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Soups & Stews

Split pea soup – Spend with pennies

Any time of year is a good time for a cozy soup recipe.

A classic split pea soup with ham is one of our favorites and is easy to make. Green split peas are simmered with vegetables and ham in broth until tender and thickened.

This hearty soup is the perfect way to use up leftover frozen ham bones. It’s one of those dishes that tastes just as good (if not better) the next day and freezes beautifully.

a pot of split pea soup with a ladle

A healthy favorite

The humble pea soup has been around since 500 BC. AD and has been a budget staple for generations. There are many versions of this soup, including a Canadian split pea soup (most commonly made with yellow peas).

  • It has a creamy consistency and delicious flavor, but is made without cream and therefore contains fewer calories than most creamy soups.
  • Use simple ingredients that you probably have on hand.
  • This recipe for split pea soup is very economical.
  • It’s a healthy source of fiber and protein (and it’ll really fill you up).

Split pea soup ingredients labeled

Ingredients for split pea soup

SPLIT PEAS Dried split peas are cheap and easy to find. Although they look like a lentil, they are actually a type of dry pea. That being said, you can use dried lentils in this recipe (you may need to adjust the cooking time)!

I choose green split peas because they are a bit sweeter, but you can use yellow split peas if you like. The cooking time will remain the same.

VEGETABLES Celery, carrots and a handful of seasonings will flavor the soup. Add a few cloves of garlic if desired. To stretch the soup even further, peel and dice two Russet potatoes and add them along with the other vegetables.

MEAT Use this leftover ham. No extra ham on hand? Use cooked and crumbled bacon bits for that smoky and salty kick of flavor.

BROTH In this recipe, a ham bone flavors the broth like in a ham bone soup. If you don’t have ham bones, you can use ham hocks (I cook the ham hock for an hour before adding other ingredients).

If you only have diced or leftover ham (and no bones), replace some of the water with extra broth as the bone is used for flavor.

Chopped onions, carrots and celery on a cutting board.

Should I soak the split peas?

Split peas will almost always come from the store dried, so they must be simmered in liquid or soaked overnight before they can be enjoyed.

Soaking is not necessary for this recipe but if you have already soaked the peas, the cooking time will be reduced by about 40 minutes. To soak your split peas, place them in a bowl of water (or a ziplock of water)! They take about 4 hours to imbibe.

Split peas and ham hock in a pot.

How to make split pea soup

The best split pea soup is one that is thick, creamy and flavorful. This version is easy to prepare and although it takes a while to cook, most of the time it is hands-off.

  1. Simmer the peas, ham, water, broth, parsley and bay leaf in a large saucepan for one hour.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (per recipe below) and simmer for another 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the bone from the ham (or ham) and chop the meat. Return the ham to the pan and cook over low heat until thickened.
  4. Discard the bay leaf and serve.

two bowls of split pea soup with a loaf of bread

Serving tips

The best accompaniments for split pea soup are lots of hearty bread or crusty bread and a crisp, fresh salad!

Garnish the soup with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of cheese or a handful of garlic croutons.

Recipe tips

  • Like dried beans, dried peas must be carefully sorted. Place them in a colander and rinse them with cold water. Often sand or small pebbles are mixed with the peas.
  • Thicken the split pea soup leaving it to simmer a little uncovered. If you’re short on time, some peas can be mashed or blended with an immersion blender.
  • Store cooked split pea soup in the fridge for about 4 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave.
  • Leftovers can be frozen in zip lock bags for up to 3 months.
  • Split pea soup can be cooked in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

More savory soups

Did your family enjoy this split pea soup? Be sure to leave a rating and comment below!

Split pea soup

Split pea soup is the perfect way to use up leftover ham. Split peas and ham are simmered in delicious chicken broth to create a thick, hearty soup!

To follow Spend with money on Pinterest

  • Sort the peas to make sure there is no debris. Rinse and drain well.

  • In a large saucepan, combine the peas, ham, water, broth, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 1 hour.

  • Add celery, carrots, onion, pepper, thyme and salt. Cover and simmer another 45 minutes.

  • Remove the bone from the ham and chop the meat. Return meat to soup and cook uncovered until thickened and peas are split, about 20 minutes longer.

  • Discard the bay leaf and serve.

  • This recipe does not require soaking the peas.
  • If desired, add 2 minced garlic cloves with the vegetables.
  • If you only have diced or leftover ham (and no bones), replace some of the water with extra broth as the bone is used for flavor.
  • Thicken the split pea soup leaving it to simmer a little uncovered. If you’re short on time, some peas can be crushed or blended.
  • Store cooked split pea soup in the fridge for about 4 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Split pea soup can be frozen in zip lock bags for up to 3 months.

Portion: 1.5cups, calories: 365, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 9g, Saturated fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 900mg, Potassium: 1009mg, Fiber: 18g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 4211UI, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 77mg, The iron: 4mg

(Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary depending on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Dinner, Starter, Ham, Lunch, Main Course, Soup

Food American

Recipe updated for improved flavor and consistency March 2022.

Split pea soup served with a ladle with a title
Split pea soup served with a title
Top image - 2 bowls of split pea soup.  Bottom image - split pea soup served with a title

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