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An old-fashioned easy side dish recipe that’s ready in just 10 minutes! These creamed peas are bright, sweet, smooth, and just like Grandma made them. Serve them with meatloaf, Dutch oven pork roast, roast chicken, or hamburger steak and gravy.

Overhead shot of old fashioned creamed peas in a vintage red and white bowl
Table of Contents
  1. Sweet Creamed Peas
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Creamed Peas
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Storage
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the best creamed peas recipe
  8. Creamed Peas Recipe

Sweet Creamed Peas

When I shared my favorite Southern Pea Salad a few years ago, a reader asked me to share a creamed peas recipe as well. I jotted down the request — and then promptly forgot about it — until one of my friends gave me her Grandma Smith’s recipe for old fashioned creamed peas. That was just the nudge I needed to introduce this delicious side dish to all of you! They’re creamy, rich, and slightly sweet, thanks to the natural sweetness of the peas. Best of all, they only require 4 simple ingredients (plus salt and pepper), and about 10 minutes from start to finish!

Square side shot of a bowl of creamed peas on a table

What are Creamed Peas?

Creamed peas can be prepared in a variety of ways, but the basic formula remains the same: peas tossed in a creamy white sauce. Some folks use canned peas, some prefer frozen peas, and others pair the peas with potatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots, or bacon.

While recipes may use cream of mushroom soup or cream cheese in the sauce, this basic recipe is about as simple as it gets. The white sauce is made from scratch with just butter, flour, and milk. Let’s get started!

Opening a bag of frozen peas

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for an pan of old fashioned creamed peas. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Peas: Grandma Smith’s recipe actually calls for canned peas; however, I prefer the color and texture of frozen peas, so that’s what I’m using here. I’ve included instructions in the notes below if you would like to use canned peas instead. Either will work well!
  • Butter: for rich flavor in the white sauce. It also combines with the flour to make the roux that thickens the cream sauce. I use salted butter for the extra flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: thickens the sauce.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream: the creamy base for the sauce.
Whisking cream sauce in cast iron skillet

How to Make Creamed Peas

You’ll love the fact that there’s really not much prep work at all! Just pull together your ingredients and you’re ready to go!

  1. Cook the frozen peas according to the package directions, and then transfer to a serving bowl. For a shortcut, pick up these steam-in-bag frozen peas that you can just pop in the microwave without dirtying an extra dish.
  2. While the peas are cooking, prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a pan, whisking in the flour, salt, and pepper to make the roux, and then gradually streaming in the cream until thickened.
  3. Pour the sauce over the warm peas, toss to coat, and serve!
Square overhead image of a cast iron skillet with creamed sweet peas
Horizontal shot of a bowl of creamed peas

Storage

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. I do not recommend freezing this dish, as cream-based sauces have a tendency to separate or “break” when thawed from the freezer.

Reheat the creamed peas in a skillet or saucepan covered over low heat, just until warmed through. You may need to add some extra milk or cream to thin the sauce.

Square overhead image of a bowl of old fashioned creamed peas in a red and white transferware bowl

Recipe Variations

  • To serve a larger family, double all of the ingredients.
  • Unsalted butter works fine in this recipe. Just season the white sauce with additional salt, to taste.
  • You can use frozen peas or canned peas. I prefer frozen peas, but if you like canned peas, you’ll need about 2 cups of canned, drained peas warmed or cooked.
  • Add some extra flavor to your white sauce with a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, or fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or basil.
  • Add sautéed onion or cooked baby pearl onions, sautéed mushrooms, cooked, chopped bacon, or frozen chopped carrots to the peas and toss with the cream sauce. Depending on how many extra veggies you add, you may need to double the amount of white sauce that you make.
Side shot of a bowl of old fashioned creamed peas

Tips for the best creamed peas recipe

  • How to cook Le Sueur sweet peas or other canned peas: Empty the contents of the can into a saucepan (including the liquid in the can). Heat on the stovetop just to boiling; drain, and then use in the recipe as instructed. For the microwave, place the contents of the can in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and heat for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes; drain, and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Cook your peas to your desired level of doneness. If you like really soft peas, cook them longer. If you prefer crisp-tender, bright green peas, watch them closely and don’t cook them for too long.
  • Gradually stream in the liquid as you stir the sauce. This will give the roux a chance to absorb the liquid slowly so that you have a smooth, lump-free sauce at the end.
Overhead shot of a skillet of creamed peas
Square overhead image of a bowl of old fashioned creamed peas in a red and white transferware bowl

Creamed Peas

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 105.1 kcal
An old-fashioned, easy side dish recipe that's ready in just 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, thawed or about 2 cups canned peas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream

Instructions

  • Cook peas according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan or small skillet, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper until blended. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
  • Gradually add cream, stirring for 1-2 minutes (or until thickened).
  • Stir in the peas; gently toss to coat in the cream sauce.

