English Peas with Brown Butter & Honey

We wait for them all year, and happily, our patience is rewarded with these quick-cooking emeralds of the garden!

When our peas come in, we eat them as often as possible because we blink, and they are gone. The rest of the year, we satisfy the craving with the frozen peas available to us all, which are quite tasty, but when the fresh is around, we don’t even mind the time it takes to release these little green gems from their confinement. Shelling peas, especially with someone you love, is the best time, especially if it is about the process and not about ending up with a bowl of shelled peas.


When I was growing up, peas were the candy of the garden. I remember summer mornings when I was supposed to be weeding, picking the little pods and putting a whole pod’s worth of nuggets in my mouth. How delicious they were. Mom usually boiled them, a little longer than I would think of doing now, but even so, we thought they were the best.


If we are not eating them raw from the pod, we’re happy with our peas steamed lightly, dotted with butter, and a bit of salt.

But a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon added to the butter never hurt anything. If the butter is browned and the honey local, all the better. Once in a while, I add something crunchy, like the pumpkin seeds that were sitting on my counter this week, but it’s not necessary at all! A bit of finely minced mint is also a nice addition.

Simple. Delicious. Fleeting. Photo: © Dorothy Grover-Read

English Peas with Browned Butter and Honey

It takes only a few seconds to brown the butter, and since we’ve waited all year for peas, we can wait a bit longer.

1 lb. English peas, 1 cup shelled

2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. local honey

Squeeze of fresh lemon  juice

2 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, optional

Shell the peas and set aside. One pound of peas in the pod should give you a cup of peas, so plan accordingly.

Prepare a steaming basket over a little water in a large saucepan. Put on to boil.

Once the water is boiling, add the peas to the basket, cover, and steam for three to five minutes. Remove the basket from the pan, place the peas in a bowl, and drain any remaining water from your pan.

Add the butter to the pan, no need to dirty another, and heat until the butter browns lightly, don’t let it go too far, just keep it swirling so it doesn’t burn. It goes fast, but the nutty aroma and color will let you know it’s ready. Quickly, add the peas back along with the honey and pumpkin seeds, swirl around and plate.

Sprinkle all with the lemon juice, and nice pinch of salt of course! If you like, you can add a bit of minced fresh mint at the end as well.

Sugar Snap Peas:

You can use sugar snap or snow peas in this recipe as well. Just steam until tender, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Winter option:

In winter, substitute thawed, frozen peas, but do not cook them any longer, just add them to the browned butter.

Nutritional information: Green peas are a superfood and great source of protein, fiber, folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, B Vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese!


© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen. 


  1. Ally Bean says:

    Your photos and this recipe are making me hungry. Fresh vegetables, prepared simply, make me happy.

    1. Me to Ally! Nothing better. This time of year is so simple!

  2. Alicia says:

    Yum! I love peas. I agree, your photos make me hungry!

    1. Thank you! Photography is one of my joys.

  3. Anne says:

    Many years ago I talked to a very nice English lady with wry sense of humor. While sitting together having lunch, she recited:

    I eat my peas with honey.
    I’ve done it all my life.
    It makes them taste ‘bit funny,
    But keeps them on the knife

    Reading you post, I realize this might very well have been a nursery rhyme as well as her real lie experience. 🙂

    1. That is so funny, what is even more funny is that when I was writing this post, I was thinking of my Uncle Leonard. He always ate his peas with a knife, and I don’t know anyone else who ever did that! And he was French Canadian! Go figure. I tried doing it once, I don’t recommend it!

      1. Anne says:

        Nothing beats good memories. Well, almost nothing. 🙂

  4. Angela says:

    @Anne… I remember that rhyme, but I actually never thought it might have any relationship to an actual cooking method. Re the knife bit… that may demand more research. Perhaps a fun childhood challenge? But I do love peas. I thought that only Southerners called them “English,” though, perhaps to distinguish them from black-eyed peas.. Can you enlighten?

  5. Love the picture

    1. Thank you so much! It’s a fun recipe, and the brown butter adds just that special little touch.

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