Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (2024)

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4.85 from 19 votes

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This easy Split Pea Soup with Ham is a hearty and delicious homemade soup prepared with tender split peas, veggies, and smoked ham.

Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (2)

I love classic recipes! The tried-and-true favorites are often fun and easy to master, and they’re so rewarding to serve up to a hungry tribe. This split pea soup is definitely one of those recipes, thanks to its delicate but smoky flavor and delicious hearty texture.

    Why We Love This Soup

    • Classic Comfort: This split pea soup is a time-honored recipe that’s enjoyable to make and serve.
    • Unique Flavor: Offers a smoky taste with the natural sweetness of split peas.
    • Hearty Texture: The soup has a hearty yet light texture, with split peas providing natural thickness.
    • Budget-Friendly: Made with affordable split peas, it’s a nutritious and economical meal option.
    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (3)

    What Are Split Peas?

    Split peas are a legume, often prepared in saucy or soupy dishes. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet, perfect for various spices! In this simple split pea soup, we’ll use basic ingredients like carrots, onions, ham, and earthy herbs.

    Ingredients For Split Pea Soup

    • Butter & Olive Oil: I use a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil for sautéing.
    • Celery: You’ll need three celery stalks, diced.
    • Carrots: Along with the celery, dice up two small carrots.
    • Onion: For the onion, you can go with any type, but I usually use yellow onion.
    • Garlic: Mince or press three cloves of fresh garlic.
    • Broth: Have ready 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth. If you’d like to substitute, this recipe also works well with vegetable broth or homemade bone broth.
    • Water: You’ll need two cups of water in addition to the broth.
    • Split Peas: You can use green or yellow dried split peas; green is most common. Either way, 16 ounces are needed for this recipe.
    • Bay Leaves: Two medium bay leaves give a classic homemade flavor.
    • Dried Thyme & Oregano: Use one teaspoon of each.
    • Salt & Pepper: To taste.
    • Ham: I recommend ham hocks or a meaty ham bone.
    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (4)
    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (5)

    How to Make Split Pea Soup with Ham

    1. Cook Veggies: In a large pot, melt butter with olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté chopped celery, carrots, and onions for 4 minutes, then add garlic for 1 minute.
    2. Add Ingredients: Add chicken broth, water, split peas, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and ham bone. Caution: go light on salt as the ham is salty!
    3. Cook: Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking at the one-hour mark for doneness.
    4. Chop Ham: Remove ham bone carefully (avoid splatters), let cool, then shred or chop the meat, discarding bones or skin.
    5. Finish Soup: Return ham to soup, cook for 1 minute, and adjust seasoning if needed. If too salty, add water to dilute it. Ladle into bowls and serve it garnished with parsley.
    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (6)

    Recipe Tips And Variations

    • Sort: Raw split peas, like other legumes, should always be rinsed and sorted before eating. “Sorting” means looking through the peas to remove damaged ones or the occasional small pebble.
    • Rinse: Raw split peas should be rinsed in a large mesh sieve. They are so small that they often run right out of the holes in a colander.
    • Change It: Split Pea Soup can work with almost any add-ins, from curry sauce to potatoes to fresh crab meat. Some people also love adding fresh English peas to their soup.
    • Use Cubed Ham: If you’d rather not use ham hocks or a ham bone, you can still get the flavor by simply stirring cubed ham into the simmering soup.
    • Use Up Leftovers: Split pea soup is also great with leftover corned beef, sliced sausage, bacon crumbles, or no meat at all.
    • Crockpot Option: Exclude the 2 cups of water and parsley, and add all the other ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 5 hours. Remove the ham, shred it or chop it, and return it to the soup. Garnish with parsley and serve.

    What To Serve With Soup

    A simple grilled cheese is perfect with a split pea soup, but you could also go with a Reuben Sandwich or a Panzanella Sandwich. There’s nothing like homemade Cornbread for a cozy side or this quick Naan to sop up all that soupy goodness. But also, soft, fresh-baked Pretzel Bites make this meal a super-special treat!

