Home » Recipes » Side Dish Recipes » Southern Hoppin’ John

Southern Hoppin’ John

Serve your family the best Southern Hoppin’ John recipe on New Year’s Day! This is a traditional southern dish of white rice and peas served throughout the Southern states every January 1 to ensure good luck and prosperity in the coming year. It’s simple, tasty, and full of tradition!

Traditions run deep in Southern families. They’re the core of most of our celebrations and family gatherings. And they’re particularly strong during the Christmas and New Year’s seasons.

A serving of Hoppin' John on a vintage plate with antique flatware.

On January 1, I’ll cook and enjoy a meal nearly identical to the meal I’ve eaten on the same date for my entire 69 years. A few items may change, but the constants on the plate are black-eyed peas and greens. Tradition says that those two dishes bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. The black-eyed peas represent coins, and the greens represent dollars (or “folding money,” as my Daddy used to say). The more you eat, the more of each you’re meant to have during the New Year.

But there’s more to the peas and greens tradition than the wish for wealth. This is humble food. For some of us, it’s a reminder of where and from whom we came. The humble but filling and satisfying food that our farming ancestors provided for their families during the cold winter months. Humble food, humbly but graciously prepared and gratefully received by hard-working families.

I know very well from where I come. I come from some of those humble, hard-working farming folks who appreciated what their Mamas put on the table for them. And I thank every one of them, the ones who came before, the ones who I knew and now miss, and the ones who are still here with us for their part in making me who I am today.

My version of Hoppin’ John stays true to its Southern heritage, combining the earthy goodness of black-eyed peas with the subtle elegance of rice.

🤔 What is Hoppin John?


There are lots of theories about how the combination of peas and rice came to be known as Hoppin’ John. I don’t know which, if any, of them are true; I just know that this is honest, simple food that connects me to my roots.

According to Gwen at Pratesi Living, the original components of Hoppin’ John were Carolina gold rice and Sea Island red peas. Not black-eyed peas.

Sea Island red peas are pretty hard to find these days, but I did happen to have some Carolina gold rice from a recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and I used it for this recipe. It was delicious!

❤️ Why We Love This Recipe


  • The symbolic significance: This is a Southern classic for New Year’s, symbolizing good luck and prosperity.
  • Versatility: May be adapted with various types of rice and peas, according to what’s available.
  • Simplicity and flavor: Easy to prepare with everyday ingredients and bursting with comforting flavors.
  • Heartwarming tradition: It’s an important part of our Southern foodways, our roots, and our culinary heritage.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …

I never knew hoppin john could look so sexy! What a beautiful presentation…
— Kita

🛒 Ingredient Notes


This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported. We earn a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you, when you make a purchase from our links.

  • Rice – If you have access to Carolina gold rice, please use it! If China Doll gold rice is available in your area, it’s a good substitute. Otherwise, use any long-grain rice that you like.
  • Black-eyed peas–Make your life a little easier, and use canned black-eyed peas. I like Bush’s brand. If you use dried black-eyed peas, you’ll need to adjust the prep and cooking times to allow for soaking and cooking the peas. Frozen black-eyed peas are also available in some areas and may be used as well.
  • Onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic – A classic aromatic vegetable base that adds depth to the dish.
  • Chicken stock – Enhances the savory notes of the peas.
  • Parsley, green onions, tomato –  Optional, but highly recommended, fresh garnishes that add color and brightness.

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

🍽️ How to Serve


Serve the peas over a bed of cooked rice. Top with green onions and chopped tomato. Some people enjoy a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top.

This heartwarming dish may be served with traditional sides like hot water cornbread, fried chicken, and turnip greens or collard greens for an authentic Southern feast. It’s perfect as a main dish or a hearty side.

🕒 How to Make Ahead


This recipe is very easy to make in advance. Simply cook the peas and rice separately, store them well covered in the refrigerator for up to two days and reheat before serving. The peas are easily reheated in the microwave.

To reheat rice, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water per cup of rice. Cover tightly and heat over low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir with a fork to break up any clumps of rice.

⚠️ Troubleshooting Tips


  • If the rice seems undercooked, add a bit more water and extend the cooking time.
  • If you find there’s too much liquid in the peas, simply simmer them a bit longer to reduce the liquid.
  • If the peas are too dry, add more broth or water for desired consistency.

🔀 Recipe Variations


  • Vegan Version: Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock and omit butter.
  • Spicy Kick: Add red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
  • Meaty Option: Include diced ham or bacon for added flavor.

