So simple and delicious, my favorite Split Pea Soup recipe is the ultimate winter comfort food that doesn’t break the bank. I make my split pea soup with bacon for a little bit of smokiness. It makes ALL the difference!
I can’t think of a better lunch or dinner than a big bowl of Split Pea Soup and a hunk of crusty, buttered bread. It’s a surprisingly substantial meal; its naturally creamy texture warms me up all the way to my toes. Seriously, I could make this soup every week and be happy.
Best of all, this soup is unfussy and incredibly economical to make. Bags of dried split peas are plentiful and cheap, and most natural grocers carry them in their bulk section at an even lower price.
Like lentils, there’s no need to soak split peas before cooking. This soup can be made in a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or an Instant Pot. All the instructions are down below.
A big pot of Split Pea Soup is a great way to use a leftover ham bone from the holidays, too. This easy pea soup can be made with ham bone, ham hocks, or even a fried-up ham steak for an extra hearty soup. Come to think of it, there’s just no wrong way to make Split Pea Soup.
Craving Split Pea Soup from your childhood and want a big batch for a busy week ahead? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Is Split Pea Soup Healthy?
I’ve always said that making your own food is the best way to eat, because you’re completely in control of what goes into it. I’ve always found that most store-bought soup is too salty, while you can make a homemade Split Pea Soup with ham with a fraction of the salt and fat, and with zero preservatives to boot. Incorporating more legumes into your diet can only be a good thing!
Curious about Split Pea Soup calories? One serving is about 250 calories. Plus this soup has 12 grams of fiber and almost 16 grams of protein, so go ahead, have another bowl!
Even More Health Benefits of Split Peas:
Split peas, just like lentils, beans, and chickpeas, are packed with fiber and nutrients. Split peas are:
- A good source of protein and fiber
- Low in calories
- High in vitamins A, K, and B
- Rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc
Each pea is like a little green multi-vitamin!
Like other high-fiber pulses, eating them can lower the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Legumes are also recommended for anyone pursuing weight loss, as they help you feel full and they slow down digestion.
How to make Split Pea Soup:
This is a basic walk-thru for visual learners! Scroll down for the full recipe with ingredient quantities and complete instructions.
- Fry bacon until crisp, then chop and set aside (keep the bacon fat! Fat = flavor).
- Cook onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in the rendered bacon fat until softened.
- Stir in butter and flour. Then, stir in broth, water, split peas, and bay leaves.
- Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours, or until thick and creamy.
- Remove bay leaves, add back chopped bacon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Is Split Pea Soup low carb?
Split peas, lentils, beans, and other legumes are generally not considered low-carb, but they are very low in fat. One cup of cooked split peas has 41 grams of carbohydrates, and .8 grams of fat.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup:
Split Pea Soup and a crock pot are a match made in heaven! Throw the ingredients in at lunch and you'll have perfect Split Pea Soup for dinner.
- In a skillet, fry the bacon. When crispy, remove the bacon and set aside. Add butter and flour to drippings in the skillet and stir until bacon fat, butter and flour are incorporated and slightly toasted, about 30 seconds.
- Chop the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
- In the bowl of a slow cooker, combine the bacon drippings, split peas, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, pepper, bay leaf, and chicken stock. Mix well.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours, or until peas are tender.
- Remove the bay leaves, add chopped bacon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup:
This plant-based version of the soup can be made vegetarian with a few easy substitutions.
- Switch out vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
- Omit the bacon.
- Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the surface of the soup when you’ve ladled it out in bowls. Smoked paprika adds a hint of smoke that you’ll love.
How to make Vegan Split Pea Soup:
(It’s really easy to make an even healthier vegan Split Pea Soup.)
- Make the soup with vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- Omit the bacon.
- Instead of butter, use olive oil.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of smoked paprika.
How to make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup:
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté and add the bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon, chop, and set aside.
- Add butter and flour to Instant Pot and stir, cooking for about 30 seconds.
- Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add split peas, bay leaves, thyme, and broth, and stir to combine. Lock lid and set machine to cook at high pressure for 12 minutes. When finished, carefully turn the steam valve to the venting position to release the pressure.
- Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves, and add bacon.
Fun ways to brighten the flavor of Split Pea Soup:
Because sometimes, we all need a little sparkle now and again.
- A simple drizzle of good olive oil.
- A squirt of fresh lemon or a 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar make the flavors pop.
- A spoonful of Greek yogurt on top make things extra creamy.
- Olive oil croutons over the top of the soup give a little crunch to every bite.
How to make creamy Split Pea Soup:
Sometimes I use an immersion blender to purée some of the peas to intensify their creaminess, or take a couple cups and blend in a countertop blender. Works every time!
How long does Split Pea Soup last?
If you the soup it in an airtight container, split pea soup lasts for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze Split Pea Soup?
In my opinion, there simply isn’t a better, more freezable soup than Split Pea Soup. It’s so perfect for meal prep throughout the month, when time and money is in short supply.
I pour the soup into portions, leaving room at the top for the soup to expand during freezing. When I’m hungry, I pop the block of soup into a pot and reheat on low.
Split Pea Soup Recipe
- 6 slices bacon preferably thick cut
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 pound split peas rinsed and picked over
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh bread for garnish, optional
- In a dutch oven over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pot, chop, and set aside. Do not drain grease.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the bacon fat and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add butter and flour and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth, water, split peas, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat and continue simmering for about 2 hours, or until split peas are tender and soup becomes thick and creamy.
- Remove bay leaves, add chopped bacon, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with pieces of bread if desired.