How to Cook Sugar Snap Peas

5 from 34 votes

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An easy and healthy stir-fry recipe featuring sweet and tender-crunchy sugar snap peas that takes less than 10 minutes to cook on the stove.

How to Cook Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas, also known as snap peas, are a variety of peas cultivated for their crisp exterior and sweet pea interior. I love them and prefer them to snow peas, which are similar but not as plump or sweet. They are great eaten raw, on their own, with a dip, or added to salads. And they are great cooked, used in stir-fries and vegetable sautés.

Early varieties of the plant originated in Europe and Asia, though they eventually migrated to the U.S. and have since become a beloved crop grown nationwide. This particular pea was cultivated in the 1970s as a perfect cross of snow and garden peas, with a refreshing blend of crunchy and sweet. This legume lends a sweet and pleasantly “green” or vegetal flavor to dishes.

Sugar Snap Peas on a light green surface.

How to Cook Sugar Snap Peas: Everything you need to know about how to choose, store, de-string, clean, cook, and eat sugar snap peas!

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When Are Sugar Snap Peas in Season?

Snap peas grow best in cooler environments with some moisture, meaning in the northeastern U.S., snap peas typically appear at farmers markets in late spring and early summer. Though usually not as abundant, these peas are also harvested in the fall, making them available around October as well. In slightly warmer parts of the U.S., snap peas are grown nearly year-round.

Are Sugar Snap Peas Nutritious?

Seriously nutritious! Very low in calories and fat and high in vitamin C, snap peas are a great vegetable to have on hand. They also provide fiber, which regulates digestion and helps you feel satiated. They have a low calorie content, around 27 calories per cup, and offer iron and potassium (via Verywell Fit). Snap peas have only positive nutritional value and are a great component of a healthy diet. 

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with herbs and red onions in bowl.

How to Choose the Freshest Sugar Snap Peas

To pick the best snap peas for eating raw or cooked, look for a vibrant green color and a firm, plump outer pod with as few blemishes or soft spots as possible. Snap peas tend to lose their appealing crispness and “snap” as they age. They also don’t store for long, so once you pick out a winning bunch, enjoy them fairly soon. Otherwise, they can become tough and lose their sweet flavor.

Avoid snap peas with blemishes or that look dull or slightly mottled. You also should not buy peas that look dry, and if you can hear loose peas rattling around in the shells, the pods are probably past their prime.

How to De-String Sugar Snap Peas

The younger the sugar snaps, the more delicate the string that runs on either side of the pod. However, the strings should still be removed for the best eating experience. It’s a slightly annoying task, but if you have a friend and a cup of coffee, it goes by quickly! If you are serving snap peas to young children or people with chewing difficulties, this is an important step. The strings can be hard to chew and swallow.

Rinse your sugar snap peas in cold water. Slice or snap off one of the tips of each pod and use that tip to pull the string down and off one side of the pod. Do the same with the other tip, pulling it down and removing the string from the other side of the pod. Repeat!

The day I found a bag of string-less or de-stringed sugar snap peas in the supermarket was a game-changer for me. Keep you eyes open for those, wich are a huge time saver!

Sliced sugar snap peas in a pan.

How to Store Sugar Snap Peas

Snap peas are best, the fresher they are. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to keep them at their freshest. Wash them only when you’re ready to eat or prepare them. They will keep like this for 3 to 5 days.

Snap Pea Substitutes

If you can’t find snap peas, snow peas are a similar variety with a comparable flavor. This variety is flatter and slightly less sweet because of the smaller size of the peas inside the pod, but it can be easily substituted.

Alternatively, snap peas can sometimes be found frozen, making them a great addition to cooked dishes even when out of season. Skip frozen sugar snaps for raw preparations.

Shrimp, Sugar Snap Pea and Scallion Stir Fry with Miso Sauce in a pan.
Shrimp, Sugar Snap Pea, and Scallion Stir Fry with Miso Sauce

How to Use Sugar Snap Peas

With very fresh snap peas, use their texture to your advantage and stick with simple uncooked recipes like this sugar snap pea salad or vegetarian pasta salad

With slightly older snap peas, try sautéing them or adding them to a stir-fry when, once lightly cooked, their super crisp bite isn’t a crucial component. Try this chicken, broccoli, and sugar snap pea stir fry or soy-glazed sugar snap peas.


Can I eat snap peas whole?

Snap peas are delicious whole, pod and all. You can eat them as is after washing them, but for a slightly more elegant eating experience, consider removing their tough, fibrous string (see above). The pod should stay intact, and you’ll have a tender, whole snap pea!

Can I eat snap peas raw?

Yes! Raw snap peas can be a delicious snack, especially when paired with a dip like hummus. They don’t have to be just snacks, though — raw snap peas can shine in dishes like salads. Especially when raw, consider de-stringing them to remove the more fibrous string that can be tough to chew.

