While classic Split Pea Soup is decidedly less beautiful than most other foods I can think of, with its pea-green color and chunks of diced ham and carrots in the thick soup base, It has a wonderful, comforting, savory flavor and warmth that more than makes up for its appearance!
Table of Contents
Split pea soup is a hearty soup full of fresh veggies including, of course, green split peas, and a bunch of succulent ham. I went ahead and used a meaty ham bone and some leftover ham meat from another meal. The wonderful savory flavor and texture was so good, I included them both as part of the recipe.
It may not be the prettiest thing you will ever eat, but it makes a great meal for the whole family and is so comforting on a chilly day! Serve this soup with a crusty slice of rye bread and butter and some chocolate puffs for dessert!
Looking for more comforting soup recipes? Some of our favorites are Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup, Homemade Tomato Basil Soup, and Better-Than-Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Use your favorite seasonal veg or seasonings in this split pea soup recipe,
- Fresh vegetables are always the way to go, especially in soups, and meat eaters will love their dose of rich proteins here too!
- While this soup has a long cooking time, it's a simple recipe with not too much hands-on time.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Broth - Use half low sodium chicken broth and half water for a fuller flavor in this soup. Traditionally, only water is used, but I love using chicken stock in soups!
- Peas - Dried green split peas are the star of the show in this recipe!
- Ham - We'll be using ham meat and the ham bone for an amazing full flavor. You can use ham hock or even ham shank, as it won't dry out in this soup.
- Vegetables - Onions, potatoes, and carrots give this soup a great savory flavor.
- Leafy Greens - I use a handful of spinach leaves to add even more nutrients and some more of that fresh green color.
- Seasoning: A combination of ground mace, ground cloves, coarse salt, and freshly ground black pepper give this soup a rich flavor.
How to Make Split Pea Soup
- Boil stock. In a large dutch oven or large pot, bring water and chicken stock to a boil.
- Cook ham and peas. Then add the split peas and ham bone and simmer for 1 hour until the peas are tender and fully cooked.
- Remove bone. Remove the ham bone and add another 2 cups of water.
- Add remaining ingredients. Bring the soup back to a boil, then decrease to a simmer again and add the diced ham, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and spinach, along with the mace, cloves, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
- Blend and serve. The soup can be served as it is, or you can mash some of it with a potato masher or puree it with an immersion blender or stand blender for 2-3 minutes until you reach the consistency you like. I prefer the potato masher because I like the additional texture of chunks of carrot and potato.
Yes, split pea soup is souper healthy for you! Sorry, I couldn't resist. With a ton of vegetables, leafy greens, and broth, this soup is also packed with protein from the delicious ham that all contribute to the goodness of a healthy balanced meal.
Split peas are regular fresh peas that have been dried and split so that they cook more quickly when you need them. They are legumes and can be fairly interchangeable with lentils, although lentils have a rougher texture than split peas even when cooked.
Once cooled, this soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Yes, we love having this classic soup on hand during the winter months. Store in freezer-safe containers, or in Ziploc bags with the air removed, in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Tips for Success
- Smoked ham hock will give your soup a smoky flavor which goes perfectly with split peas and other savory vegetables.
- Make this soup a complete meal by serving it with some Garlic Bread, or Herby Artisan Bread on the side.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some lemon zest for an extra fresh flavor!
- This is one of my favorite soups during the winter months, so why not serve it in a Homemade Soup Bowl for a fancy presentation during the holidays?
Split prep time - soak your peas!
Split the prep time by over half by soaking your split peas overnight. You'll save yourself an hour when making this soup since unsoaked peas take 1-2 hours of simmering to become tender, while soaked peas only take about 40 minutes.
Substitutions and Variations
- Vegetable broth would also work well for this soup, instead of chicken.
- Use turnips or even sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes.
- Other veggies that would work well in this soup are broccoli, celery stalks, or parsnip.
- For a creamy soup, serve with some sour cream or greek yogurt.
