This 5-minute sautéed sugar snap peas recipe is simple, fuss-free, and makes a delicious and nutritious, gluten-free, vegan side dish for any meal!
When you want a side dish you can pull together in under 10 minutes, options like sauteed zucchini, air-fried green beans, and this sauteed sugar snap peas recipe are a must-try. All you need is a handful of inexpensive pantry staples and one pan for this versatile, low-calorie, pea pods recipe.
When cooking sugar snap peas, they become slightly tender inside, crisp up slightly, and caramelize on the outside. It honestly completely transforms their raw flavor into something utterly delicious!
Top that off with lemon juice for a wonderfully bright, crisp, and vibrant side dish. Even better, there are plenty of ways to adapt the recipe with different seasonings and toppings to match any meal!
Snow Peas Vs. Snap Peas Vs. Garden Peas?
Snow peas, sugar snap peas, and garden peas are all types of peas, but how do they differ?
Sugar snap peas are also known as snap peas and are a type of pea with an edible pod (i.e., no membrane and are less fibrous). In terms of looks, they have a rounded shape with thick pod walls and a slightly sweet flavor.
Snow peas (also called “Chinese pea pods” and often sold as “mangetout” in the UK) are flat pods with thin pod walls and are slightly less sweet than sugar peas but have a similar flavor overall.
Both of the above are usually eaten whole and served raw, steamed, or stir-fried/sautéed.
You may also see pea pods labeled as “mangetout” (which means eat-all in French) in the grocery store. This can be used for either snap peas or snow peas! However, here in the UK, it’s usually for snow peas.
In comparison, garden peas are the type you will most commonly find in grocery stores (along with smaller “petit pois”). The pods aren’t eaten; instead, the small peas within the pods are.
These are often boiled and are a popular side with butter or “minted” for mid-week meals and roast dinners. However, you can also make them into soup, or add them to casseroles, Shepherd’s pie, pasta dishes, mashed into a puree, and more!
This pea pods recipe needs little help to taste delicious, so I’ve stuck to a simple seasoning for this base sugar snap peas recipe.
- Fresh sugar snap peas: To eliminate prep time, buy them stringless.
- Olive oil: Or another neutral oil.
- Lemon: Use fresh lemon (organic is best). Add some lemon zest for extra ZING.
- Salt & Black pepper: Season to taste. I recommend using sea salt or kosher salt for the best flavor.
How to Cook Sugar Snap Peas
This sugar snap pea recipe is super simple and requires just a few simple steps.
How to Prepare Sugar Snap Peas?
First, rinse the pea pods, and then they need to be “stringed” if you haven’t purchased them “stringless”.
To do so, remove the stem end with a knife or by snapping it with your fingers. Then pull away the membrane string running down the seam of each pod. Repeat with all the remaining sugar peas to get all the strings removed.
This is important, as the string is tough, fibrous, and chewy. Sometimes the pods have strings down both sides, in which case you’ll need to snap off both ends and peel away the strings.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add the snap pea pods and sauté for between 3-5 minutes until slightly crisp and tender, stirring them often.
When they’re ready, the pea pods should still be bright green but with a few browned spots and a tender-crisp texture.
Season with salt and pepper (to taste), and then serve the sauteed sugar snap peas with lemon wedges to squeeze over when serving.
How To Eat Snap Peas?
Sauteed sugar snap peas are an all-purpose green side. Enjoy them during Easter, at dinner parties, cookouts, or any mid-week meal. They pair with anything. Add pea pods to:
- Grains – like brown rice, quinoa, farro, or even egg fried rice.
- Pasta dishes or garnish risotto or grits. They go well even with noodles.
- Marinated tofu (or crispy tofu), tempeh, or seitan “chicken”.
- Phyllo wrapped feta
- With proteins: roasted chicken, meaty mains, baked salmon, and other fish/shrimp.
- Enjoy alongside a quiche, omelet, frittata, etc.
- Alongside avocado toast or scrambled egg on toast.
Absolutely. Some people prefer them that way for their super crunchy texture and slightly sweet flavor (perfect for dipping in tahini sauce, tzatziki, and guacamole). However, I love the way cooking sugar snap peas gets rid of the “raw” flavor.
They only need a few minutes at most to avoid overcooking them. I recommend between 3-5 minutes.
As far as I’m aware, yes, this method will work with snow peas, too.
Sugar snap peas have several health benefits, including:
– Low calories – one cup contains just 60 calories,
– High fiber- good for your gut and digestive health,
– High levels of vitamin C provide an immune boost,
– Also contains moderate levels of iron, calcium, carotenoids, vitamin A (antioxidants!), Vitamin K, and folate.
The various nutrients combined, make sugar peas great for bone health, immune health, and digestive health!
Aside from a brief 3-5 minute stir-fry/sauteing, you can also make grilled sugar peas for 2-3 minutes per side or roast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC.
More Simple Vegetable Side Dishes
- Home Fries (3 Ways)
- Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
- Roasted Cabbage Steaks
- Crispy Fried Squash
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fries
If you try this simple sugar snap peas recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions below. Also, I’d really appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
5 Min Sautéd Sugar Snap Peas Recipe
- 8.8 oz sugar snap peas 2.5 cups. Use stringless if preferred.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 lemon to serve with
Step 1: Prepare Sugar Snap Peas
- Rinse the pea pods, and then they need to be "stringed" if you haven’t purchased them "stringless".
- To do so, remove the stem end with a knife or by snapping it with your fingers. Then pull away the membrane string running down the seam of each pod. Repeat with all the remaining sugar peas.This is important, as the string is tough, fibrous, and chewy. Sometimes the pods have strings down both sides, in which case you’ll need to snap off both ends and peel away the strings.
Step 2: Saute the sugar snap peas
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add the snap peas and sauté for between 3-5 minutes until tender and slightly crisp, stirring them often.
- When they’re ready, the pea pods should still be bright green but with a few browned spots and a tender-crisp texture.
- Season with salt and pepper (to taste), and then serve the sauteed sugar snap peas with lemon wedges to squeeze over when serving.
- Make ahead: You can de-string and wash the sugar peas several days in advance. Just make sure to dry them thoroughly before storing them. Store: The results are best immediately after cooking. However, you can save any leftover sauteed sugar snap peas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.Reheat: Reheat the leftovers in a skillet, optionally with a small amount of oil or butter for the best texture. A microwave will work if you don't mind them being very soft.
- Use the right pan: You’ll need a large, wide pan, so the sauteed sugar snap peas cook evenly.
- Don’t overcook them: Otherwise, the pods will come apart and can even become bitter and/or chewy.
- Remove the strings: Unless you specifically buy them stringless, it’s important to remove this fibrous string, which is otherwise unpleasant to eat.
- Butter: For a richer flavor, stir in some melted butter (unsalted or lightly salted- adjust added salt accordingly) when serving.
- Garlic: One of my FAVORITE add-ins. Add 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, some roasted garlic, or garlic powder in a pinch.
- Sesame: Use 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil and throw in a tablespoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds.
- Parmesan: Sprinkle the sauteed sugar snap peas with freshly shredded parmesan.
- Feta cheese: Especially when combined with some fresh mint leaves and chili flakes.
- Fresh herbs: Garnish the sauteed sugar snap peas with finely chopped parsley, chives, dill, scallions, etc.
- Seasonings: You can experiment with all sorts of seasonings added to taste. I.e.,
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika
- Chili or cayenne pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Toasted nuts: Slivered almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Add in the last 2 minutes of cooking.