Hoppin John Recipe

| March 5, 2012 | 17 Comments

A serving of Hoppin John with cornbread.
Hoppin’ John, it ain’t just for New Years any more.  This is a quick and easy recipe that serves as a side dish, or can also be a great main dish just as well.  What a great way to use a few leftover Black Eye Peas to make another meal entirely.


If you’ve ever tried Hoppin John, it may have only been on New Years Day.  But why?  It’s just too good to not prepare more often.  Let’s say you’ve got a serving or two of leftover Black Eye Peas in the refrigerator.  It’s not enough to feed several people so you’ve got to get a little more creative.  On the other hand, you could have a little cooked rice left over and don’t want to just throw it out.  This recipe will work great either way you decide to take it.  More rice…more peas….the choice is yours.

There are various ideas on where the name Hoppin John comes from for this dish.  Its found throughout the South and it’s thought that it was first introduced to America by African slaves.  It may be a popular Southern dish around New Years Day, but you don’t find a lot of Southern restaurants that still carry it on their menu’s beyond that.  Too bad. It’s a filling meal that could be prepared rather inexpensively, something restaurants are usually trying to achieve.  But, there are a select few places around that still serve it all year long.  Locally, or at least within driving range, I found it on the menu at Crook’s Corner over in Chapel Hill and at their sister place Crooks Atrium Cafe.  I’ve tried it at the Cafe and really enjoyed it.  They served it up with a little tomato, scallions and cheddar cheese on top.  Delicious.

If you’ve never tried it, give this simple recipe a go sometime.  I really think you’ll enjoy it.  Then, share your comments with me in the Comment Section at the bottom.  I’d love to know if it was served at your house, or perhaps how you might make it differently.

I’ve listed this as a side dish, but it can certainly serve as a main dish also.  Between using the rice and peas, its a great way to stretch out the family budget and fill everyone up at the same time.  So, if you’re ready to give it a try…..Let’s Get Cooking!


Ingredients needed to prepare our Hoppin John Recipe.
Hoppin’ John Recipe:  You’ll need these ingredients to prepare our version of Hoppin’ John.  You’ll need some already cooked Black Eye Peas, so its a great way to use up any leftovers.  We’re using Hog Jowl for seasoning, but you could also use Bacon or Ham Hock.


Start with the hog jowl.
We’ll start with the Hog Jowl.  Depending on where you are in this world, you may not have heard of Hog Jowl, and you may not be able to find it at your local grocer.  As the name implies, Hog Jowl comes from the “cheek” of a pig.  It’s a bit tougher than bacon but has a very similar taste.  It’s normally smoked and cured to preserve it longer, and it can be frozen if needed, just like most any other cut of pork.  Folks around the South will mostly use it for seasoning their peas and beans  just as they would bacon, but it’s also delicious cut up in thick strips and fried.  You’ll see.


Slice the hog jowl.
Here, I’ve sliced off three fairly thick slices of the jowl.  It looks a lot like thick sliced bacon doesn’t it?  You want need much more than 1/4th of a pound for this recipe.  Hog Jowl will either come already sliced or you might find it just as one solid section in a package.  Since it’s normally smoked and cured already, it will have a saltier taste so additional salt may not be needed.  I don’t think it’s smoked and cured as much however these days, as it was years back.  In the older days, it would have hung in a “smoke house” to cure and preserve it.  We’ll try to cover that in another post.


Place the sliced jowl in a skillet.
Place the slices in a skillet over medium heat.  You don’t want to cook it too fast as it splatters like bacon.


The fried hog jowl.
Fry it up just as you would some thick sliced bacon.  When it’s done to your satisfaction, remove it from the pan and place it on a couple of layers of paper towels to drain.  We’ll let it cool down a bit as we prepare the rest of the recipe.


Add some butter to the pan.
Pour off most of the grease from the cooked Hog Jowl but not all.  Be sure to leave those brown parts because they are loaded with flavor.  Then, add your butter to the pan.


Add the diced bell pepper.
Toss in the diced bell peppers.


Add the onions.
Add the onions.  What is it about bacon, butter, and onions that just make the kitchen smell so great?


Let it all cook down a bit.
Let it all cook down a bit over medium heat or just a little lower.  Can you smell it yet?


Stir it around so onions don't burn.
Stir it around as it cooks.  You want the onions to cook down until they are translucent and just slightly browned around the edges.  Don’t over cook them or burn them.  Remove from heat and set aside.


Place the black eye peas in a saucepan.
Place the black eye peas in a medium sized saucepan.  Start them off on medium heat and warm them up.


Add the chicken broth.
Pour in the can of chicken broth and raise the heat up to about medium-high.


Bring up to a low boil.
Bring it up to a low boil, raising the heat a little if needed.


