"Bahamian peas soup recipe with corn, carrots and meat in a bowl"

Warm Your Soul with a Hearty Bowl of Bahamian Peas Soup: A Classic Island Delight

Sharing is caring!

Warm Your Soul with a Hearty Bowl of Bahamian Peas Soup: A Classic Island Delight

Bahamian peas soup recipe, or dumpling soup, is the “official soup” of the Bahamas. Consuming much soup during the fall and winter months is typical.  But given that we don’t have actual winter months in the Bahamas, we still consume this soup year-round.

To warm your soul with a delicious and heartwarming dish, look no further than a bowl of Bahamian Peas Soup. This classic island delight is packed with flavor and guaranteed to satisfy even the heartiest appetites. Made with pigeon peas, tender vegetables, and savory meat, this soup is a staple in Bahamian cuisine and offers a taste of the Caribbean that you will remember.

The secret to the Bahamian Peas Soup’s rich and robust flavor lies in its slow-cooked preparation. The ingredients are simmered together for hours, allowing the flavors to meld and develop into a truly comforting dish. The result is a thick and hearty soup bursting with Caribbean flavors.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional island cuisine or simply looking to try something new, Pigeon Peas Soup is a must-try dish. So grab a spoon and prepare to indulge in a bowl of warmth and deliciousness.

"Soup with corn, carrots, potatoes and meat in a bowl"
Sweater weather food – Peas Soup

The history and cultural significance of  Peas Soup and Dumplings

Bahamian Peas Soup has a long and storied history in the Bahamas. It is believed to have been brought to the islands by West African slaves during the colonial era. The soup quickly became a staple in Bahamian households, as it was an affordable and filling dish that could feed a large family. 

Diving into the heartwarming bowl of Bahamian Peas and Dumpling Soup is like taking a journey through the rich tapestry of Bahamian history, where the crossroads of British and African culinary traditions meet. Picture this: back in the days, sailors from Britain and Ireland would relish in a simple yet satisfying dish known as “pease pudding,” a precursor to our beloved soup, made from humble ingredients like dried peas and cured ham that could easily withstand the test of long sea voyages. But here’s where the twist comes in – our Bahamian twist, to be precise.

We swapped out the traditional split peas for the pigeon peas, a nod to our African roots. These little peas, thought to have been first cultivated in India, made their way through Africa to our shores, thanks to the intricate webs of trade and the unfortunate history of the slave trade, eventually becoming a staple in our kitchens.

Now, let’s talk about those dumplings – the soft, comforting heart of the soup that makes every spoonful a delight. While the British have been tucking into savory dumplings made from flour and suet, mixed with cold water into a doughy bliss, for ages, there’s a chance our dumplings have a story that stretches even further, possibly harking back to Africa’s Banku.  Banku is a starchy companion in many African meals. It is made from cornmeal or flour and is cooked until it reaches perfect tenderness.

Whether our dumplings originated from the British culinary tradition or were inspired by the African Banku, they’ve found their home in our Bahamian Peas and Dumpling Soup, making it a dish that’s not just a feast for the taste buds but a celebration of our island’s vibrant cultural heritage.

Ingredients and preparation of Bahamian Peas and dumplings

The main ingredient in Bahamian Peas Soup is peas. These dried legumes are soaked overnight to soften them before cooking. Along with the peas, the soup typically includes a variety of vegetables such as onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin, and potatoes. The vegetables are chopped and added to the pot, along with seasoning and spices like thyme, bay leaves, and allspice.

To add depth and flavor, Bahamian Peas Soup often includes meat. Traditional recipes call for ham hocks or salted pork, which are simmered with the other ingredients to infuse the soup with a smoky and savory taste. However, variations of the soup may include other meats, such as chicken, ham, turkey, or beef.

To prepare the recipe for peas soup and dumplings, start by rinsing and soaking the dried pigeon peas overnight. Drain the peas and add them to a large pot. Cover the peas with water or broth and bring to a boil. Boil meats in a separate pot to cook off impurities. Allow peas to cook until soft but not falling apart. Add onion, garlic, meats, and strained water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf.  Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients until meats and vegetables are tender. The longer the soup simmers, the more flavorful it will become. Serve hot and enjoy!

