Recipes

split pea soup

Here are a few things I know to be true: Split pea soup is never going to win the winter soup Olympics. Its signature hue of mushy pea green will never be prized as fashionable by anyone but the unfashionable likes of me. If you know people who stand up and cheer when they hear that it’s a split pea soup for dinner kind of evening, you know amazing, rare unicorn people I would like to have over for dinner more often. It could be argued that split pea soup doesn’t help its cause by its, ahem, mushy texture that usually solidifies into a brick in a fridge overnight, which is why it surprised me as much as it did that when I mentioned making it — along with this black bread — in this food diary I kept for Grub Street last week, so many people asked me for the recipe.


what you'll need

I had been eating split pea soup for at least half my life before I realized it was not traditionally a vegetarian soup. Growing up, my mom made it from, well, tubes from the grocery store that included the dried peas and a seasoning packet and I thought the results were above reproach. The fact that it was usually from Manischewitz probably could have explained the absence of ham hocks, but I don’t like to jump to conclusions or anything.

leek ombreleeks look like springleeks and carrots and celerysauteed vegetables

The times I have made it with ham hocks, I didn’t find it life-changing. For me, it didn’t add enough to be worth changing my usual approach — a solid enough filter for any new recipe decision, you could say — which is a pile of vegetables and aromatics, broth, and split peas, cooked until tender and then pureed in all or part, and generally, if we’re being completely honest here, swiftly rejected by most people in my family for all the reasons listed above.

split green peas

But I think this most recent version is on to something. A lot of vegetarian split pea soups add potatoes for bulk, but I find it only further mutes a muted soup’s flavor. Instead, I swapped out my usual chopped onion with a few thinly sliced leeks and loved every bit of the results. I kept the carrots and celery, but then, right when I was about to puree the soup I realized somehow for the first time that it might not need it at all? Peas, split, naturally collapse in soup so the texture was already halfway smooth; why nudge it further? I then tried three different finishes. No, I’m not suggesting you need to finish this soup three ways, I just couldn’t decide. The first was a green sauce with parsley, lemon, and garlic, basically a vegetarian gremolata, which usually contain anchovies too. (A salsa verde would be great here too.) Then, a dollop of sour cream. Finally, because I said I didn’t like ham inside the soup but said nothing about on top, we added a bit of crispy bacon in small bits, but I also love it topped with croutons (either gruyere or these lovelies) should you wish to keep it meatless. Any one or even two of these toppings really lift the soup so choose your own adventure.

split pea soup

Previously

One year ago: Chicken Wonton Soup
Two years ago: Chicken Chili and Ugly-But-Good Cookies
Three years ago: My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup and Popcorn Party Mix
Four years ago: Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans and Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango
Five years ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas and Ethereally Smooth Hummus
Six years ago: Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame and Apple Shartlotka
Seven years ago: Chard and White Bean Stew and Vanilla Bean Pudding
Eight years ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket and Caramel Pudding
Nine years ago: Fig and Walnut Biscotti and Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Ten years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad and Lemon Bars
Eleven years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Confetti Party Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto
3.5 Years Ago: Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette
4.5 Years Ago: Slow and Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken

Split Pea Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

If you miss the ham, you can add about 1 to 2 cups of diced cooked ham in the beginning and brown it up with vegetables.

I make a quick and hasty herb sauce by blending 1 large or 2 small, peeled garlic clove(s) and a couple handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (or a mix of herbs, such as mint and/or cilantro, that you’d like here) with the finely grated zest of half a lemon, salt, and red pepper flakes until well chopped and then drizzling in olive oil with the machine running until the mixture becomes saucy. Season with more salt and pepper. This sauce keeps in the fridge for a week and is also great on roasted potatoes, squash or even fried eggs.

    For the soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 leeks, halved and sliced into ribbons
  • 1 carrot, chopped small
  • 1 large rib celery, chopped
  • Salt and freshly black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, cloves peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock or broth.
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves still on (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • To finish
  • Fresh herb sauce (instructions up top)
  • Sour cream
  • Two slices of crumbled crisp bacon (obviously would no longer be vegetarian)
  • Garlicky or gruyere croutons

On the stove: Heat a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot over medium. Add oil, or oil and butter, and once warm, add leeks, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened and beginning to get slightly brown at edges, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook two minutes more. Add the dried peas and stir to coat with the vegetables, then add the vegetable stock or broth, thyme, if using, and bay leaf. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce to a low simmer and cook, partially covered, until peas have softened, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs (most of the leaves will have fallen off) and bay leaf and season very well with salt and black pepper.

In an InstantPot or electric pressure cooker: Set your pot to sauté and cook the vegetables as written above. Once you’ve added the stock, dried peas, and herbs, cook the mixture under high pressure for 15 minutes and then let it naturally release for at least 5 minutes manually releasing it the rest of the way. Remove thyme sprigs (most of the leaves will have fallen off) and bay leaf and season very well with salt and black pepper.

Both methods: I do not puree this soup, but you can at this point with an immersion blender, either all or just halfway. Ladle soup into bowls and finish with garnishes of your choice.

Do ahead: Split pea soup keeps fantastically in the fridge or freezer but, just to warn you, it looks crazy thick once it has chilled. It should loosen as you rewarm it, but if it doesn’t enough to your liking, add another splash of broth or water as needed.

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203 comments on split pea soup

    1. deb

      I feel like I see it as often without it as with, in fact, I was going to call this a parsley gremolata because I’d always thought they were anchovy-free, but then I read otherwise. One of these days I’m going to round up All Of The Great Green Sauces and sort them.

  1. Meira Bear

    Hah, I know those tubes! They still sell them. They’re part of my standard housewarming gift-basket: two tubes of dried soup, dried pasta, a nice jarred tomato sauce, salad dressing, and croutons.

  2. Dean

    Leeks make nearly all soups better, and certainly are great in pea soup. This is an excellent, adaptable recipe and I love that you didn’t include the smoked ham that sometimes overwhelms the taste of the veggies. The gremolata topping looks like an absolute must try. An unusual, but fun way to serve pea soup is to treat it like French Onion soup. Ladle it into heatproof bowls, top with a slice of good bread, cover with grated cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan, or anything you like), then zap it under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns. The result is like having soup and a grilled cheese sandwich all in one.

  3. I never, ever liked split pea soup until I had one with ground cumin and whole cumin seed in it and I proceeded to totally lose my mind over it. (I would never have thought of pairing cumin and split peas, but there you go). I am thinking some whole cumin seed would play beautifully in your version, too.

    1. deb

      Agreed. I veered away from it here for the sake of staying classic and because I have a Red Lentil Soup with lots of Indian spices in my second cookbook; you could definitely apply that here.

  4. Lindsey Johnson

    Could you use yellow split peas in place of the green? I’m not sure how different the two are and if they can be used interchangeably. Thanks!

      1. drgold

        I usually mix yellow and green split peas-the color is a bit less nauseous, and it doesn’t affect the texture. Pea soup is my favorite winter, and occasionally summer soup. I grew up on the same vegetarian (kosher) stuff. Sometimes I add barley. Can’t wait to try it with leaks. Great ideas for the toppings, thanks!

  5. Scully

    I love split pea soup. I know. How weird. I make mine using shallots and leftover gruyere rinds. As always with soup, it’s better after 24 hours. I’ll give leeks a try.

  6. Rebecca Too

    This recipe looks really good; I am a huge split pea soup fan & along time vegetarian, so it’s a win-win. Ina Garten makes a split pea soup and she cooks half of the split peas the whole time, and the other half for the last 45 minutes. The different texture is really nice, so I can see where the “to puree or not to puree” debate would come in. Either way, I’m grateful for yet another way to enjoy one of my favorite soups. Thanks, Deb!

  7. Marcia

    I have always loved split pea soup, but George , the hippopotamus in James Marshall’s wonderful George and Martha Books does not. He pours the soup in his loafers rather than hurt the feelings of his good friend Martha who loves making split pea soup. Highly recommended read along with the soup.

    1. Lauren

      My daughter LOVES this book. I just read it to her before I saw this recipe and had to laugh!! Glad I’m not the only one who thinks of that classic when I hear the words “split pea soup!!”

      1. JP

        George and Martha are in our Preschool library and I love to read that story to the kids. I always feel so sorry for George. Not only does he have to pretend to like split pea soup, but then having to walk home in those loafers…I think maybe he would have liked Deb’s soup recipe better!

  8. Courtney

    My kids are weird, because they looooove split pea soup. I do use ham (throw in a bone leftover from Christmas dinner) and potatoes, so the more classic version–usually in the crock pot. This looks great (though I’m guessing the kids wouldn’t eat it) and I love the idea of the croutons on top! Yum.

    And I love that you’re so consistent–11 years of archives and nine “previously” recipes are soups :)

  9. Liz

    YAAAAAAAAS! I absolutely love split pea, and I’ve not tried a recipe so leek heavy before. Also – the chunkier the soup, the better, in my opinion! No blending for me. This is happening!

  10. Jan

    Nothing says snow day like a steaming pot of split pea soup, which is exactly what I made during last week’s northeast blizzard.

  11. BLizinNJ

    2 Comments – If green soup (green anything according to my kids) is “Icky” – use Yellow split peas. Often found in international food aisle (Goya). Next – for those who keep kosher and want a “hammy” flavor – chop up a hunk of turkey pastrami. Brown it first with veggies and remove it before you are pureeing the soup. Use it as Garnish !

  12. araminty

    I often add smoked chicken or turkey to split pea soup, whatever is to hand. I also usually add a LOT of frozen peas right at the end, to up the pea-y-ness. ;)

  13. Aimee

    My husband and son don’t just stand up and cheer when I make split pea soup, they request it often! We sometimes do toasted garlic breadcrumbs which would be a nice sub for the bacon too. I love your garnishes! Kenji has a great multi-cooker recipe/technique, it was the thing that finally sold me on keeping my InstantPot. Worth checking out for sure.

  14. Trace

    I love split pea soup but never make it because I don’t usually have ham bones around, which I always thought was a given. Excited to try it without!

  15. I love split pea for all it is (hearty, warming, filling, delicious) and isn’t (beautiful – looks aren’t everything). For additional heft I sometimes add barley; the peas cook down around it, the barley stays a touch firmer, and it feels a bit more substantial for dinner.

    1. JP

      Yes, I was surprised yesterday when, at our staff meeting, our director made split pea soup with barley and grated cheese to pile on top. It was so good. I had never had split pea soup with barley or cheese. So you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

  16. Vicki

    I’ve been making my pea soup with dried peas and … frozen peas! I put them in after the dried peas are nice and mushy, and then when it’s all warm, I use the hand blender. The frozen peas make the soup such a beautiful green! And dill! Isn’t fresh dill a pretty herb?

  17. TJ

    My daughter is going to be over the moon when she sees this post. She graduated from college in May, moved into her first apartment and, after years of hearing me rave about all of your recipes, she often looks here for inspiration. Not only is split pea soup one of her favorites but her graduation gift was an InstantPot so she will be extra delighted to see that you included the directions for it.

  18. CR

    I love the cheerful look of brightly colored carrot half-moons in my pea soup. To keep them vibrant, I add them (probably THREE carrots!) at the very end of cooking. If you slice them thinly, it doesn’t take long for them to soften up. Also, a 1/4 – 1/3 c of pearled barley is a nice addition. Barley always makes a soup delightfully digestible for me.

  19. The fuggy smell of boiling ham hock has been what has put me off from split pea soup – also, the very traditional version made by, er, [some] women in my family is just onions and split peas (and ham). Garlic sounds innovatively flavourful enough to make me…change my mind, test my aversion and…try this?

  20. Lynn in Tucson

    I adore split pea soup. I’ve always made a curried vegetarian version that came from my college boyfriend’s Mennonite cookbook.

  21. Heather from Toronto

    Deb, my Bubby’s pea soup was legendary—or so I’m told, since I never ate it… She passed at the end of December and it brought a smile to me and my mom to see you post about pea soup. Thank you. ❤

  22. Mandy

    Sending you warm thought from Phoenix – it’s been 75 degrees and AMAZING for two weeks. I’m loving the Instant Pot Recipes! Please keep them coming. (And the Vegetarian recipes!) Thank you!!!

  23. Charlotte in Toronto

    I LOVE split pea soup. If I come upon a ham bone from a baked ham, this is where I use it. Any flavor that’s left in it will come out in the soup. Otherwise I’ll use a few slices of double smoked bacon and render the fat to sauce the onion in. I also add dried Summer Savory at the end. It a herb that I usually use for poulty but I really like it here. I’ve never used leeks but next time I will. Thanks for this.

  24. Elisabeth

    If you’re not the hugest split pea fan, you have GOT to try Swedish whole yellow pea soup. Whole yellow peas can be hard to find, but my gosh. It’s fantastic. Cleaner taste, lovely texture, and just delightful all around. Word of warning – it’s a 3-4 day process without an pressure cooker, and all afternoon even with one. But totally worth it. We usually eat it with rye crackers, butter and cheese as a starter and swedish pancakes as a finishing course.

    1. Lynn D.

      I read that split pea soup is traditional in Sweden on wash day, (Thursday). The soup cooks all day while you are busy washing and then you make pancakes for desert.

      1. idalily

        The Swedes also spoon mustard along the edge of the bowl and put a bit on the spoon with each bite. To die for! They also serve a liqueur with the soup, called Punsch, which we can’t get here in the States, unfortunately.

  25. Lauren

    If that isn’t “just what the doctor ordered” for us in the Northeast ( thanks for that Phoenix weather report…or not) when we can now finally stick our noses out the door to attempt a supermarket trip. The gremolata adds such a great visual dimension, it almost wouldn’t have to taste great to be uplifting. Thanks Deb, I was down to my last portion of frozen lentil soup. This is just in the nick of time.

  26. Nancy H

    I must of had my flash of inspiration to make split pea soup last week while you were working on yours! I did put ham in it and was thinking that it was just okay, but I love the idea of your herb sauce and some crumbled bacon on top. It was heaven in a bowl after all the fancy and rich foods of the holidays.
    P.S. I’m very excited to be a unicorn!

  27. emilyadi

    It’s like you read my mind. I just got an instant pot and was wondering if you ever had recipes for pressure cookers. Thanks!

  28. Sally

    Split pea soup is a favorite and I like it both with and without ham/bacon. A splash of dry sherry is a good way to finish the soup, too, and is especially good along with a dollop of sour cream.

  29. Claudia

    Thanks for the memories! I used to make vegetarian split pea soup a lot when the kids were little. I loved the way it gelled in the fridge. Will have to try making it with grilled cheese for the grandkids 😄

  30. Mimi

    Ooh, I also grew up with those cellophane packets of dried split pea soup. Must be a tri-state area delicacy 😂!
    I definitely have to try this version, as I too am a split pea soup-loving weirdo. I’m thinking those pillowy haloumi cubes from the roasted veggies in the new book would be outrageous atop this soup.

  31. Brenda

    I used to fix my daughter’s hair exactly like Anna’s is! The curls! Such a curse and a blessing at the same time. Mine was 25 before she accepted them and quit trying to tame them. :)

  32. julie garagliano

    Thanks, I just made some incredible chicken broth and using that in this soup makes it even better! (I am so not a vegetarian, duh.) It’s rich, delicious and so comforting to those of us who are split pea aficionados. My kids, now in their 40’s, ate a lot of it growing (it’s cheap) and we would all gladly come over to your house and share this meal with you!

  33. Jamie

    Just made split pea soup on Sunday, Instant Pot style, but I’m going to try your recipe next. We topped with pepitas and french fried onions, which makes me laugh a little but it was pretty good – thanks for the other adventurous topping suggestions for next time.

  34. Tara

    I never puree my split pea soup and make it with leeks and rosemary and usually add some bacon, or leftover ham if I’ve got it. When my son was 4 he told me he did not like soup, but would like it when he was a man. He’s now 17 and split pea soup is one of his favorite meals. I have a hard time believing it, but I guess he’s a man now.

  35. Bridgit

    This is almost exactly my recipe, but we tend to add more carrots. I bet a parsnip would be lovely. I need to use up my bottle of what I call “Indian hot sauce,” (seems like it would be very similar to the cilantro sauce you suggest above). I never thought to put them together. I can hardly wait. (Also, the salted butter cookies were a dream. I’m so glad I put one roll in the freezer. It’s like a little bet of hope waiting to be opened some other day.)

  36. Cy

    The funny thing is, I went to make split pea soup yesterday and looked on your site to see if you had a recipe ( because you are my go to lady for great recipes) and was surprised not to see one. On day later and…Great minds! I also prefer it vegetarian and with leeks. I cook with leeks as much as I can when they are in season. They are to me the best of the onion family. I used to make a soup where towards the end you add some fresh frozen peas, cook until just tender and it gives a lovely freshness to the soup. I can’t remember where I got the recipe from. Anyway went for lentil, because I only had a dinky amount of peas. I will have to try your version another day. It’s such a comforting soup!

  37. Dee

    Oh dear. I am sure this is delicious, but the idea of pea soup without a ham hock is just all kinds of wrong for me.
    Pea soup in general is all kinds of wrong at the moment… just buried the remains of the Christmas ham in the freezer until winter. It’s been 108 degrees here in the past week (that’s 42 for us folk downunder).
    And pea soup in a pressure cooker… hmmm… pea soup was behind the great soup on the ceiling disaster of 1984. ‘Nuff said. At least having exploded a pressure cooker I am no longer intimidated by the hissing beasties as I know the worst.

  38. Linda L.

    I’ve been a lonely unicorn almost my entire life! Growing up, we never had pea soup and then I discovered the cello-pack version as a teen. I was the only person in the family that would eat it so I’d have pea soup for lunch every day for almost a week. When I left home, my roommates would say very rude things about my beloved soup – I’d graduated past the Manischewitz and was making it from scratch by then. I’d tell them not to look at it, just eat it, if the colour offended them but no deal.
    My husband, a French-Canadian, had been forced to eat it as a kid and said there was no way he’d touch it in his own home. Two of our three kids sided with him so it didn’t appear on our table very often. I used to make it and freeze portions that I would have when they weren’t around. It’s hard to enjoy something when everyone around you has that “Ewww!” response ;-)
    On my own now, I can indulge in pea soup whenever I want and eat it year-round. I love leeks and will definitely be giving this recipe a go!

    1. Sara

      Might be a little late for your kids and husband but I heard a saying the other day that fits this scenario perfectly. Don’t “Ick (or ewwwww) my yum!”
      Simple way to tell children that it’s not nice to make negative comments about a meal that someone else is enjoying!

  39. Wanda

    You might want to try looking up ‘snert’, a Dutch version of pea soup that is extremely thick and hearty. It’s generally served with smoked sausage and bacon but it’s also great without. Some recipes say to add celeriac, which I love and might be just what you need to thicken the soup without losing flavour.

  40. Estelle from Cambridge

    I am the kind of girl who will stand up for split pea soup. In my hometown (SW of France), it is staple. But no ham here just bones, a little meat and some fat from duck confit. The taste might be an acquired one for people who did not grow up in a household cooking with duck fat but for me, it is a direct trip to childhood!

    And obviously, croutons are compulsory in my house!!!!

    I will try this vegetarian version very soon.

  41. Sue T.

    I’ve loved this soup ever since I first had it at the Magic Pan restaurant years ago. It came with a tot of dry sherry which could be mixed in at the table, and was called Potage St. Germain. Some of your readers may remember this restaurant which had such loyal followers (and former employees) that at one point a few years ago there was an email list to swap memories and recipes from the restaurant. I found their recipe on the Web. The sherry may not be suitable for kids, but it lifts the soup to a whole new level.

    1. Nancy H

      Oh, Sue T! Thanks for the memory! It’s where I first had split pea and I was telling my husband the other night when I made it that it was also called a potage, but I didn’t remember why.

  42. Gerri Dauer

    I am a split pea soup lover, so will definitely try your recipe! I first started making it like I made my great northern beans, with a ham hock. But then started sometimes doing Ina Garten’s recipe which is a meatless and has half mushy peas, and half that are added later. But yours sounds delicious! The leeks must give it a more subtle flavor than the onion that I add. And I do love the thought of bacon on top! I have just started using an Instant Pot (though some things I still prefer in Le Creuset or an iron skillet). Thanks for including instructions for that. I especially love how it reduced the cooking time of briskets, etc.

  43. Dahlink

    This recipe brings back family memories of growing up in California. I never owned a pressure cooker because of hearing about how my grandmother coated her kitchen ceiling and wall with split pea soup when hers exploded. We often stopped in Buellton (north of Santa Barbara) on trips up the coast to have lunch at Andersen’s, which was famous for their split pea soup.

    1. jana

      Oh! Somebody else remembering Anderson’s! My family used to go there every summer on our annual vacation trip. Now, that was pea soup. The canned is not the same. My mother was distantly related to Mrs. Anderson, and I have their recipe. I haven’t made it in ages. Coming up soon!

  44. Freda Elliott

    I love the smokey flavor usually found in pea soup but I don’t eat ham. My market sells smoked turkey wings and I have fooled the best by using them. Also, the meat on the wings has a pink color like ham – I shred it and you can’t tell the difference.

  45. Bonnie C.

    I never use ham when I make split-pea soup, however I DO very much enjoy adding in a sliced rope of smoked turkey “kielbasa” towards the end so the sausage pieces can just heat thru. Delicious!

  46. Chex gloria

    I think frequently about how ambitious you are in the kitchen, how you manage in a small space(apparently), and how on earth you do it with two small children. And you remain so chipper! I feel like a slug in comparison, but you constantly inspire! Thank you.

  47. Hayley

    This sounds wonderful. I do make split pea soup and usually dice cold-smoked salmon instead of ham. But this recipe sounds wonderful. The last time I bought split peas there were no green ones left on the shelf and I bought yellow instead. What is the difference and are they interchangeable?

  48. Nice one :)

    You are definitely not Dutch as over here lots of people do rejoice when it’s time for ‘snert’ or erwtensoep as the official title goes. I agree it’s still not haute cuisine, but to be fair, none of the Dutch staples are ;)
    We eat it with dark Frisian rye bread, katenspek (smoked and cooked streaky bacon) and rookworst (smoked sausage) and it’s one of our national prides!

    This is a very interesting version, especially being vegetarian. I’ll put it on my ‘to-try’ list!

  49. Mary Beth

    My mom always made this soup with the addition of small bits of hot dogs!! (We’re talking years!! ago. She always sautéed the vegetables then added the peas and ham hock with seasonings which include thyme, savory, tarragon,and parley. She always used water but I have found it better with chicken and vegetable stock combined. Now the grown up grandchildren are making this!!😋

    1. Bonnie C.

      I agree! I always use either Swanson’s chicken broth or my own homemade chicken, turkey, or smoked turkey stock when I make any type of bean or pea soup. Smoked turkey stock is particularly good in thick bean soups.

    2. Monika

      My mom did the same and added sliced hot dogs. I can still see the weird round hot disks on the surface of the thick soup . It reminded me of those 1950/60s cook books with their unnatural color photos .Our family eat is up and loved it :)

      1. Mary Beth

        I’m going to try adding smoked paprika.
        I also forgot to mention in mom’s recipe when serving she would drizzle some sherry!! That’s the Irish for you!!

