Hoppin’ John Soup

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It is easy to whip up this famous Hoppin John soup using affordable pantry staples and enjoy it on New Year’s day for good luck or any day of the year.

You’ll also love Instant Pot Collard Greens, Southern Butterbeans or Scalloped Corn.


A bowl of Hoppin’ John soup garnished with bacon, spring onion and cress

Do you know what happens when you eat black-eyed beans (the main ingredient in Hoppin’ John soup) on New Year’s day?

As the story goes, black-eyed beans (black-eyed peas) are meant to bring you luck if you eat them on New Year’s day so its great to serve them at every New Year’s celebraton. Every little bit helps right? Alternatively I also serve Crockpot Pinto Beans or Instant Pot Black Beans.

Try this famous Hoppin’ John soup dish with this delicious and easy-to-make recipe. recipesfromapantry.com - #hoppinjohnrecipe #southernhoppinjohn #easyhoppinjohn #blackeyedpeas #blackeyedbeans #hoppinjohnsoup

Hoppin John Soup

Some just call this dish Hoppin’ John, others may refer to it as Hoppin’ John soup or Hoppin’ John stew. Whatever name you call it, you’ll love its flavour and heartiness.

I really like the simplicity of this dish. Essentially, it is a black-eyed bean soup in which the beans are simmered with smoky bacon (or ham), onions, celery and pepper. And in my view this soup gets better the next day and the next day after that.

And please do not skip topping this dish with crispy fried bacon and spring onions. They really do elevate it to something special. Yeap, just what you need on New Year’s day or any day of the year.

Don’t worry, Hoppin’ John is not difficult to make. To make this easy Hoppin John recipe, do the following:


To make this special dish, you’ll need:

  • Onions
  • Red bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ginger
  • Chili (optional)
  • Smoked bacon (leave out if you want to make vegetarian Hoppin’ John)
  • Olive oil
  • Black-eyed beans
  • Stock cube
  • Bay leaf
  • Dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Spring onions
some of the ingredients needed to make hoppin john

How To Cook Hoppin John 

  1. Roughly chop onion, pepper, celery, garlic, chili and ginger in a food processor.
  2. Fry bacon in oil in a pot until the bacon is crispy. Set aside a quarter of the bacon.
  3. Add the chopped vegetable mixture to the fried bacon and fry for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Mix and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes.
  6. Add salt or black pepper to taste.
  7. Serve over rice and top with the rest of the bacon and spring onions.
image collage showing the steps for making hoppin john soup

Cook This In The Slow Cooker

Hoppin John soup is a popular recipe on this site, and I am quite often asked about slow cooker Hoppin’ John.

  1. Roughly chop onion, pepper, celery, garlic, chili and ginger in a food processor.
  2. Fry bacon in oil in a pot until the bacon is crispy. Set aside a quarter of the bacon.
  3. Add the chopped vegetable mixture to the fried bacon and fry for another 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer these into the slow cooker along with the beans, stock, bay leaves and thyme, mix, cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or can cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Recipe Tips

  • For the best results make sure you pick through the black eyed beans before cooking.
  • Serve this ladled over rice or mixed into the rice.
  • For a lower carb version serve with cauliflower rice.

Delicious Variations

  • Vary the meat – Use ham hock or smoked turkey etc.
  • Add greens – add in spinach, collard greens, mustard green or kale.
  • Add tomatoes – some fresh diced tomatoes makes a big difference.
A pot of Hoppin’ John soup d


Can You Make This Vegetarian?

Yes, you can make this recipe vegetarian too. To make vegetarian Hoppin’ John soup, fry the vegetables in olive oil or butter instead of bacon, and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Can You Make This With Canned Black-eyed Peas

Another option is to make this with canned black-eyed peas (black-eyed beans), although the recipe won’t turn out as well. When you simmer your ingredients (or make it in the slow cooker), you allow the flavours to mature.

If you must use canned beans, simmer your ingredients for at least 10 mins (instead of 60 to 90) to help the flavour develop.

More Southern Recipes

Thank you for reading my Hoppin John recipe post.  And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

This post has been updated from Dec 2013 and Nov 2017. The picture below is the original one.

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A bowl of Hoppin’ John soup garnished with bacon, spring onion and cress
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4.89 from 9 votes

Hoppin’ John Soup (Black-eyed Bean Stew)

A lucky New Years black-eyed bean stew with smoked bacon.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, southern
Servings: 6
Calories: 438kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • 2 onions peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 3 sticks of celery cut into large chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • red pepper flakes to taste optional, leave out if feeding children
  • 12 slices of thick cut smoked bacon cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cup (500g) black-eyed beans picked through, soaked for 2 hrs and rinsed
  • 4 cups (1L) chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced


  • Place onion, pepper, celery, garlic, chilli and ginger into a food processor and chop roughly.
  • Heat oil in a large cooking pot and fry bacon till it is nice and crispy. Remove a quarter of the bacon and set aside for garnish.
  • Add the chopped vegetable mixture to the bacon and fry the mix for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Then add in the beans, stock, bay leaves and thyme, mix well, bring to the boil.
  • Then reduce heat and cover and simmer for between 60 -90 minutes depending on how soft you want your beans. You may need to add in more stock if it dries out.
  • Add in salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Serve this over rice and top with the rest of the bacon and chopped spring onions.
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Serving: 6servings | Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 985mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 555IU | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3.3mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. I am laughing like crazy. People with sense about vegetables knows that the light brown bean with a dark black “eye” at the curved center is called a black-eyed PEA. Southerners eat a lot of black-eyed peas and especially on NEW YEAR’S DAY! it is traditional to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day. We call it a pea, not a bean and a black bean used in a lot of Mexican dishes is not the same. Black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) are a variety of the cowpea and are part of the family of beans & peas (Leguminosae or Fabaceae in the USA). Although called a pea, it is actually a bean. Both peas and beans are legumes, and both have edible seeds and pods. So, get that straight – when you refer to a black-eyed vegetable, it is called a pea!

  2. 5 stars
    This is the type of soup you’ll want to enjoy during the midweek. It is so delicious.

  3. My grandmother used to make this same black eyed peas soup!
    It’s like reminding me of her while reading this recipe
    I shall make this in her remebereence !
    Thanks a lot for sharing thislovely recipe

  4. 5 stars
    So perfect for the New Year! My mother in law also prepares black eyed peas on New Years for good luck. I love your presentation.

  5. 5 stars
    I have never heard of this, but it looks really hearty with all the beans. I would so buy a book of African recipes if you published one.

  6. 4 stars
    Hey there girl , black eyed beans are a fav at ours with them topping the most loved beans list! I like the Sierra Leonean twist you have given this dish!

  7. 5 stars
    I will be making some Black-eyed peas later today because the kids love them. Your Black-eyed Bean and Sweet Potato Stew is definitely calling my name. Best of luck in 2014.

  8. I’ve always been a fan of the sound of black eyed peas on New Years, but I’ve never actually tried it before! Most years, I feel like I’m struggling to keep pace by the time New Years shows up and I’m desperately trying to clean out the fridge 😉

    1. I know what you mean JV. It’s just that I absolutely love black-eyed peas. I cant help trying to eat them no matter what.

  9. I love black-eyed peas! I make them throughout the year. I’m not sure if I’ve ever made them for New Year though. Perhaps, I need to throw some in a pot on tomorrow and bring in the new year with as much luck as possible….