Easy Ham and Split Pea Soup Recipe

4.5 from 4 votes
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Homemade Split Pea Soup with Ham is a great way to use leftover ham! This easy recipe is packed with veggies and herbs, with plenty of smoky, salty flavor. Make this soup with diced ham and chuck in the whole ham bone if you have one.

Love satisfying soup recipes? Try my chicken and wild rice soup and this easy rotisserie chicken soup made with leftover chicken.

A bowl of split pea and ham soup with a spoon, with hunks of bread in the background.

Why You’ll Love This Split Pea and Ham Soup Recipe

  • Cuisine Inspiration: American
  • Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
  • Dietary Info: Gluten-free, Dairy-free option
  • Skill Level: Easy

Ham and split pea soup is classic comfort food (right up there with chicken and dumplings). From the aromatic vegetables to the simple seasonings and smoky, savory ham, this soup is jam-packed with flavor and so easy to make from scratch. Here’s why you’ll love this soup:

  • Made with leftovers. Whether it’s Easter or Christmas, this soup is a wonderful way to use up leftover baked ham.
  • Hearty. Split pea soup with ham is naturally thick and creamy, thanks to the peas breaking down as they cook. It’s made without flour, cornstarch, or other thickeners. Every spoonful is filled with meaty bites of ham, tender mashed peas, and savory herbs.
  • Versatile. A bowl of this split pea soup with ham is rich and satisfying enough to be a meal on its own, or you can enjoy it with a salad, a sandwich, or sopped up with a hunk of bread.
  • Diet-friendly. This split pea and ham soup recipe is naturally gluten-free, and grain-free, with the option to make it dairy-free, too.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A perfect recipe for ham and split pea soup when you don’t have a ham bone. Delicious!! Do not be afraid to throw in extra celery and carrots and ham. I used fresh thyme and it made all the difference!! -Suzanne

A ladle lifting split pea and ham soup from a pot.

Split Pea Soup Ingredients

Along with ham and split peas, this classic soup needs just a handful of ingredients. I’ve included some quick notes below. Scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.

  • Butter – I recommend unsalted butter for the extra richness. If you’d prefer to make your soup dairy-free, you can use olive oil.
  • Vegetables and aromatics – Start with an onion, diced small along with carrots and celery. These veggies create a nice flavor base for the soup. You’ll also need dried or fresh thyme and fresh garlic cloves, along with a bay leaf.
  • Seasonings – Salt and pepper, plus cayenne pepper for a touch of heat. Feel free to leave out the spice if you’d like.
  • Split Peas – Make sure to grab a bag of dried split peas, and not fresh green peas, which aren’t the same thing. Rinse and sort your split peas to remove any small stones that may have gotten mixed in. You do not need to soak the split peas before you add them to the soup.
  • Ham – Use any ham that you have on hand. It can be leftovers from a holiday ham, or you can chop up a ham steak or boneless ham you’ve picked up at the grocery store. A ham bone isn’t necessary for this recipe, but if you have one, feel free to toss it in for extra flavor.
  • Chicken Stock – Store-bought or homemade chicken stock or broth. If you’re buying from the store, I recommend low-sodium broth.
  • Fresh Parsley – Optional, for garnish. The green leaves brighten up the look and flavor of the finished soup.
Ingredients for split pea soup with ham with text labels on each ingredient.

How to Make Split Pea Soup With Ham

There’s just a few minutes of hands-on prep to get this split pea and ham soup simmering away on the stove. Simply saute, simmer, and then serve! Below is a short step-by-step. Scroll to the recipe card for printable recipe instructions.

  • Saute. Melt the butter in the stockpot, and saute the onion, carrot, and celery until softened. Add the thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic, and cook till fragrant.
  • Simmer. Add the split peas, ham, bay leaf, cayenne, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for up to an hour and a half until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Serve. Ladle into bowls and serve with a sprinkle of parsley, if desired.

Can I Make This Soup In the Slow Cooker?

Yes! To make split pea and ham soup in the Crockpot or slow cooker, saute the vegetables in a skillet first. Afterward, add everything to the slow cooker, reducing the chicken stock by 2 cups. Cook the soup on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4 hours. If needed, add more stock to thin out the soup after cooking.

