The Best Recipe for Your Lucky Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day

Pickle the little legumes and never look back

The Best Recipe for Your Lucky Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day
Courtesy of Getty Images

Helen Corbitt, celebrated Texas transplant-turned-chef of the stars, famously hated black-eyed peas. Realizing their necessity for New Year's in the South (check out the history of this tradition, and recipes for Hoppin' John), she pickled the heck out of 'em to make them palatable. My mama made them every year using Corbitt's recipe, and I wouldn't have them any other way.

Learn from my 2018 mistake: Get your peas now, not on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, when H-E-B is a nightmarish hellscape, the black-eyed pea shelves are bare, and your fellow procrastinators are asking each other what things are like black-eyed peas or "Do they offer them in the freezer section?" You may end up finding some on an endcap, because H-E-B knows what's up, but don't put yourself in this situation. Plus, these are best consumed after all the flavors get married, and their relationship really blossoms after two days. Buy a few cans literally any other day of the year, and you'll be ready on NYE.

Helen Corbitt's recipe is attached, but a few notes: 1) "Salad oil" could be any light-tasting oil, such as canola. My mama reports that when "Saint Helen" wrote this in 1957, "We didn't have all these different oils. We had Wesson oil." 2) She didn't say what color onion or wine vinegar, but I like red. 3) I follow my usual rule for recipes on this one and double or triple the garlic (sorry, vamps). 4) It doesn't say to rinse the canning liquid from the peas, but I really feel like you should. You could also boil your own peas, if you're a kitchen overachiever.


2 15-ounce cans cooked black-eyed peas

1 cup salad oil

1/4 cup wine vinegar

1 clove garlic – or garlic seasoning

1/4 cup thinly sliced onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper


Drain liquid from peas. Place peas in a pan or bowl, add remaining ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Store in a jar in the refrigerator and remove the garlic bud after one day. Store for at least two days and up to two weeks before eating.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Roots Chicken Shak to Open at Revamped H-E-B Mueller Food Hall
Roots Chicken Shak to Open at Revamped H-E-B Mueller Food Hall
Chef Tiffany Derry proves that working moms should run the world

Jessi Cape, Aug. 7, 2020

More by Katherine McNevins
Austin Film Society’s Doc Days Returns
Austin Film Society’s Doc Days Returns
Third edition opens with Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground

Sept. 14, 2021

Austin Film Festival Announces Second Wave of Programming
AFF Announces Second Wave
Local voices are spotlighted in the new round of eight fest films

Sept. 9, 2021


black-eyed peas, New Year's, recipe

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle