Split Pea Soup

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This split pea soup is what comfort food is all about. It’s the classic recipe you know and love with meaty chunks of ham – and it’s super easy to make at home!

A bowl of split pea soup
Photo: Gayle McLeod

Split pea soup is a must-make recipe after you’ve cooked a ham for Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Green split peas are simmered with veggies and a meaty ham bone until they’re softened, for a perfectly chunky, veggie-heavy soup with deep pork flavoring. This has always been one of my mom’s favorite soups, and honestly, who can resist it? I guarantee you’ll definitely be going back for seconds!

Just remember to save (and freeze if you’d like) your meaty ham bone to flavor this soup. But if you don’t have a leftover ham bone, I’ve got several tips and alternatives so you can still enjoy this split pea soup recipe today!

Ingredients for split pea soup on a table

Split Pea Soup Ingredients

First, let’s clarify the difference between split peas and green peas. Green peas are fresh and harvested when young and tender, then typically eaten as a vegetable. Split peas on the other hand are dried and mechanically split in half, and are commonly used in soups, stews, and curries (similar to lentils). So make sure to grab a bag of dried split peas rather than fresh peas.

  • Split Peas: You can use dried green split peas or yellow split peas in this recipe. Just not that green ones tend to be a bit sweeter and yellow ones tend to be a bit more earthy.
  • Fresh Vegetables: A simple mirepoix blend of onions, carrots, and celery are all you need. Just make sure to dice the all veggies about the same size.
  • Ham: I’m using a leftover meaty ham bone to create deep flavor in this soup. But if you don’t have a ham bone, see my notes in the next section below.
  • Herbs and Aromatics: A little dried thyme, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper are all you need!
  • Soup Base: The liquid base consists of half chicken broth and half water.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

A big pot of split pea soup

Ham Options for Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup is typically made with a ham bone (which is how I’m cooking it today). But here are a few other options:

  • Ham Bone: If you don’t have a leftover bone from a holiday ham, you can purchase one directly from your butcher (or even Honey Baked Ham stores). Just don’t forget to tell them to leave enough meat around the bone for the soup.
  • Ham Hock: Also known as a pork knuckle, a ham hock is an easy way to impart that pork flavor into the soup while it’s simmering. You just won’t have the chunks of ham to chop and add back in. But you can always combine the ham hock with diced ham steaks, if you’d like chunky pieces in the soup.
  • Ham Steak: If you’re not using a ham bone, you can simply purchase packaged ham steaks to dice up, then add to the soup at the end. While this version isn’t quite as flavorful, it’s super easy.
  • Bacon or Pancetta: Instead of ham steaks, you can also cook bacon bits (about 4 strips) or pancetta with the veggies in the first step. Then save a small portion of either to garnish on top before serving. This will help to give that pork flavoring!
  • Vegetarian option: You can still make a delicious split pea soup by omitting the meat and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

How To Make Split Pea Soup with Ham Bone

Cook the vegetables. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery over medium-high heat. Then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Cooking vegetables in a pot for split pea soup

Add the split peas, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together!

Adding split pea soup ingredients into a pot

Add the bay leaf, ham bone, chicken broth, and water. Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally, until the soup is slightly thickened.

Adding a ham bone into a pot of split pea soup

Add the diced ham. Remove the ham bone to a cutting board and dice the remaining meat, then add it back to the soup. Stir and simmer uncovered for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, or until it’s thickened to your liking. Use tongs to remove the bay leaf, then serve it up!

Helpful tip: Note that the soup will continue to thicken as it sits. You can always add an extra cup of water or broth to thin it back down.

Making split pea soup in a pot

Storage Tips

  • To store for the week: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Just don’t be alarmed by the texture since it will thicken up quite a bit! If you want to thin it down, add more water when reheating.
  • Freeze for later: I love finding containers of this soup in my freezer —especially on a chilly day! It will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer in a freezer-safe container (like these Weck jars).
A few bowls of split pea soup

More Soup Recipes

I’ve got quite the list of soup recipes. But here are a few of my favorites I think you’ll instantly love.

Whenever you need a soup to cozy up with, this split pea soup will hit the spot. If you make it, let me know how it turned out in the comment box below!

Split pea soup in a white bowl.

Classic Split Pea Soup

4.98 from 101 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This split pea soup is what comfort food is about! It's got a chunky, savory split pea base, and it's loaded with vegetables and ham. Watch the video below to see how this comes together!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound dried split peas, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 meaty ham bone (see tips and alternatives above)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 1 cup diced ham (from ham bone or added separately)
  • finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute.
    Cooking veggies in a white pot for split pea soup
  • Add the split peas, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir together.
    Cooking split pea soup in a pot
  • Add the bay leaf, ham bone, chicken broth, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened and the peas have broken down.
    Pouring broth into a pot of split pea soup
  • Using tongs, remove the ham bone to a cutting board and dice the remaining meat (about 1 cup of diced ham), then add it back to the soup. Stir and simmer uncovered for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, or until it's thickened to your liking. If it's too thick, you can add another cup of water. Note that the soup will continue to thicken as it sits, so it's best if it's not overly thick at this stage.
    A white pot of split pea soup
  • Discard the bay leaf, ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley and black pepper.
    A white bowl of split pea soup

Lisa’s Tips

  • You do not need to pre-soak the split peas for this recipe.
  • If you use regular rather than low-sodium chicken broth, you might need to reduce the added salt, so that the soup isn’t overly salty. 
  • The serving size is based on using 4 cups of water. 

