Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas 101 – The Basics

Sugar snap peas are absolutely delicious, whether enjoyed raw or lightly cooked. They’re sweet, crunchy, delicious, and nutritious. AND the pods are edible, so you don’t even need to shell them! Simply give them a quick wash and pop them in your mouth…oh so good! If you haven’t tried them, please do give them a whirl. Below is a lot of information about these delectable goodies from what they are, to how to cook and flavor them, to suggested recipes, and much more.


Sugar Snap Peas 101 – The Basics

About Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas, also known as snap peas, are members of the legume family. They are a cross between snow peas (flat pea pods commonly used in Asian stir-fries) and garden peas (shelled, and used in “peas and carrots”). Unlike garden peas, the whole pea, pod and all, of snap peas can be eaten. It is crunchy and sweet. They have tough “strings” at the seams of the pod that some people prefer to remove before eating the whole peas. Snap peas can be eaten whole, raw or cooked.

Nutrition Tidbits
Snap peas contain Vitamins K and C along with a variety of B-Vitamins, folate, iron and beta-carotene. They are a good source of fiber as well. One cup of snap peas has only 41 calories, no fat, and 3 grams of protein.

How to Select Sugar Snap Peas
Look for snap peas that are bright green, smooth, and without blemishes. Avoid those that are spotted, discolored, or wrinkled.

How to Store Sugar Snap Peas
Depending upon how old they are when you purchase them, snap peas can keep for up to five days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Discard any that have become soft or discolored.

How to Preserve Sugar Snap Peas
To freeze sugar snap peas, wash them well and remove the ends and strings if desired. Place them in boiling water for 1-1/2 minutes, then immediately place them in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Remove and allow them to drain well. Place them on a tray and freeze for one or two hours, so they are frozen separately. When frozen, place them in freezer containers or bags and return them to the freezer. They will keep well like this for 8 months.

Some people choose to freeze snap peas without blanching, by simply placing the washed peas (that have been frozen individually on a tray) in a freezer bag and storing them in the freezer. If you choose to do this, use them within 4 to 6 weeks. If frozen that way, the longer they are stored, the more they will lose their color, flavor, and nutritional content.

Can they be eaten raw?
Snap peas can be enjoyed raw or cooked. The pod is edible, so you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth and enjoy the natural sweetness and crunchiness of the pea for a snack or in salads.

Quick cooking methods such as stir-frying or blanching snap peas will help to maintain their sweetness and crunchy texture.

How to Prepare Sugar Snap Peas
Of course, give your snap peas a good wash before using them. Some people prefer to remove the ends and the string that runs along the seam on the pod, although this step is not mandatory. They can be enjoyed whole or cut as needed for your recipe.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw as a snack or used as a healthful and crunchy addition to any salad. They can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, sautéed, stir-fried, or added to soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles. To keep the crispiness of snap peas, eat them raw or cook them very briefly.

Here are some easy ideas for using sugar snap peas:

* Eat them raw as a simple snack…delicious!

* Slice them and add them to your favorite salad for sweetness and crunch.

* Sauté your sugar snap peas and top them with a little lemon zest, salt and pepper.

* Lightly coat them with olive oil, sprinkle them with garlic powder and roast at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes (turn once during roasting), until they are as crisp and brown as you like. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

* Add them to a chicken or beef stir-fry dish.

* Stir-fry sugar snap peas with shredded carrots, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little tamari. Serve over cooked quinoa, then top with a little lemon juice or white wine vinegar, and toasted pepitas.

* Add them to your favorite stir-fry noodle dish.

* Add sugar snap peas to orange stir-fried chicken served over rice.

* Add them to your favorite vegetable stir-fry combination.

* Slice sugar snap peas and add them to a veggie pizza.

* Add them to a salad with strawberries, avocado and walnuts on a bed of mixed greens. Top with a lemon honey vinaigrette. (See recipe link below.)

* Blanch peas for 1-1/2 minutes, then cook them for 2 minutes in a bowl of ice water. Drain then transfer them to a bowl. Top with your favorite Italian salad dressing. Enjoy!

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Sugar Snap Peas
Basil, butter and browned butter, chervil, chives, cilantro, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, horseradish, marjoram, mint, mustard (Dijon), parsley, pepper (black), sage, salt, scallions, shallots, soy sauce, sugar, tarragon, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Sugar Snap Peas
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, cashews, peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame, tofu

Vegetables: Asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, chiles, fennel, mushrooms, onions, radishes, water chestnuts

Fruit: Lemons

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (ie Parmesan), coconut milk, yogurt

Grains: Noodles, pasta, rice, whole grains of any sort

Other: Miso, oils, vegetable stock

Some Suggested Flavor Combinations:

Try sugar snap peas with…
basil + garlic
chiles + garlic + lemon
cumin + thyme
dill + olive oil + scallions
garlic + lemon zest + pasta
garlic + mushrooms
garlic + pine nuts
ginger + sesame oil
lemon + mint
mustard + olive oil + vinegar
noodles/pasta + peanut sauce + soy sauce
sesame oil + sesame seeds

Recipe Links
Black Pepper and Garlic Sugar Snap Pea Pasta

Snap Pea and Japanese Eggplant Stir-Fry

Garlic Sugar Snap Peas

Sesame Sugar Snap Peas

Citrus Shrimp Salad and Sugar Snap Peas with Romaine Hearts

5 Easy Lunch Ideas with Sugar Snap Peas

Scallop Fettuccine and Sugar Snap Peas

10 Minute Sugar Snap Peas With Lemon

14 Spring Sugar Snap Pea Recipes You Need to Try This Season

Asian Been with Sugar Snap Peas

Summer Strawberry, Snap Pea, Avocado, and Walnut Salad

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

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