Skippin’ Jenny (aka Hoppin’ John, Black-eyed peas)

Eat Hoppin John (aka Black-eyed Peas) on New Years for  a prosperous and lucky 2018!

Hoppin John

[Jump to recipe]

My favorite way to serve black-eyed peas is as a Hoppin’ John which is a pot of black-eyed peas cooked with a ham hock, a few vegetables, and a touch of something spicy.  As with most traditional dishes, there are several variations of Hoppin’ John.  My version uses ham hock and smoked ham or andouille sausage. The spice comes from Tabasco and homemade pepper sauce which is basically a chile pepper infused vinegar.  The peas are served over rice and with my favorite side for anything served in a bowl – buttermilk cornbread.

Eating black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s Day has been a tradition in this household for a very long time. Of course this comes as no surprise having been raised in the south.  In case you didn’t know this already, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is intended to provide good luck and prosperity throughout the year.  According to Wikipedia, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day goes back to the middle ages which I found very interesting. Serving the peas with greens such as collard greens, turnip greens or kale, increases one’s potential prosperity because greens are “green” representing money.  However, I like to go for the “gold” and serve my peas with cornbread.

When Hoppin’ John is served the day after New Year’s, it’s called Skippin’ Jenny, and provides even more luck for a prosperous year.  If you are like us, you’ll have this dish on January 1 and 2 and a couple more times in winter, racking up as much luck as possible. Does it work? Who knows.  We’re obviously not going hungry, so something’s going our way.

Hoppin’ John aka Skippin’ Jenny

Black-eyed Peas with smoked ham or sausage (aka Hoppin John) #blackeyed #peas @mjskitchen

Hoppin’ John (Black-eyed peas) Recipe
20 mins
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
When served on New Year's Day, black-eyed peas brings good luck and prosperity throughout the year.  This recipe can be made from fresh, frozen, or dried black-eyed peas.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern US
Yields: 6 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 16 oz. bag of frozen black-eyed peas*
  • 1 small to medium smoked ham hock (about 1 pound)
  • 6 to 8 cups water or chicken stock or both
  • 1 - 14 oz. can diced tomato or 1.5 cups fresh or frozen, diced
  • 2 cups smoked ham, chopped or 3 Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bunch kale or Swiss Chard, chopped (optional)
  • dash hot sauce (Tabasco)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pepper Sauce*
  • 2 cups water for rice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • *Use a few dashes of the pickling vinegar from any jar of hot pickled peppers over each serving.
  1. Melt bacon drippings in large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium low heat. When hot add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are translucent.

  2. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Add ham hock and peas. Cook 30 minutes stirring occasionally.  If the ham hock is not completely submerged, turn over a few times while cooking. (Add additional water as needed during most of the cook time.)

  3. Add ham, tomatoes, herbs, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes or until the peas are done.
  4. Start the rice. (See instructions below.)
  5. Remove ham hock. Let cool enough to pick off the meat.
  6. While the ham hock is cooling, add the chopped greens (if using) to the peas and continue to simmer.

  7. Return the ham hock meat to the peas and discard the bone and fat.  Remove from heat and serve.

  8. To serve, scoop some rice into a bowl. Top with the Hoppin Johns.  Top with a few dashes of pepper sauce*.

Serve with Buttermilk Cornbread*.
  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil with 1/4 tsp. salt
  2. Add the rice, cover, and reduce heat for a simmer.
  3. Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Kitchen Notes

Black-eyed peas – Frozen peas work great, but if you have time, dried peas are best in my opinion. If using dried peas, brine for 4 hours in a brine of 1 Tbsp. salt and enough water to cover the peas and them some.  Once brined, you can either pressure cook the peas with the ham hock until “almost” done  (medium for about 8 minutes) or cook the peas with the vegetables using the same timing and instructions as the recipe.


Canned black-eyed peas can also be used; however, because they are already cooked, they should be added during the last 10 minutes of cook time. In other words, cook the ham hock and vegetables with the seasoning for about 50 minutes, then add the canned black-eyed peas and cook another 10 minutes.


