Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham

4.69 from 22 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 in a bowl with chunks of ham and herbs on top


 

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.
ham hocks in a dutch oven with soup

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.

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.
ladle inside split pea soup with ham

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. 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!

overhead shot of split pea soup served in a bowl with a spoon inside

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

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4.69 from 22 votes

Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham

Smoky, hearty, and full of protein, this Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham is a meal worth savoring!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 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
  • 16 ounces dried split peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • pounds smoked ham hocks,, or use a meaty ham bone
  • chopped fresh parsley,, for garnish
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Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

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

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.

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39 Comments

  1. Leslie says:

    Very good recipe. It’s a keeper. Like another reviewer I used a smoked ham hock and had to cook for almost 5 hours on low vs recipe saying 1hr 15 minutes. I stirred constantly.
    I used my immersion blender to make 90% smooth. Next day it was pretty thick and a little water did the trick. I’ll make again in the fall (if not sooner). Thanks.

    1. Katerina says:

      It sounds like you made some great tweaks to the recipe! Using a smoked ham hock and extending the cooking time definitely adds depth to the flavor. Using an immersion blender for a smoother texture is a smart move too. I’m glad you found a new favorite to enjoy again in the fall! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Sara says:

    I used a smoked ham hock and it wasn’t ready at all after the 1h15m. I had to boil it in a separate pot for hours before it was able to be cut so I couldn’t use it in the soup. Not sure if it’s the recipe or because the hock was smoked.

  3. Melissa says:

    Made this with the very end of a spiral sliced ham (bone with the end meat) and it was delicious! Used low sodium chicken bone broth and it did not need any additional salt. Would definitely make this soup again.

  4. Bonnie Utter says:

    Great recipe. I was surprised that it went together so quickly. Very simple to make, turned out great.