Did anyone else’s family freezer always contain a bag of frozen peas that were specifically for icing sore knees or stubbed toes? While it’s true, frozen peas make for the best ice packs, the fact is, they are also quite good to eat!
To find out just how good frozen peas could be, because we sampled thirteen different brands and varieties, evaluating them on various criteria as we went. Not only did we come up with some options which are surprisingly tasty and fresh looking, but also nutritionally sound.
After we go through our selections, we’ll also discuss some tips for how to microwave frozen peas to achieve best results and find out a bit about frozen food safety (spoiler alert: subzero temps don’t kill all harmful bacteria!). Take a walk down the freezer aisle with us as we rank the best frozen peas we could find!
Ranking the Best Frozen Peas
In our search for the best frozen peas, we tested the following brands and varieties:
- 365 Whole Foods Market Green Peas
- Birds Eye Baby Sweet Peas
- Birds Eye Steamfresh Sweet Peas
- Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet Peas
- Full Circle Market Organic Green Peas
- Good & Gather Organic Peas
- Green Giant Simply Steam Sweet Peas & Butter Sauce
- Hanover Petite Peas
- Pictsweet Farms Deluxe Baby Sweet Peas
- Stahlbush Island Farms Inc. Green Peas
- Trader Joe's Fresh Harvest Petite Peas
- Trader Joe's Organic Peas
- Woodstock Organic Petite Peas
All of these options have several similarities worth noting:
Each package of peas we tested contained a sole ingredient: peas! English or garden peas to be specific. The only exception to this was the Green Giant Simply Steam Sweet Peas & Butter Sauce, which sounded promising, but unfortunately ended up not making our list (you’re better off adding your own butter to any plain peas!).
Therefore, each of our top frozen peas featured below can be considered vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free etc. As always though, if particular allergens are of concern for you, it’s important to research the processing of any food item to ensure they take proper anti-cross-contamination measures.
Serving Size & Calorie Content
Compare several packages of any type of frozen vegetables and you might notice that the serving sizes vary between a ½ cup to ⅔ cup. We found, however, that this variation is due to the difference between uncooked and cooked food, as all foods naturally lose some volume as they defrost and heat up. Regardless of which portion of a cup each package described as a serving, the serving size was always somewhere between 80-90 grams by weight.
Calories in Frozen Peas
All frozen peas had an overall similar calorie content, coming in at either 60 or 70 calories per serving.
Carbs in Frozen Peas
As far as vegetables go, peas are quite starchy! The varieties we tested ranged from 11 grams to 13 grams per serving, or 7 to 8 grams of net carbs per serving. Net carbs, for those who don't know, are total carbohydrates minus fiber. While fiber is indeed a carbohydrate, it is indigestible by the body and therefore can be removed from the total carb count, leaving you with a net quantity.
To keep things consistent, all frozen peas were cooked according to recommended microwave instructions on the packaging. Some varieties offered the steam-in-bag option, while others required transfer to a separate dish.
1. Best Tasting Frozen Peas: Woodstock Organic Petite Peas
Many frozen vegetables claim to have been harvested and frozen at just the right point, making them taste just as good as fresh! But we all know, sadly, this is not always the reality. While most of the frozen pea varieties we tested did have overall good flavor and texture, there were just a few which were truly yummy, and we are happy to highlight our favorite right here!
About Woodstock Organic Petite Peas
It’s not every day that you can trust the motto printed on a package of food, or any other product for that matter. But in the case of Woodstock Organic Petite Peas and their slogan “Eat because it’s good!”, for once, you can take them for their word. These frozen peas taste good.
Their flavor is straight up natural sweetness, while their texture is juicy, with tender skins that offer just a bit of pleasant resistance when you bite into them. Where other peas had tough skins or a somewhat chalky feel inside the pea itself, these were light and fresh. Not only are these peas tasty but you can feel good about eating them as well! The bag clearly states that it is BPA-free (the only bag to say so out of all the test subjects) and this USA made product is certified organic and non-GMO. In addition, Woodstock brand states that it is a proud supporter of the American Farmland Trust, which works to conserve farmland and promote environmentally friendly agriculture.