Notes

  • How to cook Le Sueur sweet peas or other canned peas: Empty the contents of the can into a saucepan (including the liquid in the can). Heat on the stovetop just to boiling; drain, and then use in the recipe as instructed. For the microwave, place the contents of the can in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and heat for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes; drain, and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Cook your peas to your desired level of doneness. If you like really soft peas, cook them longer. If you prefer crisp-tender, bright green peas, watch them closely and don’t cook them for too long.
  • Gradually stream in the liquid as you stir the sauce. This will give the roux a chance to absorb the liquid slowly so that you have a smooth, lump-free sauce at the end.
  • To serve a larger family, double all of the ingredients.
  • Unsalted butter works fine in this recipe. Just season the white sauce with additional salt, to taste.
  • You can use frozen peas or canned peas. I prefer frozen peas, but if you’d like to use canned peas, you’ll need about 2 cups of canned, drained peas that have been warmed or cooked.
  • Add some extra flavor to your white sauce with a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, or fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or basil.
  • Add sautéed onion or cooked baby pearl onions, sautéed mushrooms, cooked, chopped bacon, or frozen chopped carrots to the peas and toss with the cream sauce. Depending on how many extra veggies you add, you may need to double the amount of white sauce that you make.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 105.1kcalCarbohydrates: 12.5gProtein: 4.8gFat: 4.1gSaturated Fat: 2.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.1gCholesterol: 11.5mgSodium: 235mgPotassium: 156.6mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4.9g
Keyword: canned creamed peas, creamed peas, easy side dish recipe, old fashioned creamed peas, sweet creamed peas
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in February, 2020. The photos were updated in November, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My mom, who spent part of her childhood in south Louisiana during the Depression – my grandpa had moved his young family south for work. always made new peas and new potatoes serving them in creamed sauce. Just a simple sauce using flour, butter and cream (from our dairy cows).

    I liked them as a child growing up and then didn’t so much (calories you know) and now truly appreciate the treat. I always think of my mom and my grandma when I make them.

    Thanks for the recipe that brings up the memories. I always read your email before church on Sunday.

    1. That’s wonderful, Cathy! Recipes that conjure good memories are always my favorite. Thank you for reading along with us each Sunday! 🙂

    2. I am so happy to find this recipe. My mother made these when I was growing up. She died in 1999 and I have been looking for this since then. Thank you.

      1. Oh, you’re so welcome. I’m glad that it will bring back such fond memories of your childhood. That’s my favorite part of cooking and recipes — the nostalgia!

  2. 5 stars
    My mother always talked about missing her mother’s creamed peas. I finally made these for her along with salmon patties. She said they were wonderful and as good as she remembers. Used two cans of peas and doubled ingredients using half and half.

    1. That makes me so happy to hear, Andrew. Thanks for taking the time to come back here and let me know! 🙂

  3. Looks great, but what are the instructions for making the white sauce? I see the ingredients, but not the instructions…. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Cindy! The sauce instructions are in Step 2 of the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Hopefully you can see them, but if you can’t for some reason, I will copy and paste them here too:

      Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually add milk, stirring for 1-2 minutes (or until thickened).

  4. 5 stars
    I just made the peas and they were delicious. I used fresh English peas and added a little nutmeg.

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for postng this recipe. It’s quite simple, yet it gave thought to other ingredients. I’ve tried for a long time to duplicate my mother’s creamed Peas, but had to add herbs etc. to put flavor to the simple dish, it was always so bland. the mention of Cream brought back the thought of richness. Thanks again
    Joe Bland

  6. Wow Blair
    I am from eastern Canada and glad to see that this particular recipe was not limited to that geographical area. She used to tell me that this recipe was around for some time and really caught on during the depression followed by WW2. Food was scarce or rationed and families tended to be creative using items that they had available. Your version is so very much like my moms recipe. The only difference being she used more butter and flour plus a table spoon of sugar and was passionate that canned sweet peas be used. The last thing she did was add a drained can of tuna (flaked or chunked your choice) served on freshly made buttered toasted bread.
    Now this is making me hungry – think I know what we are having for supper along with veggies and fish cakes.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. Made this dish as a side with meat loaf. It was a wonderful addition to our meal. My brother-in-law never ate creamed peas before and absolutely loved it as much as the rest of us.
    Do you have a recipe for Creamed peas and New Potatoes. That’s my all time favorite favorite peas dish.

    1. So glad that the peas were a hit, Angela! I don’t have a recipe for creamed peas and new potatoes, but I should! 🙂 I agree, it’s a great dish.

  8. 5 stars
    An awesome and simple recipe that brought me back to my childhood dinner table. We used canned peas loved it!