ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Hoppin' John

Updated on November 4, 2014

If you're looking for a delicious, traditional dish to serve on New Year's Day, look no further than Hoppin' John. Strange name aside, this savory rice and bean main dish will not only satisfy your hunger, but according to U.S. southern folklore, will guarantee good luck and prosperity through the coming year.

Hoppin' John is considered a southern tradition in the United States. However, as someone who spent the first 28 years of her life in Mississippi, and all of her 56 years in the south, I have to admit that I first heard about this dish only within the last ten years. My sister served it to us one New's Year Day and, when my bean/pea-hating Yankee husband and my picky-palated child both liked it, it became a new tradition at our house.

Who is John and Why is He Hoppin'?

The development of Hoppin' John into the traditional Southern New Year's meal has a rich history. Around 500 AD, the Talmud listed black-eyed peas as a dish to serve during Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year, as a symbol of good luck. Sephardi Jews came to the U.S. and settled in Georgia in the mid-1700's. The Jewish practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck on New Year's Day was adopted by non-Jews around the time of the American Civil War.

Also contributing to the development of Hoppin' John was that this dish is very similar to traditional African rice and bean dishes. Slaves undoubtedly introduced the African version of this dish to the southern U.S.

Also in the mix, beans were eaten on New Year's Day in France and Spain during the Middle Ages. French and Spanish settlers in the U.S. most likely brought this tradition over with them. The various origins of eating black-eyed peas for luck on New Year's has melded over the years to produce the southern USA traditional dish we have today.

As with any good piece of folklore, the origin of the name Hoppin' John is a little vague. According to Linda Stradley at What's Cooking America, there are a number of theories:

  • Children used to hop around the table prior to sitting down to eat this dish.
  • A man named John used to come "a-hoppin' " when his wife served him this meal.
  • There was a South Carolina saying of "Hop in, John" to invite guests to sit down for a meal.
  • In the mid-1800's, a crippled black man named Hoppin' John used to sell a version of this dish on the streets of Charleston, SC.

Eating Hoppin' John for Good Luck

Eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the coming year. The peas symbolize coins, and sometimes a coin was put into the pot to bring extra luck to the person who found it in their bowl (sounds like a trip to the emergency room to me!). A safer version is to hide a coin under the person's bowl. Also, the beans swell when they cook, indicatng growth and prosperity. Hoppin' John is frequently served with cornbread, whose golden color symbolizes wealth.

Hoppin' John has evolved into many different regional permutations - which one ends up being your favorite is all a matter of taste. So gather up your ingredients and try this version of Hoppin' John to cook up a year of good fortune for you and your family!



  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced prepared garlic
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 pound smoked sausage (Conecuh recommended), chopped in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound dry black-eyed peas (soaked)
  • Bay leaves
  • Red pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice

Cooking Instructions

Sauté the chopped onion, bell pepper and celery in olive oil until the onions are tender and clear. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so, being careful not to burn the garlic.


Transfer sauted ingredients to a large stockpot. Add stock (or water), sausage, tomatoes, peas, and seasonings. Cover and let simmer on low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.


Serve in bowls over brown rice.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Take the New Year's Day Food Poll!

Will you be eating something traditional on New Year's Day?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      There was no "United States" yet in the mid-1700's.

    • Donna Huebsch profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Fairley Huebsch 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Cindy! Let me know how your batch turns out. Hopefully I will get some good photos when I make mine in a few days and I can add them to the hub. When I was growing up, the only tradition I had heard of was to eat ham hocks, collard greens and cornbread on New Year's...I have tried to choke down greens on a few occasions, but I guess I'm just not a collard green eater :o)

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hi, Donna! I will be trying this one out! I don't think I have ever heard of this, although I too am from the south and have always heard that black-eyed peas are to be eaten for good luck. Thanks!

    • Donna Huebsch profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Fairley Huebsch 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Rachel, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Enjoy New Year's Day :o)

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 

      6 years ago from California

      Hello Donna ~ What a great New Year's dish to try out. :) I think I will make sure to have some cabbage ... that's been an ongoing tradition. Thanks for the hub ~


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)