Split Pea Soup

October 30, 2019

Homemade Split Pea Soup, just like mom made growing up! This hearty, protein packed, comforting soup is made with tender split peas, flavorful ham and fresh vegetables. It’s easy to make and perfect for the cold weather.

Split pea soup in a serving bowl.

Split Pea Soup Recipe

So what makes the best split pea soup? Well first off making it from scratch of course. Let’s ditch the can of condensed split pea soup shall we? Because this low and slow simmered version is a hundred times better!

Second a leftover meaty ham bone is that special ingredient that really flavors this soup. The bone of the ham and the meat adds so much flavor, plus it puts it to good use. Much better than just tossing it.

And beginning with a whole bag of dry split peas yields a full bodied soup with the perfect consistency and texture.

This recipe is all about going back to the old fashioned basics and that’s what really makes it so good. There’s just something about the classic staple recipes like this tha’st just so satisfying.

It’s the food that reminds us of being back home that will follow us through life, those foods almost as if wishing us well through good memories. When I was younger and getting over a bad cold or something it was often split pea soup I asked mom to make for me. It’s just a true comfort food staple.

Split pea soup ingredients

Split Pea Soup Ingredients:

  • Olive oil – this is used to saute the vegetables, butter can be substituted.
  • Yellow onion, celery, carrots and garlic – these vegetables built up the background flavors of the soup. They add some nice color too.
  • Chicken broth and water – I like to use half chicken broth and half water (vs. all broth) so it doesn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the peas.
  • Dried split peas – it’s a common misconception to believe split peas need to be soaked before cooking, no soaking is necessary. But you do want to pick over (check for pebbles and debris) and rinse and drain them.
  • Bay leaves, thyme and parsley – fresh or dry herbs work well here.
  • Salt and pepper – I like to wait to add majority of salt until the ham has cooked with the soup, some hams tend to be very salty while others not as much so if you wait you won’t over-salt the soup.
  • Ham bone – this soup is such a great use for a leftover meaty ham bone from a Sunday ham roast or even a spiral sliced holiday ham. If you don’t have one ham shanks will work too.

Showing how to make split pea soup. Sauteing celery and onion in pot.

How to Make Split Pea Soup:

  • Saute vegetables: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

Adding split peas and ham to soup mixture in pot.

  • Add liquid, peas and herbs: Pour in chicken broth and water. Add split peas, bay leaves and thyme. Season lightly with salt and with pepper to taste.
  • Add ham and simmer: Nestle ham bone into soup mixture. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally until peas and ham are tender, about 1 hour.

Adding carrots to soup.

  • Remove ham, rest then chop: Remove ham from soup, let rest 10 minutes then shred or dice meat portion into pieces, cover.
  • Add carrots, continue to simmer: Meanwhile add carrots to soup. Cover soup and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas have mostly broken down, about 30 minutes longer.
  • Return ham: Stir ham into soup, season with more salt as needed. Serve warm garnished with parsley if desired.

Tips and Variations:

  • If desired you can add in a couple of yellow or red potatoes when adding the diced carrot to soup to make it even heartier.
  • If you notice soup isn’t thickening up how you’d like while cooking you can let it simmer uncovered for the last 20 – 30 minutes to reduced down some.
  • Note that soup will thicken as it rests and cools. The following day, if needed, it can be thinned with more water.

shredded ham on a cutting board

How Long Does it Keep?

Leftovers should keep well for about 3 days in the refrigerator, the soup will thicken as it rest (and even more so when cold, once reheated it does thin back out a bit). Thin with more water as desired.

Can I Freeze It?

Yes this soup will freeze well.

  • To do so let soup cool then store in airtight containers for about 3 months in the freezer.
  • Don’t forget the soup will expand as it freezes so leave about a 3/4-inch gap from the soup to the container lid.
  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat the following day.

Pot of homemade split pea soup.

How to Make it in the Crockpot:

  • Reduce water to 2 cups (not as much liquid will evaporate from the slow cooker as it will a pot).
  • Add all ingredients (except parsley) to a 4 – 6 quart slow cooker and cook on low heat about 7 – 8 hours.
  • Remove ham and shred or dice into pieces then return to soup.

How to Cook It in an Instant Pot:

  • Press “saute” setting on Instant Pot. Add oil, celery and onion, saute 3 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Press “cancel” on the Instant Pot.
  • Pour in broth, 2 cups water (instead of the 4 cups listed), split peas, carrots, thyme, bay leaves and season pepper. Add ham bone.
  • Cover and press “manual” mode then set to 15 minutes.
  • Once time is up allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining.
  • Shred ham from bone into pieces and return to soup, season with salt to taste.

Overhead image of two bowls of made from scratch split pea soup.

What to Serve with Split Pea Soup?

More Classic Soup Recipes You’ll Love:

 

Split Pea Soup

Homemade Split Pea Soup, just like mom made growing up! This hearty, protein packed, comforting soup is made with tender split peas, flavorful ham and fresh vegetables. It's easy to make and perfect for the cold weather.

Makes about 9 cups.

Servings: 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (16 oz) bag dried split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb meaty ham bone or ham shanks
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

  2. Pour in chicken broth and water. Add split peas, bay leaves and thyme. Season lightly with salt and with pepper to taste (I like to wait to add more salt until the end to see how salty the ham has made the soup).

  3. Nestle ham bone into soup mixture. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally until peas and ham are tender, about 60 - 80 minutes.

  4. Remove ham from soup, let rest 10 minutes then shred or dice meat portion into pieces, cover.

  5. Meanwhile add carrots* to soup. Cover soup and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas have mostly broken down, about 30 minutes longer**.

  6. Stir ham into soup, season with more salt as needed. Serve warm garnished with parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • *If desired you can add in a couple of yellow or red potatoes when adding the diced carrot to soup to make it even heartier.
  • **If you notice soup isn't thickening up how you'd like while cooking you can let it simmer uncovered for the last 30 minutes.
  • Note that soup will thicken as it rests and cools slightly. If needed it can be thinned with more water.

CROCKPOT METHOD

  • Reduce water to 2 cups (not as much liquid will evaporate from the slow cooker as it will a pot).
  • Add all ingredients (except parsley) to a 4 - 6 quart slow cooker and cook on low heat about 7 - 8 hours.
  • Remove ham and shred or dice into pieces then return to soup.

INSTANT POT METHOD

  • Press "saute" setting on Instant Pot. Add oil, celery and onion, saute 3 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Press "cancel" on the Instant Pot.
  • Pour in broth, 2 cups water (instead of the 4 cups listed), split peas, carrots, thyme, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add ham bone.
  • Cover and press "manual" mode then set to 15 minutes.
  • Once time is up allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  • Shred ham from bone into pieces and return to soup.
Nutrition Facts
Split Pea Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 450 Calories from Fat 69
% Daily Value*
Fat 7.64g12%
Saturated Fat 1.8g11%
Cholesterol 66.67mg22%
Sodium 202.27mg9%
Potassium 1358.31mg39%
Carbohydrates 54.24g18%
Fiber 20.96g87%
Sugar 9.35g10%
Protein 43.24g86%
Vitamin A 3794.82IU76%
Vitamin C 7.19mg9%
Calcium 93.16mg9%
Iron 4.83mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Split Pea Soup
Author: Jaclyn