Split Pea Soup: Comforting and thick, made with split peas, ham, and vegetables.

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Nothing says comfort quite like a warm bowl of Split Pea Soup. This comforting and thick soup is made with split peas, ham, and a medley of vegetables, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. Imagine the rich flavors of tender split peas, smoky ham, and a variety of vegetables simmering together, filling your kitchen with tantalizing aromas. With each spoonful, you’ll be transported to a place of warmth and contentment. So, grab a bowl, cozy up, and indulge in the comforting embrace of Split Pea Soup.


To make a delicious split pea soup, you will need three main ingredients: split peas, ham, and vegetables.

Split peas are a variety of field peas that have been dried and split in half. They are a fantastic base for soups because they thicken and add a creamy texture when cooked.

Ham adds a savory and salty flavor to the soup. You can use leftover ham, ham hocks, or ham bones for added flavor.

As for the vegetables, you can use a variety of options to enhance the flavor and nutritional profile of your split pea soup. Common choices include onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. These vegetables add depth and aroma to the soup.


Before cooking the split pea soup, there are a few preparation steps that will ensure the best results.

Soaking the split peas is an important step that helps soften the peas and reduces cooking time. Place the split peas in a large bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak overnight or for at least six hours. This will make them more tender and easier to cook.

If using ham hocks or ham bones, you’ll need to cook them separately. Place the ham in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove the ham from the pot and set it aside to cool. Once cooled, remove the meat from the bone and chop it into small pieces. Reserve the cooking liquid to use as a flavorful broth for the soup.

Chopping the vegetables is the next step in the preparation process. Dice the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic into small, uniform pieces. These vegetables will add texture and flavor to the soup.

Split Pea Soup: Comforting and thick, made with split peas, ham, and vegetables.

Cooking the Soup

With the split peas soaked and the ham and vegetables prepared, it’s time to cook the soup!

Start by heating some oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and sauté them until they become soft and fragrant.

Next, add the soaked split peas and the chopped ham to the pot. Stir everything together, allowing the flavors to blend.

Pour in the cooking liquid from the ham, or you can use chicken or vegetable broth if you prefer. Adjust the amount of liquid depending on how thick or thin you like your soup.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and to ensure the peas cook evenly.

After an hour, check the consistency of the soup and adjust the seasoning to taste. The split peas should be tender and the soup should have a thick, creamy consistency.


Split pea soup is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your preferences. Here are some variations you can try:

  • Vegetarian split pea soup: Simply omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead of the cooking liquid from the ham. You can add extra vegetables like potatoes, mushrooms, or spinach for added flavor and texture.
  • Smoked ham split pea soup: If you enjoy a smoky flavor, try using smoked ham instead of regular ham. The smokiness adds a unique depth to the soup.
  • Adding extra vegetables: While onions, carrots, celery, and garlic are the traditional vegetables used in split pea soup, feel free to experiment and add other vegetables you enjoy. Some popular options include potatoes, leeks, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
  • Adding herbs and spices: To enhance the flavor of your split pea soup, consider adding herbs and spices. Popular choices include bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and smoked paprika. These additions can give your soup a delicious twist.

Split Pea Soup: Comforting and thick, made with split peas, ham, and vegetables.

Serving and Storage

Now that your split pea soup is ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy it!

Garnish options for split pea soup are endless. You can top it with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for added creaminess. Fresh herbs like parsley or chives can add a pop of color and freshness. For a bit of tang, squeeze some lemon juice on top. Croutons or crackers make great accompaniments and add a satisfying crunch.

When it comes to bread pairings, split pea soup goes well with crusty bread, baguette, or even cornbread. These breads can be served alongside the soup or used for dipping.

Storing leftover split pea soup is easy. Let it cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 4-5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the soup in individual portions for up to 3 months. Just make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Health Benefits

Split pea soup not only tastes delicious but also offers several health benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should incorporate this soup into your diet:

  • High in fiber: Split peas are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health and can help regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
  • Good source of protein: Split peas are also packed with plant-based protein. Protein is important for building and repairing tissues, as well as supporting weight management and overall health.
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals: Split peas contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, iron, and vitamin B6. These nutrients are essential for energy production, brain function, and immune health.

History of Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Let’s take a brief look at its origins and how it gained popularity in Europe and America.

Ancient origins

Split peas have been cultivated for thousands of years and were commonly used in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These civilizations appreciated the nutritional value and long shelf life of split peas.

Popularity in Europe and America

Split pea soup gained popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was a peasant dish that was inexpensive, easy to make, and filling. It became a staple during times of scarcity and continued to be enjoyed as a comfort food.

The popularity of split pea soup continued to grow, and it eventually made its way to America with European immigrants. It became particularly popular in the northeastern United States, where it is still enjoyed today.

Cultural Variations

Split pea soup is a versatile dish that varies across different cultures. Here are some notable cultural variations:

Dutch pea soup (Erwtensoep)

Dutch pea soup, also known as erwtensoep, is a traditional Dutch winter dish. It is often served as a meal on its own and is known for its thick and hearty consistency. Dutch pea soup typically contains split peas, pork, leeks, carrots, and celery. It is often enjoyed with rye bread and topped with smoked sausage.

Swedish yellow pea soup (Ärtsoppa)

Ärtsoppa is a traditional Swedish yellow pea soup that has been eaten in Sweden for centuries. It is typically made with yellow split peas, pork, onions, and herbs like thyme and marjoram. The soup is traditionally served on Thursdays with pancakes or mustard and is a popular choice for school lunches.

Middle Eastern split pea soup (Bazilla)

Bazilla is a Middle Eastern split pea soup that is popular in countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. It is often flavored with spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, which give the soup a warm and robust flavor. Bazilla is commonly served with crusty bread or pita.

Nutritional Information

Here is the nutritional information for a typical serving of split pea soup:

  • Calories: Approximately 200-250 calories per serving, depending on the ingredients and portion size.
  • Fat: Split pea soup is low in fat, with most of the calories coming from carbohydrates and protein.
  • Carbohydrates: Split pea soup is a good source of carbohydrates, mainly from the split peas and vegetables.
  • Protein: Split pea soup is a great source of protein, especially if made with ham. It provides plant-based protein from the split peas as well as animal-based protein from the ham.
  • Fiber: One serving of split pea soup can contain around 10-15 grams of fiber, contributing to overall digestive health.

Tips and Tricks

To ensure the best results when making split pea soup, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  • Do not skip soaking the split peas: Soaking the split peas makes them more tender and reduces their cooking time. It also helps remove some of the natural compounds that can cause digestive discomfort.
  • Use leftover ham bone for extra flavor: If you have a leftover ham bone or ham hocks, use them to cook the soup. The bone adds depth and richness to the broth, resulting in a more flavorful soup.
  • Adjust the thickness of the soup to your liking: If you prefer a thicker soup, use less liquid or purée a portion of the cooked soup to add thickness. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more liquid or broth.


Split pea soup is a comforting and hearty dish that is incredibly satisfying. With its creamy texture, savory ham, and nutritious vegetables, it’s no wonder why it’s a beloved soup around the world. Whether you enjoy a classic split pea and ham soup or a creative variation, this soup is sure to warm your soul and satisfy your taste buds. Soak those split peas, cook up some ham, and chop those vegetables to create a delicious bowl of split pea soup that will bring comfort and joy to your table.