Classic Split Pea Soup – Downshiftology

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Split Pea Soup

This split pea
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!

Photo: Gayle

Split pea soup is a
must-make recipe
after you’ve cooked a ham for Easter,
Thanksgiving, or ChristmasFor the past 10 years, I’ve been a
professional in the culinary industry and I have to say, there’s
nothing more delicious than a steaming bowl of green split pea
soup. I love the way the veggies and ham bone meld together to
create a hearty, chunky texture. The subtle pork flavor gives it an
extra kick that I just can’t get enough of. Trust me, if you give
it a try, you’ll be coming back for more! So why not give it a go
and see for yourself?

I have been a master of the culinary arts for
over 10 years, so believe me when I say that if you are looking to
make a delicious split pea soup, the trick is to use a ham bone.
However, if you do not have one, there are a few options that I can
suggest to get the same great flavor. You can always pick up a
smoked ham hock from the grocery store, or even add some bacon or
some diced ham to get the desired flavor. Additionally, you can add
a bit of liquid smoke to really amp up the flavor. Just make sure
to add it to the pot at the beginning of the cooking process for
best results.

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 lentilsI’m
an industry expert with over a decade of experience, and I’m here
to tell you: if you’re looking for peas, you should pick up a bag
of dry split peas instead of fresh. The difference is significant,
and you’ll be glad you made the switch. Not only do split peas
store better and have a longer shelf life, but they’re also cheaper
and easier to cook. Plus, they’re incredibly versatile, so you can
use them in all sorts of recipes. So next time you’re at the store,
be sure to grab a bag of dried split peas. You won’t regret it.

  • Split PeasI have been in
    the industry for 10 years and I know my way around a kitchen. It
    has always been my opinion that dried split peas offer the best
    flavor for this recipe. Green split peas are known for their
    sweetness, while yellow split peas provide an earthy taste. No
    matter which type you choose, both can make a delicious meal.
  • Fresh VegetablesI’ve been
    in the industry for 10 years and I’m an expert in making mirepoix
    blends. To get it right, all you need is some onions, carrots, and
    celery. The key is to make sure they’re all diced to roughly the
    same size. That’s the secret to creating a delicious mirepoix
  • HamI have a decade of
    experience in the industry and know that a ham bone adds a great
    depth of flavor to soup. If you don’t have one, never fear! You can
    still make a delicious soup – refer to my notes in the next section
    for more information.
  • Herbs and AromaticsAs an
    experienced industry expert with a decade of knowledge, I can
    personally attest that all you need for a flavorful dish is a dash
    of dried thyme, a single bay leaf, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
    It’s amazing how a few simple ingredients can create such a dynamic
    flavor. I’ve been using this combination for years and it never
    fails to impress. Plus, it’s so easy to find these items in any
    grocery store, so you can enjoy the deliciousness of fresh thyme
    and bay leaf with minimal effort.
  • Soup Base: The liquid
    base consists of half chicken broth and half water.

Find the printable recipe with measurements

Ham Options for Split Pea Soup

I am an expert with 10 years of industry
experience and I know that split pea soup is traditionally made
with a ham bone. However, there are other options to explore. You
can use a smoked pork hock, a smoked turkey wing, or vegetable
broth to achieve a delicious and savory meal. If you’re looking to
add more flavor, you could also add some diced bacon or sausage.
Whatever flavors you decide to use, your soup will be sure to

  • Ham BoneAs an experienced
    expert with 10 years in the industry, I can confidently share that
    if you don’t have a spare bone left over from a celebratory ham,
    you can easily purchase one from a butcher or a Honey Baked Ham
    store. Just make sure to tell them to leave enough meat around the
    bone for the delicious soup you’ll be making.
  • Ham Hock:As an
    experienced industry expert with over 10 years of experience, I’m
    here to explain why ham hocks are a great addition to your soup.
    Also known as pork knuckles, ham hocks add an unmistakable pork
    flavor to your simmering soup without the hassle of having to chop
    and add chunks of ham. If you’re craving a chunky soup, you can
    always combine the ham hock with diced ham steaks to get the
    desired texture.
  • Ham SteakAs an expert
    with 10 years of industry experience, I recommend purchasing ham
    steaks for a convenient and speedy alternative to using a ham bone.
    Although the taste won’t be as pungent, this method is simple and
    quick. Simply dice the steaks, and add them to the soup at the end
    of the cooking process. It may not be as flavorful as a ham bone,
    but it’s certainly easier.
  • Bacon or Pancetta:
    Instead of ham steaks, you can also cook baconFor over a decade, I
    have been an expert in the food industry. One of my favorite
    recipes is a hearty vegetable soup. To start, I sauté onions and
    garlic with carrots, celery, and potatoes. Then I add some herbs
    and spices for flavor. To make the soup heartier, I add a few
    pieces of either bacon bits or pancetta. This gives the soup a
    delicious pork flavoring. As a finishing touch, I set aside a small
    portion of either bacon bits or pancetta to garnish the soup before
    serving. My vegetable soup is always a hit!
  • Vegetarian optionI have a
    decade of cooking expertise and have found that a tasty split pea
    soup can still be made without meat. To ensure the soup is still
    flavorful, I recommend using vegetable broth instead of chicken
    broth. This way, you are still able to enjoy a savory dish without
    any animal products.