The truth remains though, that you can’t win ‘em all. While these peas taste good and are good for you (and the environment!) they definitely don’t look the best. They were not as uniform in size and seemed a bit on the yellower side as compared to some of the other, bright green varieties we tested. In addition, these frozen peas are also not the leaders of the pack in terms of nutritional value. They contain some quantity of iron, potassium, and calcium, but at levels which every other pea variety we tested contained and nothing more.
- Best flavor and texture of all peas we tested! Sweet, juicy, and tender.
- Packaged in a BPA-free plastic bag.
- Woodstock Organic Petite Peas are certified organic and non-GMO.
- These peas are a product of the USA.
- The brand supports the American Farmland Trust, which works toward a safe and sustainable future of farming for all.
- Not the best looking peas, with a fairly irregular appearance and more yellow coloring than some other frozen pea varieties.
- Lacking in extra vitamins and minerals as compared to some of the other brands and varieties
2. Best Looking Frozen Peas: 365 Whole Foods Market Green Peas
Ok so the first place holder doesn’t take the cake (Pea and Pistachio Cake to be specific) in terms of looks, but isn’t it what’s inside that counts the most? Well, yes and no. The old saying “you eat with your eyes first” seriously has something to it. The fact is, if something looks good, you’re more likely to perceive it to taste good, and as a result, are likely to eat more of it.
About 365 Whole Foods Market Green Peas
While eating more of something because it looks so darn delicious isn’t always to your benefit (why, why do those crispy, golden French fries have to look so tasty!), when the food in question is a good-for-you veggie like frozen peas, looking good is a major selling point.
We knew right when we opened the bag of 365 Whole Foods Market Green Peas that they stood out for their looks. Even when frozen, the peas had an excellent green color, were larger than many other frozen peas, with consistent size and shape throughout the bag. Although we’re placing them in second place for their excellent appearance, these peas also scored high marks in the taste category as well. Win-win! Something about their taste and texture just seem overall more satisfying than many of the other options. As with many products from 365 Whole Foods Market, these peas are also organic and non-GMO, and on top of the usual amounts of iron and potassium, offer a decent dose of vitamin C as well!
While they maintained their great shape and coloring throughout their cooking, unfortunately, the peas took on a bit of a wrinkly appearance afterwards. In addition, this package of peas came with instructions for one of the longest cook times we saw, at 10 to 12 minutes in the microwave on high! In our opinion, that’s just a bit overboard, although perhaps due to their larger size they do need more cooking time than other bags of petite peas.
- 365 Whole Foods Market Green Peas have the best color, shape, size, and consistency of all the peas tested. That’s a bag of handsome peas!
- Scored well in terms of taste also, with a sweet flavor, creamy texture, and overall very satisfying experience to eat.
- Certified organic and non-GMO.
- In addition to standard amounts of iron and potassium, these peas have 13 milligrams (15% the daily value!) of vitamin C.
- While they looked especially beautiful in their frozen state, these peas took on a more wrinkly appearance after being cooked.
- The package instructions for microwave cooking are the longest out of all the peas we tested, at 10-12 minutes.
3. Best Organic Frozen Peas: Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet Peas
While you may already be familiar with the importance of organic farming, it can certainly be difficult to find products which are organic and still hit the mark in terms of taste, appearance, affordability, and all of the other factors you must take into consideration when shopping for your groceries.
Since organic products are raised without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers, the plants often produce more, let’s say, unique fruits and vegetables as opposed to non-organic crops which are bred specifically for appearance and taste purposes. In addition, the lack of traditional methods often means that more product is lost to insects and other animals (hey, chipmunks like peas too!) and therefore, organic products can be more expensive than traditional.
About Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet Peas
This leads us to Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet Peas, in the middle of the pack in terms of pricing and yet, still tasty and great looking! They have a nice color and shape and are less freezer-burned looking than many of the other peas we opened. They taste as good as they look too--fresh, creamy, and of course packed with sweet pea flavor. As with all products from this brand, these peas are certified organic and non-GMO, and the packaging offers information on the many ways in which the company supports the environment, from supporting pollinators with adequate habitats to looking towards the future of organic farming.
While the flavor of the peas is good and the inside texture is nice and creamy, we did find the skins to be a bit tough. On one hand that’s good for you because that tough feeling you experience in fruits and vegetables indicates plenty of that healthy fiber we mentioned earlier! But on the other hand, it makes the peas less pleasant to eat. And unfortunately, these peas don’t stand out in terms of nutrition content either.