9 Sugar Snap Pea Recipes

Seasoned Soy Glazed Sugar Snap Peas cooking in pan.
4.86 from 7 votes

Soy-Glazed Sugar Snap Peas

This three-ingredient glaze turns sugar snap peas into a silky and crunchy and umami side dish that takes 5 minutes to make!
View Recipe

Sugar Snap Pea Salad
5 from 33 votes

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Hello, springtime! What better way to open sugar snap pea season than with this pretty and fresh salad. It takes just minutes to put together and brightens up any meal.
View Recipe

Pasta with Ramps, Edamame, and Sugar Snap Peas in a Light Parmesan Cream Sauce in white bowl.
5 from 1 vote

Pasta with Ramps, Edamame, and Sugar Snap Peas in a Light Parmesan Cream Sauce

Sugar snap peas and ramps come into season at around the same time and make perfect partners in this light and creamy pasta.
View Recipe

Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad
5 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Spring Orzo Salad

Asparagus and sugar snap peas (two of the most loved vegetables of spring) join together in this cheery, fresh green-and-white orzo salad. Great for a buffet or a picnic.
View Recipe

Stir-fry with chicken, broccoli, and sugar snap peas served over white rice on plate.
5 from 5 votes

Chicken, Broccoli, and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry

This light and simple stir-fry can be adapted to include whatever vegetables you have on hand.
View Recipe

Green peas, sugar snap peas, garlic, arugula, and spinach in white bowl.
5 from 5 votes

Simple Sautéed Spring Greens

You can play around with different spring vegetables in this quickly cooked sauté. Don't overcook the veggies; you want them to have a crisp bite.
View Recipe

Chicken and Spinach Stir-Fry with Ginger and Oyster Sauce
5 from 4 votes

Chicken and Spinach Stir-Fry with Ginger and Oyster Sauce

Never too many stir-fries. This one features chicken but is loaded with vegetables.
View Recipe

Simple Vegetarian Spring Pasta Salad in white serving platter with spoon.
5 from 2 votes

Vegetarian Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is portable and flexible. It's also a nice way to play around with the vegetables of the season.
View Recipe

Shrimp, Sugar Snap Pea, and Scallion Stir-Fry with Miso Sauce

This shrimp stir-fry recipe is a brilliant way to use fresh sugar snap peas. It’s also very adaptable to your diet or the ingredients you have on hand.

Wok of Shrimp, Sugar Snap Pea and Scallion Stir Fry with Miso Sauce.

Stir Fry Variations

  • You can absolutely swap out the sugar snap peas for any other kind of vegetable or add additional vegetables to your heart’s content. Sliced carrots, broccoli florets, snow peas, mushrooms, pieces of asparagus…whatever is in season.
  • For a vegetarian option, swap out the shrimp for either 4 cups of cubed portobello mushrooms, extra-firm tofu, or a combination.
  • You have the option of choosing hot cooked rice or noodles here to serve with the stir-fry. If you choose rice, pile the stir-fry on the rice or serve the rice on the side. If you choose noodles, you’ll want to add them directly into the skillet or wok with the stir-fry and toss so they mix in with the shrimp and vegetables and get nicely coated with the sauce.
5 from 34 votes

Shrimp, Sugar Snap Pea, and Scallion Stir Fry with Miso Sauce

An easy and healthy stir-fry recipe featuring sweet and tender-crunchy sugar snap peas that takes less than 10 minutes to cook on the stove.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 People
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  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (see recipe intro or dry sherry)
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (divided)
  • 10 scallions (approximately, trimmed, thinly sliced; white and green parts both)
  • 12 ounces sugar snap peas (trimmed)
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
  • Cooked rice or noodles (to serve)


  • In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, mirin, orange juice, miso paste, and sugar.
  • In a large skillet or a wok, heat half the oil over high heat until it’s very hot. Add the sugar snap peas and sauté for 2 minutes, until just barely crisp-tender. Stir in the scallions and sauté for 1 more minute. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl.
  • Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 2 minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Return the vegetables to the pan, toss everything around to combine, and then add the sauce and cook, stirring, for another minute until everything is just cooked and the sauce coats everything nicely. Turn the stir fry back into the serving bowl and serve with rice or noodles. You can also place the cooked rice or noodles in the serving bowl while the stir fry finishes cooking, and then spoon the stir fry over the starch in the bowl, or in the case of noddles add them into the pan with the stir fry and the end and toss until combined and warm.) Serve immediately.


Mirin is a slightly sweet cooking wine made from rice, often used in Asian cooking. It’s basically sake with more sweetness and less alcohol. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that comes in a variety of colors, flavors, and strengths. Start with the lighter colors, such as white or yellow, which are milder, and work your way deeper.


Calories: 273.73kcal, Carbohydrates: 11.66g, Protein: 34.19g, Fat: 9.58g, Saturated Fat: 0.89g, Cholesterol: 381.02mg, Sodium: 1770.15mg, Potassium: 334.84mg, Fiber: 2.35g, Sugar: 6.05g, Vitamin A: 836.38IU, Vitamin C: 49.15mg, Calcium: 261.25mg, Iron: 4.98mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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