How to Cook Frozen Peas (the RIGHT way)

4.97 from 133 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)

4.97 from 133 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




  • 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


  • 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.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. 5 stars
    Who knew at 68 I’d made peas wrong all my cooking life, lol.
    From a frozen bag there was about a 1/4 cup left from our dinner, 3 adults & 1 toddler.
    My GRAND daughter loved the pic so I copied that, she ate 4; better than none.
    We never salted but used salted butter.

    Looking forward to trying some more of your recipes.

    Thanks kindly & be well,

  2. The recipe is inspired by a specific cuisine or culinary tradition, allowing you to explore new flavors and cultural experiences from the comfort of your own kitchen.

  3. I have hated peas my entire life. I have always avoided them, and pick them out of dishes like fried rice, casseroles, etc. There’s even a “famous” story known within my family and circle of friends when – in a hormonal tail spin caused by fertility medications – I broke down into tears and told my husband that he didn’t love me because I won’t cook peas. Suffice it so say, peas and I have never been on speaking terms.

    After 20 years of never serving peas, I decided to prepare some for my husband (who loves them), but I was determined to find a recipe that was at least tolerable for me. So I tried this recipe.

    I now love peas. I don’t think I’ll ever want to eat them any other way, but these peas were so darned good that I ate about 1/3 of them before they ever made it onto our plates. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I ate more peas before we even started dinner than I have eaten cumulatively in the prior 55 years of my life.

    One of the major things that makes these peas so good is the texture; I loved that they still had a bit of snap without that “pea mealiness” that they usually have. And the seasoning is spot on. My husband declared them to be perfectly cooked.

    We’ll be having peas regularly now. And my husband will continue to love me.

  4. This is a good heuristic for veg sides in general. If you put that much buttery, sugary, garlic deliciousness on a squirrel from your yard it would taste good. Five stars.

  5. I have always enjoyed frozen peas, but had pretty much always just rinsed them under some lukewarm tap water before popping them into fried rice, curries, etc. I probably may have gone the rest of my life enjoying peas that way… but this recipe is an ABSOLUTE GAME-CHANGER!

    Ever so fuss-free, can be easily and quickly put together with all the pantry staples, and above all, FABULOUS FLAVOUR! My partner could not stop raving about how incredible this recipe was (he had thought for the longest time that frozen peas were only good for parboiling, and that “fanciest thing” one could do was simply season it with salt and paper.

    Suffice it to say, my partner and I have both had a solid re-education about peas. What a delicious journey!

  6. 4 stars
    This is basically the same way I cook peas. However, rather than using garlic, which can overpower the sweetness of the pea, I use shallots. I use 2 tablespoons of butter on low heat to get the shallots slightly tender, then add the remaining 4 tablespoons with all the other ingredients on med heat. I keep the sugar separate and added last, as to caramelize with the butter. The flavors of the shallots and peas blend perfectly, with a hint of caramel.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!