Sugar snap peas isolated on white background

Sweet and crispy sugar snap peas are a versatile vegetable. They work well as a side dish, they can be eaten by themselves, or they can be served as part of a vegetable medley. Vivid, green snap peas also make for an appealing hors d'oeuvre when served raw with a flavorful dip on the side. Sugar snap peas are also easy to prepare---they can be steamed and ready to serve in under four minutes.

Conventional Steaming

Place a metal colander or collapsible steamer basket in a pot. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan; do not add so much water that it enters the colander or basket. Add snap peas that have been washed and rinsed to the steamer basket, and cover.

Bring the water to a boil and steam the peas for no more than three to four minutes. Steam the peas for less time if you plan to incorporate the peas into a heated dish.

Remove the pot from the heat and plunge the steamed peas into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process and to help the peas retain their color.

Drain off the water once the peas have cooled. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for future use.

Steaming in a Wok

Place rinsed sugar snap peas into a bamboo steaming basket, which are available at most Asian food stores. Cover the basket.

Pour about one-half cup of water into a wok, and place the basket in the center. Bring the water to a boil, and allow the peas to steam for three to four minutes.

Plunge the peas into an ice bath. Serve immediately, or dry them and store in the refrigerator for future use.

Microwave Steaming

Place rinsed sugar snap peas in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a few tablespoons of water, being careful not to submerge the peas.

Microwave on high for about one to two minutes.

Allow the peas to cool before serving or storing in the refrigerator for future use.


  • Studies show that microwave steaming retains a vegetable's nutrients the best, followed by stove top steaming.

  • While not usually necessary with young, fresh peas, you may choose to remove the stem and string from the peas before serving. Remove them before cooking if you plan to use them hot, and after the ice bath if you plan to serve them cold.

  • Serve snap peas to children as a healthy snack. One tablespoon of vegetables per year of age equals one serving, so a 3-year-old will receive a full serving of healthy vegetables by crunching on just five or six chilled sugar snap peas.