Slow Cooker Purple Hull Peas
Purple Hull Peas are about as southern as a glass of sweet iced tea. This easy Slow Cooker Purple Hull Peas recipe is versatile, flavored with ham, and is sure to be a crowd-pleasing dish. The easiest way to prepare a southern delicacy.
A southern summer is only complete if your meal has a side serving of purple hull peas, a slice of tomato, and cornbread. These peas are plump, creamy, and delicious—a true southern summertime classic.
What Are Purple Hull Peas
Purple Hull peas are enclosed in long pods that are green when young and dark burgundy when mature. When shelled, the peas are smooth, ivory/green, and have a distinctive purple-pink eye. They are popular southern field peas.
Difference Between Purple Hull Peas and Black Eyed Peas
Purple Hull Peas are also known as Pink Eyed Peas. These are close cousins to the Black Eyed Pea. However, they have a slight difference in appearance and flavor.
Black-eye peas are paler in color and have dark eyes. They have an earthy taste, whereas Purple Hull Peas have a pink ring around the eye and are creamier and soft.
Where to Purchase Peas
If you’re from the south, these popular peas can be found fresh during summer at grocery stores or farmer’s markets. In addition, they can be found in the freezer section if you catch them off-season. Fresh peas are lovely, but freshly frozen peas are just as tasty.
Fresh Peas: You will likely find fresh peas in the pod at a local farmer’s market. These will need to be shelled and rinsed before cooking.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Easy to Prepare– The slow cooker does all of the work for you. Just add all of the ingredients and turn it on.
No Babysitting Required– Set it to low (or high) and let it go.
Few Ingredients– Very few ingredients are needed for these delicious peas.
Inexpensive– Peas are inexpensive and a great way to stretch your dollar.
New Year’s Day Dish
Most southern families, as a tradition, will eat turnip or collard greens, peas, pork, and cornbread for a New Year’s meal and wash it down with a glass of sweet tea. The perfect way to start a new year.
The most common peas for New Year’s Day are black-eyed peas, but Pink Eye Peas are also at the top of the list and my favorite. Either one is meant to bring you good luck throughout the year.
My cast iron skillet cornbread works nicely as a side to these peas.
For the correct measurements, see the recipe card below.
Slow Cooker Purple Hull Peas have a fresh and creamy taste; therefore, very few ingredients are needed for this recipe.
Purple Hull Peas– for this recipe, I used freshly frozen peas. However, freshly shelled peas would also work nicely. I do not recommend using canned peas for this recipe.
Ham Bone or Ham Pieces– I used a leftover ham bone I had in the freezer. This is a great way to use leftovers. A cup of diced ham works as well.
Water or Chicken Broth– Cover the peas with either chicken broth or a combination of both.
Seasonings — salt, black pepper, garlic, onion, or onion powder (your choice). If using ham, little salt may be needed.
How to Make Southern Purple Hull Peas
Slow Cooker Method:
- Place frozen peas in a colander and rinse with water. Remove any peas that have bad spots—place them in a crock pot.
- Add the ham bone and season as desired. Cover with water or chicken/vegetable stock.
- Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Remove ham bone and cartilage.
- Enjoy with a slice of cornbread.
Note: I used 8 cups of frozen peas. This recipe will work for 4 cups as well. Adjust the liquid as needed.
Stove Top Method:
- Place peas in a colander and rinse with water.
- Add them to a large pot. Add your choice of meat (ham, ham hocks, bacon, salt pork) and cover with cold water or chicken broth.
- Bring the peas to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Continue to check the water level and add more if it gets low.
*As a note, all stoves cook differently. Adjust the cooking time as needed and keep an eye on the liquid level. You don’t want your peas to run out of liquid.
How to Serve Purple Hull Peas
Purple Hulls can be served and prepared in several ways. They can be boiled with meat, eaten as a side dish, added to stews or soup recipes, or eaten in a cold salad. Cooked peas are very tasty served over white rice with some crispy bacon or country ham on the side. In the south, peas are traditionally cooked with meat and served with greens, sliced tomatoes, and cornbread—the perfect summertime meal.
For another bean dish, be sure to check out this fresh bean salad. It’s super fast, made with canned beans, and refreshing.
Tips and Variations:
- Peas are a southern staple in most homes in the south. One might likely have them dried, home canned, or frozen.
- Add bacon and bacon fat to the slow cooker for more flavor.
- Add vegetable broth as the liquid instead of water.
- Swap out the ham for smoked sausage.
- Add a few sliced jalapenos for a little bit of spice and extra heat.
- Leftovers are great added to salads.
- A splash of hot sauce is so good on top of a serving.
What to Use Instead of Ham:
How to Store Leftovers:
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To Reheat: Place in the microwave until hot or heat in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Other Southern Dishes:
Slow Cooker Purple Hull Peas
- 8 cups purple hull peas freshly frozen, or fresh
- ham bone or ham pieces use leftover ham if you have it or (see Notes)
- 8-10 cups water or chicken broth
- seasonings- as desired salt, pepper, garlic, onion
- Place frozen peas in a colander and rinse with water. Remove any peas that have bad spots.
- Place peas in a slow cooker. Add the ham bone and season as desired.
- Cover with water or chicken/vegetable stock, Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- Remove ham bone and cartilage.