a pan on the stove.

Recipe Variations

Mix and match one or two of the following suggestions to give your beans 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 crock pot along with the onion.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of jalapeño peppers to the crock pot.
  • Add a meaty ham bone along with leftover or purchased diced ham instead of the ham hock.
  • Add a teaspoon of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to the crock pot.
  • Replace the ham with about 12 to 16 ounces of sliced or diced smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa.

Do I need to soak the black-eyed peas?

Many people have difficulty with dried 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 undigestible sugars that cause gas during digestion.