Hoppin’ John

8 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes

Hoppin’ John is a classic Southern dish for New Year’s Day. Hearty flavorful white rice recipe with smoked pork, veggies and black eyed peas.

Old fashioned Southern recipes like Red Beans and Rice and Hoppin’ John can be a delicious one pot Dinner or savory Side. While this dish is a New Year tradition in the south, you can enjoy it year-round whenever you are craving classic comfort food. 

About our Hoppin’ John Recipe

There is a long standing Southern Food tradition of eating Hoppin’ John during the New Year to bring you luck and prosperity. But our Hoppin’ John recipe is so satisfying, you’ll feel like you had good luck just by eating it. Fresh vegetables like green bell peppers, celery, and onions are paired with ham hock, black-eyed peas, and Cajun seasoning to create the perfect Southern-inspired rice dish.

What is Hoppin’ John?

Hoppin’ John, also known as Carolina peas and rice, is a dish that utilizes seasonings, peas, and rice. It’s served in the Southern region of America and can often be found with chopped onion and sliced or cubed meat added in for a complete meal. For the meat, people often use bacon, ham hock, fatback, country sausage, or smoked turkey.

Hoppin’ John Ingredients

  • Ham Hock: Ham hock is part of the shank or leg of the pig and smoked ham hock is used in all kinds of Southern recipes, similar to how you use bacon fat. You could also use leftover Baked Ham from the holidays in this recipe, just add a little bacon grease to get that rich, fatty, smoky flavor.
  • Black Eyed Peas: If you don’t have black-eyed peas, you can use field peas. This is commonly done in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia with black-eyed peas being used in other regions of the South. If you aren’t a fan, you can also use black beans or kidney beans
  • Vegetables: The holy trinity of vegetables in Southern and Cajun cooking is celery, onion, and bell pepper. It’s an aromatic blend that adds so much depth of flavor, with the celery stalks adding earthiness, onion has pungent sweetness, and bell pepper has a fresh bitter note. We also add some fresh garlic cloves to bring more aromatic flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: This rice dish uses chicken broth instead of water to cook the rice for an even more delicious savory flavor. It’s best to use a low-sodium chicken broth and season with salt on your own to control the saltiness.
  • Seasoning: This Hoppin’ John recipe uses a classic Cajun seasoning along with bay leaves and just a teaspoon salt. You don’t want to overdo it with the salt because pork hocks have a lot of natural saltiness.
  • Rice: Any white rice will work as long as it’s long-grain rice that will keep it’s texture while soaking up the broth and flavoring. You don’t want to use cooked rice though, it will get too mushy in the time it would take to get flavorful.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Dutch Oven: A 5-quart dutch oven is the perfect size to make this hearty rice and pork dish. You want to use a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven because they will distribute the heat best and you can layer the flavors by sauteing the veggies, searing the meat, and cooking the dish all in the same pot.
  • Chef’s Knife: A good quality chef’s knife makes all the difference in a home kitchen. You can use it for cutting meat and vegetables alike and the better quality ones will stay sharp for a long time. 

How to Make Hoppin’ John

Time needed: 2 hours and 5 minutes.

  1. Soak and Pick Through Beans

    Soak the black-eyed peas overnight in water, discard floating beans. Look carefully for any rocks.

  2. Cook Ham Hock

    Sear your ham in a large dutch oven, this adds much more flavor to your recipe.

  3. Saute the Vegetables

    Cook the celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic in the oil that was in the pan until softened.

  4. Add the Seasonings

    Add broth and seasonings, simmering on low heat until reduced (this concentrates the flavors).

  5. Cook the Rice

    Cook the rice and the black-eyed peas, covered, in the reduced chicken broth, beans and ham for 20 minutes. Fluff the rice and serve.Hoppin John cooked in dutch oven with wooden spoon

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Hoppin' John
Amount Per Serving
Calories 314 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 18mg6%
Sodium 992mg43%
Potassium 631mg18%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 360IU7%
Vitamin C 26mg32%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Hoppin’ John Recipe Tips & Tricks

Alternatives to Ham Hock

If you don’t have or don’t like a ham hock, you might have noted all the other things that people use in this meal. Occasionally, you’ll see replacements like bacon, fatback, country sausage, or smoked turkey. If you choose to use any of these options, simple replace 1 smoked ham hock with 4 ounces of any other type of meat like above.

Use Dried Beans and Uncooked Rice

Normally we would say save time by adding canned beans or cooked rice to a dish, but for Classic Hoppin’ John, you want to use uncooked rice and dried beans. It takes longer to simmer the beans then cook the rice at the end, but the flavor the dish will get is so worth it!

