Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas. Looking for good luck in the New Year? A pressure cooker prepares dry black eyed peas in less than an hour.
Black eyed peas are a Southern tradition on New Year’s Day. (If you want to be sure you’re getting all the luck the South can offer, eat them with collard greens and cornbread.)
Am I from the South? No, I’m a Midwestern boy, with Polish side of the family that believes in Pork and Sauerkraut for luck in the New Year. I’ve never had the nerve to mash the Southern and Polish New Years Day dinners together - greens and beans and pork and sauerkraut seems like a bit too much all at once.
That’s why I’m glad Black eyed peas are also a soul food classic and a common barbecue side dish. I don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day to have a pot of these beans. (And, if you want to make them as beans and greens, check out my Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens recipe.)
🥫Ingredients for Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas
- Dry Black Eyed Peas
- Smoked Ham Hock
- Fine sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in an Instant Pot set to Sauté mode until the oil is shimmering. Sauté a diced onion, minced garlic clove, and ½ teaspoon of salt until the onion softens
- Add a pound of dry black eyed peas, sorted and rinsed, to the pot, with 1 teaspoon of salt, a smoked ham hock, and 6 cups of water. Lock the lid on the pot.
- Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 15 minutes with a 15 minute Natural Release.
- Add ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, serve, and enjoy!
Black eyed peas and black eyed beans are the same thing - a subspecies of cow beans.
You can skip the onion and garlic - but I really like the extra flavor they add to the recipe.
For a vegetarian version of the recipe, skip the ham hock.
If you can't find the ham hock, substitute 4 ounces of hickory smoked bacon. I dice it up and crisp it up. Then I set it aside and use the bacon fat instead of the vegetable oil for sautéing the onions, then add it back into the pot with the black eyed peas and water.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. Pressure cooker dried beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert. Try them - you’ll never go back to canned beans. (OK, maybe you will, for convenience - but see the Storage section for tips on make ahead freezer beans.)
This recipe scales down easily - cut everything in half if you don’t need as many beans, or have a 3-quart pressure cooker. Scaling up runs into space issues; if you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, you can double this recipe, but it’s too much to fit in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
How Do I Cook 2 Cups of Black Eyed Peas?
2 cups of Black Eyed peas is slightly less than 1 pound. It's so close that the instructions in this recipe will work as written, with a ratio of 2 cups beans to 6 cups of water.
🤨 Can I Cook Black Eyed Peas Without Soaking?
I get the “to soak or not to soak?” question all the the time. I don’t soak black eyed peas. They cook in 15 minutes under pressure - soaking them seems like a waste of time when they cook so quickly.
Black eyed peas are an agricultural product, and like other beans, stuff tends to creep in when they are processed. Dried beans should always be sorted and rinsed before using, to get rid of any twigs, stones, clumps of dirt, or broken beans.
To sort the black eyed peas, I pour them out on one side of a rimmed baking sheet (a half-sheet pan), to keep the peas from escaping. Then I slowly run my fingers through the pile of peas, pulling them towards me on the sheet. I watch the peas as they move, looking for anything that doesn't seem right. If I see something, I poke around in the peas until I find what caught my eye, and discard it. I repeat this a couple of times, until I'm satisfied everything is out of the peas.
Then I dump the peas into a fine mesh strainer and rinse them under cold running water, to wash off any dirt or dust.
Now the black eyed peas are sorted, rinsed, and ready for soaking or cooking.
💡Tips and Tricks
- Salt your bean water! “Salt toughens beans” is a myth. Salting before cooking helps season the beans all the way through as they cook.
- If your beans are still tough when the cooking time is over, especially any “floaters” at the top of the pot, give the beans a stir, lock the lid, and pressure cook for another five minutes. Older beans take longer to cook, and if the beans have been sitting in the shelf at your store for a while, they may need extra time.
- Shred the meat on the ham hock? The ham hock adds smoky pork flavor to the beans. Once the beans are cooked, the hock has done its job. Most hocks don’t have enough meat to be worth shredding and should be thrown away after cooking. If you can see a lot of meat on the hock, and you don't mind the extra work, separate it from the skin, fat, gristle, and bone. Shred the meat that remains and stir it into the beans.
- Simmer to thicken: If you have the time, and want thicker pea broth, simmer the peas for 20 minutes after pressure cooking. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to low, with a 20 minute cooking time, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate. I keep a loose eye on the pot, stirring every so often to keep the peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas recipe. Looking for good luck in the New Year? Or a simple Southern-style side dish? A pressure cooker prepares black eyed peas in less than an hour.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 pound dry black eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 cups water
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Sauté the aromatics: Heat the tablespoon of oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering (Sauté mode adjusted to high in my Instant Pot.) Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onion softens, about five minutes.
- Everything in the pot:Add the (sorted and rinsed) black eyed peas and nestle in the ham hock. Pour in the water, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, or for 12 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. (On the Instant Pot, use the Manual or Pressure Cook setting, and set the cook time to 15 minutes.) When the cooking time is over, let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (You can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes if you’re in a hurry.) Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid any hot steam.
- Serve: Discard the ham hock, and stir in the ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Serve and enjoy!
Yes, only 15 minutes under pressure. Black eyed peas cook fast.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas, Pressure Cooker Black Eyed Peas
A 2-cup container of cooked black eyed peas, with cooking liquid, replaces a 15-ounce can of beans from the grocery store. They’ll last in the refrigerator for a few days, and freeze for up to 6 months. I always make extra beans, and freeze the leftovers for use in other recipes. Freezer beans are ready to use with about 5 minutes in the microwave, and are so much better than canned.
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