🍚 Storing Leftovers


Cool leftovers and store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a touch of water if needed.

❓ Questions About Southern Hoppin’ John


Can I use brown rice?

Yes, but adjust cooking times as brown rice takes longer to cook.

Can I use fresh black-eyed peas instead of canned?

Yes, you can use fresh black-eyed peas or field peas. They will require a longer cooking time, so adjust the recipe accordingly.

Is Hoppin’ John gluten-free?

Hoppin’ John is naturally gluten-free, but always check the labels on store-bought broth or other packaged ingredients if you’re sensitive to gluten.

Can I cook Hoppin’ John in a slow cooker?

Yes, Hoppin’ John can be adapted for a slow cooker. Combine all ingredients except rice and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Cook the rice separately and combine before serving.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox.

Save Recipe
A serving of Hoppin' John on a dinner plate.

Hoppin’ John

Serve Southern Hoppin' John on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity throughout the New Year.
5 from 3 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 507kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 30 ounces canned black eyed peas rinsed and drained 2 cans
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 large tomato seeded and diced

Instructions

  • Bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  • Stir in the rice.
  • Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.
  • Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent.
  • Add the black eyed peas, stock, salt, and pepper. Cook for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the parsley.
  • Serve the peas over a bed of rice.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions and tomato.

Notes

  • Any leftovers should be completely cooled and stored in tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Reheat on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave in one-minute increments.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 507kcal | Carbohydrates 88g | Protein 21g | Fat 8g | Saturated Fat 3g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 8mg | Sodium 376mg | Potassium 912mg | Fiber 16g | Sugar 11g | Vitamin A 805IU | Vitamin C 36mg | Calcium 99mg | Iron 6mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!

🔪 How to Make Hoppin’ John


Cook the Rice

A bag of Carolina Gold Rice.
  1. Start the rice by bringing water, salt, and butter to a boil.
  2. Add the rice.
  3. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Keep it warm until the peas are ready.

Saute the Vegetables

Chopped vegetables in a skillet.
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.
  3. Cook until the vegetables are very tender.

Add the Peas

Adding blackeyed peas to vegetables in a skillet.
  1. Add the peas, broth, salt, and pepper.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the peas are completely heated through.
  3. Stir in the parsley.

— This post was originally published on August 29, 2011. It has been updated with additional information.

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




49 Comments

  1. I know this is an old post, but still is inspiring. I’ll have to try this. Last New Years I made a Hoppin’ John and it wasn’t very good (the next day’s left-overs were though). I want a good first day’s dish—I’m not too good at planning too far ahead!!! Happy New Year and a Half!!

  2. Lana, I love the recipe you chose for SRC this month. A perfect meal for any time of year!

  3. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says:

    I have never eaten Hoppin’ John. Looks like a hearty, delicious meal.

  4. I love your recipe – perfect choice and the picture is just gorgeous!

    Concetta

  5. I think that would be a tough task for me too, a vegan hoppin’ john recipe that I could say tasted good, but I think, heck, I know you nailed it… many thanks for the link… hope you have a great week… let me hear from you on some football recipes now… I know you know how to serve hungry football folks…

  6. Emily | Nomnivorous says:

    You are adorable! I had a similar feeling with my SRC assignment last month, but wasn’t brave enough to put it out there. Congrats on the Kitchn link, too!

  7. Rivki Locker says:

    I eat mostly vegetarian and this looks RIGHT up my alley. Great choice, and congrats on the kitchn feature.

  8. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This looks great! Great pick for SRC :)

  9. This looks great (and I have the same passion for bacon that you do!) Not sure I could convince hubby to try it (he loves his meat more than I do), but I guess it could pass as a side dish. Great SRC choice!

  10. Reminds me a little of the Korean tradition of eating Rice Cake Soup (Duk Gook) every New Year’s day. You gotta have some traditions to keep life flowing at a comfortable pace and maintain a connection with prior generations.

  11. Tina @ MOMS CRAZY COOKING says:

    I just LOVE your blog name…. coming over from SRC

    I was in Secret Recipe Club: Group B. Here are my two posts I hope you have time to check them out, if you haven’t seen them already.

  12. I’m always trying to pretend to be a southerner. this will help me in my quest.

  13. I am from the west and have never seen a hoppin john before, but your dish looks delicious. I love how you styled it too. The plate is gorgeous! Great SRC pick!

  14. Andrea {From the Bookshelf} says:

    Great SRC pick! Wonderful photos!

