How to Cook Frozen Peas (the RIGHT way)

4.98 from 68 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. Other 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 totally 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:

  • 1 pound frozen green peas
  • 6 tablespoons butter – for this recipe I like to use salted, sweet cream butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar – I know it sounds weird, but it won’t make the peas too sweet, I promise!
  • 3 cloves garlic – use fresh, crushed garlic for optimal aroma and flavor
  • kosher salt – about a teaspoon or to taste
  • black pepper – also to taste
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 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.

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

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 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 own 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 definitely 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 our tutorials on How to Cook Frozen Corn, and How to Cook Hash Browns. Yum!

Other Pea Recipes to Try

Try some of our other favorite recipes with peas!

How to Cook Frozen Peas (The RIGHT Way)

Cooked Frozen Peas in a skillet with a spoon scooping up some peas

How to Cook Frozen Peas (the RIGHT way)

4.98 from 68 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 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6




  • Combine peas, butter, sugar, and garlic in a medium-sized skillet.
  • Cook at medium heat until butter is melted and peas are heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, drain off any liquid, add salt and pepper. Serve.


  • 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.

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 beautiful three 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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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    I only ever liked LeSueur canned sweet peas and never liked frozen peas until now. These are the best peas I have ever tried. I don’t think I will want them prepared any other way after this. The garlic had a sweet flavor too. I added a sprinkle of lemon pepper at the very end. I had no idea peas could be so delicous! I wanted seconds. On peas! Thanks for sharing. This is a fabulous very simple and fast to prepare sidedish and peas are the star.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow ! My 2yo scrapped all the peas from the bowl and said no when I asked her to leave me one! I’ve never been big on peas on their own. This was perfect ! I forgot to add salt and pepper and it was still great.

  3. I loved the idea. As a Brazilian I always start everything with fried garlic. Good to know the time to cook but I will skip the sugar. I always avoid sugar even in small quantities since it gives you inflammation. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I have hated peas all of my 58 years and then today I tried your recipe! OMG!!! I love them! So much so that I will now buy peas often! They are delicious! Lol They taste nothing like peas! And I used monkfruit sweetener instead of sugar! I’m even thinking about adding the ingredients to green beans!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your delicious recipe! May God bless you!

  5. 5 stars
    Amazing! The pea recipe my toddler will eat willingly. I used unsalted butter, so added 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp salt. Perfectly seasoned. Thank you for the amazing recipe.

  6. What is butter salted, sweet cream? Is this just 6 tbsp Salted butter? Or is it 6 tbsp Salted butter and 6 tbsp sweet cream? Or is it 6 tbsp Salted butter OR 6 tbsp sweet cream? What is sweet cream? Thanks in advance!

  7. Hi. So if I was wanting to “dress this up” for Easter- you’d suggest the mint. But skip garlic/ and sugar, then- just do butter and mint? Thanks!

  8. 5 stars
    This is by far my favorite way to serve peas! Made them for a New Years dinner party and my a couple of my guests asked how I made them because they like them so much! I also made this recipe for Christmas with my family. I made a separate bowl of green beans along with this pea recipe. Surprisingly, the peas were gone but the green beans had a few leftovers! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe takes peas over the top! My PICKY other half gobbled them up so I knew they were a winner!! Thank you for the delicious recipe.

  10. This recipe puts the peas over the top! My VERY picky other half gobbled them up and said how much he loved them!! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipe

    1. I’m not sure what Becel margarine is, so I can’t say one way or another, but let us know how it goes if you try it!

  11. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for a 2nd time, and it came out wonderfully! (The 1st time, the peas never got tender. They must’ve been freezer burned.)
    This time I followed the recipe but used 1/2 the butter. I also sautéed 1/4 C onion and the garlic in the butter before adding the peas. I added 1/2 t
    sea salt and 1/4 t pepper after the peas were done. #DELICIOUS

    1. You may have cooked them at too high of a heat. When peas reach a boiling point the middle expands and then when you take them out they shrink again. Try cooking them just under a boil next time! Hope this helps!

  12. 5 stars
    This is such good info!! I’ve definitely been making frozen peas wrong this whole time, haha. Thanks for the tips!

    1. I’ve never heard of boiling frozen/cooked peas? I’ve always heated them in a saucepan, or added them as a quick filler for any other dish. I must try boiling them to see what I’ve been missing!