    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (7)

    How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

    • To store leftovers, place the soup in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 4 months.
    • To reheat it, place the desired amount into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until piping hot, stirring frequently.

    More Soup Recipes to Try

    • Chicken Noodle Soup
    • Easy Lentil Soup
    • Creamy Crack Chicken Soup
    • Ham Sweet Potato Soup
    • Turkey Noodle Soup

    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (8)

    Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham

    Katerina | Diethood

    Smoky, hearty, and full of protein, this Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham is a meal worth savoring!

    4.85 from 19 votes

    Servings : 8

    Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save

    Prep Time 15 minutes mins

    Cook Time 1 hour hr 15 minutes mins

    Total Time 1 hour hr 30 minutes mins


    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 1 small yellow onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 bag (16 ounces) dried split peas
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
    • pound ham hocks or a meaty ham bone
    • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


    • Heat olive oil and melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.

    • Add chopped celery, carrots, and onions; cook for 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

    • Stir in chicken broth and water.

    • Stir in split peas, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Don’t use too much salt because the ham hocks are already salty.

    • Add ham hocks to the pot and bring mixture to a boil.

    • Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. The soup is ready when the peas are soft. Start checking it for doneness around the 55-minute mark.

    • Remove ham from soup and let rest for several minutes, or until cooled enough to handle. Then, shred or chop up the meat into smaller pieces. Discard bones and skin.

    • Add chopped ham back into the soup. Cook for a minute.

    • Remove from heat. Taste the soup for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.

    • Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve.


    • Ham Alternatives: If you don’t have a ham bone, you could use diced ham or even smoked sausage for a different twist on flavor.
    • Adjusting Consistency: If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can add more broth or water to reach the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, let it simmer uncovered for a little longer.
    • Vegetarian Version: You can make a vegetarian version by omitting the ham and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
    • Spice It Up: Feel free to add more herbs or spices to taste, such as a pinch of cayenne for heat or some fresh rosemary for depth.
    • Avoid Over-Salting: Since the ham (especially if cured or smoked) adds saltiness, taste as you go, adding salt gradually as needed.
    • Storing and Reheating: This soup freezes well. Store in airtight containers for up to three months. Reheat on the stove, adding a bit of water or broth if it’s too thick after freezing.
    • Slow Cooker Option: If you prefer, you can make this soup in a slow cooker, excluding the 2 cups of water, and adjust the cooking time to 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.


    Serving: 1.5 cups | Calories: 500 kcal | Carbohydrates: 40 g | Protein: 38 g | Fat: 21 g | Saturated Fat: 8 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g | Trans Fat: 0.1 g | Cholesterol: 81 mg | Sodium: 276 mg | Potassium: 1086 mg | Fiber: 16 g | Sugar: 6 g | Vitamin A: 2754 IU | Vitamin C: 4 mg | Calcium: 77 mg | Iron: 4 mg

    Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

    Course: Dinner

    Cuisine: American

    Keyword: homemade soup, pea and ham soup, split pea soup with ham hock

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    Split Pea Soup with Ham Recipe (2024)


    Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking? ›

    Water works just fine, but if you prefer using vegetable broth, that will work, too. Green Split Peas: Some green split peas may require soaking to allow them to cook in a timely manner. I have been using the Bob's Red Mill brand, which require no soaking, and they cook fully in about 45 minutes of simmering.

    How do you add flavor to a bland split pea soup? ›

    Using onions, garlic, and fresh spices like thyme will add flavor to the soup. The real trick to making a bland pea soup extra tasty is using a bone or ham hock in the soup during the cooking process. Chicken broth will also add flavor to the soup.

