Warm, comforting, and easy to prepare, this split pea soup recipe is the best! It’s ready to eat in just over an hour.
Why you’ll love it: This is an easy soup to make. You can prep it in about 10 minutes, then leave it to simmer for an hour. It needs very little attention and can cook longer if you’re not ready to serve it.
How long it takes: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: Dutch oven or soup pan
This easy split pea soup recipe is a hearty soup that will satisfy your family and won’t break the bank. It’s thrifty (and delicious) slop! Yes, that’s not a typo, I did say slop.
Remember when we talked about taco slop? This is green slop. Ben affectionately refers to certain food as slop. I think it’s the Marine in him. Looks aside (and personally, I think it looks fantastic!), he loves this soup and is always happy to eat it. Right, Ben?
Split peas are very economical and can be stored in your pantry a long time. Keep a bag handy for those times when you need a good dinner idea. I also like to freeze leftover ham (or a ham bone) so I have all the fixings I need to make this soup.
Split pea soup is nice to share with others too. Make a big batch of soup and gift a container of it to a friend who may need a little “soup hug”.
About This Recipe
One of things that makes this soup special is a really flavorful bay leaf. You may wonder why in the world you put a little green leaf into a big pot of soup, only to take it out again before eating the soup. Doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it?
However, when you sample a spoonful of this easy split pea soup, you’ll get that this simple bay leaf imparts a subtle but essential flavor. It partners well with the fresh thyme and parsley which accompany it.
Add carrots, celery, onion, and ham and you have a quick and easy nutritious meal. Serve it with warm, crusty homemade whole wheat bread or no-knead Dutch oven bread. Homemade corn muffins with herbs and cheddar are a great go-along, too.
Look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post for complete instructions, specific measurements, and nutrition information.
Although many dried beans need to be soaked before cooking, split peas (green or yellow) do not need to be soaked. When split peas are processed, the hard outer shell is removed and then they are cracked in half. They cook quite quickly. Simply rinse split peas, green or yellow, and sort out any foreign material that may have slipped in.
Incidentally, if you have a pressure cooker, you can eliminate the soaking step when you cook legumes such as black beans or pinto beans. Try my Instant Pot pinto beans.
According to Livestrong, split peas are a good source of plant protein and fiber. They also contain important nutrients and are low in calories.
Split pea soup is a healthy choice. In addition to nutritious split peas, carrots, celery, and onion are added, all of which are good for you. A serving of my split pea soup recipe has 24 grams of protein with only 3 grams of fat. It contains lots of potassium and vitamin A, and is only 294 calories.
Make It Your Own
- Make it vegetarian: Omit the ham and substitute a good quality vegetable broth for the water. To enhance the flavor of the soup, add a couple cloves of garlic and a smidge of smoked paprika. A couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast will give the soup great flavor, too.
- Have a leftover ham bone? If you happen to have a ham bone lying around (or in your freezer), throw that in and this soup with be taken to a whole new level. The recipe card has instructions for making the soup with a ham bone. One of the comments below mentions that you can buy meaty ham bones at Honey Baked Ham stores. That sounds like a great idea!
- If you prefer a smoother soup, use a blender or a hand-held immersion blender to give it a quick purée (before you add the ham). You probably don’t want the soup completely smooth so remove 4 cups of the soup, purée it, and return it to the pan.
- If I’m feeling crazy, I add a touch of cumin. Because it is one of my favorites.
To get a head start on this soup, prep the veggies the day before. Store them all together in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Another time-saving trick is to make a double batch of the soup, as long as you have a large enough pan, or you could use 2 pans. You can freeze half for a later meal. You can also freeze the soup in individual sized containers. Thaw one in the fridge overnight and pop it in your lunchbox to take to work or school.
Storage & Reheating Tips
To store split pea soup, transfer it to storage containers and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate; the soup will keep for three to four days.
Split pea soup can be frozen for up to three to four months. You will notice a slight change in texture. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat, gently warm the soup in a saucepan until heated. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave at 50% power until heated.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 2 to 3 medium carrots, diced (about 2 heaping cups)
- 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 cups dried split peas, sorted and rinsed (16 oz. bag)
- 6 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 8 ounces diced ham, and/or ham bone (see note)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Add rinsed peas, water, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas and vegetables are soft.
- Add ham and parsley, stir to combine, heat until warmed through. Remove bay leaf prior to serving. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
- Go ahead and use those stalks of celery in the middle of the bunch, and include the leaves. They’ll add extra flavor.
- If using a ham bone, add that when you add the peas and water, so it can simmer. It will add really great ham flavor. Remove it before serving. However, if you’re using ham cubes or leftover ham, wait until the end to add it. It becomes tough and flavorless if you simmer it with the soup the whole time.
- Not a meat eater? This soup is perfect for vegetarians or vegans. Just leave the ham out and replace the water with a good quality vegetable broth. To enhance the flavor, add 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced, and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
**photos updated September, 2019