Cozy and delicious Split Pea Soup is protein-packed, and incredibly nourishing. Made with plenty of vegetables and tender shredded ham, all simmered together until richly flavored, thick and creamy. The perfect comfort food for colder months!

Split pea soup topped with croutons and fresh thyme.

It’s officially soup season! And there’s not much better than a piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly day, and this split pea soup is one of our all time favorites. That hearty, flavorful combination of veggies and ham just can’t be beat.

This split pea soup recipe is also a great way to use up your leftover holiday ham bone, if you have one. And even without one, you can enjoy a seriously tasty meal. We don’t save this recipe to enjoy only after the holidays! I typically use ham hocks and we eat this all through the fall and winter.

It makes for a cheap meal that’s loaded with good nutritious ingredients. It’s hearty and filling and loaded with protein. Did you know that split peas are a great source of plant-based protein? Winning!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Super hearty. This dish is incredibly delicious, comforting, and filling. You will definitely leave the table satisfied!
  • Healthy. Loaded with wholesome ingredients that keep you satisfied while nourishing your body. This meal has it all from the protein-packed split peas and ham, to the nutrient-rich veggies.
  • So flavorful. This cozy bowl of deliciousness is one that you’ll want on repeat all season long. Serve with a warm loaf of crusty bread for sopping up all that wonderful broth!
  • Easy to make in one pot. Although this is really easy to make, it does take a bit of time as all ingredients need a low, slow and longer cook time to enhance the flavors. The good news is, it’s made all in one pot, making cleanup a breeze!
Bowl of soup topped with croutons.

Ingredients needed

This split pea soup recipe is made with minimal ingredients, most of which, you likely have in your kitchen. It’s the creamiest, coziest dish, perfect for cool fall or winter nights. Here are the ingredients needed:

  • Vegetables. A combination of onion, carrots and celery gives this soup plenty of heartiness, flavor and nutrients.
  • Split peas. Green split peas are simply dried peas that have been cut in half (hence the “split” part of the name). This means they’ll cook a lot faster and don’t need to soak overnight. They have a slightly earthy flavor with a subtle sweetness (just like sweet green peas do). Once cooked, they become very tender resulting in a creamy texture that also nicely thickens the soup.
  • Spices and herbs. Because this soup has so much flavor from the veggies and ham, we’re keeping the seasonings simple. You’ll need dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Another great option is dried thyme. Then, I like to garnish the cooked soup with fresh herbs I have on hand – fresh thyme, oregano or parsley work great.
  • Ham hocks. Use either a meaty ham bone, ham hocks or ham shanks to slowly cook and create the soup stock. The ham hock not only gives the soup a great smoky flavor, but after it’s cooked you actually shred the meat into the soup for optimal deliciousness.
Adding ham hocks to a large soup pot.

How to make this recipe

Other than being incredibly delicious, I also love that you just dump everything into a large pot, cover it with water and simmer until done. There’s no added steps or special culinary techniques involved. Here’s the simple method:

For the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Add ingredients to the pot. Combine and stir all ingredients in a very large pot on the stove top. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for two hours.
  • Cut ham off the bone. After two hours, remove the ham hocks (or bone) carefully from soup and cut meat off the bone. Place meat back in the soup and discard hocks.
  • Simmer. Bring soup back to a boil and cook on medium high heat for another 30-45 minutes until desired thickness. I like my pea soup really thick, so I boil the heck out of it!
  • Serve. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and black pepper as needed. Garnish with croutons, fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Cooking soup in a large pot.

Tips for recipe success

You may have tried other pea soup recipes, but this one is seriously the best and it comes together with very little effort, but here are few tips to consider.

