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Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham

This Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham is like your favorite cozy blanket, in soup form! Smoky, hearty, and full of protein, this is a meal worth savoring.

Homemade Split Pea Soup with Ham

I love classic recipes! The tried-and-true favorites are often fun and easy to master, and they’re so rewarding to serve up to a hungry tribe. This split-pea soup is definitely one of those, thanks to its delicate but smoky flavor, and light but hearty texture.

The magic is in the split peas, a truly humble ingredient! Split peas are cheap and easy to find, and they have a wholesome, natural flavor that’s something between sweet English peas and dried beans: flavorful, but light and just a touch sweet.

I love the floury texture of well-cooked split peas, and how some of them fall apart while others keep their form. It gives the soup a lovely warming thickness, without having to add a slurry or roux to get there.

ham hocks in a dutch oven with soup

What Are Split Peas?

You might be more familiar with split peas as “dal” (or daal, depending on who you ask). Indian recipes call for dal all the time, and it is really tasty and fun to make the amazing variety of spicy, mouthwatering dal dishes out there. They often have a very similar texture to the soup we’re making: floury, like the texture of mashed potatoes, with the split peas all throughout.

Essentially, split peas or dal are a common legume, often prepared in saucy or soupy dishes. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet, perfect for a whole variety of spices! For this split pea soup, we’ll be skipping the heavy seasonings and going with simple flavors: carrots, onions, some ham and earthy herbs. Mmmm.

split pea soup in a bowl with chunks of ham and herbs on top

Recipe Ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe are simple. That’s part of what gives it its homespun flavor! Perfect for an easy weekend meal.

  • Butter & Olive Oil: I use a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil for sautéing.
  • Celery: You’ll need three celery stalks, diced.
  • Carrots: Along with the celery, dice up two small carrots.
  • Onion: For the onion, you can go with any type, but I usually use yellow onion.
  • Garlic: Mince or press three cloves of fresh garlic.
  • Broth: Have ready 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth. If you’d like to substitute, this recipe also works well with vegetable broth or homemade bone broth.
  • Water: You’ll need two cups of water in addition to the broth.
  • Split Peas: You can use green or yellow dried split peas; green is most common. Either way, 16 ounces are needed for this recipe.
  • Bay Leaves: Two medium bay leaves give a classic homemade flavor.
  • Dried Thyme & Oregano: Use one teaspoon of each.
  • Salt & Pepper: To taste.
  • Ham: I recommend ham hocks or a meaty ham bone.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley: For garnish.

Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?

Split peas, like lentils, cook fairly quickly and don’t have to be soaked first like many large beans do. However, a lot of cooks swear that a good overnight soak helps to remove some of the chemicals that make legumes hard to digest.

So, if you have a sensitive stomach when it comes to beans and peas, feel free to give them a soak first! Rinse them well after soaking and proceed with the recipe.

frying carrots and celery in a dutch oven

How to Make Split Pea Soup with Ham From Scratch

Making soup is so satisfying! I find this one especially soothing because there’s very little prep. Plus, I love ham. I mean, just to be honest, any recipe involving ham or bacon is a plus!

  1. Cook Veggies: Heat your olive oil and butter together in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the chopped celery, carrots and onions; cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add Remaining Ingredients: Pour in the chicken broth together with the water. Stir in the split peas, thyme and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Drop in two bay leaves, and place the ham hocks or ham bone into the mixture. Pro tip: don’t use too much salt, because the ham is already salty!
  3. Cook: Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about one hour and 20 minutes. Stir the soup occasionally. Check on the soup for doneness around the one-hour mark and see if it needs more cooking, or if it’s done.
  4. Chop Ham: Once the peas are soft, use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the ham hocks or ham bone from the soup to a platter. (Be super careful not to drop them back into the hot soup! Splatters from boiling soup can leave serious burns.) Let the meat rest until it’s cool enough to handle. Shred or chop the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any bones or skin.
  5. Finish Soup: Add the ham back to the soup and cook for one minute more. Remove from the heat, taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. (If your soup is too salty, try adding a little bit of water to dilute it.)
  6. Enjoy! Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley.
Split Pea Soup with Ham in a white dutch oven with ladle inside

Tips for Success

What can help you make sure this recipe turns out perfect? These handy tips and tricks, of course! Here’s to a delightful dinner!