    How do I thicken up split pea soup? ›

    How to Thicken Split Pea Soup. The potato should make your split pea soup perfectly thick and creamy. However, if the soup is still too thin for your liking, you can thicken it up with full-fat cream (though it may alter the flavor a bit) or a cornstarch slurry.

    What is a substitute for ham hock in split pea soup? ›

    Luckily, there is an option that is just as accessible as ham hock, which can be found in nearly any supermarket. Smoked turkey meat, sold generally as legs or wings, is a worthy substitute for ham hocks, providing a comparable level of savory meatiness and smokiness.

    Should split pea soup be thin or thick? ›

    Split pea soup naturally thickens as the peas break down during cooking and also as it sits, especially if refrigerated. If it's too thick for your liking, you can easily thin it by adding a bit of chicken or vegetable broth, or even water, until you reach your desired consistency.

    How do you reduce gas in split pea soup? ›

    How do you make pea soup not gassy? Using Ayurvedic cooking methods, rinsing and soaking your peas before cooking, and eating them in a balanced meal help make pea soup not gassy.

    What makes split pea soup taste better? ›

    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.

    Why is my pea and ham soup tasteless? ›

    The common denominator will probably be meat (ham bones are common), more salt, and pepper to taste. If you want to take a shortcut, you could use bouillon cubes or paste to provide both meaty flavor and salt, though pork is a lot harder to find than chicken or beef. Salt and pepper you can just stir in.

    How do you add depth of flavor to soup? ›

    "If your broth is lacking in savory richness, try adding roasted onion, tomato paste, mushrooms, seaweed, soy sauce, or miso. These ingredients add umami flavor and depth to broth," she says. The choice of ingredient depends on the recipe, though.

    How much water do I use for 2 cups of split peas? ›

    Cooking. Bring about 1.5 cups of water or broth to a boil for every cup of lentils or split peas. Add the lentils, allow water to return to boiling, reduce heat, partially cover pan, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the variety.

    Why did my split pea soup turn brown? ›

    If you add to many peas its not a problem because you can add more water to thin it out a little. On the other hand if you don't put in enough and have to add more it will overcook the peas you put in first. If you cook peas for too long the soup turns a brown color more than a green color.

    What is the difference between split pea soup and pea soup? ›

    Pea Variety: The main difference lies in the type of peas used. Split pea soup is typically made from dried split peas, while green pea soup is made from fresh or frozen green peas. Texture: Split pea soup has a thicker and heartier texture compared to green pea soup.

    What can I use if I don't have ham hocks? ›

    If you can't find ham hocks, you can usually successfully substitute a ham bone, smoked bacon, or smoked sausage. And if you are going pork-free, try smoked turkey sausage or turkey bacon. For vegetarian dishes, smoked paprika and an extra sprinkle of salt can capture some of the qualities of ham hock.

    Can you buy just a ham bone for soup? ›

    They're not a super-fancy item only found at gourmet grocery stores—I buy mine at the local Safeway. If you can't find them, just ask. Both fresh and smoked ham bones need to be cooked thoroughly before eating and do best when simmered slowly for hours in a pot of soup.

    Why do split peas need to be soaked? ›

    The recommended soaking time for dried split peas is typically between 4 to 8 hours, or overnight. This helps to soften them before cooking and can reduce their cooking time.

    Why should I soak split peas? ›

    They don't have to be pre-soaked, but I prefer to do so for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it significantly reduces the cooking time, which is good for saving energy. And secondly, I personally find that soaking split peas helps with digestion.

    Why are split peas still hard after cooking? ›

    If your split peas are hard after this length of cooking time, there is something wrong with the peas or with your water. If the peas are very old and dried out, they won't soften. And if the water you use for making the soup is hard with lots of dissolved minerals that can stop the peas from softening.

    Do split peas and lentils need to be soaked? ›

    They are packed with fiber and protein as well as magnesium, zinc, and iron. As far as pulses go, split peas and lentils are my favorite because unlike dried beans, you don't have to soak them before cooking.

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