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!

A white bowl of split pea soup

Classic Split Pea Soup

5 from 30 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


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!



  • 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


  • 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. 


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


  1. I made this with our leftover ham bone from Thanksgiving and it was really delicious. I’ve never had split pea soup and was concerned it would taste like earth (we had a frozen pizza on standby!), BUT I was pleasantly surprised. It was sweeter than I thought it would be. I would definitely make this again when I have a ham bone. It was really simple to make and the instructions were really clear.5 stars

  2. Fantastic! I’m vegetarian and added 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika instead of ham. Very hearty and great for freezer meal prep.5 stars

  3. Flavor was great but I simmered for over 2 hours and my peas never broke down (an additional hour than the recipe called for). I didn’t pre-soak the peas so maybe that was the reason? Next time I would use an immersion blender before adding the chopped ham back to the soup

    1. Hi Sammy – you don’t need to pre-soak the peas for this recipe. But that’s strange your peas never broke down. Not sure why, other than if they weren’t fresh. But happy you loved the flavor!

  4. Only difference was I took half or eyeballed half out of the pot and puree’d it then added it back to make it thicker. Great recipe5 stars

      1. Hi Elizabeth – it’s still delicious, it just doesn’t have the same meaty flavor. Make sure to read my variation tips above. :)

  5. This was DELICIOUS!!! Perfect rainy day lunch. Both my boys loved and my husband said it was better than has “pap pap’s” and that was his specialty. Simple, easy and so flavorful5 stars

  6. Pea soup Andersen’s are “STILL” in business!!! There’s one in Santa Nella, California (10 minutes from where I live) and one in Buelton near Fresno California!!! The pea soup is still yummy as it’s always been. Please do your research before saying a business has closed.

    1. Thanks for that info! All of the restaurants down by me were closed, but I do see now that there are two left which were sold multiple times to different owners.

    1. If you scroll down to the recipe card, there is a print button where you simply print the ingredients + instructions within 1 to 2 pages. You can also exclude images from the recipe card as well.

  7. I made it yesterday for some family members. They all said it was delicious!! Perfect for the winter here in South Africa!5 stars

  8. So easy – Absolutely perfect soup! My husband loved it!
    We bought an smoked ham on sale at our local Aldi’s. So many dishes .. put this soup is the cherry on top.5 stars

  9. This is wonderful!  I just used the option of adding ham without a bone and it is still really flavorful. My husband is not a fan of split pea soup, so I get it all to myself for lovely lunches. Thank you for another great recipe.

      1. I love this recipe, too! The only thing I ever change, that my Mom often did, too, is to cut up and fry bacon to substitute when a ham bone is not available. I add the pre-cooked, drained bacon to the soup at the beginning of the cooking time so the flavor has a chance to blend in. Thank you for your recipe!

  10. I made this with a hambone after Easter, and it is delicious!
    I followed your recipe to a tea, and it is very good5 stars

  11. I love this version of split pea soup. I’ve never cared for ham in this soup so used your suggestion of bacon. The bacon and thyme I think may be what made this so much better than other split pea recipes. While it’s not really soup season. In Florida I actually had to go back for seconds.5 stars

  12. Another wonderfully simple recipe. I used my leftover ham bone and low sodium chicken broth so it was well balanced. I low having extra soups in the freezer.

  13. In Sydney the weather is getting a little cooler, so I made split pea soup today.
    It was so easy to make with very few ingredients, but tasted absolutely fabulous. Real comfort food.5 stars

  14. My husband loves split pea soup. I made this with ham hock and ham chunks because that’s what I had on hand. It was delicious!…in fact I threw away my other split pea soup recipes!5 stars

  15. Lisa,
    Just made this for dinner.  It was a hit and so full of flavor!  The ham bone infused the soup with a great smoked flavor.  I made enough to keep some in the fridge for tomorrow & in the freezer for another time.  Thanks for this truly great, simple & quick recipe!

    Virginia Allen5 stars

  16. This is just like my mother’s recipe, brings back lovely childhood memories. I will enjoy creating this one again using your tips. Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe!

  17. If I’m not using a previously cooked ham if I use a ham hock do I put it in raw or do I have to cook it first?

      1. I made this soup earlier today using my leftover Easter ham bone. It smelled so good I had to eat a few spoonfuls before I ladled the rest into containers for lunches. 5 stars

  18. That looks like the same recipe my mother use to make when we were kids. Thank you, so much for the recipe! To get this from my mother is impossible because she doesn’t have the exact measurements…it’s a little bit of this and a heaping of that!! Thanks so much!!5 stars

    1. Haha, yes, so many of those old, passed-down recipes are like that, aren’t they? Hope my version brings back memories of your mom’s version!