- These frozen peas have a nice color and shape with less freezer-burning than some of the other varieties.
- Overall fresh taste, sweet flavor, and creamy texture.
- All products from Cascadian Farm are certified organic and non-GMO.
- Proudly states that they are one of the first organic brands in the USA, and dedicate resources to supporting pollinators, wildlife, and future organic farming.
- Good flavor and texture of the inside of the peas, but the outer skins are a bit on the tougher side.
- Not stellar performance in the nutrition category, with only base-level iron and potassium content, nothing extra.
4. Most Nutritious Frozen Peas: Good & Gather Peas
Not all peas are created equal! While all of these peas are of the same pea species, Pisum sativum, the way they are grown, processed, and stored can greatly affect their final nutritional content.
While any of the peas on our list would make for a healthy choice (green veggies = always good!), we did find some to offer greater nutrient density and variety as opposed to others. Therefore, this was an important factor to take into consideration when evaluating the best frozen peas.
About Good & Gather Peas
Also earning themselves a spot in the lineup of our best canned peas, the folks at Good & Gather brand from Target clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to peas. First things first, the nutrient content in one serving of these peas was far more impressive than any others that we tested.
Not only do they contain the standard iron and calcium content, but they deliver twice as much potassium as any of the other varieties, plus a bit of vitamin A, and 40% the daily value of vitamin C! They also offer 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber which are both on the high end of what we found across the other brands. They’re also certified organic and non-GMO. And, for our favorite part, these peas come in a super cool resealable bag! That’s right, they have a zipper seal built right in, so you can easily cook as many peas as you need and store the rest for another time.
The downside here is that we found this bag of peas to, quite literally, be a mixed bag. Some of the individual peas looked great while others were wrinkled, broken, or discolored. The taste was right in the middle, not bad but definitely not the best. But hey, in the name of nutrition, sometimes you might have to give a little! We also felt that these peas had more of a case of freezer burn than some others.
- Amazing nutrition profile, offering high levels of protein and fiber, as well as a double dose of potassium, and an impressive quantity of vitamin C.
- Certified organic and non-GMO.
- Good & Gather Peas come in a really neat resealable bag, saving you from having to waste another bag for repackaging or risking loose peas rolling all around your freezer.
- The peas were fairly irregular, some were in pieces, wrinkled, or discolored.
- As compared to some other brands and varieties, these were pretty freezer burned looking.
5. Best All-Around Frozen Peas: Trader Joe's Organic Peas
Of course, we had to select one lucky bag of peas to fill the role of “best all-around”! The important thing here is that the selection does each of the different categories justice, even though it may not be the best in any one individually.
About Trader Joe's Organic Peas
We actually tested two different bags of frozen peas from Trader Joe’s, and somewhat unexpectedly, their organic option was loads better than their regular petite peas, which unfortunately seemed dry with many brown-spotted peas in the mix. Their organic peas, thankfully, were quite a different story! The peas themselves looked great, had larger and more consistent sizing, and offered decent taste as well. The flavor was more nutty and less sweet than others we tried, but still tasty and as is the case with many peas who made our top list, these are certified organic and non-GMO. They also rank high in protein content, offering 5 grams of protein per serving. The cooking was convenient as well, as at only 3-4 minutes in the microwave, it was one of the quickest cooking varieties of peas we tested.
Despite the speed with which they cooked, it was still not quite as convenient as those sought after steam-in-bag options, and it would have been nice if Trader Joe’s offered a version of these. In addition, although the ingredients listing only reads “organic green peas”, there is still a quantity of sodium in these peas! It’s nothing to excess, but if you ask us, a little unnecessary.
- The peas had a unique nutty flavor to them, less sweet than other varieties.
- Certified organic and non-GMO.
- At the top of the protein charts, delivering 5 grams per serving!
- One of the fastest cook times of all the peas we tested, requiring only 3 to 4 minutes in the microwave.
- Sadly, not a microwave-in-bag option to be found at Trader Joe’s, which would have upped the convenience factor here.
- Despite “organic green peas” being the only ingredient listed, these peas still have 65 milligrams of salt per serving.