  • Ham options. There are a few options for the ham. Try to get a ham bone with as much meat as possible, not only does this deliver more flavor in the soup, but it also means you’ll have more shredded meat in the final dish. You can use a leftover ham bone, ham hocks or shanks, or simply add extra meat.
  • Thickness of the soup. If it looks like your soup is too watery, remember the longer it cooks, the thicker it gets. It also gets thicker as it cools, so you may need to add extra liquid to leftovers.
  • Saltiness of the soup. Ham hocks are typically very salty and more salty than a ham bone, so add salt slowly, especially if you are sensitive to too much salt.
  • Creamier soup. If you’re looking for an extra creamy soup, take about 1/4 to 1/3 of the soup (without the ham) and use an immersion blender to blend until it’s smooth.
  • Vegetarian split pea soup. 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. These changes will also make the soup vegan friendly.

Frequently asked questions

Is split pea soup healthy?

Yes! This soup is very nutritious and according to Livestrong, split peas are a good source of plant protein and fiber. They also contain important nutrients, like folate, iron, and potassium and are low in calories. A serving of this recipe has 27 grams of protein, 21 grams of fiber, and is only 388 calories.

Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?

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 pick out any pebbles or debris. 

What spices to put in ham and split pea soup?

The soup trifecta (also called mirepoix) consisting of onion, celery and carrots adds great flavor, as well as the split peas and ham, so there isn’t a need for tons of spices. We like to add oregano, salt and pepper. Other great options are bay leaves, thyme, and/or rosemary.

Bowls of split pea soup topped with croutons and fresh thyme leaves.

Serving suggestions

There is nothing quite like some crusty warm bread for dunking in this soup! Add some softened butter on some warmed bread and go to town. Otherwise, some homemade croutons (or store-bought) topping this soup would also be nice.

As far as other sides go, a sandwich or grilled cheese would be delicious. To keep things on the light side, try this Italian Salad.

Storage & reheating

To store leftover split pea soup, transfer leftovers to an airtight container or multiple storage containers and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and store in the refrigerator; it will keep for 3 to 4 days.

Soup can be frozen for up to 3 to 4 months in freezer-safe containers or baggies. 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.

A spoon in a bowl of greenish colored soup.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Split pea soup topped with croutons and fresh thyme.
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Split Pea Soup

Cozy and delicious Split Pea Soup is protein-packed, and incredibly nourishing. Made with plenty of vegetables and tender shredded ham, all simmered together until richly flavored, thick and creamy. The perfect comfort food for colder months!
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (add slowly, as ham hocks can be very salty)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag green split peas
  • 2 ham hocks (they usually come in packs of two), see note
  • 8 cups water
  • optional for serving: croutons, fresh herbs, freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients in a very large pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for two hours.
  • After two hours, remove ham hocks carefully from soup and cut meat off the bone. Place meat back in soup and discard hocks.
  • Bring soup back to a boil and cook on medium/high heat for another 30-45 minutes until desired thickness. I like my pea soup really thick, so I usually boil it for the full 45 mins.
  • Season to taste, garnish and enjoy.

Notes

  • Storage: To store, transfer it to an airtight storage container and let it cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate; the soup will keep for 3 to 4 days.
  • Freezing: Soup can be frozen for up to 3 to 4 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.
Ham options: There are a few options for the ham. Whatever method you use, try to get a ham bone with as much meat as possible, not only does this deliver more flavor in the soup, but it also means you’ll have more shredded ham in the final dish.
  • Leftover ham bone: If you’ve baked a holiday ham, save the bone (and leave a good amount of meat on it) for this soup. If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, you can always ask the butcher at the grocery store for leftover ham bones.
  • Ham hocks: Ham hocks (or ham shanks) are a ham bone, so these too are already smoked (cooked through). These are usually sold in the meat section of the store, or can be found in the deli. If you can’t find them, use a grocery locator app or ask the butcher in the store.
  • Adding extra ham: If your leftover ham bone is fairly bare or the ham hock(s) are less than 1-3/4 pounds, you’ll probably want some extra ham. We like to have about 2 up to 2-1/2 cups of ham in this soup. If you decide the soup will need extra ham, add some shredded or diced ham to the soup about 10 minutes before it will be done cooking. 
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 388kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 510mg, Potassium: 1030mg, Fiber: 21g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 4138IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 4mg

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