  13. We love frozen peas, I do mine in a similar way only add a little dill and some pearl onions, cook the onions first for a few minutes then add the peas and other ingredients…

  14. 5 stars
    My Wife and I had this for dinner last night as a side along with our garlic butter chicken and loved it. Thanks so much for making boring peas something to look forward too!

  15. Fabulous recipe! We discovered multiple bags of frozen peas in our freezer today and wanted to use one (aka make more room) and wanted something more flavorful than just boiling them. My husband thought sugar and garlic sounded a little nuts but he was game. We loved them! We keep jarred minced garlic in the fridge and used that since we didn’t have any fresh. Definitely a repeat recipe. Thank you!

  16. Is this a good method for peas other than green peas (English peas)? Specifically, purple hull peas, pink lady peas, black-eyed peas, etc.

  17. What if you don’t care for garlic? I like garlic only when it is a hint rather than a direct statement (exception: garlic bread with tomato-sauced pasta).

    Should I omit the garlic? Use less (what if my preferred amount is less than one clove)? Use a whole unbroken clove? Substitute? (I like other alliums, and if the garlic were minced I’d use shallots.)

    Also, doesn’t salted butter defeat the purpose of leaving out the salt until the dish is finished?

    1. If you don’t like the garlic, you can just omit it! It should still taste good. Hope this helps!

  18. 4 stars
    I found this recipe by searching “peas recipe,” and mine came out pretty good even though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Still better than boiled. Thanks for sharing.
    I was scared of the sugar, so I didn’t add as much, and I used 3T unsalted butter and 3T margarine (because it’s all I had), and it ended up being WAY too much butter, so I’d recommend cutting back on the butter/margarine if you alter the recipe like I did.

  19. Wait, so does Epi’s put mint in their peas or not? (Trying to decide whether it’s worth going on a Thursday to try them . . . I love peas., but despise mint!)

  20. 5 stars
    I love peas, but my family does not. So I am always looking for other ways to cook them. I tried this recipe yesterday and all my family liked it. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

  21. 5 stars
    I’ve actually never thought of cooking peas on their own. I usually add them to rice, pasta or soup. However, this way especially with the butter flavor would make a delicious side dish to any meal.

  22. 5 stars
    Yum!!! These sounds perfect for anytime during the year, but especially in the winter months when a fresh veggie is lacking!

  23. 5 stars
    I have always steamed my peas and thought they were pretty good, that was until I fixed them like this! They are FABULOUS and I will never make peas any other way !!!! Thanks for sharing.

  24. whoa.. I didn’t think it was possible. I bought some pea pies, they tasted like peas, I didn’t like them. not sure why I bought a bag of frozen peas after that! it’s baby peas, but still tastes like peas. out of curiosity, I Googled how to cook peas. so glad I came here. thank you!

  25. 5 stars
    So I had no veggies for dinner and have had these frozen peas in the freezer from making chicken pot pie, I googled best way to cook frozen peas and this was the first recipe, I made it and my boyfriend absolutely loved it! He even asked for them again the next night.

  26. I take out the peas I’m going to use from the freezer just before cooking main meal in pressure cooker. When meal is cooked I add the peas to the other food in the still extremely hot water in the pressure cooker pan for a minute and I find they’re cooked just right.

  27. When I lived in London, the grocery store sold little individual packages of fresh peas to microwave and they cooked perfectly. I miss those in America! Used to eat peas for a quick breakfast all the time. My favorite recipe was peas, butter, salt, pepper, and fresh shaved Parmesan. Try adding a little fresh Parmesan (maybe not with the mint in there), it makes a huge difference!!

      1. 5 stars
        Made these for an early Thanksgiving feast . They were a big hit. Did use less butter and less garlic than called for. Used sucanat (natural dark brown sugar) and YES to the added broken up mint leaves. Super simple, quick and delicious. You’ve truly inspired me with this oh so simply, delicious recipe. I will also experiment with the veggie stock, and alternate oils. These left over would be delicious to top a salad or rice. Thanks for sharing this. 💟

  28. Someone said something about listeria with frozen vegetables not being boiled.. What do you think about this! Is this something to be concerned snout?

    1. I have never heard that before. We rarely boil any frozen vegetables. We get the frozen stir fry veggies all the time and on the packaging they recommend pan cooking them. I don’t think they would recommend it if there were any kind of health risk but ultimately the decision is yours. Hope this helps!