"A bean mix that was soaked in water for peas soup
15 Bean pack – The traditional Peas Soup is made with Pigeon Peas

Health Benefits of Bahamian Peas Soup

In addition to its delicious taste, Bahamian pea soup offers several health benefits. The soup is a good source of dietary fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a healthy gut. The yellow split peas provide a good dose of plant-based protein, making it a satisfying meal option for vegetarians and vegans. The vegetables in the soup offer an array of vitamins and minerals, adding to its nutritional value.

Furthermore, the slow-cooking process of Bahamian Peas Soup helps retain the ingredients’ nutrients, ensuring that you get the most out of each bowl. The soup is also relatively low in fat and calories, making it a guilt-free option for those watching their waistline.

Variations and regional adaptations of Peas Soup and Dumpling Recipe

While the traditional Bahamian Peas Soup recipe remains popular, several variations and regional adaptations of this classic dish exist. Some versions add coconut milk to create a creamier and slightly sweet soup. Some versions switch out the pigeon peas and add another variety of peas.  I love using the 15-bean variation for my soup. Others may include additional spices or herbs to enhance the flavor profile.

In the southern islands of the Bahamas, a popular soup variation is called “souse.” This version includes a combination of meat, such as chicken or pig’s feet, vegetables, and a slightly tangy broth made from tomato juice, citrus juice, and vinegar. 

"onions, tomato paste, carrots, potatoes on cutting board"
Chopped vegetables for Peas Soup

Ingredient Alternatives for Peas Soup and Dumpling Recipe

Bahamian Peas Soup and Dumpling is a dish that beautifully showcases the versatility of Bahamian cuisine, allowing for an array of alternative ingredients to suit various tastes and dietary needs. For those looking to explore beyond the traditional recipe, consider using sweet potatoes or butternut squash as a delightful replacement for regular potatoes, adding a hint of sweetness and a boost of color to your soup.

Vegetarians can swap out the ham for hearty pumpkin chunks or additional beans, like black-eyed peas, to maintain that satisfying, chunky texture. Coconut milk can be used instead of traditional broths for a creamier base, infusing the soup with a subtle, tropical flavor that pairs wonderfully with the heartiness of the dumplings. Speaking of dumplings, for a gluten-free option, rice flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix can replace regular flour, ensuring everyone can enjoy this comforting dish. These tweaks cater to various dietary preferences and invite an exciting exploration of flavors, making the beloved Bahamian Peas Soup and Dumpling a canvas for culinary creativity.

Tips for making the perfect Bahamian Peas Soup

To ensure that your Bahamian Peas Soup turns out perfectly every time, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Soak the peas overnight to soften them before cooking. This will help reduce cooking time and ensure a smoother texture.
  2. Use a variety of vegetables to add depth and flavor to the soup. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables based on your preferences and what you have on hand.
  3. Choose high-quality meat for added flavor. Ham hocks or salted pork are traditional choices, but you can also use chicken, cut-up turkey, spare ribs, or beef for a different twist.
  4. Allow the soup to simmer for several hours to develop the flavors thoroughly. The longer the soup cooks, the more delicious it will become.
  5. Season the soup with herbs and spices to enhance the taste. Thyme, bay leaves, and allspice are traditional choices, but feel free to add your personal touch.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a bowl of Bahamian Peas Soup that is bursting with flavor and sure to impress.

"Tenderized conch in bowl"
Tenderized Conch

Serving suggestions and accompaniments for Bahamian Peas Soup Recipe

Thanks to its hearty and filling nature, Bahamian pea soup is often enjoyed as a standalone meal. However, there are several ways to enhance the dining experience and complement the flavors of the soup.

One popular accompaniment for Bahamian Peas Soup is Johnny Cake. This traditional Bahamian bread is similar to cornbread and pairs perfectly with the rich and savory flavors of the soup. The slightly sweet and dense texture of the Johnny Cake provides a satisfying contrast to the creamy soup.

Another option is to serve the soup with a side of rice. The fluffy and fragrant rice can be spooned into the soup, adding a comforting and filling element. Some people also enjoy dipping in a slice of coconut bread or adding a sprinkle of fresh herbs to their bowl of Bahamian Peas Soup for added richness and freshness.

