Hoppin' John is the Southern United States' version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout the Caribbean. It consists of field peas or crowder peas (black-eyed peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon or sausages, ham hock or fatback bacon.

Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a year filled with luck, and it's eaten by everyone. The peas, or beans with little black "eyes," signify coins. Fill your plate with them and your cup will run over, as in the 23rd Psalm, perhaps. Collard greens along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the colour of money. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny", and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year, it is hoped.

Hoppin' John
Servings:Serves 8
Calories per serving:591
Ready in:2 hours 50 minutes
Prep. time:20 minutes
Cook time:2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty:Average difficulty
Recipe author:Chef
First published:24th October 2012

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I'd be hoppin' mad if someone served me this 🙂


The rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed


Printable 🖨 shopping 🛒 list & 👩‍🍳 method for this recipe


  1. If using canned black eyed peas, start at step 5
  2. Sort the peas and remove grit etc.
  3. Soak in cold water, rinse and drain, repeat a few times
  4. In a large pot, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to stand for 2 hours. Drain and rinse again.
  5. To a large pot, add the soaked black-eyed peas, the ham hock, the chopped onion and all of the herbs and spices. If using spicy sausages I would wait for 1 hour before adding them
  6. Add water or chicken stock and bring to the boil
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the peas are tender. (do not boil as the beans will burst)
  8. Remove bacon, ham hock or sausages and cut into bite-sized pieces
  9. As with all rice, rinse for a minute, in a sieve under cold running water to remove any excess starch
  10. Return meat to pot. Stir in rice, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper


Try 450 g (1 lb) meaty ham hocks or 450 g (1 lb) thick spicy sausage instead of the bacon.

Serving suggestion

Serve with collard greens, cornbread or fresh crusty bread.

Chef's note

If you like a bit more gravy then reduce the amount of rice. You could of course increase the amount of stock but you would need to adjust the seasoning as well.

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