  15. veronica gantley says:

    Hoppin Johns, mostly black eyed peas are a serious southern staple. It is what a lot of the confederate soldiers ate to stay alive. What a lovely post for our SRC.

  16. Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! says:

    THAT’S what Hoppin John is! Gorgeous!!

    1. Yep, that’s it Anne-Marie. Well, a lightened up nearly veganized version anyway :-)

  17. I’ve never tried Hoppin’ John even though I live in the deep south. I’ll have to give it a go one of these days as you’ve made it look delicious.

  18. India-leigh @ aveganobsession says:

    hey the pics are great and the dish has such simplicity. Well done for being open to the vegan blog. I’m loving being part of SRC and being challenged to think outside the box.

  19. Katherine Martinelli says:

    Such a classic dish! Great recipe, even without the ham hocks :-)

  20. LOL – too funny! I was laughing as I was reading this. But you did a fabulous job on the SRC. Nice work!

    1. It was pretty funny, Ewa. You should have seen my face when I saw that I had to cook something vegan :-)

  21. OK–I love Hoppin’ John, but mine has too much bacon in it to be vegan. But I love this take. (Much healthier.)

  22. DessertForTwo says:

    I love a good pot of hoppin’ john! Never even noticed it was vegan :)

    1. Well, it’s normally nowhere near vegan. It usually has either bacon or smoked ham hocks in it to season the peas. This version without it wasn’t bad, though. Just not authentic :-)

  23. Yum! I have never tried Hoppin’ John but am thinkin’ this looks mighty good! Great SRC selection.

  24. You did it again! Me. You. Southern memories. Great photo Lana, makes me wish I had some for breakfast!

    1. I’m always doubly pleased when I can bring back a pleasant memory for someone with the recipes I cook. So glad you liked it, Barbara!

  25. Feast on the Cheap says:

    Love that SRC forces us out of our comfort zones!

  26. Ha, I love your theory about bacon an the Pearly Gates. ;) Great adaptation of the recipe and finding something that will work!

    1. Yes, I’m convinced of it Katrina :-) Bacon = Heaven in my book.

  27. I grew up eating my grandma’s black-eyed peas, deliciously flavored with bacon grease. This is clearly a much healthier option. It looks both beautiful and yummy!

  28. Rachel @ Time for Good Food says:

    I love this post — your photo is gorgeous! Back around New Year’s, I was obsessed with getting to the bottom of the Southern New Year’s tradition of eating Hoppin’ John (and greens).

    Of course, Hoppin’ John is good any time of year. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I feel inspired to cook some peas!

  29. misschels says:

    Looks amazing! Very pretty picture!

  30. Bunkycooks says:

    Hi Lana,

    Thanks for the mention! If you can, order the Sea Island Red Peas. Those are soo good with the Carolina Gold Rice. Your version looks awfully good, too and reminds me that I need to make another pot of these. :)

    1. You’re welcome, Gwen. I so enjoyed your post about Chef Brock and his efforts to revive some of the heritage strains of plants and animals. So nice to hear that this work is going on close by!

  31. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective says:

    Yes please! This looks so fresh and hearty–I’ll take two bowls!

  32. I love me some Hoppin John! I don’t make it often…I need to change that! You reminded me of how good it is.

  33. I never knew hoppin john could look so sexy! What a beautiful presentation and wonderful choice for SRC.

    1. Thanks, Kita. I never thought of Hoppin’ John as sexy, either :-)

  34. Noelle @Opera Singer in the Kitchen says:

    Yeah, this has me. I have to make this. Protein and rice. Thanks for such a great choice. Now I discovered 2 great blogs!

  35. This Hoppin’ John look fabulous! I would be in “trouble” too with a vegan blog… still that’s all the fun, right? ;-) Great job!!!

  36. I don’t think I have ever seen such a delicious lookin’ Hoppin’ John. Interesting lil’ tidbit Gwen offered. I didn’t know!

    Great choice this month! :)

    1. I didn’t know that either until I read it in Gwen’s post. Her interview with Chef Brock was really fascinating. Love what he’s doing with bringing back heritage strains of vegetables and animals. Fabulous!

  37. That’s part of the fun of Secret Recipe Club – getting taken out of your comfort zone! I love that you found something to make in the end and stuck to the vegan concept (well, almost!)

  38. Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini says:

    Leave it to you to find a southern staple on a vegan blog! It looks wonderful. I had your blog this month and hope I did your cookies justice : )

    1. Loved what you did with the Forgotten Cookies, Pam! Great job.