Black Eyed Peas in the Pressure Cooker
Beans, Main Courses - meat, Pork

Ham Hocks and Black Eyed Peas in a Pressure Cooker

Ham Hocks and Black Eyed Peas with Cornbread are a family tradition on New Year’s Day. My brother and I were told (as Ma’am and her brothers were told and probably generations before were told) that you will earn a dollar in the coming year for every black eyed pea you eat on New Year’s Day. I keep trying but, so far my piggy bank isn’t busting. Ha ha!

Ham hocks and black eyed peas prepared in either a pressure cooker, slow cooker or the traditional stove top method. New Years Day recipe. Southern food.


Traditional Stove Top Method:

Ma’am and I were discussing the different ways to make this yesterday, because my family likes to talk about food and cooking. As she states in her original recipe, she prefers to use ham shanks when she can find them because they have more meat than the hocks. But they can be hard to find. I happened to find some last week at a small local store, so for Christmas she got her shortbread and a package of ham shanks. In my family that means “I LOVE YOU”!

The stove top method takes 4-5 hours or more if you make the stock and chill it to remove the fat.

Slow Cooker

I usually use the ham bone leftover from my Christmas dinner and throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Pressure Cooker

But, today I wanted to try it in my pressure cooker because I haven’t tried cooking beans in the pressure cooker before. I know you folks living in high altitudes are thinking, “How else do you cook beans but to use a pressure cooker?”. Stove top works fine down here at 1500 feet or below.

I figured I could shave a few hours off of the process. It is all hands off time, so it really isn’t saving any work. And if you use dried beans you do have to remember to pre-soak them the night before or you need to do a quick soak method that will take another hour.

The pressure cooker method takes about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours total. Most of that is bringing the stock to pressure initially and waiting the two times for the pressure cooker to release the pressure naturally. I suppose you could throw all of the ingredients in at once, like the slow cooker method, but I wanted the extra flavor from the longer cooking of the stock.

No matter how you cook the beans, traditionally this should be served with cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet.


Traditional Southern Cornbread in a cast iron skillet.

However you chose to celebrate the New Year, I hope it is a happy and healthy one!

Ham Hocks and Black Eyed Peas – in Pressure Cooker

Prep time10 minutes
Cook time1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time1 hour, 40 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Beans, Meat Dishes, Pork
Occasion New Years Eve
Black eyed peas and ham bones (hock or shank) cooked in a pressure cooker.


  • 1lb black eyed peas (frozen or canned may also be used)
  • 1 Medium chopped onions (save the peel!)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-4 1/2lb ham hocks (shanks or ham bone with some meat still on it may also be used)
  • 3 Large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (optional)


The directions below are for using a pressure cooker. If you do not have one, use these directions to cook on the stove in a large stock pot. Or throw all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Best served with cornbread.



Soak dried black eyed peas overnight per package directions (or follow package directions for quick soak). Drain and rinse.

If using canned, drain and rinse.

If using frozen, leave on counter to come to room temperature or step 4 will take longer to come to pressure.
Put ham bones, onion peel and bay leaves in a pressure cooker with 6 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and let steam release naturally (20-30 minutes).
With a slotted spoon, remove ham bones, leaves and peel from liquid. Discard leaves and peel. Let ham bone cool.
Add remaining ingredients to pressure cooker. Bring back to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let steam release naturally (approximately 20-30 minutes). If beans are not as soft as you'd like, add some more water and finishing cooking on high heat.
Remove meat from bones and chop, add to beans and serve with cornbread.

Until next year, happy eating!

19 thoughts on “Ham Hocks and Black Eyed Peas in a Pressure Cooker”

  1. I used can beans and did not think about cutting water so I have a soup. So if using canned beans I would cut water by a lot. Will drain and reserve some liquid and try and salvage this.

  2. Great post. I used this recipe as a guide to cook black eyed peas for the first time using my new pressure cooker. I used fresh peas, ultimately cooking 44oz of peas for 11 minutes total.

  3. I am 71 years young and like you, I grew up with the tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year’s day with the ham bone saved from Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Always in a pressure cooker. Simple is best. not much salt as the ham takes care of that, chopped onion and garlic and the ole secret ingredient, Lipton powder onion soup mix, ha. Makes anything taste great. I use the overnight method, soaking with a teaspoon of baking soda, then throw that away. Old wives tales say that that cuts down on the gas issue. fresh water, garlic, onion, soup powder, and ham bone and pressure for 20 minutes. Of course serve with cornbread, but cornbread without sugar. God Bless our old folks that carried this tradition. My Mom would tell me an old friend had said that black eyed peas was actually cow feed, not fit for humans; but he must not have cooked them the way my Mother did, ha.

  4. Audrey,
    I am going to visit my parents (95 and 93) for Christmas and I would love to make this for them but I will be long gone before the 1st. What is you opinion about freezing these yummy black eyed peas? Thank you for your time and I wish you a very happy holiday! Marti in Tampa

    1. I always make too much and end up freezing the leftovers in a zip to lock freezer bag. Just be sure to leave room for expansion when it freezes. Then just let it defrost overnight in the fridge and heat it up (maybe add water if it seems a little thick).

    1. Cornbread is probably more of a North American thing now that I think about it. Most of us, particularly in the Southern part of the US grow up on it.

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