Seared Sugar Snap Peas

Side DishGluten-FreeLow CarbVegan

Sugar snap peas seared in olive oil with green onions, mint, lemon zest and black pepper.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Sugar snap peas are a garden staple in the spring. At least around here you plant them in November or December and see them poking out of the ground late February to early March, depending on how warm or cold a winter it has been.

In my garden they snake their way up a loosely put together bamboo trellis and if I’m not paying attention, climb over the fence into my neighbor’s yard.

Our Favorite Videos

As soon as it really starts to get hot, usually sometime in May, the pea vines dry up, telling me it’s time to plant green beans.

And just so we are clear, I don’t cook my garden peas. Why? Because I’m greedy!

I snap the peas off their tendrils and eat them fresh and fresh right in the garden as soon as they get big enough. It’s my garden snack bar.

Sugar Snap Peas

One of these days I’ll compost and fertilize and mulch enough to have a harvest big enough to cook and/or share. Still, peas in the garden means local peas at the market, and this easy stir-fry with green onions, lemon zest, and mint, is a great way to prepare them.

With this method of cooking snap peas, you try to strike a balance between letting the peas sit so they get a little bit of sear, and tossing them, so they get all get cooked evenly and none of the peas get too charred. Just get the pan and oil good and hot before adding the peas, so you cook the peas quickly.

Any green vegetable will turn from vibrant green to a drab brownish olive green if cooked for more than 7 minutes. It’s a matter of chemistry.

So cook the peas quickly and serve them quickly, so you get a nice sear, the peas are still crunchy, and a pretty green.


Seared Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side

Almost all the prep time in this recipe is taking the strings off the sugar peas. Once you have that done, the rest is easy.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 3-4 scallions or green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • Salt
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste


1 Sauté sugar peas: Heat a large sauté pan on high heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and heat it until it shimmers, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar peas and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle salt over them and toss again. Allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute.

2 Add green onions and sugar: Add the green onions and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Toss to combine. Let cook for 1 minute. Toss and cook untouched again, this time leaving everything undisturbed for 2 minutes.

3 Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon zest and mint, then add black pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve at once.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.


Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame and Sriracha - from Kalyn's Kitchen

Five More Ways to Eat Sugar Peas - from The Kitchn

Seared Sugar Snap Peas

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

8 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSeared Sugar Snap Peas

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Colleen

    Fantastic! I used lime zest (no lemon in the fridge) and it worked really well. This is a really good recipe. And, you really don’t need to use butter – the olive oil works great on its own.


  2. Jara

    Great recipes- easy & low fat – my favorites! I have a family member who is allergic to lemons & limes. What is a good substitute for lemon/lime juice and zest? Should I use vinegar or orange (which he can tolerate)?

    Orange s a great idea, just a little orange juice and zest. ~Elise

  3. Jackie

    I made these for dinner this evening, alongside kafta with tzatziki, lettuce and red onion and homemade sourdough wheat pitas. Loved using the mint with peas, such a classic and perfect combination. Thanks for posting this!

  4. mark

    I’m gonna try this, Elise try Burpee’s Sugar Daddy, compact and productive and best of all STRINGLESS !

  5. Kelli

    This recipe sounds so delicious but my family refuses to eat onions or scallions :(. Will it hurt the recipe to omit them, or should I alter the recipe in any way? Thank you!

    Just leave them out, the peas will be fine. ~Elise

View More
Seared Sugar Snap PeasSeared Sugar Snap Peas