Hoppin’ John

Heather says:

In my corner of the south, Hoppin’ John is a traditional New Year’s dish believed to bring good luck. I’m not superstitious, but some traditions, like this one appeal to me. Every year on New Year’s Day we serve Hoppin’ John, collard greens, and cornbread. Hoppin’ John is a nice, flavorful version of beans and rice and black eyed peas don’t need to soak as long as some other varieties of dried beans.

I adapted this recipe from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, one of my most favorite cookbooks, ever.

Additionally, I found the picture lurking in the depths of my external hard drive. How is that for convenient?

Get the free printable grocery list from SayMmm.com.

Hoppin’ John

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas (washed and soaked 4 hours)
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cups stock (you can use pork if you have it, I usually use chicken or turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper *optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups uncooked long grain rice

Cook the bacon in a 4 qt pot until the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the onions to the pan, cooking until soft. Add the stock, pepper (both kinds), and salt to the pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the soaked black-eyed peas to the broth. Cook uncovered for 25 minutes. The stock should be simmering, stir it a couple of times. The goal isn’t to cook the peas to mush. There is still a bit more cooking to go.

While the peas are simmering, coarsely chop the bacon, and add most of it to the pot. Reserve a little to toss in at the end.

Add the rice and tomatoes to the broth and peas. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to low. The rice and peas should simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. DO NOT UNCOVER. Let the rice and beans steam / soak up the broth for an additional five minutes.

Stir in the reserved bacon and serve.


Submitted to Mouthwatering Monday and Tasty Tuesday and Blessed with Grace.


  1. Betsy on December 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I love Hoppin John, too. And The Lee Bros is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I love the slow cooked pork butt in there. So good. I think New Years is my favorite food traditions of all the holidays.

  2. Mrs Happy Homemaker on December 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing your recipe! I am also one of those that makes Hoppin John for New Years & so does my mother. Mama also cooks a big bot of greens to go along with it.
    My recent post Red Velvet Cheesecake

  3. JanetLee on December 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    My family recipe for hoppin john does not include tomato. Tomato is for red rice. One version of the story of Hoppin' John is that he was a former slave who worked as a laborer around Charleston and his wife would make him the bean and rice dish to take for dinner (lunch). It was so popular that after he was injured (and started Hoppin') and couldn't work any longer, he began to push a cart around town, selling the dish to other workers.

    • HeatherSolos on December 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

      I like your story so much better than the one in the book saying it might be a mispronunciation of pois de pigeon from the West Indies.

  4. Jenny King on December 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    doesn't the tomato keep the rice from getting fully soft? It has caused me problems in the past so I am always chicken to try a recipe where they are added together.

    Would it still be considered Hoppin' John if I served the rice separate? I mean, I know I can do anything I want but if I'm trying to observe a tradition (and have a prosperous New Year by doing so), I don't want to be un-authentic!

    • HeatherSolos on December 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

      As JanetLee mentioned, don't be scared to omit the tomatoes. I've left them out before simply because I wasn't in the mood for them. I get both sides of the tomato debate, but I always get called on not being Southern, so I didn't want tot tackle this one. 😉

  5. Christina on December 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    This sounds so good, I had never heard of it before! My husband is from PA Dutch country so we make pork and sauerkraut every New Years.
    My recent post Chicken Stew Provencal

  6. Keter Magick on December 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I've done Hoppin' John every year for the past 35 years. My recipe is similar to yours except that I use Louisiana Hot Sauce (the more flavorful cousin of Tabasco) instead of red pepper flakes and I put in a minced garlic clove and a diced green bell pepper. When I can get it, I use Andouille sausage instead of bacon. A vegetarian friend I knew some years back made a variety with diced turnip and carrot, which was odd but good. Hoppin' John freezes and reheats very well, so I make extra for lunches.

    • HeatherSolos on December 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      Take a peek at the collard greens post. I'm a big fan of andouille sausage, too. Heck, I should probably just make the andouille sausage dressing instead of cornbread. I mean, it IS a holiday, right. 🙂

  7. rachel on December 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I LOVE Hoppin John!

    can't wait to see you!
    My recent post Mouthwatering Monday

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