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Split Pea Soup

This classic Split Pea Soup recipe is made with a meaty ham bone, carrots, onions, potatoes, and has a thick and flavorful broth. It’s easy to make on the Stove Top, Instant Pot, or Crock Pot!

A pot of Split Pea Soup with a ladle in it and fresh thyme on top.

I realize that I’m making quite a claim when I say that this is the best split pea soup ever, but it really is. Just read through the comments, people are in love. There is no doubt in my mind that it could win awards.

The recipe comes from a super old cookbook that my mom has. The steps are simple, and so are the ingredients! This one even landed a coveted spot in The Cozy Cookbook, so you know it’s good!

How to Make it

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions, including the Crock Pot and Instant Pot cooking methods.

Add a meaty ham bone to a 4.5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot along with the rinsed split peas, onions, butter, olive oil, onion powder, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and water.

A meaty ham bone in a dutch oven with onions, bay leaves, and water being added.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer for 2.5 hours or until desired thickness is obtained. (Higher altitudes will require longer cooking time.) Add the potatoes and carrots about 40 minutes prior to serving.

Making Split Pea Soup with a ham bone, potatoes, and carrots in broth.

Remove from heat once the potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Remove the ham bone and cut/shred 2 cups of ham from it and add it back to the soup. Serve!

Split Pea Soup in a Dutch oven with Ham being added.

Do You Need to Soak Split Peas

  • Soaking split peas may decrease the cooking time slightly, but since they’re already halved and pretty thin, it’s not necessary. I don’t soak them for this recipe. 

Using a Ham Bone

Using a meaty, uncleaned ham bone is what gives this soup it’s amazingly rich and savory flavor.

  • If your ham bone is small, or you are using a ham bone substitute: Be prepared to add up to 4 chicken bouillon cubes to the broth to add more flavor if needed.
  • If your bone doesn’t have much meat: You can also add a diced ham steak at the beginning of cooking. 1 (8oz.) steak = about 1 ¼ cups diced ham.

Ham Bone Substitutes

  • Bone-in Picnic Shoulder or smoked ham shank
  • Using a ham hock is the next best option.
  • Chopped salted pork and/or chopped smoked bacon can also be substituted.

Pro Tips

  • Unlike most soup recipes, the vegetables don’t need to be softened in butter/oil first. They float to the surface of the soup and cook/soften in the fat from the ham bone.
  • The longer you simmer split pea soup, the more it thickens. Just make sure the temperature is low if you are going to simmer for several hours to avoid losing too much liquid.
  • If you’re at a higher altitude, longer cooking time is required.

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Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • This soup does freeze and reheat very well, just ensure that the potatoes and carrots are cooked until just fork tender so that they don’t become too soft.

A white bowl of split pea soup with a spoon scooping some out.

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Split Pea Soup

4.99 from 155 ratings
This Split Pea Soup is made with a delicious ham bone, potatoes, and carrots, in a thick and flavorful broth.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry split peas, equal to 2 cups
  • 1 ham bone, See notes for substitution options
  • 2 cups ham, cut from the ham bone at the end.
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons onion powder, not teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 8 cups water, see notes
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

Instructions

  • Note: The split peas do not need to be soaked for this recipe.

Stove Top

  • Add the uncleaned/meaty ham bone to a large soup pot along with the rinsed split peas, onions, onion powder, butter, olive oil, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme.
  • Add the water and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, with the lid slightly cracked.
  • Let the soup simmer for 2.5 hours or until desired thickness is obtained. Stir occassionally as it cooks to lift any settling on the bottom of the pot. (Note that higher altitudes may required 5 or more hours of simmering time.) The longer it simmers, the thicker and more flavorful it will get.
  • Add the carrots and potatoes about 40 minutes prior to serving.
  • Once the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, remove the ham bone, bay leaves, and thyme stems. Shred/cut 2 cups of ham from the bone and add it back to the soup. Serve and enjoy!

Instant Pot

  • Rinse the peas. Add all of the ingredients to 6+ quart instant pot. Make sure the pot isn’t more than 2/3 full.
  • Secure the lid and set it to cook on high (or press the ‘pressure cook’ button) for 25 minutes.
  • Once finished, let 10-15 minutes pass before you trigger the quick release valve. This will allow most of the pressure to release naturally, allowing the soup to cook a little bit longer.
  • Remove the ham bone, the bay leaves, and thyme stems. Slice/cut 2 cups of ham from the ham bone and add it back to the soup. Serve!

