bowl of black eyed peas on table with cornbread

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas

I grew up in a southern household eating black-eyed peas on the regular. 

Black-eyed peas are famous in a southern house because we eat them every New Year’s day to bring good luck but that’s not the only time of the year we ate them. Black-eyed peas make a nutritious and delicious main dish or accompaniment to a meal any time of the year and the Instant Pot shortens the time from hours to under an hour.

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Black-eyed peas are filled with healthy fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals and can be a great addition to any meal.

Historically, black-eyed peas were celebrated for bringing luck on New Year’s day and are a staple in soul food and southern cooking.

Today you’ll find black-eyed peas on menus all around the world because they are nutritious and delicious and easy to prepare. You don’t need much to make black-eyed peas taste delicious and cooking them in the Instant Pot shortens the cooking time down to under an hour, including prep!

**This dish is easily vegan — just omit all ham or meat and use vegetable stock**

🛒 Shopping List

  • Dried Black-Eyed Peas (shop here)
  • Fresh garlic
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • White or Yellow Onion
  • Bay leaves
  • Stock — If you don’t have a ham hock laying around to make stock from, any vegetable, chicken, or beef stock will do. Use vegetable stock if you want a vegan dish.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ham hock, salt pork, or cooked bacon. Omit if you desire a vegan recipe.

🍽 Equipment needed:

  • Instant Pot (here’s the one we love)
  • Saute or frying pan
  • Strainer to rinse the beans in
  • Measuring cup
  • Prep bowls for diced veg and aromatics
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
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I like to know what the steps are to a recipe before I dive in. I used to just read and go and let me tell you that’s not the best way to do it. Too many times I skipped a step or missed an ingredient even though it was listed in the recipe card.

  1. Get all of your ingredients, pans, pots, bowls, utensils out.
  2. Grab a strainer and put the raw, uncooked black-eyed peas in, and rinse with cold water.
  3. Make sure your ham or ham hock is at room temperature. Often when you buy a ham hock, it’s sold frozen so defrost it the night before.
  4. Dice your ham in small pieces, about 1/2 inch cubes will do.
  5. Dice all of your carrots and celery and set them aside.
  6. Dice your onion and set it aside.
  7. Mince the garlic and set it aside. Don’t combine with your onions — you’ll be adding the garlic to the saute pan after you’ve cooked the onions and veggies down a bit. This keeps the garlic from burning.
  8. Make sure you have your salt, pepper, and bay leaves set aside.
  9. Measure out your stock and set it aside.
  10. Now that the ‘mise en place‘ is done, begin sauteing your onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil for 3 minutes. You could do this in the Instant pot but I don’t like the splatter and I can’t control the temperature as easily. But that’s just me…do what works for you.
  11. Add the garlic and saute with the veggies for a minute. Dump into the Instant Pot.
  12. Pour your stock in the Instant Pot.
  13. Add your diced ham to the Instant Pot.
  14. Add the rinsed black-eyed peas to the Instant Pot.
  15. Add the salt and pepper and you’re ready to turn them on.

Specific directions are listed below in the recipe card.

🍷 Wine Pairing Suggestion:

You’ll want a white wine for this dish. This dish loves a crisp finish. Oaked or unoaked Chardonnay will compliment the peas and ham.

raw black eyed peas on a table
saute vegetables
cooked black eyed peas in a bowl
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cooked black eyed peas in a bowl

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas

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  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


The Instant Pot makes this a quick, easy, and nutritious black-eyed peas make an excellent meal or side dish. This dish can easily become vegan by removing the diced ham and using vegetable stock.



Vegetables and Aromatics

  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 dried bay leaves


  • 1 pound dried, rinsed, black-eyed peas (16 oz. bag)
  • 1 cup smoked ham, diced


  • 4 cups stock — vegetable, chicken, beef, ham stock (If you want it to be vegan, only use vegetable stock)

Spices and Oils

  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Prep the ingredients

  1. Dice the carrots, onion, and celery and set them aside.
  2. Mince the garlic and set them aside.
  3. Measure out your salt and pepper and bay leaves and set them aside.
  4. Dice the ham and set it aside.
  5. Rinse the black-eyed peas and let drain in the sink in a strainer.
  6. Measure out your 4 cups of stock.

Saute the veggies and spices together

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan
  2. Add the diced carrots, onions, celery, and bay leaves to the pan and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the pan and saute for another minute.

Add ingredients to the Instant Pot

  1. Add the sauteed veggies, bay leaves, and garlic to the instant pot.
  2. Add the stock to the instant pot.
  3. Add the rinsed and uncooked black-eyed peas to the instant pot.
  4. Add the salt and pepper to the instant pot.
  5. Give all the ingredients one big stir and close the lid of the instant pot.

Program the Instant Pot

  1. Make sure the lid is locked into place.
  2. Select the Pressure Cook Setting.
  3. Set the Pressure level to High.
  4. Make sure the pressure valve on the top is closed.
  5. Use the -/+ keys to set the time to 16 minutes.
  6. Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes.


Want a Vegan/Vegetarian version? You can easily make this into a vegan dish by omitting the ham and using vegetable stock.

Storing and Freezing Options:

You can store your black-eyed peas in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days.

You can also freeze your black-eyed peas in a leak-proof container for up to 6 months.

Reheating Options:

Reheat them on the stove on medium for 5-8 minutes or until they are the temperature you desire. 

To reheat them from frozen, let them thaw out for a couple of hours before you put them in the pan and then reheat until they are at the desired temperature for serving.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes
  • Cuisine: American
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