What to Pair With Hoppin’ John

New Year’s Eve: The traditional way to serve Hoppin’ John for the New Year is with Collard Greens, to represent money, and Cornbread, to represent gold. May it bring you lots of luck and prosperity if you do serve it this way!

Main Dishes: While Hoppin’ John is usually served as the main dish, that doesn’t mean you can’t serve it like a side dish with Southern meat dishes. Serve it with Pulled Pork or BBQ Oven Ribs for more of the delicious pork flavor!

How to Store Hoppin’ John

Store: Don’t leave out more than 2 hours, the recipe is cooked with meat and will grow bacteria after 2 hours. Store leftovers for up to 3 days in a sealed container.

Reheat: You’ll want to reheat your Hoppin’ John in the oven or on the stove top in a covered pot. You can add a splash of broth if it has dried out. 

Freeze: Hoppin’ John can be frozen in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Thaw at half power in your microwave before heating through to prevent overcooking while defrosting.

Ways to Make Hoppin’ John Healthier

If you’re looking for good luck and good health, then there are a few healthy options that you can incorporate into the meal.

  • First, exchange your white rice for a long grain Carolina gold rice or brown, medium grain rice. These types of rice are much healthier than white rice with lower GI ratings.
  • Next, try using olive oil over vegetable oil for a deeper flavor as well as a healthier result. Olive oil is excellent for those looking for a heart-healthy diet due to the levels of fat when compared to vegetable oil.
  • Lastly, make sure that you are using a low fat cut of meat like turkey rather than a ham hock. This will ensure that you are minimized the unhealthy fats in the meal while replacing them with healthier options and cuts.

FAQ for Hoppin’ John

Why do you eat Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day?

In the Southern United States, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is lucky. If you eat your share, you’re said to have a prosperous year. Black-eyed peas are symbolic of pennies. In fact, in a traditional home, a coin is added to the pot during cooking or left under the plate while eating. If you eat collard greens or cooked spinach alongside this meal, you’re furthering your luck due to the color similarities between these foods and cash.

What is the difference between Hoppin John and Black-Eyed Peas?

Hoppin’ John is a dish that has black-eyed peas and black-eyed peas are an ingredient that can be in this dish or be prepared separately. Black-eyed peas are a legume that is similar to black beans that are used in a lot of classic Southern recipes.

Recipe Card

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a classic Southern dish for New Year’s Day. Hearty flavorful white rice recipe with smoked pork, veggies and black eyed peas.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 8 ounces dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 ham hock plus
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white rice uncooked


  • Soak the black-eyed peas overnight in water, discard floating beans, drain them and pick through the beans making sure there are no rocks.
  • In a large dutch oven add the ham and oil on medium heat and cook the meat for 4-5 minutes searing it on all sides then add in the celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook an additional five minutes.
  • Add in the chicken broth, cajun seasoning, salt and bay leaves, and cook, uncovered for 90 minutes (there should be about 2 cups of liquid left).
  • Add in the peas and rice, cover and cook on low for 20 additional minutes then remove the lid, fluff and serve.


Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 992mg | Potassium: 631mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 3mg
Keyword: Hoppin’ John

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The following images were used in previous versions of this post:

Hoppin John Beans and Rice with Ham
Hoppin' Johns in white plate
Hoppin' John in orange dutch oven
Hoppin' John with Black Eyed Peas and Rice

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. I reduced the broth for 2 hours and still have over 5 cups of liquid left . Not sure this recipe works as it should .

    1. In step 1, I talk about soaking them overnight in water before using them the next day. But then yes, you’ll add in the soaked beans in step 4. Hope this clears up any confusion.

      1. I’m back after making this twice! I use a package of Tasso, which I dice. My teenage boys enjoy this dish, and I like it because it does not require a lot of meat. A healthier take on jambalaya. Lots of servings…

  2. Love this recipe. Don’t just serve this on New Year day, I am serving this up on game day. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I grew up in South Texas and had not heard of this until recently! Of course, we aren’t the “true” South, but oh well. I can’t wait to try this soon!

  4. Thanks for including all ways this recipe can be varied. Definitely helpful for those of us who don’t live in the South and have trouble finding the authentic ingredients!

  5. Yes… maybe Hoppin’ John is a holiday meal, but I made it last night. We really enjoyed it! Easy to make and delicious to eat! Will be making it again. Plus, I am sharing the recipe with with my sister.

  6. This was a great way of incorporating black eyed peas in a new way into your New Years Day. We loved it!

  7. The photo shows the ham is diced. You never say to dice the ham, and you never say when to add the black-eyed peas. This recipe is incomplete. Thank god for youtube

    1. I was thinking the same thing. She never said to do anything to the ham hock. I kept visioning this hunk of meat in the dish. lol
      I assumed she either shredded it or cut if up.