Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup is one of those hearty soups that can stand in as a full meal. It's the best reason to bake a ham - so that you have the ham bone leftover and can make this delicious soup.

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Split pea soup is my favorite soup. Period. There are others that come close and others still that are better suited to specific occasions (like chicken noodle soup when you’re feeling sick), but split pea soup beats them all. I think one of the reasons I love it so is because it’s embedded in my childhood memories. I can remember my father coming home on sundays around noon with a baguette in hand and my mother serving split pea soup for lunch. I distinctly remember buttering the baguette and pouring a little soup on top with my spoon and then eating that combination and loving it each and every time. It was a “thing” for me. 

Ingredients for split pea soup on a wooden cutting board - carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, onions and green split peas.

The best split pea soups are made with a ham bone simmering along with the peas, flavoring and seasoning them gently as they soften. I usually wait to make my favorite soup until I have a leftover ham bone. I know I could just buy a ham hock at the grocery store and sometimes I do, but they are never as good as the ham bone that you have leftover. Knowing that you have split pea soup to look forward to allows you to carve around the bone a little recklessly, knowing that none of the ham left on the bone will go to waste. In fact, I usually try to leave as much meat on the bone as I can get away with and then chop that up into the soup at the very end. 

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A ham bone on a wooden cutting board - an ingredient in split pea soup.

Sometimes I make split pea soup with yellow split peas instead of green. I never even knew yellow split peas existed until I was an adult, but they are very common and traditional in Quebec. The yellow peas are just ever so slightly sweeter and obviously give you a different final color to the soup. I recommend either type of pea, honestly. 

I also vary the method of making split pea soup. Sometimes I simmer it on the stovetop in a cast iron Dutch oven and sometimes I use a pressure cooker. I’ve given you instructions for both methods below. It really depends on how much time you have to spend making the soup. 

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Ingredients for split pea soup in a cast iron Dutch oven - vegetables, ham bone, split peas.

Although I don’t eat it as often, I still enjoy split pea soup from time to time, and still pour a little soup over a buttered piece of bread when I’m feeling indulgent. It always takes me back. 

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Split Pea Soup - Pressure Cooker Version

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Release Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 20 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups dried green or yellow split peas
  • 1 ham bone or smoked pork hock rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces cooked ham thick cut ham from the deli is perfect
  • sour cream and croutons to garnish optional

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.
  2. Add the oil to the pressure cooker and then add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables just begin to soften. Add the fresh thyme, split peas, ham bone and the water and lock the lid in place.
  3. Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.
  4. Let the pressure drop NATURALLY and carefully remove the lid.
  5. Remove the ham hock from the pot and let it cool enough to pull any meat from the bone. Set the meat aside.
  6. Meanwhile, using a blender, or an immersion blender purée the soup and return it to the pressure cooker. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice, and thin the soup with a little water if necessary. Return the meat from the ham bone to the cooker, along with the cooked ham.
  7. Serve with some crusty bread and a green salad.

Split Pea Soup - Stovetop Version

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 40 m
  • Total Time: 50 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups dried green or yellow split peas
  • 1 ham bone or smoked pork hock rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces cooked ham thick cut ham from the deli is perfect
  • sour cream and croutons to garnish optional

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the butter to the pot and then add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until the vegetables just begin to soften. Add the fresh thyme, split peas, ham bone and 6 cups of the water and cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the split peas and vegetables are soft. As the soup simmers, if it starts to get a little too thick, add more water.
  4. Remove the ham hock from the pot and let it cool enough to pull any meat from the bone. Set the meat aside.
  5. Meanwhile, using a blender, or an immersion blender purée the soup and return it to the Dutch oven. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice, and thin the soup with a little water if necessary. Return the meat from the ham bone to the pot, along with the cooked ham.
  6. Serve with some crusty bread and a green salad.
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Comments (12)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Gayle. I would simmer the soup on the stovetop for at least 30 minutes or as long as an hour. It depends on how old your peas are, actually. Sometimes if they are older, they take longer to soften. Because you are cooking on the stovetop, you may also need to add a little more water because of evaporation (there’s little to no evaporation in a pressure cooker).

  1. 4 stars
    I love pea soup also, As a matter of fact I have a pot of it on the stove right now!!! The only problem I have is getting those peas to soften up. I have used a hand mixer some time. They are hard little buggers!!!

    1. Hi Nancy. You do need to adjust the quantities, obviously, but not the time. I have some information on converting recipes to smaller cookers in this article on converting recipes. You’ll also find lots of information about pressure cooking on this page, including a basic video explaining everything.

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this soup. The flavor is the pea was sweet and contracted nicely with the ham. We drizzled w EVOO and a splash of malt vinegar. Not a drop of soup was left. A true comfort food.

  3. 5 stars
    YUM!
    I made. This last month using the Christmas ham bone defrosted from the freezer. So good! I may have to buy a ha just to make the soup again 😋

  4. 5 stars
    I made this stovetop version last week and it was absolutely delicious. I added some chicken broth in place of part of the water because I didn’t have the ham hocks for flavor. I did add some chopped ham but should have had the ham hocks. Next time.

  5. Hi there! Your split pea soup recipe looks really good but it’s just a little different than my mother made and now, I make. All the ingredients are the same except I don’t put garlic in mine and I add diced potatoes. The potatoes thicken it and add flavor. It’s my favorite soup too!!!

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