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 782mg | Potassium: 1142mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5223IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Split Pea Soup, Split Pea Soup Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




201 Comments

  1. This soup is delicious. But would be much better without the Thyme. Leave out the thyme and it will be perfect!4 stars

  2. Yum!!! I haven’t had split pea soup since I was a little girl, and my Grams’ recipe wasn’t the best. This was so good!!! I did a few seconds with the immersion blender for a velvety texture5 stars

  3. I made this the other day using the ham bone from Easter. It was delicious and easy to make.5 stars

  4. This recipe is great! I followed it exactly as it is written… I did use 4 cups of water. I was making it on vacation and realized I had nothing to thicken it with, so I decided to blend it to make it more smooth, which also make it a little thicker. I added the ham after blending. The only change I made was to add more ham. I saved some of the nice slices of ham before I put the ham bone in to simmer, chopped those up and dropped them in after all the cooking was done, just to warm the chopped ham. Ultimately added about 2 cups of chopped ham. Absolutely delicious!5 stars

  5. I made this soup according to the recipe. The result was absolutely deliciousness. It’s definitely my favorite recipe for split pea soup. So very comforting! Thanks. Lisa!4 stars

  6. Hi Lisa
    My split peas are still hard, even after being on the stove for 3 hours. Have turned the stove on again this morning.
    Not sure as to what I have done wrong, I followed the recipe to a t.
    Thanks for any help. BTW. The flavour is delicious.
    Cathy

    1. Hi Cathy – so sorry to hear that! I’ve never had that issue, but I just quickly Googled it and it sounds like your split peas may be old or dried out, as they should definitely soften. I’d grab a new bag of split peas and give it another try!

  7. DELICIOUS and extremely easy to make! Not to mention incredibly affordable. I’ve made this twice in 2 days. My husband and son thought it was so flavorful it was all gone in a day. For my second batch I added more pepper and used 4 cloves of garlic. It gave it much more flavor. I’ve made several of your recipes and they’ve never disappointed!! Ended up gifting your cookbook to 2 of my friends who follow a gluten free diet. Your recipes pack so much flavor and are so easy to follow. You’re a gem! Glad I discovered you and I share your page with all my friends.5 stars

    1. Aw, thanks so much, Maria! I’m happy you and your family loved this split pea soup recipe. And thanks for sharing my cookbook as well – I so appreciate that! :)

  8. My husband loved this soup. We live in Buellton, California and the last Anderson’s Pea Soup restaurant recently closed its doors. So I gave your recipe a try. 5 stars!!!!! Thank you so much!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Maria – thanks so much for giving it a try! I’m thrilled you love my version, and hopefully it brought back some fond memories for you. :)

      1. Made this for dinner last night with the ham bone I had left from Easter and it was the best recipe I have ever tried! I have been looking for a good split pea recipe for years and so happy I found this one! Thanks for a great recipe! I’ll be sure to make this again!5 stars

  9. This is our favorite split pea soup recipe. I’ve tried others and none compare to this one. So much flavor! Thank you!
    Love your recipes.5 stars

  10. Thanks for the pea soup recipe. Just in time for our winter season south of the equator. Starting next month.5 stars

  11. The recipe is easy to follow and delicious. I could only find a ham hock, and I think I would have preferred the flavor of a meaty ham bone, as you suggested. Also, that would have resulted in more ham bits for the soup. I will definitely make this again with more ham. My daughter and I made homemade croutons for the top when serving which added crunch and extra flavor. Delicious!5 stars

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, Jennifer! And I agree, I love a bit more ham as well. Just means you’ll have to make it again. ;)

    2. I love the simple step by step this is a first for me to make a pea soup.I had this huge bone I was just going to throw out but heard I could use it came across your recipe. Maybe you can make a cook out of me yet lol Thank you .5 stars

      1. I’m glad you found the process photos helpful, Sue. I’m sure you’ll be a fab cook, you can do it!

  12. I’ve made this 3 times now, and everytime it’s gone the same day. My Dad is crazy in love with this soup. I love how filling it makes me feel. I use a ham steak and cut up into bite size chunks. Works great! So yummy, delicious and full of goodness!5 stars

      1. Hi Lisa, thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m Dutch and I love this soup. It always taste better if you make it yourself. We use a lot smoked sausage in the soup aswell. For sure I will try your version of this soup. It is a healthy and a complete meal 😊

    1. Hi Marcia – You can also try using smoked bacon or sausage. Something with a similar pork flavor!

  13. This is a favorite of mine and yours is one of the best recipes I have found for split pea. All of the flavors go so well together in this recipe.5 stars

  14. Wonderful comforting soup. I must say the flavors work well together. I didn’t use a ham hock but I did use cut up chunks of ham. Just delicious melding of flavors. thanks for inspiring website which gives me great ideas and encourages me to make healthier meals.

