Recipes » Side Dish Recipes » Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin' John is a traditional recipe of peas and rice enjoyed throughout the Southern states on New Year's Day.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
A serving of Hoppin' John on a dinner plate.

Hoppin’ John is a traditional recipe of rice and peas served throughout the southern states every New Year’s Day. Add it to your menu for good luck!

Hoppin’ John is a very old, traditional New Year’s Day dish eaten throughout the south. Served alongside greens (either collards, turnips, or mustard greens). It’s a southern dish that represents good luck and prosperity for the new year.

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

I can honestly say that I have eaten black eyed peas every New Year’s Day for my entire life. We take our traditions seriously in the south :-)

🤔 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


  • It’s part of our traditional southern foodways.
  • Cheap and easy to make with common ingredients.
  • It just plain tastes fantastic!

🛒 About the Ingredients


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  • 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 white rice that you like.
  • Black-eyed peasMake your life easier and use canned black-eyed peas. 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. I like Bush’s brand.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 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.

🍽 How to Serve


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

For an authentic southern meal, serve Hoppin’ John with hot water cornbread, fried chicken, and turnip greens or collard greens.

🕒 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.

🍚 Storing Leftovers


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.

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📖 Recipe

A serving of Hoppin' John on a dinner plate.

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin' John is a traditional recipe of peas and rice enjoyed throughout the Southern states on New Year's Day.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Save
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

  • To make in advance, cook the peas and rice and store them separately in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat just 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.
  • 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 health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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

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49 Comments

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

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

    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 :-)

    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!

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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). I thought you might enjoy this:
    http://timeforgoodfood.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-dream-of-peas.html

    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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!)

  12. 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 : )