This easy homemade Split Pea Soup recipe is silky, hearty, filling, and so flavorful. Made with green split peas, tender vegetables, smoky ham, and a perfectly seasoned broth, it’s incredibly satisfying and hits the spot on a cold day. Great use for leftover ham and freezes well, too!
Split Pea Soup Recipe
Seems most people who say they don’t like split pea soup, have only ever tried it out of a can. Makes me weep! This homemade version will change your mind – it’s nothing like that glop you’re familiar with.
A low and slow simmer for about 90 minutes with dried split peas, meaty ham hocks, tender vegetables, and a perfectly seasoned broth results in a silky, hearty, and flavorful classic soup that fits the bill on a cold night.
What Are Split Peas?
Split peas are completely different from the frozen peas we love and put in so many things, like bacon and peas pasta and fried rice. They’re actually a specific type of pea that is grown for the purpose of being dried for long term storage. The outer hull is removed, then the peas are split in half, thus “split peas.”
Because of their tiny size and being split in half, they cook faster than most other dried legumes, and do not require pre-soaking.
NOTE: even though split peas have a pretty lengthy shelf life (like a year!), it’s advisable to use them before the “best by” date stamped on the packaging. Old peas take a lot longer to cook and sometimes never become tender.
Is Split Pea Soup Healthy?
This soup is hearty, filling, so flavorful, and yes, healthy! In addition to the vegetables and chicken broth, split peas are high in protein and fiber, making them very nutritional.
- How many calories in split pea soup? This particular recipe contains 552 calories per 1 cup serving. (You can do a 50/50 ratio of broth and water to cut back on calories, but it’s more flavorful when using all broth.)
- How many carbs in split pea soup? Peas are starchy, so the carb count for this soup is on the high side at 61 carbs per serving.
- Is split pea soup keto? Not really. Technically, you should avoid legumes on a keto diet because they are very high in carbs. A lot of split pea soup recipes also include potato, which is a no-no. However, like lentils, split peas are not completely impossible thanks to the high fiber. If you’re exercising, you could probably get away with a very small serving, while maintaining a fat/protein/carb ratio that keeps you in ketosis. However, that is just my opinion. I am not personally on a keto diet and not informed enough about it to give solid advice.
Split Pea Soup Ingredients
- Green split peas – no need to soak them first, but make sure you do sift through them and remove any stones, rinse and drain.
- Ham hocks – if you’ve got a leftover meaty ham bone from a spiral ham you served for holiday dinner, this is the perfect home for it! If not, no worries at all. This recipe is written using ham hocks, which are great, too.
- Mirepoix + Garlic – the trio of onion, celery, and carrots, plus garlic, which is the base of the soup.
- Chicken broth – I use low sodium broth so I have control over how salty the soup is. You can also do a 50/50 ratio of broth and water to cut back on calories, but it’s more flavorful when using all broth.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – used for sautéing the vegetables. You could also use butter or a combination.
- Seasonings – fresh (or dried) thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
- For finishing – I add a splash of lemon juice at the end for a little zing, croutons for crunch, and fresh chopped parsley for color.
How to Make Split Pea Soup
Making this soup is really easy, only requiring a few steps. (Scroll down for the detailed printable.)
- Sauté vegetables in olive oil.
- Add the peas, ham, seasonings, and broth; simmer.
- Remove the ham from the soup and discard bay leaf.
- Purée the soup, either directly in the pot using an immersion blender or transferring it to a blender in batches.
- Remove meat off the ham hocks, dice up, and return to the puréed soup.
- Stir in the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and adjust flavoring, if necessary.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and croutons, if desired.
- Are green and yellow split peas interchangeable? Yep! Some people think both green and yellow split peas taste the same, but I actually think the yellow variety is sweeter. They do cook the same, though, and this soup can be made with either.
- How to thicken split pea soup: if it seems like the soup isn’t thickening up as much as you’d like, leave the lid off the pot for the last 30 minutes, which will help it reduce down a bit. You could also peel and dice up a potato during the last 20-30 minutes, which will make it thicker once puréed. Keep in mind that the soup will thicken as it rests and cools.
- Adding salt: some ham hocks are very salty, so I recommend waiting until the soup has cooked until adding more salt.
How to Store Split Pea Soup
How long does split pea soup keep? Allow to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Leftovers will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator. The soup will thicken as it chills, but thins back out once reheated. If the consistency is thicker than you want, just thin it out with a little broth or water.
Can you freeze split pea soup? Yep. Let soup cool completely, then store in a freezer-safe, airtight container up to 3 months. Leave a 1/2-inch gap in the container to allow for expansion. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a saucepan over low heat on the stove.
What to Serve with Split Pea Soup
This soup is perfect garnished with a few crunchy croutons or served with homemade garlic bread for dunking. I finish the soup off with a splash of lemon juice, but a little dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream is delicious, too.
Watch it Being Made
Other Soup Recipes We Love!
Split Pea Soup
- 1 pound (2 1/4 cups) green split peas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions , chopped
- 2 stalks celery , chopped
- 2 medium carrots , peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic , peeled and smashed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 ham hocks , well-rinsed
- 2 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and pepper , to taste
- splash of lemon juice
- Small toasted croutons , to garnish, optional (avoid for gluten-free version)
- Chopped fresh parsley or chives , to garnish
- Pick over the peas and remove any stones. Rinse and drain the peas.
- Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 1 more minute until fragrant.
- Place peas in the pot, along with the thyme, bay leaf, ham hocks, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.
- Skim the fat/scum off the top of the soup for several minutes, until the scum ceases to rise. (This is optional.)
- Partially cover and simmer about 1 1/2 hours, or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally in case they stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the ham hocks and bay leaf from the soup. Discard bay leaf and set ham hocks aside to rest while you puree the soup, then shred or dice meat portion into pieces.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup right in the pot until desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, transfer soup to a blender (in batches) and purée until smooth. (If you want a super smooth soup, pass the purée through a sieve.)
- Return the puréed soup to the pot and heat back up until steaming. Stir the ham meat into the pureed soup. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add in a pinch of salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons and parsley or chives.