Can I Make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup?

Certainly. Use the Instant Pot’s Saute setting to cook the vegetables, and then combine the rest of the ingredients. Again, reduce the liquid by about 2 cups. Cook on Manual/High Pressure for 15 minutes, followed by a 10-minute natural release. Afterward, vent the remaining pressure using a quick release.

A bowl of split pea soup with ham with a blue pot and a jar of fresh herbs in the background.

Tips for the Best Pea Soup

Here are some final tips and tricks for whipping up a batch of delicious split pea soup with ham:

  • Adjust the consistency. If your split pea soup turns out too thick, simply stir in a bit more broth at the end of cooking to help thin it out. If you find your soup is on the thinner side, try simmering it for a little while longer, or use a potato masher to mash up more of the peas so that it thickens.
  • Green vs. yellow split peas. Green split peas tend to be sweeter, while yellow split peas have a more earthy flavor. Both work great in this recipe, so choose the variety that works for you.
  • Plan ahead. If you’ve cooked a ham for Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas, save and freeze the leftovers and the ham bone for future soup recipes.

Ham and split pea soup in a bowl garnished with parsley and pepper, next to a blue pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are split peas the same as regular peas?

Unlike green peas, split peas are grown specifically for drying. The peas are split along their seams during the hulling process, which makes them quicker to cook.

Do you have to soak split peas before cooking?

No, split peas do not need to be soaked before cooking. They will become soft and tender in just over an hour of simmering. Make sure to rinse and sort your bag of split peas, plucking out any small stones that may have been missed on the packaging line.

Why is my split pea soup not creamy?

If your split peas are old, or if they weren’t stored airtight, they may not soften. While dried peas last a long time, they don’t last forever (even if they’re properly stored).

What’s the Best Soup Pot to Use?

When it comes to stovetop soup recipes, I recommend a heavy-bottomed pot with even heat distribution to prevent scorching. It’s worth investing in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven (I love my Le Creuset Dutch oven). It’s super durable and easy to clean. I’ve also heard great things about this Lodge enameled Dutch oven that’s a bit more budget-friendly.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Soup

  • Refrigerate. Store any leftover split pea and ham soup airtight in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.
  • Reheat. Heat leftovers in the microwave or by gently warming the soup in a pot on the stove.
  • Freeze. Split pea soup freezes well! Place the cooled soup in an airtight container or freezer-safe storage bags and freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen soup in the fridge overnight before reheating.
A bowl of split pea soup with ham on a marble table with a spoon and yellow cloth napkin.

What to Serve With Split Pea Soup

While this is a hearty meal on its own, you can also pair your soup with something else to make it even more satisfying. Here are some serving suggestions.

A bowl of split pea and ham soup with a spoon, with hunks of bread in the background.
4.5 from 4 votes

Split Pea Soup with Ham

Homemade Split Pea Soup with Ham is a great way to use leftover ham! This easy recipe is packed with veggies and herbs, with plenty of smoky, salty flavor. Make this soup with diced ham and chuck in the whole ham bone if you have one.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 cups diced ham
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • Fresh parsley, chopped fine, for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • In a large stockpot or dutch oven melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, stirring occasionally cook until softened, 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic cook until the garlic is fragrant, stirring constantly, 30 seconds.
  • Add the split peas, ham, bay leaf, cayenne, and chicken stock, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered 1 hour 15 to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until thickened. Stir every few minutes. You can add more broth or water if too much evaporates before the peas are soft.
  • Serve with an optional garnish of fresh parsley.
Nutrition Facts
Split Pea Soup with Ham
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 357 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 1917mg80%
Potassium 1214mg35%
Carbohydrates 54g18%
Fiber 21g84%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 3869IU77%
Vitamin C 33mg40%
Calcium 92mg9%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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2 Comments
  1. Suzanne Hunt

    5 stars
    A perfect recipe for ham and split pea soup when you don’t have a ham bone. Delicious!! Do not be afraid to throw in extra celery and carrots and ham. I used fresh thyme and it made all the difference!!

4.50 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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