Ham Hock – If you can’t find smoked ham hock, you can substitute with andouille sausage, using both sausage and smoked ham.  We've made this with andouille many times and it's excellent. 


Pepper Sauce


Vegetarian or vegan version – There are a couple of ways to make Hoppin’ John vegetarian/vegan. I’ve cooked dried peas in the pressure cooker with 2 Tbsp. chipotle paste and the rest of the ingredients (vegetables and seasoning) and it turned out pretty darn good. You can also substitute the meat with a vegetarian sausage. I’ve never tried it, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be good.


Serve with Buttermilk Cornbread


Leftovers– One of the things we like to do with the leftover peas and cornbread is to cut up some of the cornbread in a bowl and smother it with the black-eyed peas. Add a few dashes of pepper sauce and you have another delicious meal!



Hoppin John and cornbread


Another meal suggestion – Add ½ bunch kale about 5 minutes before serving and simmer until kale is tender.  Serve as a side for fried catfish.  Set a bowl of pickled peppers on the table and suggest to at the peppers with the catfish and spoon some of the pepper sauce into the black-eyed peas.


black-eyed peas and cornbread


Here’s to a happy and prosperous new year!






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77 Responses to “Skippin’ Jenny (aka Hoppin’ John, Black-eyed peas)”

  1. Karen (Back Road Journal) January 3, 2018 at 11:25 am #

    Yes to black-eyed peas to bring you good luck but I’ve never heard about Skippin’ Jenny for the day after. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try and double up on your luck. 🙂 Your version sounds terrific.

    • mj January 4, 2018 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks Karen!

  2. Anne@ASaladForAllSeasons January 4, 2017 at 6:45 pm #

    I’ve never tried Hoppin John or Skipping Jenny, but this dish looks really soul satisfying! And I can use all the good luck I can find this year! Hope your holidays were wonderful and wishing you all the best in the year ahead!

    • mj January 6, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      Thank you Anne! I think you would love Hoppin John. It’s like eating a big, tasty bowl of vegetables. 🙂

  3. Erin Muir January 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Could I do this in a crock pot. If so, any tips on how that’d be done?

    • mj January 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

      Erin, I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be done in a crockpot; however, since I don’t have a crockpot I can’t really tell you exactly how to do it. There are several slow cooker hoppin John recipes on google, so you could check the timing on those. Sorry I couldn’t give you exact instructions. I hope you do try it. We made it yesterday with andouille and I am still enjoying the flavors in my mouth.:). Happy 2015 and thanks for your question!

  4. Javelin Warrior February 6, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    With so many other health benefits, of course beans would also bring good luck! These sound wonderful, MJ, and I would definitely pair the Hoppin’ John w/ cornbread as I’m not a huge fan of rice. Although perhaps with the spice in the beans, the blandness of rice would work just fine… Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Zachery January 30, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, Skippin’ Jenny (aka Hoppin’ John, Black-eyed peas) | MJ's Kitchen, thanks for the good read!
    — Zachery

  6. Rita Bose January 26, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    Wow! I love black-eyed peas! Awesome recipe-Looks delicious!

  7. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) January 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Jenny and John! Loving it!
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    On the Gluten Free Fridays tab we have new badges for you to display on your blog. There are a few different choices for you. There are varying sizes as well. If you’ve had a featured recipe in the past, feel free to grab one of those badges as well! They are free for the taking; use as you wish! Thanks for supporting our GF community and spreading the word!

    Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

    See you at the link up this week!

    Cindy from

  8. Richelle January 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I love that it’s titled “Hoppin’ Jenny”! I normally make my Hoppin’ John using field peas, but this year I forgot to buy some while we were down south visiting family, so I made it was black eye peas. I really wish I had seen this recipe first! I will definitely try out the andouille sausage– seems like a no brainer! I am excited to read through your site!