6. Honorable Mention Frozen Peas: Stahlbush Island Farms Inc. Green Peas
Sometimes you just need to highlight when people are doing things differently, and that’s just what we found when we picked up this bag from Stahlbush Island Farms Inc.
About Stahlbush Island Farms Inc. Green Peas
These peas deserved a spot on our list because not only did they make for a pretty decent bowl of frozen peas, but in a frozen vegetable market which has remained largely unchanged over the years, Stahlbush Island Farms is flipping the script and giving you a new way to look at frozen vegetables.
The first thing you’ll notice is that these frozen veggies are sealed in brown paper packaging as opposed to plastic--how cool! Stahlbush Island Farms Inc. is committed to sustainability, and after just a few minutes on their website you come to see all of the ways in which they work to conserve water, maintain soil quality, and protect wildlife. As for the peas themselves? They honestly tasted great, quite like fresh peas, cooking evenly and quickly in just about 2 to 3 minutes.
The biggest bummer? The paper package is not recyclable nor compostable! While it’s definitely a step in the right direction away from single use plastics, it seems a shame to have to throw it into the trash. In addition, we have another case here of sodium content in frozen peas which, if you ask us, do not need to contain sodium.
- These frozen peas are packaged in paper not plastic--three cheers for reducing our dependence on single use plastic!
- Stahlbush Island Farms is certified sustainable, meaning they meet certain criteria about their resource uses and conservation efforts.
- Great, fresh tasting peas!
- Cooked quickly and evenly, needing only 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave.
- Despite the awesome, environmentally conscious paper packing, there is no way to recycle or compost the bag and it must be thrown out.
- These peas contain added sodium, 75 milligrams actually, and you might prefer completely sodium free peas which you can season to your preference.
How to Cook Frozen Peas
As we mentioned, for testing purposes, we cooked all of the frozen peas according to the recommended instructions on the packaging. Some varieties offered stove top options, while others gave directions for how to cook frozen peas in the microwave. Here are a few helpful tips we learned along the way:
- If you’re not sure how to microwave frozen peas using a steam-in-bag option, no worries, it’s easy! Just be sure to pay attention to any “this side up” indicators as they tell you which side has special openings so as to allow the steam to vent.
- When microwaving peas in the bag, you may notice that the bag remains puffed up even after the cooking time is complete, kind of like popcorn. It’s best to let the bag rest for a minute or two, during which time the steam will dissipate and the bag will deflate some.
- If you opt to cook frozen peas in the microwave without a steam-in-bag packaging, we recommend choosing a microwave safe dish with a cover. If you don’t have one of those, just grab a microwave-safe bowl with a microwave-safe plate you can place atop!
- Not all packages of frozen peas instructed to stir the peas partway through microwave cooking times, but we found this to be the best way to cook frozen peas. Without this step, the peas tended to cook very unevenly, some getting over done while others remained cold. Regardless of what your package says, go ahead and give things a quick stir about halfway through cooking.
- Don’t have a microwave or prefer not to use it? No problem! You can always use your stovetop or any electric burner to cook them. Place a pot or large skillet of water over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Add your frozen peas to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and hot all the way through, then drain.
- Frozen peas are great for use as an ingredient in all of your favorite recipes, such as our simple recipe for Peas and Carrots! Or, if you prefer to eat them on their own, feel free to season them to your liking with butter or olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and cracked black pepper, or roasted garlic.
Frozen Food Safety
It is worth noting some important food safety information when it comes to frozen vegetables. You may notice your package of frozen peas specifically instructs you to cook your veggies to a minimum internal temperature of 165℉. Why, though? If you can eat fresh peas raw, why do you have to thoroughly cook peas which just happened to come from the freezer section?
The issue lies in the processing of frozen foods, as it provides many opportunities for harmful bacteria to be introduced into the package. This is also why you should never thaw frozen peas, just go ahead and cook them straight from frozen!
Ranking the Best Frozen Peas: Final Thoughts
After testing our way through piles of frozen peas, we were able to arrive at our favorite frozen peas in each of the following categories: best tasting, best looking, best organic, most nutritious, and best all-around. We even created a new spot in the ranks for one brand who is re-thinking the way we process and package frozen veggies!
Whether your priority is taste, nutrition, environmentalism, or if you're simply looking for the right product to strike a balance between all of these important factors, we hope that there is a bag of frozen peas here for you!