Hoppin John Recipe

Hoppin John, a traditional southern dish enjoyed each year on New Year’s Day, is made of black-eyed peas, rice, and flavored with pork.

Hoppin John is a traditional southern New Year's Day dish made of black-eyed peas and rice, accented with pork.

Located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the region east of the sand hills to the coast, Folly Beach is where I spent much time and most of my holidays as a child. My grandparents were full-time residents of the small island community just outside of Charleston, SC. And like a magnet, it pulled us back every chance we got to steal away for a few days.

During the holidays it was a given we would be at Folly, especially for New Years. My Nana threw a big New Year’s Day bash every year, with a full spread of traditional southern New Year’s Day fare. I remember fondly the platefuls of fried hog jowls that she began frying early in the day. By the time the plate was piled high with the golden goodness, we could’ve completed a full triple lutz on her well oiled linoleum floor.

The pile of hog jowls was only one of the menu items that graced the table the first day of every year. Collard greens and my personal favorite, Hoppin John, a flavorful blend of black-eyed peas and rice, accented with pork, also shared in the glory on those days.

Each dish is symbolic: the pork represents progress in the new year; the collards, being green like money, prosperity; and the Hoppin’ John, all-around good luck.

And sakes alive, I ate my weight in good luck. And that’s a lot of good luck, man.

Hoppin John is a traditional southern New Year's Day dish made of black-eyed peas and rice, accented with pork.

Hoppin’ John is a dish that elevates the most basic ingredients to a place all its own. Deliciously good eats is what it is. If you’ve never enjoyed Hoppin’ John, southern or not, you should give it a go this year. And with my Nana’s recipe you’ll be in good hands. Be sure to let me know how it goes.

Wishing you a Happy New Year full of all things good and tasty! Enjoy!

These favorite recipes would be perfect for New Year’s Day too:

Hoppin John Recipe
A traditional New Year's day southern dish full of flavor.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: Makes about 12 servings.
  • 1½ cups dried black-eyed peas (note: there will be peas leftover to serve as a side)
  • 8 cups water, divided
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 small ham hock (or ¼ lb. hog jowl)
  • 5 slices of thick cut bacon (or hog jowl)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  1. Over medium heat, place the dried black-eyed peas, 6 cups of water, salt and ham hock. Cook covered over medium heat until tender.
  2. While the peas are cooking, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside, reserving the bacon grease.
  3. Sauté chopped onion in the bacon grease until softened.
  4. In a large sized sauce pan, with a tight-fitting lid, add the rice, 2 cups of the the pea liquid, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of the cooked black-eyed peas, sautéed onions, bacon grease, crumbled bacon and red pepper flakes.
  5. Cook covered over medium-low heat until rice is done, about 15-20 minutes. If needed add more pea liquid if rice gets too dry.
Recipe from my Nana.

Hoppin John is a traditional southern New Year's Day dish made of black-eyed peas and rice, accented with pork. Updated on 12/29/2014. Originally posted 12/29/2010.

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  1. 2


    I’ll be honest–NOT a fan of black eyed peas. However…I would DEFINITELY give this dish a try!! It looks and sounds amazing. Hog jowl? Bacon grease?? You’d fit right in down here in Arkansas!!! :)

  2. 4

    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    Amy, this is probably my favorite recipe I’ve ever read on your site – because it’s a heritage recipe, and I can just tell how much it means to you. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • 6


      Hey Julie!

      Definitely try it. Nah, this is the first time I’ve posted this recipe. I did post one for chicken and rice which is quite yummy too, but totally different flavor.

      Happy New Year friend!

      ~ Amy

  3. 11

    Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    I think you and I must have grown up on the same foods and with the same food traditions. I make hoppin’ John often, and your version is simply wonderful. I’m always torn on New Year’s Day by our shared loves. Black-eyed peas and collards with a roast ham; hoppin’ John with ham; or black-eyed pea, collard, and ham hock soup with spicy cornbread? This year I’m doing the latter, but perhaps next year….?

  4. 12

    SAS says

    Hey Amy, Just bought my fat back today. That was always my fav. Funny it stands for progress in the New Year – I’m thinking it certainly would “progress” some clogging of arteries. It is so good and worth the damage to the body for the day. I can just taste that Hoppin John now. Great pictures. SAS

  5. 13

    Wenderly says

    That looks mighty tasty and very similar to my MIL’s black-eyed peas dish that we eat every year on New Year’s Day! Happy New Year sweet friend!

  6. 15

    SMITH BITES says

    I have never eaten black-eyed peas . . . but that is about to change; i hear you’re supposed to eat them on New Year’s day for good luck and armed with this recipe, i’m certain good fortune is coming my way in 2011!! HAPPY NEW YEAR AMY!!!

  7. 17


    I love black eyed peas and always look forward to New Years Day when they’re guaranteed to be on our menu. This looks like a wonderful recipe – I’m going to bookmark it! Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

  8. 18

    Megan says

    I’ve never had black eyed peas but this sure sounds easy and tasty.
    Happy New Year Amy!

  9. 19

    kamran siddiqi says

    AMY!! Happy New Year!

    I’ve been seeing a lot of black-eyed peas recipes lately and I was curious as to why so many people were making things with them; then I hopped on Jaden’s blog and found out why.

    I’ve visited a ton of blogs today with Hoppin’ John recipes and all of them look absolutely exquisite! Especially your recipe!

    Absolutely yum!!

  10. 20

    Amy @ The Savvy Kitchen says

    Thanks for sharing all these great recipes! I’ve started a new cooking blog myself and would love any feedback or comments you can give, so please be sure to check out The Savvy Kitchen at http://www.savvykitchen.blogspot.com. I look forward to continuing reading your blog in 2011!

  11. 21


    Miss Amy, we would love if you submitted this recipe & any two other side dishes to this week of the Get Grillin’ event that Cookin’ Canuck and I am hosting :)

  12. 22


    I’ve got some hog jowl in the fridge and I think this is what I will be making with it. YUM! Happy New Year!

  13. 23

    Ashley says

    Making this tonight, had one question what do you do with the ham hock after the peas have cooked?

  14. 29

    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures says

    I’m not familiar with this tradition, but I could always use some extra luck!

  15. 33

    Oliver says

    Amazing! I love heritage recipes like this. It did not disappoint. Thanks for sharing! O

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