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bowl of hoppin john with hot sauce and a spoon

Carolina Hoppin’ John Recipe

Take a trip to the Carolinas with this easy to make classic Hoppin’ John recipe that is jam-packed with peas, beans, and thick-cut bacon!
Course lunch, Main, Soup
Cuisine african, American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Bean Soaking Time 12 hours
Servings 10
Calories 448kcal


  • 2 cups of cowpeas
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon sliced into 1” pieces
  • 1 peeled small diced yellow onion
  • 4 medium diced celery stalks
  • 2 peeled medium diced carrots
  • 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 3 cups packed torn collard leaves stems removed
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


  • Add the beans to a container and pour in water until it is about 6” over the beans. Cover and set aside overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  • The next day, drain and rinse the beans, and set aside.
  • In a large pot add in the bacon over medium-low heat and cook until the bacon is browned but not completely crisp.
  • Remove the bacon and set aside. Drain off about ½ of the rendered bacon fat and then turn the heat down to low.
  • Add in the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes just to quickly and gently sweat/sauté them.
  • Next, add in the soaked cowpeas, cooked bacon, chicken stock, thyme, pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and cook for 45-60 minutes over low to medium heat or until soft and tender.
  • Stir in the rice and collards, cover with a lid and cook over low heat for another 25-30 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Serve with optional sliced green onions.


Chef Notes:
  • Make-Ahead: This is meant to be eaten when it is finished cooking but you can make it up to 3-4 hours before serving by simply keeping it warm over very low heat and cover until ready to serve.
  • How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Be sure to thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of hoppin’ john to a medium-size pot along with a few tablespoons of chicken stock and heat over low heat until warm. You may also heat it in the microwave.
  • If you do not want to soak the beans all night you can bring them to a boil with water in a large pot and then let them sit for an hour. You also have the option of not soaking the beans at all.
  • You do not need to use vinegar at the end of the recipe, but it does provide balance to the overall flavor. If you'd like to, add 1-2 tablespoons of cider vinegar.
  • Be sure to not cook the cowpeas rapidly because you want them to keep the shape and not turn into mush.


Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2654IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg