How to Make Black Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey: A Delicious Southern Tradition

The perfect soul food dish for Sunday dinners and New Year’s parties is this recipe for Southern Black Eyed Peas. For incredible flavor, this dish’s rich broth is made with bacon, ham hocks, smoked turkey, or salt pork.

Black eyed peas are a staple dish for many on New Year’s Day, symbolizing good luck and prosperity for the year ahead This recipe for Southern Black Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey combines the rich flavors of smoked turkey with the hearty goodness of black eyed peas, creating a dish that’s both comforting and satisfying


  • 1 pound dried black eyed peas
  • 1 smoked turkey leg (about 1-1.5 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak the black eyed peas: Rinse the black eyed peas and soak them in a large bowl of water for at least 6 hours, or overnight. This will help to soften the beans and reduce the cooking time.
  2. Cook the smoked turkey: In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the smoked turkey leg and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the turkey from the pot and set aside.
  3. Sauté the vegetables: Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients: Add the soaked black eyed peas, chicken broth, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender.
  5. Shred the turkey: While the beans are simmering, remove the meat from the turkey leg and shred it. Discard the bones.
  6. Season and serve: Once the beans are cooked, add the shredded turkey back to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with your favorite sides, such as cornbread, collard greens, or mustard greens.


  • For a quicker cooking time: If you don’t have time to soak the black eyed peas, you can use the quick soak method. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the beans, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the recipe.
  • Substitute the smoked turkey: If you can’t find smoked turkey, you can use ham hocks, a leftover ham bone, salt pork, country ham, or even bacon. If using bacon, cook it first and omit the olive oil. Cook the onions in the bacon fat.
  • Add additional flavors: For a bit more southern flair, you can add chopped collard greens, tomatoes, or okra to the pot.
  • Freeze for later: These black eyed peas can be frozen for up to 9 months. Allow the beans to cool completely before freezing. Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, removing as much air as possible.

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why do we eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day?

Black eyed peas are believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. This tradition is thought to have originated in the American South during the Civil War era.

  • What kind of smoked turkey should I use?

You can use a smoked turkey leg, wing, or even a leftover smoked turkey breast.

  • Can I use canned black eyed peas?

Yes you can use canned black eyed peas but they will not have the same flavor and texture as dried beans.

  • How long will these black eyed peas last in the fridge?

They will last 3-5 days in the fridge tightly covered.

  • Can I freeze these black eyed peas?

Yes, these black eyed peas can be frozen for up to 9 months.

A delicious and simple way to celebrate the New Year is to make this recipe for Southern Black Eyed Peas with Smoked Turkey. This dish is sure to please your family and friends with its hearty ingredients and rich flavors. So grab your ingredients, put on your apron, and get cooking!.

What Kind of Stock/Broth to Use

I like to use chicken broth or stock. You can use either and you can use whatever you like, such as vegetable.

how to make black eyed peas with smoked turkey

Do You Need to Soak Them?

This recipe uses fresh, dried beans. If you want to lower the cook time you will need to soak them in advance. You have two options. You can soak them overnight in a large bowl filled with water. Or you can boil a large pot of water on the stove. Once the temperature reaches boiling, remove the pot from heat and add the beans. Allow the beans to soak for at least one hour.

Not soaking them in advance will likely add a couple of hours to your cook time.

You can make this dish much faster by omitting the soaking step entirely when you use my Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas recipe. Alternatively, you can use my Slow Cooker Crockpot Black Eyed Peas recipe and forget about it.

Blackeye Peas Recipe. Southern Style Blackeye Peas with Smoked Turkey! Oldschool! No Crockpot!

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