"Chopped picnic ham and danish spare ribs in flowery bowls"
Chopped Picnic Ham and Danish Spareribs

Where to find Bahamian Peas Soup in the Bahamas and beyond

If you find yourself in the Bahamas and want to try a bowl of Bahamian Peas Soup, you’re in luck. This classic dish can be found in many local restaurants and island eateries. Bahamian pea soup is a staple on many menus, from roadside shacks to upscale establishments.  A great local restaurant where you can enjoy this filling soup is Bahamian cooking.

Beyond the Bahamas, you may find Bahamian Peas Soup in Caribbean restaurants or establishments specializing in regional cuisine. Thanks to its delicious taste and comforting qualities, the soup’s popularity has spread beyond the islands.

"A hearty pot of Bahamian Peas Soup"
Peas Soup and Dumpling 

Peas and dumpling soup Bahamian recipes

To bring the flavors of the Bahamas into your kitchen, here are two Bahamian pea soup recipes:

Recipe 1: Traditional Bahamian Peas Soup and dumpling


– 1 bag of dried pigeon peas, soaked overnight, or 2-14 ounce cans of pigeon peas

– 1 onion, chopped

– 2 carrots, chopped

– 1 tomato, chopped

– 3  potato, cubed

– 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed

– 5 ears of corn, chopped

– 3  large tenderized conch, chopped

– 2 lbs ham hocks or salted beef

– 2 lbs spareribs, cubed by butcher

-2 lbs turkey, cubed by butcher

– 1/4 cup tomato paste

– 2 sprigs thyme

– 2 bay leaves

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, optional


2 cups of flour

– 1 to 2 cups of water (add water until dough is soft to your liking)

– a pinch of salt


  1. Drain the soaked pigeon peas and rinse them under cold water. (Note: skip this step if you’re using canned peas). NOTE: for my pea soup recipe, I use a bag of 15 beans
  2. Add turkey, spare ribs, and ham to a pot. Bring to a boil and remove impurities from the water as the meat continues to boil. Cook until the meat is tender (Do not allow the water to boil out; keep adding as needed). Once the meat is tender, put it through a filter and reserve water.
  3. Add tenderized conch to a pot and cook until tender and all impurities are skimmed, then put through a filter.
  4. Combine flour, water, and salt to make dough for dumplings. Mix until combined. (Note: for lighter dough, knead until smooth)
  5. In a large pot, combine the peas, chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, spare ribs, turkey, conch, ham hocks, or salted pork, water or meat broth, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, and allspice.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Add ingredients: carrots, potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, and dumplings (I use a tablespoon to drop the dumplings)—season to desired taste.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for an additional hour or until the soup has reached the desired consistency; meat and vegetables are tender.
  8. Check the soup for seasonings. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe 2: Bahamian Peas Soup with Coconut Milk


– 1 cup pigeon peas, soaked overnight

– 1 onion, chopped

– 2 carrots, chopped

– 2 potatoes, chopped

– 1 plantain, chopped

– 2 chicken breasts, diced

– 2 lbs oxtails

– 4 cups coconut milk

– 1 small tin tomato sauce

– 2 sprigs thyme

– 2 bay leaves

– 1 teaspoon allspice

– Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain the soaked peas and rinse them under cold water.
  2. Scald oxtail for about 15 minutes
  3. Remove the oxtail from the pot and put broth through a sift.  Add broth and meat back to pot and boil until tender, adding water if needed. (Do not allow the water to dry out).

4.. In a large pot, combine the peas, chopped onion, carrots, tomato sauce, potato, chicken breasts, oxtails, coconut milk, thyme, bay leaves, and allspice.

  1. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about an hour or until the peas and oxtail are tender.
  2. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve hot, and enjoy!

Storage of Peas soup and dumpling recipe

Properly storing Bahamian Pea Soup can extend its shelf life, ensuring you can savor its hearty flavors even when you don’t like cooking. Regarding refrigeration, Peas Soup can comfortably last 3 to 4 days if stored correctly. To ensure its freshness, let the soup cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container; this prevents bacterial growth and keeps the soup safe to eat. If you’re looking to keep the soup for a more extended period, freezing is a fantastic option.

