If you’e been boiling or steaming peas, then I’m so glad you’re here to learn how to cook frozen peas the right way! The best way to cook frozen peas involves sautéing them in butter! 

For other amazing ways to cook vegetables be sure to check out my Roasted Carrots, Oven Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Boiled Corn recipes.

A silver serving spoon scooping up peas from a skillet.

Why This Recipe Works

  • The best way to cook frozen peas. I am definitely guilty of popping a bag of frozen peas in a saucepan of water and boiling them. Don’t do it! I promise you you’ll thank me forever. This method of how to cook peas has definitely upped my cool mom factor. I mean, we seriously should never ever be allowed to boil or steam peas!
  • Best cooked peas. With the proper cooking method, a little bit of sugar and some butter and you’ll be wanting these creamy peas every night!
  • Easy vegetable side dish. Whipping up this frozen peas recipe only takes a few minutes! It’s an easy side dish to tack onto all main dishes and uses simple ingredients but you still get lots of flavor! 

Ingredient Notes

A bag of frozen peas on a white marble background used to show How to Cook Frozen Peas.
  • Frozen Peas: Frozen vegetables are actually picked at prime ripeness and then frozen and transported to grocery stores. This means just by using plain old frozen peas you have a nutrient dense and much more tender option. 
  • Butter: Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized cubes to help the butter melt quicker. 
  • Granulated Sugar: Did you know peas have a naturally sweet flavor? They need just a sprinkling of sugar to help coax out the sweet peas flavor. 
  • Garlic Clove: You can omit this if you’d like; the garlic just adds a nice flavor to the peas. 
  • Salt: Don’t salt the peas until after they’ve been served on plates! If you salt them too soon, it will make the peas wrinkle.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Add everything to a large skillet and cook. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 lbs frozen peas, 10 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, and the minced garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the butter is all melted and the peas are cooked (about 5-8 minutes). 
  2. Serve. Portion into individual servings, then season with salt and black pepper. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips

Don’t salt the peas too soon. It will actually dehydrate them! I recommend NOT SALTING until after you’ve served it into individual bowls.

I know the packaging on frozen peas says to boil them. But trust me, it’s not the best cooking methods to cook your peas. Follow my steps for how to cook frozen peas! Boiling them will make mushy peas that lose that vibrant color. 

So, frozen peas or fresh peas? This may surprise you, but frozen peas! According to Cook’s Illustrated, fresh peas are starchier. Frozen peas are picked at peak ripeness and then frozen and sent to the grocery store. 

Feel free to top with fresh herbs such as parsley or basil. Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan when you are serving them for a cheesy element or add a splash of lemon juice for some acidity. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Since this best frozen peas recipe uses a frozen vegetable, I just recommend keeping the peas frozen and then cooking them just prior to serving. There really isn’t a make-ahead option, but they only take a few minutes to cook!

Store any leftover peas in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

Recipe FAQs

How long do frozen peas take to cook?

Usually the cooking time is just 5-8 minutes. I also look for petite peas because I find they are sweeter. 

Do you cook frozen peas in water?

Nope. You really want to sauté frozen peas in butter. Follow my recipe for the best way to cook frozen peas! 

Do you thaw frozen peas before cooking?

Nope! What a blessing. The easiest part of how to cook frozen peas is you can keep them frozen! 

Are frozen peas already cooked?

Usually frozen vegetables are blanched prior to being frozen. This means they are put in boiling water briefly and then into ice cold water. You could thaw them and eat them but they won’t be as soft as fully cooked peas.

Do fresh peas need to be cooked?

It depends on how you are using them. I love snacking on raw peas, and some salads may call for raw peas. However, I think you’ll love this way of cooking peas the best! Typically fresh peas should be cooked.

Can I use homegrown peas?

Sure! Garden peas are starchier than frozen peas, but this recipe is still so delicious with fresh green peas. Feel free to use your own peas from your garden!

Cooked peas in a skillet with a serving spoon scooping some out.

More Easy Vegetable Recipes

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A silver serving spoon scooping up properly cooked frozen peas from a skillet.
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5 from 7 votes

How to Cook Frozen Peas

If you've been boiling/steaming peas, you're doing it wrong! Can't wait for you to try this recipe. It's hands down the best way to cook peas!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 2 lbs frozen peas
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter - cubed, (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • kosher salt - to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper - to taste


  • In a large skillet over medium heat add the frozen peas, butter, sugar, and garlic.
  • Cook stirring often, until butter is melted and peas are cooked, about 5-8 minutes. 
  • Portion into individual servings and season with salt and pepper to taste. 


You can use room temperature butter which will help it melt faster. I’ve used this with cold butter as well and I found that once the butter fully melted, the peas were finished cooked. 
Don’t salt the peas too soon, it will actually dehydrate them!
I know the packaging on frozen peas says to boil them. But trust me, it’s not the best way to cook your peas. This is the RIGHT way!


Calories: 299kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 24g (8%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 12g (60%)Cholesterol: 50mg (17%)Sodium: 10mgPotassium: 369mg (11%)Fiber: 8g (32%)Sugar: 11g (12%)Vitamin A: 1740IU (35%)Vitamin C: 61mg (74%)Calcium: 45mg (5%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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