  9. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 10, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Happy New Year, MJ! Oh my gosh, I still remember you were talking about the tradition of eating Black Eye Peas from last year. It’s been a year already?? I love that you eat this with rice – it sounds and looks very comforting and inviting. I’m excited to see what you will share this year. I can’t wait! 🙂

  10. Laura (Got Chocolate) January 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE beans and ham! this would be PERFECT for our chilly weather here in Seattle. 😀

  11. Biren @ Roti n Rice January 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Haha MJ! You got me laughing! I really like Hoppin’ John turning into Skippin’ Jenny. I think I need to make me some Hoppin’ John next year. 🙂 This dish reminds me of a restaurant we love in Ft Collins, Colorado called Black Eyed Pea. Of course one of their sides is black eye pea and it is delicious. The other side I love there is their fried okra. All sounds very Southern, doesn’t it?

  12. Reese@SeasonwithSpice January 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I love the sound of Hoppin John, MJ! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe which I think could easily add to my new staple food. We just bought a ton of beans to be stored in the house!! My mom uses both black-eyed peas and pork in savory rice dumpling for special dumpling day. Learning about all the Southwestern fare from you so far, I think my mom (being a traditional Malaysian-Chinese) would do so much better with the foods in your area than the hot dishes in Minnesota when she comes visit us.

  13. Rhonda January 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    we always have Hoppin John on New Year’s and then a ton of left overs. This year I took some leftover beans and added some tomato and taco seasoning and turned them into bean tacos…hello delicious. It’s good stuff. I had no idea about the skippin Jenny part though.

  14. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Happy New Year to You MJ! I’m sorry I didn’t see this post sooner… for some reason, your email notifications have been going into my spam file so I will have to be more attentive on that front. I had no idea about the hop, skippin’ luck involved with this dish – how fun – something to look forward to next year…I will have to make note. The inclusion of ham/sausage in legume dishes really adds to the flavour and interest. It looks very pretty too – lovely lighting on your photos MJ. All the best for 2013 MJ.

  15. Purabi Naha January 7, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Skippin Jenny looks super-delicious! Loved the photograph.

  16. Tessa January 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Looks delicious! I hope that you had a wonderful New Year!

  17. titch wardall January 5, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    This looks great! I love pulses, beans and grains- think they’re great when you’re on a budget to bulk up meat dishes, but they look yummy here being put centre stage!

  18. Magic of Spice January 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Your version reminds me so much of my dads…looks wonderful!
    Happy New Year MJ!

  19. Soni January 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Love this recipe! I never knew black eyed peas brought good luck! This looks like the perfect dish to start the new year 🙂 Happy New Year MJ!!

  20. Zsuzsa January 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Very nice Peach Lady! Happy New Year!

  21. Adora's Box January 4, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    I love the photos but love the recipe more. Pork and beans make magic when cooked together and I just love them. I always see ham hock at the supermarket deli but have never used it. I just found a reason to. Happy new year MJ!

    • mj January 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks so much Adora! Yes, you do need to pick up a ham hock. It works great with black-eyed peas as well as white beans.

  22. All That I'm Eating January 4, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    This sounds so good, would love to try it.

  23. Kadri January 4, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Never been eating black eyed beans. It is not traditional here in Europe but you inspired me to try it. Happy new year from Switzerland

    • mj January 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks Kadri! Nice to meet you and a Happy New year!

  24. Sissi January 4, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    It seems we are both starting New Year’s posts with legumes 😉 I had no idea about this Southern tradition, but I love it! The dish looks wonderful and I hope it brings you happiness and prosperity. Happy New Year!

    • mj January 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! Just saw your chickpea recipe. Love it! Lots of happiness and prosperity to you as well my friend!

  25. Sanjeeta kk January 4, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    Aha.. at least this time I could connect with the food ingredient in your post..Black eyed beans! I use it quite often to make Indian curry to go with chapatti or basmati rice. Love your take on these beans with some exotic herbs and sauces.
    Have a wonderful year ahead, MJ. Love and hugs to you.

