Learn how to make this traditional English and Irish side dish for fish and chips or a meat pie.  This delicious and healthy vegetarian dish can be customized to your taste with mint, cream, or lemon juice.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
three bowls of mushy peas
Veggie Side Dishes

How to Make Delicious Mushy Peas

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I’ve always loved peas: fresh, boiled, or frozen.  When I encountered a can of mushy peas in the international section of a local grocery store, I was intrigued.  Anything with peas in it must taste great!  I’m glad I discovered this classic comfort food, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it alongside a savory pie sometime.

holding a bowl of mushy peas

What goes into mushy peas?

The most basic ingredients are dried peas, baking soda (bicarb), water, and salt.  Many people like to add mint sauce, fresh mint, cream, butter, sugar, or lemon juice after the mushy peas are cooked to add additional flavor.

Traditionally, mushy peas are made with marrowfat peas, but since they are hard to find in the US, I’ve used green split peas instead.  In this photo, I’ve compared my homemade mushy peas with a popular brand of Irish mushy peas, which are made with marrowfat peas.

three bowls of mushy peas

Why are they called marrowfat peas?

Many people say that the name “marrowfat” is derived from a certain cultivar of marrowfat peas called maro.  The Japanese desired large, fat peas (fat maros) for snack food, from which the name “marrowfat” was derived.

Can you freeze cooked mushy peas?

Yes, mushy peas freeze quite well.  Store them in a zip-top freezer bag or an airtight container.

spoonful of mushy peas

How do you make mushy peas?

Measure out marrowfat peas or green split peas, whichever you can find.

ingredients for mushy peas

Soak the dried peas in boiling water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda overnight (12 hours).  The baking soda softens the peas and improves the color.

dried peas soaking for mushy peas

Drain and thoroughly rinse the soaked peas, then cover with filtered water, add salt, and cook until mushy.  Skim off any foam that forms as the peas cook.

soaked peas for mushy peas in a colander

Will you try making mushy peas soon?  Homemade really does taste better than canned, and is really quite simple to make.  Everyone will enjoy this healthy vegetarian side dish!

Your family will love mushy peas alongside one of these delicious savory pies.

plate of corned beef pie with fork a slice of chicken and mushroom pie on a plate person holding a dingle pie

Share how you enjoyed these mushy peas by leaving a recipe rating below.  We’d love to hear from you!

three bowls of mushy peas

How to Make Delicious Mushy Peas

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x


Learn how to make this traditional English and Irish side dish for fish and chips or a meat pie.  This delicious and healthy vegetarian dish can be customized to your taste with mint, cream, or lemon juice.



  • 4 cups green split peas (2 lb or 907g)
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 8 cups water (1.9 liters)
  • 5 1/2 cups filtered water (1.3 liters)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt

For Serving (Optional)

  • 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • salted butter
  • fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • mint sauce
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice


Soaking the Peas

  1. Place the dried split peas in a large Dutch oven and sprinkle the baking soda on top.
  2. Boil the 8 cups of water and pour over the peas.  Stir to combine, then cover and let sit at room temperature for about 12 hours.

Cooking the Peas

  1. Drain the peas in a large colander, making sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove the baking soda.  Return the peas to the Dutch oven and cover the peas with filtered water (about 5 1/2 cups).  Stir in the salt and cover.
  2. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low.  Let the peas simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the peas are thick and mushy.  Skim off the foam that forms as the peas cook.  Be careful not to overcook, or the peas will not be as chunky.

Serving the Mushy Peas

  1. Add in any extras that you would like, depending on what you’re serving with the peas.  If you’re serving the peas with fish and chips, stir in the cream and salted butter.
  2. For minty peas, add the mint sauce to taste and fresh chopped mint leaves.
  3. For tangy peas, add freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste.


  • If you’re in a hurry, use frozen green peas instead of the dried peas.  Make sure to decrease the filtered water when cooking the peas.
  • For thicker, chunkier mushy peas, use less filtered water and cook for less time.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: British

Keywords: mushy peas

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