Add the uncooked rice.
Add the uncooked rice once it reaches that low boil.  Of course, you could also create this recipe with cooked rice if you already have that.  That’s the beauty of cooking….you can improvise as you go…with what you already have.


Bring it back up to a boil once again.
Stir the rice in and let it all come back up to a boil once again.


Cover the pot and reduce to a low simmer.
When it starts to boil, cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid and REDUCE the heat to a low simmer.  Let it cook for about 15 minutes and resist the urge to lift the lid during this time.  Follow the cooking times listed on your box or package of rice for best results.


Meanwhile, chop up the hog jowl.
While the rice is cooking with the peas, go ahead and chop up the slices of cooked Hog Jowl.


Remove the rice and peas from heat and set aside.
After about 15 minutes, remove the saucepan with the rice and peas and set it aside on a cloth, trivet or cool burner.


Let it rest for about 5 minutes, then lift the lid to release any steam.
After it rests for about five minutes, lift the lid to release any steam, then close the lid for about 5 more minutes.


Fluff the rice up while it's still in the pot.
Use a fork and gently fluff the cooked rice up a bit.  This will help separate the grains of rice so they don’t stick together.


Add the chopped hog jowl.
Add the cooked Hog Jowl to the pot.


Add the cooked peppers and onions.
Then, add the cooked Bell Peppers and Onions.  Stir it together gently.


Place it in your serving bowl.
Now, place it in your serving bowl.  This is a great budget stretcher meal using ingredients you’ve probably already got on hand.  You could add more peas if you like, whatever makes you happiest.  You’ll find lots of variations on Hoppin’ John across the internet.  Some include tomato, some include sausage, the variety makes it just that much better.  As for me…….


Serve and Enjoy!
I’ll be happy with just a big old spoonful or two (or three) on my plate, along side a piece of cornbread.


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Hoppin John Recipe, Hoppin' John Recipe

Hoppin John Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Hoppin’ John, its not just for New Years any more. This quick and easy to prepare recipe can be used either as a side dish or a main meal. Serve it any time you need to stretch the family budget or just need to get something on the table fast. Enjoy!!!



  • 1 Cup of cooked Black Eye Peas
  • 1 Cup of uncooked White Rice
  • 1 Cup of Chicken Broth
  • 4 ounces of sliced Hog Jowl or Bacon
  • 1/4 cup of diced Bell Peppers
  • 1/4 cup of diced Onions
  • 1 Tablespoon of Butter


  1. Start by slicing up about a quarter pound of the Hog Jowl.
  2. Place the sliced Hog Jowl in a frying pan and fry over medium heat until done.
  3. Remove from pan, place on paper towels to drain and set aside.
  4. Pour off all but about 3 Tablespoons of the grease, keeping the browned bits in the skillet.
  5. Add Butter.
  6. Add the diced Bell Peppers.
  7. Add the diced Onions.
  8. Sautee the Peppers and Onions over Medium heat until onions turn translucent.
  9. Stir as needed to prevent burning, letting Onions brown slightly. Remove from heat, set aside.
  10. In a separate saucepan, add the cooked Black Eye Peas.
  11. Add the Chicken Broth and bring the mixture to a low boil over Medium-High heat.
  12. Add the uncooked rice and stir it into the mixture.
  13. Bring the saucepan ingredients back up to a low boil once again.
  14. Cover the saucepan, REDUCE the heat to a low simmer. Let simmer about 15 minutes or as directed on your rice package. Resist the urge to raise the lid, just let it cook.
  15. While the rice is cooking, chop up the cooked Hog Jowl into small pieces.
  16. After the rice has simmered for about 15 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Do not open.
  17. After about 5 minutes, lift the lid on the saucepan to let any steam escape. Replace the lid.
  18. After about 5 more minutes, remove the lid and use a fork to gently stir or “fluff” up the rice.
  19. Now, add the chopped Hog Jowl, Bell Peppers and Onions. Stir gently.
  20. Remove from saucepan and place in your favorite serving bowl.
  21. Serve warm as a main dish or side dish….and Enjoy!!!


There are lots of variations of Hoppin John around the internet. Even here in the South, folks prepare it differently. Some add tomatoes, some add sausages, just make it your own based on ingredients that your family enjoys.

Keywords: Hoppin John Recipe, made from scratch, black eye peas, rice, cornbread, southern recipes, hoppin'

Your Comments:  I’d love to know if you try this, or any of my recipes.  Please feel free to share your comments in the section below.  It lets me know you stopped by and took a look.  I’d greatly appreciate that.  And, if you make any changes, share your results with us.

Be Blessed!!!





Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Side Dishes

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (17)

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  1. Jim Shahan says:

    My recipe is organic Italian kale, Visalia onion, fresh garlic and jalapeños cooked in uncured bacon fat. I then add the cooked black eye peas and some organic apple vinegar. I serve it with corn bread made with jalapeños and tri-color Mexican cheese‼️Different but so delicious ❤️‼️

  2. M.B. says:

    My computer went out on me I had your wonderful site bookmarked. I’m so glad I have found your site. Thanks for all your great recipes. Haven’t tried one yet that I didn’t love.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi M.B, I’m sorry to hear of your computer problems, but I’m really happy that you found us again. Thank you for trying our recipes and for your kind compliments and comments. I do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Carol says:


  4. Marcie Loffredo says:

    Hi Steve, I made the Hoppin John last week, followed your recipe exactly, but I had to use bacon instead of hog jowl and it came out great! My husband and I ate it for the main dish for dinner, excellent and very filling! God Bless, and keep up the great work!

  5. Doris says:

    Hi Steve,Thanks for the recipe.I always enjoy you’re newsletters and photo’s of the places you visit.

  6. Yvonne says:

    Morning, Steve,

    I made a point to serve Hoppin’ John for New Year’s. I looked over your recipe and then winged it with what I had on hand. I did learn that dried black eyed peas, when cooked 4 minutes on the microwave in water, and 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, work great! I used country ham instead of jowl bacon, since it was handy. County ham, the real thing too. The ham you hang in your closet to store and soak before you bake it. I digress on that family tradition ham. The beans were tasty as I served them over the rice and a healthy second helping the next day for extra good luck. AS always, I enjoy your emails.


  7. Jack Pugmire says:

    Hello Steve,
    The last time I sent a message was one regarding your canning instructions, last summer. Since then, I’ve tried a few of your recipes and now I know why you are so jolly; you are a happy soul! Well prepared food will do that to a guy, don’cha think?
    I have been looking for a good recipe for country style pork ribs, and I noticed you didn’t list one. It seems most I run across, become too dried out (in an oven @ 225 to 250*), any suggestions? Do you have a favorite recipe? I don’t own a charcoal or gas grille as it’s not allowed here.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jack, I’ve been wanting to post a recipe on ribs for a long time, but haven’t really had much experience with them myself. Odd for someone who has a brother that sells pig cookers, I know. Many of his customers say that’s what they enjoy cooking most, but I’ve never pressed one for a recipe. Perhaps I should. I did cook some in the oven here at home about a week ago. They turned out better than I thought they would as far as the cooking part was concerned. I used a rub recipe that I had been working with, but thought it was a bit salty for ribs. Maybe I can do a recipe on those before too long. I want to work with them a bit more first.

      In the meantime… trim the silver skin from your ribs. Rub lightly with mustard. Rub good with the dry rub of choice. Place on wire rack over a baking sheet in oven preheated to 300 degrees. Bake uncovered for one hour. Cover pan with foil. Bake another hour. Remove foil. Brush with favorite sauce. Bake 30 more minutes or until done. Keep covered and let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

      Ribs should not be cooked until they fall off the bone. You should be able to cut the ribs easily, then when you bite one, you leave the cutout from where you bit it in the remaining meat on the bone. This worked pretty well for me. Let me know if you try it. Thank you for the question. I appreciate your visit and hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  8. Sandra Lowry says:

    Wow! I have not had Hoppin’ John in years and that was in Charleston, SC. Your recipe sounds and looks fantastic and I will be making it this week. I really appreciate the recipes you share. They are wonderful reminders of foods I grew up eating. I especially enjoy your explanations of things. Growing up in the country in Virginia, I definitely know what hog jowl is but I am sure there are many people that don’t. Thank you for all you do!

  9. Cathy Montgomery says:

    I am so glad you posted this recipe! The one I found before was complicated and took a long time to prepare. Your recipe for Salisbury steak was the best I have ever tasted! Thank you and keep those wonderful recipes coming!!

  10. Kim says:

    I make something similar to this, but I use ham and cilantro…I think I’ll try it with the hog jowl, sounds tasty 🙂

  11. Daphne says:

    Made this today for New Year’s Day and it was great! My grocery store had smoked jowl and I appreciate the photos because I was not 100% sure how to prepare it. I added chopped celery and a little bit more pork and black eyed peas. Also, my can of chicken broth was two cups, not one as listed. I used it all and the rice was perfect. I also used frozen peas, not canned. Anyhow, thanks for the recipe. I served it with cornbread casserole and collard greens. Now, I look forward to some luck!

  12. Monique says:

    This will be my first time making hoppin john. I really enjoyed the step-by-step instructions. Thanks for posting.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Monique, I hope you like the Hoppin John. It’s an old favorite and I’m happy you’re willing to give it a try. I’m thankful you found Taste of Southern and do hope that you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  13. Great idea for using leftover black eye peas to make a completely different meal. Thanks for sharing.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Nicholas, Thank You for your comments. I’m so glad you stopped by and saw the recipe. I do hope you’ll give it a try and come back and let us know how it turns out. Come back often. Be Blessed!!! –Steve

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