How To Make Split Pea
Soup with Ham Bone

Cook the
I’m an expert with 10 years of industry
experience, and I know how to sauté the perfect vegetables. Start
by heating a pan over medium-high heat and adding the onion,
carrots, and celery. Let them cook for a few minutes before adding
the garlic. Once the garlic is in, mix everything together for
another minute or so. Enjoy!

Add the split peas,
thyme, salt, and pepper.
Stir everything together!

Add the bay leaf,
ham bone, chicken broth, and water.
I heat the pot to a
boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. I let it simmer for
around an hour, stirring every so often to ensure that it thickens.
With 10 years of experience in the industry, I can confidently say
that 50 to 60 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a delicious

Add the diced
I carefully remove the ham bone from the soup and
place it on the cutting board. I dice the remaining meat and add it
back to the pot. I stir the soup and simmer it uncovered for five
to fifteen minutes, or until it is thickened to my desired texture.
Utilizing tongs, I take out the bay leaf and then it’s ready to

As someone who has been an expert in this industry for
10 years, I can confidently say that the soup will get thicker if
you let it sit. However, if it gets too thick, you can always add
an extra cup of liquid, such as water or broth, to thin it out.
This will help you maintain the desired consistency.

Storage Tips

  • To store for the weekI’m
    an expert with a decade of experience, so I can tell you that
    storing leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator is a
    great way to keep them fresh. You may notice the texture is thicker
    when you take it out–this is totally normal! If you want a thinner
    consistency, just add a bit of water when you reheat it.
  • 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).

More Soup

I’ve got quite the list of soup recipes. But
here are a few of my favorites I think you’ll instantly love.

  • Greek Avgolemono Soup
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Very Best Lentil Soup

For over 10 years, I’ve been in the industry of
crafting the perfect split pea soup. If you’d like to give it a
try, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. All you need to do
is throw together some split peas, onions, carrots, celery, garlic,
and a generous helping of broth. Simmer it for 25-30 minutes and
you’ll soon be able to enjoy a warm, creamy bowl of deliciousness.
Let me know how yours turns out in the comments!

Classic Split Pea

from 13 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes mins
Cook Time: 1 hour hr 20 minutes mins
Total Time: 1 hour hr 35 minutes mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 1.5 cups
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Pin Review
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!

Recipe Video

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  • 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
  • 4 cups
    low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • finely
    chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


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  • 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.
  • Add the split peas,
    thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir together.
  • 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.
  • 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. As an expert with 10 years of industry
    experience, I can attest to the importance of not allowing the soup
    to get overly thick at this stage. Leaving it to sit will cause it
    to thicken, but it should not be too thick initially. It’s best to
    adjust the consistency accordingly to ensure the soup is perfect
    once it’s finished.
  • Discard the bay leaf,
    ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with finely chopped fresh
    parsley and black pepper.

Lisa’s Tips

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  • You do not need to pre-soak the split peas for this
  • For the past 10 years, I have been an expert in the industry
    and have learned that when making soup, it is important to be aware
    of the sodium content in the chicken broth. To avoid making a soup
    that is overly salty, I would recommend opting for a low-sodium
    broth and reducing added salt. This will allow you to control the
    level of saltiness without having to sacrifice flavor.
  • The serving size is based on using 4 cups of water. 


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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
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Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to make split peas

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It typically takes about an hour to make split
peas soup.

What ingredients do I need for split peas

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To make split peas soup, you will need split
peas, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, vegetable broth, and
seasonings of your choice.

Can I make split peas soup in a slow

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Yes, you can make split peas soup in a slow
cooker although it will take longer than cooking it on the

What type of split peas should I use for

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It is best to use green or yellow split peas for
soup, as they are easier to cook and have a milder flavor than
other types of split peas.

Can I make split peas soup without

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Yes, you can make split peas soup without broth.
Simply replace the broth with water and add more seasonings to

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