    • mj January 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Oh that’s so funny! I feel the same way at times with your recipes! And I just learned something else from you – curried black-eyed peas! Never would have thought of that. I’ll have to check out your site to see if you have a recipe. Lots of love and hugs back at cha!

  26. wok with ray January 3, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    Oh yes, ham hock is really the best in flavoring this dish and even better when you added Tabasco. You are the best when it comes to making delicious comfort food like this, MJ. Have a Happy and more successful New Year to you and Bobby. 🙂

    • mj January 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks so much Ray! We do like our comfort food! 🙂 Happy New Year my friend!

  27. Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats January 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    This is something new to me as I have not heard of Skippin’ Jenny myself. Hmm, coincidentally Jenny happens to be my momsie’s name. What a dish and I learn something new today again :). Happy New Year to you too!! ♥

  28. Carolyn Jung January 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Never heard the Skippin’ Jenny moniker before. But I like it! Heck, anything that promises even more luck and prosperity in the New Year sounds like a can’t-miss dish. 😉

  29. Swathi January 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    I am going to try hoppin john recipe next year. Love to try it. Happy new year to you and your family dear friend.

  30. Terra January 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Since I moved to the south, I have said I need to make Hoppin’ John…..but three years later, and I still haven’t made the dish. I love reading all the different variations, they all sound fantastic:-) I love love that you called yours Skippin’ Jenny, and the additions to your recipe are perfect to me! Hugs, Terra

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      Thanks Terra! Three years in the south and no Hoppin John! Shame on you! 🙂 You need to change that. I know you’ll love this dish!

  31. Jane January 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Happy New Year, MJ! I never really like black eyes peas, not sure why, but I do have some in my pantry, so I might give this a try. Mmmm.. the ham hock sounds like it would flavor them so well! And that pepper sauce… I think I might have to make that! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      Thanks Jane! Well, if you have some peas, then you definitely need to use them. Gotta try them with the ham hock!

  32. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings January 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    I love a dish with a name! Why is it called Hoppin’ John or Skippin’ Jenny anyway? OK, time to “google it!” My husband’s name is Jonathan; I’m Jennifer…so this dish is perfect for us! I’ll be making this soon…

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Thanks Jen! I have no idea but if you find out, let me know. 🙂

  33. Nads January 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Another one of my favorites. Me and my comfort food. I cut the rest of the Christmas ham off the bone today and have the hock boiling to make stock. Looks like we make our hoppin’ John almost identically. I don’t have any black-eyed peas in the house right now, even though I make hoppin John year round. I do, however, have a bag of speckled butter beans in the freezer, so guess what we’ve having tonight? I think I will get one of those bags of green chili’s you put in my freezer out and have it to add for those who can eat the peppers. Maybe this will give us some brownie points for the fates and they will grant us prosperity for the coming year anyway.

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      Thanks Nads! When I was making this dish I was thinking of that wonderful ham you served us and wishing I had some! I definitely would have loved the bone, but you wouldn’t give it to me. 🙂 Oh butter beans! Haven’t had those in quite a while. Bet they were good!

  34. Sawsan @chef in disguise January 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Happy new year MJ 🙂
    I hope this year will bring you luck, laughter and success.
    I have to say I did not know about black eyed peas and luck until I started blogging 🙂 We usually eat black eyed peas in stew and we use the green ones in the pods. That being said I am finding all the wonderful black eyed peas I am seeing these days are really interesting

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Thanks Sawson! Growing up we ate the green ones because my granddaddy grew them. Nowadays, I can’t find them, so I but dried peas. A little different but just as good.

  35. Vicki Bensinger January 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    This dish looks delicious! I am embarrassed to say that I’ve never had black-eyed peas. I should be ashamed of myself. Now that I see your’s I’m going to have to make them. Happy New Year!

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Thanks Vicki and yes, you should be ashamed of yourself. 🙂 Not really. There are tons of foods I’ve never tried. I love discover new ingredients and dishes!

  36. Dara January 3, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Looks delish! I love black eyed peas. I hope it brings you a lot of luck.

