This paper exploits the concept of stabilization techniques to improve the behaviour of mixed linear/linear simplicial elements (triangles and tetrahedra) in incompressible or nearly incompressible situations. Elasto‐J2‐plastic constitutive behaviour has been considered with linear and exponential softening. Two different stabilization methods are used to attain global stability of the corresponding discrete finite element formulation. Implementation and computational aspects are also discussed, showing that a robust application of the proposed formulation is feasible. Numerical examples show that the formulation derived is free of volumetric locking and spurious oscillations of the pressure. The results obtained do not suffer from spurious mesh‐size or mesh‐bias dependence, comparing very favourably with those obtained with the standard, non‐stabilized, approaches.