Grandma's Hoppin' John Black-eyed Peas & Ham Recipe: A New Year's Tradition by 30Seconds Food

Grandma's Hoppin' John Black-eyed Peas & Ham Recipe: A New Year's Tradition

When many people think of what to eat on New Year's, the first thing that comes to mind is Hoppin' John. So what, exactly, is Hoppin' John?

Hoppin' John is a southern recipe of black-eyed peas and ham or bacon served over rice. The first written recipe for this classic dish may have appeared in The Carolina Housewife in 1847. But food historians believe Hoppin' John has African, French and Caribbean roots. 

According to the History Channel, the mixture of dried peas, rice and pork was made by enslaved people in the South long before Hoppin' John first appeared in any cookbooks. "It seems to have originated in the Low Country of South Carolina, an area where plantation owners searched long and hard for a crop that would flourish in the hot, muggy weather. Rice grew well in the river deltas, so it was a natural choice, but the white farmers had no real experience with cultivating rice on a large scale. Enter the slave trade and enslaved West Africans who had grown rice for generations."

Although you can use any type of dried peas in Hoppin’ John, the black-eyed pea is the most traditional (and is considered good luck in the New Year). Regardless of the type of peas you use, Hoppin' John is a delicious, budget-friendly recipe that grandmas, moms and dads have been making for centuries. 

This easy, gluten-free Hoppin' John recipe has simple ingredients: celery, onion, green bell pepper, garlic, black-eyed peas, a bay leaf, dried thyme, Cajun seasoning and a meaty ham hock. The ingredients are simmered gently on the stovetop until the black-eyed peas are tender. 

Serve this flavorful Hoppin' John recipe over rice for a simple, delicious dinner, and with a bottle of hot sauce close by. This southern recipe is perfect for meal prep and reheats well for lunch or dinner. Hope it brings you good luck in the New Year (or anytime)!

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Cuisine: American / French / African / Caribbean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham hock (you could also use thick slab bacon)
  • cooked rice, for serving (optional) 
  • chopped green onions, for garnish (optional)

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Recipe Notes

  • Feel free to add more or less Cajun seasoning, depending on your tastes. 
  • You can use any type of peas you prefer, but the traditional recipe is made with black-eyed peas.
  • Instead of a ham hock, you could use thick-cut bacon in this recipe.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired. 
  • Serve over rice with hot sauce on the side.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe reheats well.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the celery, onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme and Cajun seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the water and add the ham hock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour or until peas are tender. 
  3. When the peas are tender, remove the ham hock and pick off the meat. Add the meat back to the pot. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions, if desired. 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 261

Total Fat: 15.1g

Saturated Fat: 2.4g

Cholesterol: 2mg

Sodium: 381mg

Total Carbohydrate: 33.3g

Dietary Fiber: 9.6g

Total Sugars: 2g

Protein: 5.9g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 420mg

Iron: 23mg

Potassium: 411mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Looks really good! 😋
Elisa Schmitz
Mmmm! I can taste this already. How delicious!
Wow, yes please...

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