Slow Cooker

  • Rinse the peas. Add all of the ingredients to a large Slow Cooker (5 quarts or larger). 
  • Cook on low for 8+ hours or on high for 6+ hours. It's ready to serve once the peas are tender and the soup has reached your desired level of thickness.
  • Remove the ham bone, the bay leaves, and thyme stems. Slice/cut 2 cups of ham from the ham bone and add it back to the soup. Serve!

Notes

Using a Ham Bone:

Using a meaty, uncleaned ham bone is what gives this soup it's amazingly rich and savory flavor.
  • If your ham bone is small, or you are using a ham bone substitute: Be prepared to add up to 4 chicken bouillon cubes to the broth to add more flavor if needed.
  • If your bone doesn't have much meat: You can also add a diced ham steak at the beginning of cooking. 1 (8oz.) steak = about 1 ¼ cups diced ham.

Ham Bone Substitutes:

  1. Bone-in Picnic Shoulder or smoked ham shank 
  2. Using a ham hock is the next best option.
  3. Chopped salted pork and/or chopped smoked bacon can also be substituted.

Nutritional information is an estimate, and is per serving. There are 6 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 623mg, Potassium: 943mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 7211IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 70mg, Iron: 2mg

 

 Carrots, onions, potatoes, split peas ham blend perfectly together in this rich and flavorful split pea soup recipe that comes straight from mom! | The Cozy Cook | #soup #peas #comfortfood #ham #peasoup

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446 comments on “Split Pea Soup”

  1. This is an incredibly delicious recipe!!! Tastes just like my mom use to make. The consistency is perfect-Not too water and not too thick. It was a great way to use up Easter Ham and I am going to make this regularly. The bay leaves and spices really put the flavor over the top!!! What a trip down memory lane this is!! Thank you!

  2. Sounds good, but I always put in chopped celery also.
    Why don’t you?

    • Simply because that’s not how my mother taught me how to make it, however, I don’t see a place for celery in this one 😉 There is plenty of green, and I’m not sure the texture would work well for me here, but to each their own! I love celery in most soups, just not this one.

  3. I’m probably just missing it, but I don’t see how much water to add anywhere in the recipe. I got an idea of how much to use in the comments.

  4. I have made this soup so many times. I just use the bone withsome meat on it and there is plenty of ham so I don’t add the extra 2 cups. It is so flavorful! when i first made it my children were reluctant to try it but after 1 taste, they were hooked! Took to a ladies luncheon and they asked for the recipe! Highly recommend.

    • It makes me so happy the ladies asked for the recipe Rita, sounds like you’re doing a great job with this one!🙌 Thanks so much for the great comments!

  5. Hello! Making this soon. Question……could I replace the water with homemade chicken stock ?

    • If you don’t have a ham bone or are using the 2nd and 3rd ham bone substitutes outlined below, I suggest using 4 cups water and 4 cups chicken broth 🙂

      Bone-in Picnic Shoulder or smoked ham shank
      Using a ham hock is the next best option.
      Chopped salted pork and/or chopped smoked bacon can also be substituted.

  6. Delicious

  7. Delicious recipe! (I added splashes of Worcestershire Sauce before serving.) Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!

  8. I hadn’t had split pea soup in decades!  And never made it myself!  For some reason last time I was grocery shopping the green bag of peas spoke to me and I thought I’d give split pea soup a try…this recipe is absolutely delicious!  Made it exactly per the recipe and it turned out perfect!!! 

    • I am so happy to hear that Sheri!! This is such a hit at my house too, my in-laws always hope that I will fill up their freezer with some, haha! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  9. I’ve made this soup plenty of times and it is always amazing! This is the only pea soup recipe I follow. This past time I left out the butter and olive oil and it was still amazing! Could you tell me how many cups are in a serving? Thanks!!

    • Hi Lauren! I am so happy to hear that you love this soup, this is a huge family favorite for us too! 🙂 Unfortunately I haven’t measured this in cups- it makes about 6 servings and so the nutritional facts are based on 1 serving (or 1/6 of the recipe). The original recipe that is pictured on a notecard in the blog post says that it makes about 9.5 cups. (But my recipe also has 2 cups of ham and a potato added). I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help on that one!

  10. Making the soup tomorrow, cooked the ham tonight. Nice ham bone waiting. This is one of my mothers favorite soups. Making it for her. Plus I’ll see if I like it. Never been a fan of this soup. Fingers crossed.

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