  • Change It Up: Did you know that you can make lots of variations of this dish? It can work with almost any add-ins, from curry sauce to potatoes, to fresh crab meat (that one should go in at the last minute to avoid overcooking!). Some people love adding fresh English peas to their split pea soup, too!
  • Ham Options: If you’d rather not use ham hocks or a ham bone, you can still get the flavor by simply stirring cubed ham into the simmering soup. Plus, there’s no need to remove and chop. Not a fan? No problem! Split pea soup is also great with leftover corned beef, sliced sausage, bacon crumbles, or no meat at all.
  • Rinse & Sort: Don’t forget that raw split peas, like other legumes, are natural ingredients that should always be rinsed and sorted before eating. “Sorting” means that you look through the peas to remove any damaged ones (or the occasional small pebble!). Pro tip: it’s easiest to rinse split peas in a large sieve. They are so small that many times they run right out of the holes in a colander!
ladle inside split pea soup with ham

Serving Suggestions

I think a good bowl of soup is a meal in and of itself, but my kids say it isn’t complete without something on the side! What do you guys think? If you’re on the fence, maybe one of these tasty side ideas will tip you over!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • To store leftovers, place the soup in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat it, place the desired amount into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until piping hot, stirring frequently.

Can I Freeze It?

  • Yes! Cool your soup in the fridge and transfer it to the freezer in airtight containers. Leave a little room for the liquid to expand as it freezes.
  • Split pea soup will keep for up to 4 months.
  • Thaw overnight before reheating.
overhead shot of split pea soup served in a bowl with a spoon inside


overhead shot of split pea soup served in a bowl with a spoon inside

Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham

Katerina | Diethood
Smoky, hearty, and full of protein, this Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham is a meal worth savoring!
4.82 from 16 votes
Servings : 8
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) dried split peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • pound ham hocks or a meaty ham bone
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  • Heat olive oil and melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
  • Add chopped celery, carrots, and onions; cook for 4 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add chicken broth and water.
  • Stir in split peas, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Don’t use too much salt because the ham hocks are already salty.
  • Add ham hocks to the pot and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. The soup is ready when the peas are soft. Start checking it for doneness around the 55-minute mark.
  • Remove ham from soup and let rest for several minutes, or until cooled enough to handle. Then, shred or chop up the meat into smaller pieces. Discard bones and skin.
  • Add chopped ham back into the soup. Cook for a minute.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Taste soup for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
  • Ladle soup into bowls.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve.


  • Stove


Net Carbs: 0 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade soup, pea and ham soup, split pea soup with ham hock
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34 comments on “Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham”

  1. in the pot at the moment… tasted it … yuuuuummmy…used a large slice of ham with the bone and some ham base….will use emersion blender to thicken it…there is a resturant here in Hemet has the best pea soup i have had….and we will see how it compares… but the broth tells me its going to be a close one…thank you

  2. Flavor was pretty good, but it was too watery. I would not put the 2 cups of water in if I made it again. I’d wait to see if the water was needed after it cooked a while.

  3. I made this in the slow cooker and it turned out beautifully, thanks for including those instructions. Cooked about 5 hours and then let it sit on warm until dinner time. I used Better Than Bouillon rather than premade stock, just added it with the water. Is a keeper and will make again.

    1. The best peas soup I’ve ever made!! Bay leaves add so much flavor!! This will be my go to recipe!! The absolute best flavor. I used a ham steak and the bone. Was perfect!!

  4. Love split pea soup! I wanted a little more broth .. so i used 1/2 bag of peas .. also filtered water instead of broth and finished it with some Applewood smoked uncured ham .. very flavorful and pleasantly light 💗🕊☀️

  5. Absolutely delicious! Unable to find smoked or plain hocks ANYWHERE or ham with bone I used ham slices and added liquid smoke and ham base to the broth. Also used a potato masher to slightly smash some of the peas. Other than that this recipe is perfect!

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Yes, you can. Make sure to rinse the peas and drain them well before cooking. Then, combine all ingredients the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for about 8 hours.

  6. I’m somewhat a novice.. Do you think it would ruin the recipe if I used soup-base to make my own stock (allergy issue)? I was thinking of browning minced breakfast ham for the soup, and then use ham soup base, because breakfast ham isn’t quite the ham taste I’m looking for.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      I think that should definitely be okay. And delicious! As long as you use the suggested amount of liquid, it will work out.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Yes. Pour it into some airtight containers or even freezer bags, leave a little room for the liquid to expand, and freeze it. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
      Thaw overnight before reheating.

  7. Great recipe! I take about 1 1/2 cups of the soup, (less the ham) put it in a blender and then add it back into the pot. ** make sure the 1 1/2 cups has cooled before you blend.
    This thickens the soup with it’s own flavors.

  8. Such a great dinner and one of our favorites! It went perfectly with our grilled cheese! I’ll definitely make this soup again. Such a comforting soup!

  9. Avatar photo
    Andrea Thueson

    This is one of my favorite soups, so I had high hopes. And this recipe did not disappoint! So dang good!!

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