  37. Food Jaunts January 3, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    I didn’t know it got a different name the next day lol. I always thought it got changed to “Jenny” when you used smoked turkey instead of pork 😛 It looks great MJ – you know I’m a sucker for this dish and I’m loving your version.

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Thanks FJ! I have used smoked turkey in Hoppin John before and it was great! I just think the black-eyed peas go with anything smoked meat.

  38. Katerina January 3, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Only recently have I come to learn about the meaning behind the beans for the northern Americans. This dish looks very tasty and I wish to you to bring you Prosperity and Happiness at your home!

  39. Debra January 3, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I used to always make Okie Caviar (a black-eyed pea dip), but lately for New Year’s I have just added black eyed peas to chili along with black beans. This sounds wonderful! I never knew about the Skippin’ Jenny lore.

    • mj January 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      Thanks Debra! I never thought of adding black-eyed peas to chili. Great idea!

  40. CJ at Food Stories January 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    I love your version, MJ – I usually make mine on new years eve and then have some on the 31st & 1st …. Happy Prosperous New Year!

  41. Treat and Trick January 3, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    I love the way you combine the black eyes peas with veggies and herbs, it makes a a satisfying meal. Happy New Year to you and family!

  42. Giulietta | Alterkitchen January 3, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    I really love black-eyed peas, and I didn’t know anything about this Middle Age tradition.. very interesting! And a very good recipe 🙂

  43. Raymund January 3, 2013 at 1:21 am #

    This sounds good specially with that rice, yum!

  44. Jen @JuanitasCocina January 2, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    We had our black eyed peas yesterday for luck! But yours look better than ours (sssshhhh…don’t tell my wife!)…LOL!

    • mj January 3, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      Thanks! I promise I won’t tell. 🙂

  45. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies January 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I never heard of the whole black eyed pea tradition until moving to the south–I went to the grocery store on NYE and there was a big case of cooked black eyed peas in the produce section! This looks fabulous and THANK YOU for the vegetarian suggestions too!

    • mj January 3, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      Thanks Kristen! Oh yes – black-eyed peas are big in the south! My granddad grew them so we had them a lot at our table. I think you’ll love the vegetarian version. Happy new year!

  46. Ramona January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I love black-eyed peas…. and this is the time of year to enjoy them. We ate something similar on New Years Day as well. I need to try it with a ham hock next time.

    Wishing you and your hubby a very Happy New Year! Hope ever day of 2013 holds special moments, delicious meal and loads of happiness. 🙂

    • mj January 3, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks Ramona! Oh I saw your peas and greens! Looked mighty delicious! Gotta love our traditions. Happy new year Darlin’!

  47. ChgoJohn January 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    YUM! You had me at ham hock. I use one when I make split pea soup and I really enjoy the flavor they bring to the soup. Using one here, along with andouille sausage, must make this dish something special. I may have missed the the January 1st “deadline” for luck but I’ll be sure to make this one evening this Winter. Thanks, MJ!
    I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you.

    • mj January 3, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks John! Oh yes! Nothing like throwing in a ham hock to a pot of beans! Happy new year!

  48. john@kitchenriffs January 2, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I never knew this dish was called Skippin’ Jenny when served on January 2nd! Love this bit of trivia. I learned to love the tremendous flavor of black-eyed peas when we lived in Texas, where this legume is used in all sorts of dishes. But Hoppin’ John is definitely one of the best. I often make a soup out of the dish, adding collard greens (thus adding another “lucky” food to my dinner table!). Lately I’ve been cooking dried black-eyed peas without soaking them first, and I find that unless they’re really old and dried out that they take an hour (or even less) to cook. Something to experiment with! Anyway, great post, and Happy New Year!

    • mj January 3, 2013 at 9:13 am #

      Thanks John! Brining the peas really shortens the cook time and, personally, I like the texture better than just jumping in and cooking them. The salt in the brine helps keep the skin intact. Happy new year!

  49. Angie@Angie's Recipes January 2, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I adore black eyed peas. This looks hearty and delicious.


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