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Traditional Hoppin’ John Recipe

If you want to wow your taste buds and impress your friends and family, then you need to whip up this Hoppin’ John recipe.

This classic Southern dish is the perfect combo of rice, beans, and bacon. It’s bursting with flavor in every bite.

The name might not give much away, but this dish is anything but bland.

Hoppin’ John Recipe Served on a White Bowl
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Black-eyed peas are the star of the show in Hoppin’ John, and they bring a big punch of flavor to the dish.

They’re paired with rice and bacon to create a mouthwatering combo that will have you coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds)!

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a traditional Southern dish that is sure to satisfy.

Made with black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon, and flavored with a variety of seasonings, this dish is full of flavor.

While it’s usually served as a side dish, it is so delicious, you might just want to make it the main event.

This dish is also known as Carolina Peas and Rice in North and South Carolina, and it is a New Year’s Day tradition in those parts.

It’s said to bring good luck to all who eat it. But let’s be real, black-eyed peas are lucky any day of the year.

There are a few theories floating around about the name “Hoppin’ John.”

The most popular one is that it’s a messed-up version of the French “pois à pigeon,” which means “pigeon peas.”

Regardless of where it got its name, Hoppin’ John is a tasty and classic dish that is loved by many.

It’s a true Southern comfort classic!

If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time to give it a go.

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With just a handful of ingredients and a little bit of time, you can have a delicious batch of Hoppin’ John ready to gobble up.

Flavorful Hoppin John Recipe

Hoppin’ John Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you need to make Hoppin’ John:

  • Bacon: Cut into 1-inch pieces. This salty and savory ingredient adds flavor and richness to Hoppin’ John. You could use smoked ham too.
  • Vegetables: A small green or red pepper, chopped celery ribs, and sliced green onions add plenty of flavor to this dish.
  • Rice: Uncooked long-grain rice is the classic choice for Hoppin’ John. But you can also use medium-grain or wild rice.
  • Seasonings: A mix of cayenne pepper, dried basil, thyme, oregano, and a bay leaf gives Hoppin’ John its distinct flavor.
  • Black-Eyed Peas: A key ingredient in Hoppin’ John. These flavorful and nutritious legumes are usually canned or frozen. Just be sure to rinse and drain them before using them.

How to Make Hoppin’ John

Here’s how you make Hoppin’ John:

  1. First, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it is crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place it on a paper towel to drain. Keep some of the drippings.
  1. Add the chopped pepper, celery, and onions to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Sauté the vegetables until they are almost tender.
  1. Stir in the rice, water, and seasonings. Cover the skillet and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.
  1. Add the drained black-eyed peas and cooked bacon to the skillet. Simmer the mixture for another few minutes.
  1. Discard the bay leaf before serving and get stuck in.
Hoppin’ John on a White Ceramic Bowl Top View

Recipe Tips and Tricks

If you want to make the absolute best Hoppin’ John around, then check out these recipe tips and tricks:

  • Use high-quality ingredients: While Hoppin’ John is a simple dish, the quality of your ingredients can make a big difference. Be sure to use high-quality black-eyed peas, bacon, and seasonings for the best flavor.
  • Don’t skimp on the seasoning: Hoppin’ John is all about the flavor, so don’t be afraid to go big on the seasonings.
  • Experiment with different combinations of herbs and spices. This way you can find the perfect balance for your taste buds.
  • Use the right type of rice: To get a perfect consistency, it’s important to use the right type of rice. Long-grain rice is the most common choice. But you can also use medium-grain or even wild rice if you want to mix things up.
  • Cook the rice and peas separately: Cooking them separately can help prevent the rice from getting mushy. Just be sure to add the seasonings to both the rice and peas so that everything is evenly flavored.
  • Greens: Adding collard greens or spinach to Hoppin’ John is a popular variation, but any greens will work – Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, etc.
  • Tomatoes: For a bit of flavor and heat, try adding diced tomatoes or a jalapeno pepper to your Hoppin’ John. Bell peppers are also a great option for flavor alone.
  • Cheese: Sprinkle a bit of cheese over the top for added richness.
  • Beans: While you can use canned or frozen black-eyed peas for Hoppin’ John, starting with dried beans will give you more flavor. Just follow the recipe and simmer until the beans are nice and soft.
  • Slow Cooker: You can also make Hoppin’ John in a slow cooker or crock pot. Cook down the vegetables in a pan first, then add them to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Cook it on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until the beans are softened but not mushy.

How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat

To store Hoppin’ John, simply transfer it to an air-tight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days.

If you want to freeze Hoppin’ John, be sure to let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container.

It will keep in the freezer for up to three months.

To reheat it, simply transfer it to a pot or microwave-safe dish and heat it until it’s hot and bubbly.

If it seems a little dry, you can add a splash of water or broth to help moisten it up.

For a protein-packed and flavorful brunch, try adding a fried egg on top of your leftovers.

Or, switch things up and turn your leftovers into a hearty Hoppin’ John soup.

Just add them to a Dutch oven with some vegetable broth.

Traditional Hoppin’ John Recipe

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

343

kcal

This Hoppin’ John recipe is a Southern favorite! Learn how to make it with just 5 ingredients, plus, learn about the history of this classic dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 small green or red pepper, chopped

  • 2 celery ribs, chopped

  • 6 green onions, sliced

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 can black-eyed peas (15 ounces), rinsed and drained

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it is crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place it on a paper towel to drain. Keep 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet.
  • Add the chopped pepper, celery, and onions to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Sauté the vegetables until they are almost tender.
  • Stir in the rice, water, and seasonings. Cover the skillet and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes.
  • Add the drained black-eyed peas and cooked bacon to the skillet. Simmer the mixture for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Discard the bay leaf before serving and enjoy!
Hoppin’ John Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

3 thoughts on “Traditional Hoppin’ John Recipe”

  1. Hopping John is so good. I grew up in Alabama & my Mom would make it all the time. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe with
    memories of my Mom.
    Ann ♡

    Reply

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