  50. Split pea soup is a favorite in my household. Instead of ham, we use a smoked turkey leg. It adds a more nuanced broth flavor and doesn’t have the greasiness of ham hocks. I’ll be trying this one for sure though, because I can’t always get the turkey legs and have vegetarian friends who I like to cook for. Love the topping options to class it up a bit!

    1. Masha

      We love split pea soup! I’m told my husband’s grandmother’s traditional recipe also used smoked turkey legs in place of ham. I am so excited to try the leeks and in the instantpot nonetheless, be still my heart. Thanks Deb :)

    2. Bonnie C.

      I use smoked turkey legs sometimes as well. Although since the ones we buy around here are Fred Flintstone Pterodactyl size, the two of us dine off of a couple of them for one dinner, & then I remove the rest of the meat to add to a soup during the final cooking & use the drumstick bones in soup at the start or use them to make a separate smoked-turkey stock.

  51. Amy

    For all the anti-pork people out there, add a half bag of the ’15 bean soup’ medley to the pot. I also add three heaping teaspoons of black pepper.

    1. Bonnie C.

      How does adding half a bag of “15-Bean Soup Medley” compensate for the missing pork? Unless you also add in the ham flavoring pack that comes with it (which does include ham essence in it), all you’re adding are plain old beans. I do love that medley, & use it to make soup often, but those beans aren’t flavored unless you also use the packet.

      1. Amy

        I use the beans to add body and protein to the soup. There is no replacing the salty pork-i-ness of a dish, but this is my best substitute so far. Open to other ideas for ham replacements in soups.

  52. James Orr

    A style suggestion (from Perla Meyers, I think):
    Celery comes in either bunches or ribs. Stalk is ambiguous. Here, I think you mean a rib, but with 2 quarts broth and a pound of peas, that seems too little. A whole bunch of celery seems too much. Which?

    1. deb

      I meant a rib, but you can use two. (Now I’m trying to remember in which recipe that I called for ribs that I got a few “what are ribs?” comments. Ditto with pomegranate arils… ) But right is right, now fixed.

      1. Bree

        Hmmmm the photo of the celery bunch made me think that it was the whole thing, but I looked at my bunch and thought “Surely not” so I used about 4 or 5 ribs. Still tasty! But good to know I can make it less celery-y and lose nothing :)

  53. Jennifer

    On the salsa verde front, 1) it freezes pretty well, with or without the anchovy, and 2) if you have a stick blender, you can make it with the parsley stems. Just cut off the woody bottom bit, and throw in the rest. I’ve been discovering that with a stick blender (or, presumably, a reasonably powerful regular blender) many herb stems make tasty sauces. I also like a dash of sherry vinegar in mine…

  54. ISM

    With the Northeast in freezing temperatures last week, pea soup was in order. I don’t use ham, sometimes flanken or short ribs, lots of onion, leek, carrots, and celery. Thyme is essential as well as salt and pepper. After it was cooked I used my immersion blender, then added 1/4 c pearl barley and let it cook 1/2 hour more, stirring occasionally so as not to burn on the bottom of the pot. Stick to your ribs good. I do soak my dried peas: add 2 or 3 qts boiling water, cover and let sit, covered, 1 hour. Lunch, dinner, maybe even breakfast. Deb, you’re welcome to come over anytime for a steaming bowl. If I had the where with all, I’d package it and send it to all our troops where ever they are stationed.

  55. Kate

    I read this AS I WAS EATING split pea soup! I use the gourmet version that I probably got from epicurious. I will try some of these tweaks next time. The most important part is to add a teaspoon of sherry to your bowl right before you eat it! Makes it sing!

    1. Bonnie C.

      I too have my own favorite version of Green Split-Pea Soup, but have never thought to add dry sherry to it, even though I consider a goodly amount of dry sherry mandatory for Black Bean Soup. Will have to give it a try the next time Green Split-Pea is on the menu!

  56. Beverly

    I live in L.A. and when I woke up on Monday it was raining, hallelujah. I hopped into my car and drove to the market to buy split peas. I also picked up some barley and a ham shank. My recipe is similar to yours with the addition of barley, parsnip and I use onion as well as leeks. I just chop all the vegetables quickly in the food processor and go from there. It was a wonderful meal and I have enough in my freezer for several more meals if we should by chance get some cool weather or rain.

    1. Bonnie C.

      Yup – one of things I LOVE about homemade soup is that it freezes so well. Since it’s just my husband & me, one batch of soup yields anywhere from 4-6 servings. If I’m making a soup that includes milk or cream in it, I just add the cream to the servings we’re going to enjoy at the time & then freeze just the “base”. And since all soups will tend to thicken in the freezer, I always have cartons of chicken broth on hand to thin them out a bit to a better consistency.

  57. Darla Pitman

    Split pea soup has always been one of my favorite comfort foods! Several years ago, the natural foods co-op where I worked served a vegetarian split pea soup they called the Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Sweet Pea soup. It contained split peas, spinach and olive oil (along with the carrots, onions, and celery), and was one of the first soups to sell out when it was offered. This version sounds lovely, and I will pin it, and make it! Thank you.

  58. Victoria

    How do you like your InstantPot? I have a crockpot that I only occasionally use, and I don’t really get the hype. I’m worried that the InstantPot would be a similar disappointment after hearing people rave about both. Do you think it’s worth the real estate an extra appliance takes up in your tiny kitchen?

    1. Victoria

      Also, please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you get the same results as in a slow cooker, it just cooks fast rather than slow?