  15. Just like my Dutch father’s soup. I did add a leek during the saute process, like use to. I also left half soup chunky and blended half with an immersion blender. Served with French bread. So delicious.5 stars

      1. Thanks for the pea soup recipe. Just in time for our winter season south of the equator.

  16. I’ve made this recipe 4 times and it’s been delicious every time. Most recently, I doubled the garlic amount and used smoked ham hocks which imparted a smoky flavor that combined well with the extra garlic. Thank you for a slam dunk pea soup recipe that I can confirm is even well received by people that are not huge fans of pea soup!5 stars

  17. Super simple to make. Did not have a ham bone but used a ham steak that I diced small and it came out perfect. We really enjoyed this soup it had a wonderful depth of flavor. My family would also stop at Anderson’s Pea Soup restaurant. Brought back great memories. Thank you!5 stars

  18. I Tried this recipe and absolutely loved it ( better than i had been making for 50 years)
    I do not like garlic,so no garlic.I did use half green and half yellow split peas..This soup freezes well and no change in taste Did need to add little water.
    Lisa this soup is a keeper and a 10 /10 Thank you5 stars

  19. I made this last night and it turned out SO good! I didn’t measure my liquids going into my pot because my pot isn’t quite as large as I wish it was, so I eyeballed it to nearly fill the pot. It turned out absolutely fantastic! 10/105 stars

  20. I am not going to print your recipe because everything is NOT in ONE place. You have the instructions for the recipe, then a picture, and more instructions, then another picture and then more instructions. The TOTAL recipe should be in one place without all your pictures. This recipe sounds nice, but I do not know how to print the recipe without all your soup pictures.

    Joanne

    1. Hi Joanne – When you print the recipe, the images won’t show on the print page. Also, when you’re in the recipe card, you can toggle the camera button next to the title “Instructions” to remove the images so you’re just viewing the text. Hope that helps!

  21. I decided to try a different recipe for pea soup & I tried this one because it has some different ingredients. It was really good, but when I decided to make it I used Kielbasa instead of the ham. I haven’t used ham in years, it’s too expensive for one person soup lol.5 stars

  22. I made yestarday this green pea soup, it is sooooo good, cooked always yellow pea befor but your recipe is the winner, i am old woman from Canada, sick of cancer and i can’t eat smoke meat but i used a back pork ribs and a bit of raw sausages and it came out very tasty. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us, looking forward to cook more of yours meals, you have so much to explore. Thank You!5 stars

    1. Hi Nataliya – Thanks so much for leaving a review and I’m glad you enjoyed this split pea soup! I hope you’re healing well.

  23. Oh my! This is fantastic! This is my new go-to recipe for pea soup—so delicious! I think sauteing the veggies first made a big difference. I shared it with a friend and she loved it too.5 stars

  24. Excellent and simple. I added left over home fries at the end. Just because I had them. Delicious and quick.5 stars

  25. Best soup ever!! This was easy to prepare and tastes like it took all day! Kid friendly too! Thank you for the awesome recipe!5 stars

  26. Great recipe!! Quick & delicious!! Thank you for all the recipes and please keep the videos coming!! Fantastic cookbook too!5 stars

  27. had a huge ham bone from a c-mas potluck that i used.
    followed the recipe but soup was watery when finished. added some flour and let it chill overnight.
    just great in the morning.
    lots left over- make sure you have a lot of room in the freezer or a lot of hungry neighbors
    yum5 stars

  28. I have tried every store bought soup and none of them compare to this recipe! This soup was exactly what I wanted and more. Freezes perfectly, too!5 stars

  29. Living In Florida there is a small window for cool/cold weather to enjoy hearty soups, and stews 😂
    But I always enjoy making them along with shepherds pie stuff like that.
    I have made split pea soup for years on the stove and in the crockpot and for anyone asking it comes out great in the crockpot also.
    And although I have not tried this recipe specifically I can honestly say this is usually how I make it and it is wonderful. So New Year’s Day I will be making ham, potatoes, cabbage, Black Eyed Peas, etc. I will also be making a pot of split pea soup. Aside from split pea soup, I also enjoy 16 bean soup which is basically the same thing, ham hock, etc. I do believe this recipe is right on target.
    Do not skip the thyme, it really gives it a hearty earthy taste which I also use in Shepard pie and get great reviews on.
    I will write another review after I make this however, I know it’s going to be wonderful as a it’s basically the same recipe that I use and it is always a big hit. Great job!5 stars