Peas Soup freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for six months. Use freezer-safe containers or bags, allowing the soup to expand as it freezes. When ready to enjoy your soup, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it slowly over the stove to preserve its texture and flavor.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts – Dumpling Soup is the official soup

Bahamian Peas Soup is more than just a delicious and heartwarming dish; it’s a taste of the Bahamas and a reflection of the island nation’s rich history and culture. From its humble origins as a staple in Bahamian households to its popularity on menus throughout the islands and beyond, this classic soup has stood the test of time.

Whether you’re looking to warm your soul on a chilly day or want to experience the flavors of the Caribbean, Bahamian Peas Soup is a must-try dish. So grab a spoon, gather your ingredients, and prepare to indulge in a bowl of warmth and deliciousness that will transport you to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas.

Blog Post recommendations

Stew Conch – Tap Tap

Christmas Side Dishes – Tap Tap

Bahamian Steam Chicken – Tap Tap

Peas and Rice – Tap Tap

Johnny Cake – Tap Tap

Why is my pea soup not creamy?

Several factors might contribute to your pea soup not achieving a creamy consistency. Firstly, the type of peas used can significantly affect the texture; split peas tend to dissolve more, resulting in a smoother texture, while whole peas might retain their shape, leading to a chunkier soup. Additionally, insufficient cooking time or not pureeing the soup thoroughly could be the issue. Make sure the peas are cooked until they’re very tender, and when blending, aim for a longer duration to achieve a silkier texture.

Moreover, inadequate liquid or too much stock/water can impact creaminess. Adjusting the ratio of peas to liquid or adding a cream base like heavy cream or coconut milk could help achieve that desired creamy consistency in your pea soup.

How do you spice up bland pea soup?

Several techniques can elevate the flavor profile of bland pea soup. Start by incorporating aromatic herbs and spices such as thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, or cumin to enhance the taste. Add sautéed onions, garlic, or shallots to introduce depth and richness. Consider incorporating umami-rich ingredients like miso paste or soy sauce for a savory kick. Acidic elements such as a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can brighten the flavors.

Experiment with toppings like crispy bacon, croutons, a dollop of Greek yogurt, or a drizzle of infused olive oil to add texture and additional layers of taste, transforming your pea soup into a flavorful and satisfying dish. Adjust seasonings gradually while tasting to achieve the desired balance of flavors.




Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


On Key

Related Posts

How to fry fish Bahamian Style

How to fry whole Red Snapper fish Bahamian style

How to fry whole Red Snapper fish Bahamian style? Hey there, food lovers! Ever wondered what it’s like to eat in the Bahamas? Let me tell you, it’s like a party for your taste buds! Bahamian food is super cool because it mixes flavors from

Steam Fish with yellow grits and gravy

How to season fish like a Bahamian: Simple and Spicy

How to season fish like a Bahamian: Simple and Spicy We Bahamians love our fish seasoned spicy and fried dry. Yes, we eat the whole fish, including the eyes, tail, etc. One of my best times was getting a kit of Red Snappers from the fish

Bahamian flag with blue skies and palm trees in the background

Celebrating Bahamas independence day; July 10th, 2024

Celebrating Bahamas independence day; July 10th, 2024 I remember going to watch the Bahamas’ Independence celebrations when I was a child. There was a tattoo show with all the uniform services and fireworks. And, of course, the incredible junkanoo. After the fun, you went home,

Bahamian Sardines and Grits recipe

Bahamian Sardines and Grits Recipe, a breakfast dish

Bahamian Sardines and Grits Recipe, a breakfast dish This dish holds a special place in my heart. It was my Grammy’s favorite breakfast. You could always tell she was cooking it by the lovely smell. This article will introduce you to the Bahamian Sardines and

white grits in a gray bowl topped with greens on a strip towel

How to cook Bahamian Yellow grits; Quick and Easy

How to cook Bahamian Yellow grits; Quick and Easy Bahamians love their grits. We enjoy them plain with a bit of butter. They’re also great with our stew conch and chicken souse. Even my daughter has them every morning. She insists on grits, saying it’s