      1. deb

        I think of them on the same continuum with different speeds. Both I think are excellent at beans and stocks and long braises; both are plugged in so you can put stuff in them and walk away (unlike a gas flame on a stove). The slow-cooker requires you to think about what you’d like for dinner, for example, either the night before or that morning before you go off to work by slowing things down. The InstantPot/electric pressure cookers allow you to do it when you get home with little to no advanced planning by speeding things up. (The IP also makes yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and works as a rice-cooker, so it’s got a few other tricks up its sleeve but I find at least rice and eggs faster on the stove.) I think a lot of the magic that people speak of when they talk about the IP is less about how well it cooks everything (although it does just fine, especially if texture isn’t the goal) and more about the ease of use, that we can come home after a long day and throw some stuff in it and *walk away* — change your clothes, help your kid with their homework, pour a glass of wine, heh — and when it dings 15 to 30 minutes later, it holds your dinner cooked and warm almost indefinitely. I work from home, often in the kitchen, so it doesn’t do as much for me as it does for others, but I’ve definitely thrown a few things in there (chicken breasts, an onion, garlic, seasoning) for 7 minutes (I think) on a day I didn’t feel like cooking and was pleased it made it, in this case, taco filling almost comically easy and hands-off. Whew, that’s a few thoughts! Hope it helps.

  59. Sarah

    I grew up English and pea soup is an important part of that and we always use/d a smoked bacon hock from which the luscious bacony pork was removed and replaced into the soup. If it was a particularly meaty hock some was also kept for later to be ham. This seasoning is wonderful and the soup settles down inside you and sustains through snowy winter days. A side of fried bread goes well,

  60. Joycelyn

    Love split pea/pea soup!
    Being Canadian it’s something I grew up with as it’s been something my adult children with adult children of their own grew up with. Mine’s somewhat similar to yours, the leeks, carrots, celery and the fresh thyme being a must, although I also add a few good pinches of summer savory that a local shop brings in from Nova Scotia.

    I use a combination of dried whole yellow peas, ( cleaned and soaked overnight ) yellow split peas and green split peas as the combination of the three truly does makes a lovely soup.
    I don’t often have a leftover ham bone nowadays as there’s only the two of us, so when the urge strikes to make a big pot of pea soup to eat on a cold chilly day and freeze for later, I’ll pick up a small piece of salt pork, a smoked pork jowl ( like it better than smoked hock ) and a nice size ham steak from a local shop as my family likes pea soup with diced ham.
    Myself I’d be fine with the flavour from the hock alone and forgo the diced ham addition but family preference always comes first!

  61. Joycelyn

    Forgot to add thanks for the info on making the soup in an Instant pot. I now have one but so far have been terrified to use the darn thing!

    Too many memories of dear Mother’s hissing and exploding pressure cooker I think.

    1. Bonnie C.

      Somewhat ditto. While my mother never owned or used a pressure cooker, my Instant Pot is still in its shipping box. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure-cooking part of it that has me a bit shy, or all the reports I’ve read about the tiny little valves & stuff being incredibly difficult to clean afterwards.

      1. Millie

        Go for it, Joycelyn and Bonnie. I’m terrified of new anything and if not for my husband walking me through the initial test-use, three months ago, my Instant Pot would probably still be in the box too. I feel comfortable with it now, and I use it several times a week. (And I don’t wash the fiddly lid parts…. will I come to regret this?)

  62. ouryearinindia

    I use a split pea soup recipe from Feeding the Whole Family that includes dill and half a cup of frozen peas added in the last few minutes. I love how springy it makes a winter staple!

    1. Bonnie C.

      I like dill with peas much, much more than mint. In fact, apart from desserts & some cocktails, I don’t really like to use mint much in cooking. Find dill much more fresh-tasting & accommodating.

    1. deb

      So mine is buried in snow and I … rinsed it off and it was still green (ish) and we’ve been using it anyway. Not sure if one should, but we’re still here at all.

  63. Deb Allmeyer

    Well, talk about bad timing…I made split pea soup yesterday, and though it was good, this looks better! Lovely leeks would make a difference! Your children are so much fun to watch grow up! Adorable!

  64. It was a hit in my house. My teens at first did a little eye rolling-but they tried it and yes even had seconds. Loved that it was tasty-but had a short list of ingredients, most of which I already had. Next time-based on my kids feedback-I will add less split peas-they wanted it to be “brothier” Thanks for a great recipe!

  65. Karen

    I made this last night and really like the swap of leeks for onions. Really really good soup. I didn’t have sour cream and was too lazy to do the delicious-sounding parsley topping, but I topped it with some plain yogurt, which was delicious. While I don’t have an Instant Pot, I have an old-school stove-top pressure cooker that I used. I found that 15 minutes at full pressure plus 5 of natural pressure release was not quite enough (peas were still a bit tough), but just simmered on the stove for a bit after releasing pressure. I’m not sure if the Instant Pot is going to have different timing than a traditional pressure cooker, but it all worked.

    1. Millie

      From what I’ve read, it takes a little longer to cook in the Instant Pot because it doesn’t get to quite as high pressure as a stovetop pressure cooker gets to. To give an idea of the difference: you might cook legumes for, say, 12 minutes in a stovetop PC and 15 minutes in the IP.

  66. Nicole

    My mom used to make this with yellow split peas, rebranded it as Sunshine soup and…. we LOVED it. We hated split pea soup though. Clever mom. As an adult, I love all split pea soups and look forward to trying.

    1. Bonnie C.

      How would you describe the flavor/texture difference, if any, between green & yellow split peas? I’ve never had the yellow type before, but do have a bag of them in my pantry.

      1. Sara

        I made split pea soup with yellow peas last week, supermarket shelves were bare of the green one due to the impending snow storm. Yellow peas were fine, nice color couldn’t really tell the difference in taste.

  67. Laura

    So good! I used the garlic base Better Than Bullion instead of broth, and a boatload more carrots and celery. My housemates had used up all the bay leaves (those big poops), but with just the thyme, salt, and pepper, it was sooooo good. I blended it to creaminess, too, and made epic croûtons. Thank you for an awesome, easy, simple recipe, Deb.

  68. Kirsten

    I think this breed of unicorn is not So rare! I used to work at a vegetarian deli, and our split pea soup would always sell out.
    Our recipe was very similar to this, except we used onions and added smoked paprika along with the thyme and bay leaves (& a little soy sauce for umami 😉). Still in my rotation 25 years later!

    1. Elaine

      I agree with Kirsten – pea soup unicorns must not be so rare. 40 years ago I worked in a family restaurant where Tuesday’s soup of the day was split pea. We had people who came on Tuesday’s specifically for the soup. Of course, back then lots of our customers remembered WWII rationing and even the great depression, so mostly they weren’t picky eaters who would be put off just by the color!

  69. Love that you included leeks and gilded the lily with that herb sauce. I recently made split pea soup in my IP, and I’ve gotta say, a little paprika in there added a touch of smokiness.

  70. McKelvey, Judy

    Made this last night and looking forward to leftovers later today. Really delicious and healthy — by my calculations it’s about 190 cals per serving (dividing recipe by 6 servings, without croutons or sour cream). Perfect for an easy weeknight meal — few ingredients, simple assembly. Thank you!

  71. Rebecca

    This was a delicious and healthy soup that i’ll definitely make again. I made some changes based on what I had and what seemed like it would taste good, so I wanted to share:

    1. For some reason Whole Foods was out of leeks, so I used 1.5 onions instead.
    2. I had some ham on hand so I chopped it up and added it with the garlic.
    3. I had whole greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I mixed it directly into my herb sauce (I used dill and parsley) and it was a delicious addition to the soup.
    4. I added the following to give it more flavor: 2 extra celery stalks b/c I love celery. Roughly 1/2 tsp of cumin and 1 tbs of paprika based on previous commenters’ suggestions.
    5. I used an instant pot and while the cooking time was perfect, mine splattered a lot when I opened the vent. This was likely my fault for adding some extra celery and potentially a bit more than a lb of peas (I didn’t weigh them).

  72. Jamie

    I LOVE split pea soup and was actually thinking about making it so now I can try your recipe. I grew up eating it out of a can, LOL! As an adult I started making my own (without ham) and discovered it was even more delicious. I make it two or three times during the cold weather months.

  73. Lisa

    I love split pea soup! Leeks are a great idea and I can’t wait to try your recipe–my usual is Deborah Madison’s. I really love sprinkling smoked paprika over soups typically made with ham hocks and serving with Gruyere or smoked cheddar toast.

    1. Mary Beth

      For all of my seasonings, all are dried except for parsley. I hate to say this but after years of making this soup I just put the dried herbs in the palm of my hand, rub them to release the oils. Taste as you go. I hope this helps 🤔

  74. sapat

    I made this yesterday and it’s full of yummy smoky shredded bits of ham hock meat. I use a masher and just squish a few times to get that extra thickness. I also use the traditional celery/onion/carrot. No leeks.

  75. This was a TOTAL game changer. I’ve made vegetarian split pea recipes before since we don’t eat meat but this recipe took the flavor to a whole new level! I never would have thought to put leeks in it either but SO tasty! Thank you for this recipe! Def one of my new go-to’s :)

  76. Thank you so much for sharing a vegetarian pea soup! As a vegetarian I am always thrilled to see more naturally meat-free recipes and I’m especially a fan of pea soup. Excited to try this. Thanks Deb!

  77. Michele

    Just made this tonight! Followed the recipe exactly, except I omitted the optional thyme (because I didn’t have any in the pantry.) So delicious. Wonderful flavor. Simple, classic, filling and warm on a cold winter night. Even my non-veggie loving husband raved about it. I have other recipes for split pea soup, that call for all kinds of additional spices (cumin, curry, etc.) but this one is my new fave. This will definitely go into the rotation. Thank you!

  78. Cassie

    The other day I was thinking “I haven’t made split pea soup in ages-I should make some. About 20 minutes later up popped your recipe! Made it-loved it! Thanks for reading my mind Deb! The leeks really elevate it. My husband was gazing longingly at it so I had to let him have a bowlful before I finished putting all of it through the blender.
    I appreciate the many flavorful veggie options you present us. Thank you!

  79. jillhealyhealylottcom

    I have recently become an Ornish Reversal Diet follower as part of heart rehab. We are not supposed to add any oils when we cook. any suggestions to replace olive oil?

  80. jo

    I once had a friend finish a soup offering by zapping prosciutto in the microwave and crumbling it over the bowls…it might be considered strange but absolutely worked…and would work here.

  81. Susan

    I have been looking for my go to split pea soup and this is the one! I made without the ham but cooked up some ham and bacon for garnish.
    I found the soup a little thick so I added another few cups of broth. I didn’t purée the soup as I really like the chunkier texture.
    Excellent!

  82. Erin

    Saw the Instagram post, then came to your website, then immediately made this in my instant pot. (It’s cooking right now even though it’s 3:30 in the afternoon…afternoon snack soup!)

  83. Julia

    I made this yesterday and I have to admit to being skeptical about a meatless pea soup. I should not have been. Amazing and easy. I added a bag of frozen peas and a grated apple that were mentioned in two comments. Fantastic. Thanks for another great recipe.

  84. Liz

    I received an Instant Pot for a gift, and have been reading the user manual, a little at a time. On the page titled ‘Please Read all instructions, #8 mentions several foods that should not be cooked in a pressure cooker because they can clog the pressure release device. Split peas was one of these foods. Have you seen any problems with this device, when cooking the pea soup?

  85. Bree

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been busy all week with rehearsals, but today is a snow day (okay, an ice/sleet day, it’s 25 degrees in Houston and we are helpless) and my grocery store next door is still open so I’m heading out to get the ingredients!

  86. Robin

    I love split pea soup. I just finished my latest batch. My mom used to put cut up kosher hot dogs in it for that smoky taste. She also used barley instead of potatoes which I do as well. I sometimes like to top mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

  87. Bree

    OKAY LISTEN I did the recipe exactly as directed, and then also tossed in some frozen peas and a touch of corn as commenters suggested, and did the half blend/half whole touch too. Topped with a parsley-cilantro gremolage (which isn’t as saucy as your pictures, I’m guessing I should have done more olive oil) and a sour cream dollop and some toast…. man! It smells delicious when it’s cooking , beyond the chopping the veg it’s so hands-off, and this is so fresh and filling. thank you for sharing — I am a convery!