  29. I just don’t know why anyone would sugar to these? They’re already sweet enough and sugar is the white devil

    1. Is butter salted, “sweet cream” a type of butter? Or do you also add “sweet cream”? I’m confused by this.

  30. 5 stars
    I have never commented on a recipe I’ve tried before but I just had to with this one. BEST PEAS EVER!!! I can’t stop raving about them to my friends and family. Thank you for sharing!!

      1. You can but it will definitely give the peas a coconutty taste. You might be better off using avocado oil or any other kind of plant-based oil that doesn’t have a strong taste. Hope this helps!

  31. It would be helpful to know how much fresh mint to put in and if the pan should be uncovered or covered after putting in the butter.

    1. I just use 1-2 leaves of mint or it will be too overpowering. No need to cover the pan. Hope this helps!

  32. I’d go one better and say never boil ANY vegetable. Boiling veggies just means you’re pouring half the nutrients and half the taste down the drain. Steam, roast, saute, microwave (if you just have to) but please don’t abuse our vegetable friends by boiling. The only time they should come in contact with a hot liquid is in a soup recipe, where nutrition and taste don’t go to waste.

    1. Yes! I agree completely! Boiling vegetables also makes them taste so bland. Thank you for sharing!

    2. 5 stars
      This recipe looks good and I plan to make it. But don’t you want to sauté the garlic in the butter first? Otherwise you’re eating raw garlic and that doesn’t be sound appealing.

      1. You can do either way. The garlic doesn’t taste raw in the peas. It still gets some cooking time and is able to infuse the peas with flavor. Hope this helps!

  33. We prefer to bake our potatoes, skin on. Cool and shred! Much more flavorful than boiled potatoes and they make the best hash browns or American fries.

  34. I’m going to try this recipe, but I have to say, add that much butter to anything and it’ll be tasty. No big secret there.

  35. I bring water to a boil, add peas when water is boiling…the water will cool somewhat because of the cold pears. wait till the water boils again then shut off stove. Peas float to the top when hot…drain and stir in butter. They taste like they were just picked.

  36. 5 stars
    Hi there! Time to comment because I have used your recipe for a year now. My family never ate peas before, but now the veggie is requested weekly! ( “you’re making the good ones, right?”) thank you!

    1. This comment just put a big smile on my face! Thank you so much for coming back to let us know how much your family has enjoyed this recipe!

  37. Ummm. I’m not certain I did this right. I followed your instructions, and even cooked them for a bit longer, but my peas are still pretty hard and fibrous, not soft and supple like my kids and I are used to from boiling them. Is this normal? Was I supposed to defrost the peas first?

    1. Hmm that is really weird! They should soften up just as much as boiling them. No defrosting needed. Did you just use typical frozen peas?

    My PEA LIFE will never be the same…I was not a big fan of peas until I tried cooking them this way. DELICIOUS!!

    1. haha so glad we were able to take your “pea life” to a whole new level! This comment totally made my day. And I am going to start saying “pea life” now lol

  39. 5 stars
    The package tells you to boil them for 5-7 minutes to kill bacteria like Listeria, which has become a problem with frozen foods. They need to be fully heated to 165 degrees. Other than that, I’m going to try the mint & butter recipe. It sounds yummy. Thanks!

  40. 4 stars
    I am from the Boise area but have never heard of Epi’s. I’ll have to look it up now! Can’t wait to try these tips.

    1. Oh my goodness! You will love Epi’s. I have never had anything there that I haven’t liked. Book in advance because they fill up fast!

  41. What about canned peas? Just kidding! Canned peas are super nasty ???? This really is the best way to make peas! Thanks for sharing!

  42. I’m even too lazy to boil them–just stick them in a bowl with a little water and put it in the microwave. (Maybe this is why I don’t love peas!) I’m excited to try this! Have you tried it with other frozen veggies? (like corn or a mix?)

    1. I’ve done the same thing with frozen “peaches and cream” corn. Tastes amazing and I feel like by not boiling it you’re not losing some of the nutrients in the water.

    2. Mom has a similar recipe but adds quinoa and parsley. The buttery peas make the quinoa actually taste much better. We’ll have to try the no boil method. Oh, and don’t let the quinoa over cook. Mind your peas and Q’s.

      1. LOL, love it! I am sure the peas with quinoa is delicious! I am guessing it almost tastes like a risotto (especially if you add a little cream…)? We will have to try that next time! Thanks for the suggestion!