Simple Peas and Onions

Side DishQuick and EasyGluten-FreeVegetarian

Quick and easy peas and onions! A go-to side for almost any meal.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I wasn’t always a lover of peas.

When I was a kid, on the days peas were being served for dinner, my siblings and I would jockey for a particular seat at the dining room table. This spot had a secret drawer in the table. (Well maybe not so secret, but good enough to not catch the notice of our unsuspecting parents.)

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The trick was to take a spoonful of peas, cover your mouth as if you were wiping something away, extricate the peas from your mouth into your hand, slyly open the drawer, and place the peas in the drawer.

Yes! Mission accomplished! “See mom and dad, I finished my peas!”

I think they finally caught on one day when cleaning the table they came across some shriveled up old peas, but the ruse was good while it lasted.

Thank goodness I outgrew that!

Simple Peas and Onions

These days I always like to keep at least one bag of frozen peas in the freezer. Not only do they make a great impromptu ice pack if you need one, but they cook up in a flash and go with practically anything.

Simple is best. And if I have a spare minute I’ll snip a leaf or two of mint from the yard, slice it thin and add to the peas.

Simple Peas and Onions Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 pound shelled peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock or just plain water for vegetarian version)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)


1 Cook the onions: Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the butter foam recedes, add the chopped onions. Sauté the onions for a few minutes until they just begin to brown.

2 Add peas and stock: Add the peas and the stock and bring to a rolling boil. Taste for salt and add if needed (you might not need to add salt if your stock is already pretty salty.)

If you want, add a pinch of sugar to highlight the sweetness of the already sweet peas.

3 Reduce, add remaining butter and black pepper: Stir the peas and onions often – you want the stock to reduce by about half without overcooking the peas.

When the stock has reduced, turn off the heat and add the remaining butter and some black pepper. Serve at once.

If you want, sprinkle on some sliced fresh mint.

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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.

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12 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Zora

    Family really liked it! I used 1 cup of my homemade beef broth and reduced it in the onions. Only added in the fresh peas for the last 4 min so they stayed al dente.


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  2. Barbara Leskinen

    Can I make this a day ahead of time and then reheat in microwave?

  3. Tom

    just the recipe i was looking for–thanks !

  4. Barbara Mackisey

    Loved it!! Also made them a second time adding some finely diced ham while cooking the onions – both times did add the pinch of sugar suggested!!!


  5. B

    Thanks for sharing, it was delicious.


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