Pigeon Peas Soup

11.4.22 | Recipe by Renz

A hearty soup, with a deep earthy flavor of pigeon peas with ground provisions and dumplings. Always a crowd pleaser, pigeon peas soup is a favorite for soup Saturday.

Top view of two bowls of pigeon peas soup on a brown serving plate with hands holding a bowl.

There are some soups that just make you smile when you put that first spoon in your mouth. And that for me is pigeon peas soup.

Each spoon is filled with a deep, flavorful broth, and topped with dumplings, meat, and a host of ground provisions including sweet potato and plantain. And this soup does not miss that mark.

It is everything you want in a soup whether it's cold winter or not.

Caribbean people just loved soup which is why "Soup Saturday" is a huge thing.

And if you just looove pigeon peas like I do, my stewed pigeon peas are just as good as this soup.

What do pigeon peas taste like?

Pigeon peas have these nutty or as I refer to them, an earthy taste.

When you bite into them there's a crisp casing, then a soft inside.

Though we call them "peas", they are really beans that are round and small and grow in a pod. They are referred to as peas just because of their size and shape.

The color of a pigeon pea pod can be from bright green when it is young to brown (sometimes brown and splotchy) to dark brown as it matures. The inner pea itself can be bright green to a lighter yellow.

Ingredients for pigeon peas soup:

Though the peas are the main star of the show, like we do with all our soups, it's accompanied by ground provisions and fresh herbs and spices.

Ingredients to make pigeon peas soup.

All these flavors just really create a great soup that works perfectly on a cold day or even great on a hot day.

  • pigeon peas - this can be fresh pigeon peas.
  • garlic cloves.
  • onions.
  • chive.
  • celery.
  • pumpkin.
  • sweet potato.
  • irish potato.
  • carrots.
  • plantain.
  • stock.
  • sugar.
  • scotch bonnet pepper.
  • coconut milk powder.
  • fresh thyme.
  • cloves.
  • salt.
  • water.
  • oil.
  • flour.
  • Smoked turkey neck (optional).

How to make pigeon peas soup

Mix your flour and water for your dumplings and set them aside. If you want more than just plain flour dumplings, you can make cassava or cornmeal instead.

In a deep pot, on medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the garlic. When brown, throw frozen peas into the pot and sauté.

Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so that it does not stick to the bottom of the boat.

Add enough water to cover the peas (around 2 cups) and cook until the peas are starting to get tender.

Now you can add in the smoked turkey bones, add 2 cups of hot water and continue to cook till the meat is cooked and your peas are very tender. You should be able to mash with a spoon. (you may need to add a little more cups of water along the way).

Once the meat is tender, add the remaining cups of water, along with the coconut milk to the pot.

Also add in your remaining ingredients of all the ground provisions: pumpkin, carrot, celery, onions, potatoes, and plantains. Also, make your dumplings into spinners and drop them in. Continue to boil the pot for another 20 minutes.

Add the sugar, and cloves and season with salt and black pepper. Continue to boil until provisions are tender and dumplings are floating.

Serve hot!

45 degree view of pigeon peas soup in a bowl with a smoked bone.


I know everyone has their favorite type of things they like in their soups. Don't like this type of ground provision or don't like this type of meat. So here are some alternatives that you can switch out.

Other types of ground provisions:

Sweet potatoes (also known as yams in some US stores); cassava (yucca), dasheen( taro root) or tannia are other great options. Green bananas are also good additions.

Alternative meats:

Instead of the smoked bones, some like pig tails or beef (with or without bone). If using pigtails, you must boil the pigtail prior to cooking.

Omit the meat:

I love adding the smoked turkey but you can make a meat-free version.


If you want to add additional levels of flavor, you can use broth instead of water. Any type of broth can be used vegetable broth or beef are good ones.

Best storage for homemade soup

This soup can be stored in the fridge for up to two days in an air-tight container.

It also is a great soup to freeze. And is good for up to a month. I would not make it stay longer there due to the dumplings.

You can portion the soup out into individual serving sizes so that you can reheat it as wanted.

A bowl of pigeon peas soup with smoked bone and various ground provisions.

Reheating pigeon peas soup

To reheat from the fridge: the best method, like with most soups with provisions, is to put on the stovetop on medium heat, add a little warm water and bring it to a boil and let it simmer

To reheat from frozen: Remove soup from the fridge and let it defrost overnight. Then continue to warm up as mentioned above.

Do I need to soak pigeon peas

Soaking pigeon peas or any pea or bean for that matter is required when it is dried. Soaking helps to rehydrate the bean/pea.

Soaking it overnight is a great option. We also add a tablespoon of baking powder to the soaking water which helps to soften the pea faster.

Once done soaking, rinse off the water and it will still require some boiling prior to use.

How long does pigeon peas take to boil

This can vary depending on the peas so you typically have to play it by ear.

I would average 30 minutes for peas to be tender. It can be a little less or a little more. Pigeon peas are done when they are fork-tender and can be easily squished by fork or even fingers.

The times will vary based on the quality of peas you have.

Green in color peas, which are usually young too early mature, will take the shortest amount of time. This will also include peas in cans.

Brown or darker peas, those that are just maturing or even later down in the mature stage will take a longer time to boil to get to the tenderness required. These are the ones that will require soaking overnight prior to boiling.



If using frozen pigeon peas, use them from frozen. There is no need to defrost those pigeon peas.

If using dried pigeon peas (from the pack), soak them overnight with a teaspoon of baking powder to aid with the soaking. After overnight soaking, boil the peas with garlic until soft.

You can use canned pigeon peas also. Just adjust the time to cook to get tender to less time since they are basically already split pigeon peas.

Grab some other delicious Caribbean soup recipes:


  1. Lol taste like childhood…but since I omitted a few things like the dumplings and meat bone, mine turned out more on the watery side than thick. And the coconut mixture curdled (not sure if that’s normal but it was darker color than the soup as well)—I would see my dad scoop that out as it floated to the top whenever he cooked (even when he didn’t use milk) so I tried to do that same as well! Other than my little “tweaks” thank you for the recipe I hope you’re doing well!

    1. Hey Jada. I'm surviving!! Thank you!! Hope you are well. Yes I find the powder coconut milk a little iffy when mixing to be honest. Sometimes it's best to do it with a warm liquid. Yes.. with less things in the soup you would need a little less liquid f you want it thick. You are most welcome!!


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