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Hoppin’ John Casserole 

It’s traditional to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day in the South. That said, there are no rules saying it couldn’t be in the form of a delectable Hoppin’ John Casserole with Cornbread Crust! This skillet casserole sans rice, takes black eyed peas to another level with fire roasted tomatoes and chilis, onion, bell pepper, ham and bacon along with a kicked-up combination of seasonings. Rice is an ingredient in traditional Hoppin’ John but, this skillet variation is smothered with a cornbread topping, instead. Without a  doubt, it’s a tasty way to start the new year.

Hoppin' John Casserole with Cornbread Crust

Black Eyed Peas are a New Year Tradition

As a little girl, I had absolutely no interest in black eyed peas at all. The affinity for them has grown along with me through the years, and even now I prefer them to be a bit more interesting than the basic version I knew as a girl. By interesting I mean, I love adding some ingredients to enhance the flavor as well as a little heat to elevate them a bit.

Hoppin' John Casserole with Cornbread Crust

Hoppin’ John Casserole with Cornbread Crust

That’s precisely how I would describe this simple to make Hoppin’ John Casserole with Cornbread Crust. Sans rice, which would be found in the classic dish, in this skillet I use diced poblano pepper along with the onion. For a less spicy version go with green or red bell pepper in the same amount, instead. You can also eliminate the crushed red pepper flakes, if preferred. Serve these alongside a heaping helping of collard greens and your meal is complete, be it for New Year’s Day or any other day you choose comfort food for supper. Another fun way to enjoy black eyed peas is in this Avocado Black Eyed Pea Salad from Call Me Pmc.

Hoppin' John Casserole with Cornbread Crust


Hoppin' John Casserole with Cornbread Crust

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Hoppin' John Casserole with Cornbread Crust
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5 from 4 votes

Hoppin' John Casserole with Cornbread Crust

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hoppin-john-caserole-with-cornbread-crust
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 480kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 5 slices bacon 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 1 small poblano or green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 3 16 oz cans black eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 16 oz can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dark chili powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes more or less to your taste
  • 2 cups chopped smoked ham
  • 2 7 oz packages cornbread mix, plus ingredients to prepare (i.e. Martha White)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place peas into a colander and rinse. Set aside to drain.
  • In a 12-inch cast iron skillet cook the bacon until crisp over medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Reserve drippings.
  • To the drippings add the onion and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown.
  • To the skillet add black eyed peas, tomatoes, broth, seasoned salt, cumin, chili powder, lemon pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Mix well.
  • Simmer uncovered over medium for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add ham and mix through. Sprinkle bacon on top.
  • In a medium-size bowl, mix together the cornbread batter per the package instructions. 
  • Pour evenly over the black eyed peas. 
  • Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cornbread is cooked through and golden. May broil at the end to brown further, if desired. 
  • Serve immediately with collard greens and hot sauce on the side.


To reduce heat, use diced green or red bell pepper instead of diced poblano. Omit or adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your taste. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 2017mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 194IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



  1. 5 stars
    Never heard of this, surprisingly, even though I was born and raised in the south. (VA, TN, TX) I thought it looked pretty tasty, and it was even better than it looked!

    My husband and I love spicy food, but I downed the heat by using mild rotel and something called “bacon chipotle” seasoning I found in the store in place of the red pepper because we have a picky 3 year old…

    My darling little girl whined and cried because she saw the tomato chunks and green peppers, but once I convinced her to try one little bite, it was on. She ate every last bite in her bowl. It’s tough getting her to eat anything that isn’t meat or bread so I’m one happy mama to have this recipe with veggies that she enjoys! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tried this for New Years, thought it was really good! I was a little afraid of it being too spicy but I subbed for diced tomatoes without the chili’s and left out the red pepper seasoning. It was perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    This was so flavorful and delicious. I only used two cans of black eye peas and added a can of drained corn, and a can of drained collard greens. I only used one can of tomatoes with chilies. This was a family favorite! Very good!

  4. I was being lazy and wondering how to combine ham, black eyed peas (my mom insisted we always have them at New Years for good luck!) and cornbread, and searched this and your recipe came up! It’s now a keeper in our house – and we loved it. I added okra and corn to it (just to thicken the sauce), and minced garlic. But that’s it! Will do this again and again. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  5. Mine came out a little too much liquid and that was with me reducing the stock to 8 ounces. I have covered the casserole in the oven with foil now in the hopes that liquid will reduce itself sufficiently.

  6. 5 stars

    This hoppin’ john (sans rice) was delicious and flavorful. It was a wonderful non traditional New Year’s Day dinner. I will be sharing this recipe.

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