  88. Jean

    To help convince our children that this soup was palatable, we ALWAYS used the Goya yellow split peas, and kept the carrots a good size for a kid to taste. Result: they adored split pea soup with or without ham.
    Love love your new book, Deb!

  89. Lyz

    I’ve always felt slightly ambivalent about split pea soup, but this version is delightful! Especially those crunchy little bacon nuggets on top of the soup rather than in it. I made it last night for dinner, and in a moment of inspiration (laziness?) topped it with jalapeño pretzel bites instead of croutons, and it was such a surprisingly pleasant contribution!

  90. Marnie

    I’d been looking for a vegetarian split pea soup! Made it. Love it. Kids ate it, too! Used stovetop method since I did a double batch and had the time, but next time might use my Instant Pot – thanks for including those instructions! Didn’t do the toppings and was delicious even without.

  91. Virginia Barker

    My husband is one of those rare and very lovely unicorn type of people and would happily eat split pea soup everyday! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  92. Aarika Jackson

    This turned out perfect, I did it in the instapot exactly per instructions. Didn’t change anything and absolutely loved it. Really delicious vegetarian version.

  93. theintrepidtaste

    Made this with water because I was out of broth and it was still so flavorful! Is it weird that I think it tastes good cold?

  94. vivian

    This was really delicious, and I’m so glad it makes a lot because now I can have it for lunch every day this week. I tope it with the herb sauce, sour cream and some vegan “bacon” flavoured chickpeas that I made yesterday. So good. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  95. Ann

    Oh, I’ve made it twice! My daughter, a picky eater, requested it, yay! My grocery store surprisingly didn’t have green peas, but did have a ‘three pea combo’, green, yellow and red lentils, and it was great. The leeks really made it. Thanks.

  96. Judith Perkins

    This is a wonderful soup! And (although this is heresy), it is better than my mother’s!!! I used dried thyme, forgot the bay leaf ;~( Served with sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese, crunchy crushed bacon pieces – and my I-really-don’t-like-soup hubby added it to the soup rotation!!! Win for everyone!!! Thank you, Deb!!!

  97. JaneRC Boulder

    I love good split pea soup, but i like it pretty smooth. I’d never made it before.
    It took about 3 hours – to get consistency I felt OK with. After an hour I drained off much of the liquid & periodically added more boiled water to the pea mixture.
    At the end I blended the liquid and the peas.
    Given my pantry, I had to sub some. I was out of pepper (shockingly), so added a few dried Portugal hot fermented flakes.
    Didn’t have any celery. Subbed onion for half the leeks. Subbed water & 1 tsp. soy sauce for 1/4 of the stock, and, as mentioned above, kept adding more boiled water as needed.
    Came out terrific! (taste and texture) – Thanks so much…

    1. Mary Beth

      OMG you didn’t need to go thru all that😡. Sautéed veg(leeks, celery , carrot) and split peas and stock along with herbs. I use parsley thyme tarragon savory and the best part a ham bone or hame hock. Simmer for about 2 hrs the peas should be soft. Remove bone. Use a immersion blender to make it smooth. I’ve been making my mother’s recipe for 20 yrs. She used to make it in a pressure cooker which I have not tried. Really this has to be one of the easiest soups ever❤️ Hope this helps.

    2. Bonnie C.

      Some of the very best recipes I’ve ever made – soups included – have come out of either not having or not liking a particular ingredient & subbing in something else. I consider that a large part of what makes cooking so interesting & enjoyable.

      1. JaneRC Boulder

        Yes!
        and, a correction, I’d said I blended the liquid and the peas,
        but seeing as I don’t have a blender what I did was mix the
        liquid and peas together.

  98. Sara

    I must have gotten an old bag of peas :( This simmered for an extra hour and they’re still not quite as soft as I’d like. The flavor is delicious though and my split-pea-soup-loving husband enthusiastically ate a bowl as his dessert (I made this after dinner tonight so we could have for a quick and easy lunch tomorrow) despite the slightly too-firm texture. Hoping this might improve when I reheat the leftovers? Will make again but will try to make sure I have fresher peas! Also the smoked paprika idea from a few other commenters is on point.

  99. Jen H

    This was my first foray into the world of Instant Pots. Sadly, I found this recipe pretty bland, even with the addition of 1 TBSP smoked paprika.

  100. Carol

    Disclaimer: I have never loved pea soup. I tried this because Deb’s taste is always spot on and I thought maybe this would be the one. However, this was a rare Deb miss for me. :( We thought the garlic flavor was way too strong and overpowered the peas. And in the end I had the same feeling I’ve had about all other pea soups, which is that it was pretty bland. Bummer. Off to make Deb’s Valentine heart linzer cookies instead!

  101. E.

    I have never heard of blending pea soup…Not for me. I also require lots of carrots. Usually I use one good sized onion, but if I can find leeks, I’ll give that a try – and maybe four or five carrots. I may try the whole cumin seed that someone mentioned, but it will depend on how I feel a the moment of soup making. Love me a good soup! The toppings sound interesting. I like the color of split pea soup, maybe it works better with more bright orange carrot disks floating in it.

  102. Donna Holm

    This looks like a great soup, and I am looking forward to making it. One typo, I think… you say to “bring the ingredients to a simmer, then lower to a simmer.” I think you probably meant boil?

  103. Erin

    Laughing because when you wrote quarts I read cups (cooking with kids running around and slightly distracted). I was so confused and started adding more broth, saying to my husband that you never steer me wrong, but it just wasn’t enough broth. Then cracked up when I reread the recipe (after adding the second quart myself).

  104. Suzanne

    An excellent and easy recipe to make as I work from home in the middle of this spring Nor’Easter. The only thing I added was smoked paprika since I had no ham or meat to add to it. I used my pressure cooker. 15 minutes was spot-on and I did immediate quick release. Thanks for the inspiration today!