- Add Worcestershire sauce to add extra flavor that is tangy, sweet, and salty.
- A teaspoon of smoked paprika will go a long way to add a smoky depth to the soup.
- Liquid smoke is always a great way to add to the smoky flavors too.
More Soup Recipes You'll Love
- Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Creamy Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- Creamy Irish Leek and Potato Soup
- Zuppa Toscana Crockpot or Stovetop Soup
- Cheeseburger Soup with Bacon
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Split Pea Soup
- 8 cups water or half water and half chicken broth
- 2¼ cups dried split green peas 1 pound
- 1 ham bone
- 2 cups ham diced
- 2-3 medium onions peeled and chopped, about 2 cups
- 1-2 medium turnips or potatoes peeled and diced
- 1-2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 1 handful of spinach leaves with tough stems removed
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- 2 pinches of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large dutch oven or pot, bring water and chicken stock to a boil, then add the split peas and ham bone and simmer for 1 hour, until the peas are tender and fully cooked.
- Remove the ham bone and add another 2 cups of water. Bring the soup back to a boil, then decrease to a simmer again and add the diced ham, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and spinach, along with the mace, cloves, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Mash some of the soup with a potato masher, or puree it with an immersion blender for 2-3 minutes until you reach the consistency you like. I prefer the potato masher because I like the additional texture of chunks of carrot and potato.
- Storage: Once cooled, this soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: Yes, we love having this classic soup on hand during the winter months. Store in freezer-safe containers, or in Ziploc bags with the air removed, in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reader questions and reviews
I love pea soup. I always use yellow peas. Not sure why, probably because that is how mom always did it. This is the perfect bowl of comfort food for the cold, chilly weather we are having. Love you can make HUGE batch...the kids take it home with them.
Such a comforting soup! This is perfect for the freezing weather we're having here!
I hear ya - some of the tastiest food isn't necessarily the prettiest, but you've done a great job of making this look as good as I'm sure it tastes. Such great comfort food - perfect for this hazy, cold weather we've been having lately.
I can't get enough soup in my life this time of year! I love the addition of ham in this to make it really substantial - thank you for sharing!
I would have preferred the vegetarian version, but I can imagine how flavorful this soup is, with those pieces of ham. My husband, on the contrary, would love your split pea soup! 🙂
I have to agree with you - and others - the tastiest food isn't always the prettiest! I've been making a very similar recipe for split pea soup for 40 years... our 4 sons grew up on it and they make it the same way. It is quite similar to Hamilton's Pea Soup. We're having an actual winter in south Texas this year, and a bowl of this comforting soup sounds delicious right now!
I love pea soup! With ham, without ham, don't care, they're both good! Depends on what I have in the house. Don't care what it looks like - tastes so good! And just right in a New York winter...
It is such an interesting topic when you reflect back on these recipes that were popular in the days before refrigeration and how the food was stored and prepared. Dried peas and salted pork I suppose were a staple of those times. Thanks for sharing!
What a delicious looking soup. We love spit pea but don't make it often enough. We're due to make a pot of soup and this will be just the thing. Thank you!!
I absolutely loved this post!! The history of Hamilton and the series you are doing is so fun!! I'm going to go back and look at your other themed recipes you linked, especially that Salem Witch Trial post! Your words made this recipe sounds amazing so now I want a bowl! And I had no idea that split peas were such a time consuming pain to prep!!I really enjoyed this post! can't wait to hear more from your series!
Thanks, Amanda! It's such a fun series and we love doing it! I'm already super excited about the next two periods we are planning on covering!
When it comes to delicious soups. I could care less what they look like. But either way, this looks delicious!
Hey there Amy,
Trying your soup out for a couple of widows in the neighborhood. I’m sure they will love it!
Quick question...cauliflower? Did I miss something?
Uh-oh, now I feel like I am the one missing something! I didn't use any cauliflower in this soup and I don't see anywhere that I mentioned it. I'm not sure if that helps?
This looks so good! I can't wait to try your recipe!