How to Cook Frozen Peas (the RIGHT way)

4.98 from 138 votes
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There’s actually a correct way to cook frozen peas, and it isn’t boiling! You can have sweet, crisp, vibrant green peas in less than ten minutes. Never mushy, never bland. Try them tonight!

Green cooked frozen peas in a bowl topped with butter
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients for Perfect Peas
  2. Step By Step Instructions
  3. Basic Tips for Green Peas on the Stovetop
  4. Additional Ingredients to Try
  5. Frequently Asked Questions about Peas
  6. More Pea Recipes to Try
  7. How to Cook Frozen Peas (The RIGHT Way)
  8. How to Cook Frozen Peas (the RIGHT way) Recipe

I hate to break it to you, but you have probably been cooking peas wrong your entire life. And I admit I am guilty of ripping open a bag of frozen peas and throwing them into a pot of boiling water 5 minutes before dinner or tossing them in the microwave and serving them as a side dish.

I never hated peas, but never loved them either. Until I went to Epi’s (My favorite restaurant in Meridian, Idaho). On Thursdays, Epi’s offers free peas as an additional side dish to any meal and people specifically go there on Thursdays JUST for the peas. Strange right? But, after trying the tender, perfectly cooked peas, I understood. They were delicious! So I figured out just what makes those peas taste delicious and now I can share it with you!

Ingredients for Perfect Peas

Just a bag of frozen peas isn’t enough, not for show-stopping, succulent peas like these. Here’s what you need:

  • Peas – Use frozen green peas for this recipe. They are firm and will soften in minutes.
  • Butter – Salted, sweet cream butter is a rich and flavorful butter that gives you just enough deliciousness to the peas that is not overbearing.
  • Sugar – I know it sounds weird, but it won’t make the peas too sweet, I promise!
  • Garlic – Use fresh, crushed garlic for optimal aroma and flavor.
Green peas in a bowl topped with butter


Step By Step Instructions

  1. First, empty a bag of frozen peas into a large skillet.
  2. Add six tablespoons of butter, garlic, and sugar on top.
  3. Sauté on medium heat until the butter is melted and the peas are cooked through.
  4. Salt and pepper, then serve!

Basic Tips for Green Peas on the Stovetop

These tips work for any frozen vegetable, not just peas. Try them when cooking green beans, corn, snow peas, snap peas, English peas, etc.

  • Don’t boil! Just don’t do it. I know the package tells you to, but don’t. Trust me.
  • Add a little sugar to the peas. It’s ok, it won’t taste weird and it will bring out the natural sweetness.
  • Don’t add salt until ready to serve. Salting them too early can dehydrate them and they (obviously) won’t be as sweet. Salt them after they have cooked and you can salt to taste.
Skillet with frozen peas, garlic, butter and sugar for How to Cook Frozen Peas.

Additional Ingredients to Try

  • If you want to try something different, try coarsely tearing up a few mint leaves and throwing them in the pan with the peas while cooking.
  • Leave the garlic and sugar out and just cook them with mint and butter. The mint infuses the peas with a fresh and delicious flavor that you are sure to love! It kicks dinner up a notch with very little effort.
  • Add a little bit of minced onion during the cooking process.
  • Top with fresh parsley or other fresh herbs.
  • Sauté in a little extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the finished product.
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the top
How to Cook Frozen Peas served in a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions about Peas

What is the difference between petite peas and regular peas?

Petite peas are usually smaller, sweeter, and more delicate than regular peas. Regular peas are meatier, but the skin on them is a little tougher.

What is the best way to season frozen peas?

If you are using our method for cooking frozen peas, just a little sugar, salt, and pepper is all you need. If you want to make the peas a little more fancy, try adding some mint (see notes above).

Fresh peas or frozen peas?

Believe it or not, frozen peas taste better than fresh ones when cooking. Why? Frozen peas are flash-frozen at the peak of ripeness. You can depend on the sweetness and soft texture. Store-bought fresh peas tend to become more firm and starchy from the time they are picked to the time they are purchased. Unless they are picked fresh from your garden, frozen peas are the way to go!

What is the difference between fresh and frozen peas?

Cook’s Illustrated has a great explanation of the difference in flavors between the two HERE. It’s worth a quick read.

READ NEXT: The Best Traditional Easter Dinner Ideas

Now that you know all about peas – it’s time to make them! If we’ve convinced you this is the “right way,” you will also want to check out more of our “How To” recipes.

More Pea Recipes to Try

Try some more favorite recipes with peas! They are a great filler and helps give you a delicious and healthy meal combination!

How to Cook Frozen Peas (The RIGHT Way)

How to Cook Frozen Peas served in a bowl.

How to Cook Frozen Peas (the RIGHT way)

4.98 from 138 votes
You have been cooking peas wrong your whole life. Peas are supposed to taste GOOD– here’s how to do it.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Video

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine peas, butter, sugar, and garlic in a medium-sized skillet.
    Skillet with frozen peas, garlic, butter and sugar for How to Cook Frozen Peas.
  • Cook at medium heat until butter is melted and peas are heated through about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    Wooden spoon stirring and cooking Frozen Peas.
  • Remove from heat and drain off any liquid.
    Peas straining in a colander excess butter for cooking Frozen Peas.
  • Add salt and pepper. Serve.
    Green peas in a bowl topped with butter

Notes

  • Don’t boil! Just don’t do it. I know the package tells you to, but don’t. Trust me.
  • Add a little sugar to the peas. It’s okay, it won’t taste weird and it will bring out the natural sweetness.
  • Don’t add salt until ready to serve. Salting them too early can dehydrate them and they (obviously) won’t be as sweet. Salt them after they have cooked and you can salt to taste.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 171kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 105mgPotassium: 190mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 933IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have never liked little green peas until I made this recipe for my family who does like them. They were delicious and we are having them again today. I followed the recipe exactly and I did not let them boil!

  2. I followed the directions and they were not good! They were hard; felt and tasted like they were made from dried peas that hadn’t cooked long enough. Terrible waste of my organic peas.

  3. 5 stars
    Who knew! I will never boil or microwave my peas again. I cut back on the butter some, but I loved them. Thank you!

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