Thick and hearty, this Split Pea Soup is a creamy old fashioned recipe that's easy to make right on the stove top. Perfect to use up leftover ham and warm you up on a cold day.
Split Pea Soup
Split pea soup may not be the prettiest soup, but this version certainly is delicious.
If you've ever had split pea soup from a can, I'm sorry. But don't base your like (or dislike, as the case probably is) of this simple soup on that experience.
This split pea soup is thick, creamy, and hearty, and doesn't even use any cream! It uses simple ingredients, and results in a warm, filling, and rustic dish.
This soup gets its creaminess from the peas, instead of milk or cream. It uses a ham bone to infuse extra savory flavor while it cooks.
What to Substitute for a Ham Bone
You can find a ham bone or ham hock at most grocery stores. They're pretty easy to come by.
If you're in a pinch, throw in a few bacon slices instead. I recommend leaving them whole so that you can pull it out at the end. Bacon that has been boiled for 2 hours will become chewy, and not ideal texture to actually eat in the soup.
How to Thicken Split Pea Soup
This spit pea soup recipe is naturally thick. In fact, I have thinned it out a couple times with a little more chicken broth.
If you want your soup even more thick, there are a couple methods that will make the soup thicker.
You can also try adding a cornstarch slurry. To do this add 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Whisk these together and add to the soup. This will thicken it slightly without altering the flavor at all.
Can You Make Split Pea Soup Vegetarian?
Absolutely! Just skip the ham bone altogether, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
To infuse some of that smoky flavor you might be missing from the ham bone, add some smoked paprika.
More Warm Soup Recipes You'll Love
- Butternut Squash Bisque - sweet, creamy, and savory, this soup has it all.
- Homemade Vegetable Soup - a hearty, healthy vegetarian soup with a zesty tomato broth and tons of veggies.
- Spicy Southwest Pumpkin Soup - creamy and spicy with everybody's favorite squash, pumpkin!
- Cheesy Potato Soup - a warm comforting classic with gooey cheese for even more comfort food goodness.
- Southwest Bean Chowder - this delicious, hearty southwest soup gets its rich creaminess from beans instead of cream.
Split Pea Soup
- 1 pound dried split peas
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 large onions chopped
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2-3 large)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 2-3 ribs)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ham bone or ham hock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 1 large russet potato peeled and diced
- 1½ cups diced ham
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dump split peas into a large bowl. Cover with hot water. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.
- Add onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add garlic, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Drain split peas and add to pot with ham bone, bay leaves, thyme, chicken stock, and water. Stir to combine.
- Bring soup mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally until split peas are cooked down.
- Add diced ham and potato. Stir to combine. Continue simmering for an additional 1 hour, until soup is cooked down to desired consistency and peas are broken down and very soft.
- When ready to serve, remove ham bone and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with croutons.
- Do I Have to Soak the Split Peas? Nope. Most recipes call for soaking them overnight. I only soak them while I'm busy prepping the other ingredients. If you choose not to soak them, be sure to still rinse them.
- "Old" split peas (ones that have been sitting in the pantry since you can't even remember when) will have a longer cook time. Or you can choose to soak them for longer, which will cut down the cook time to normal again.
- Add the salt at the end. It's hard to predict the saltiness of the ham, so wait to season the soup until the end so that you don't over-salt it.
- Dairy Free: Use olive oil instead of butter.
- To substitute fresh thyme, you can use 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon ground thyme.
- Chop and peel your potato right before adding it to the soup so that it does not brown.
- Be sure to stir the soup every 20-30 minutes, especially close to the end, so it doesn't stick to the pan.
- If you want your soup silky smooth, you can puree it at the end before serving using an immersion blender or food processor.
- Serve your soup topped with croutons, crispy crumbled bacon, and fresh thyme. These homemade garlic croutons will take your soup to the next level.
- Make Ahead Directions: To make this soup ahead, simply prepare according to directions. Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Freezer Directions: Allow soup to come to room temperature after cooking. Transfer to a freezer bag or dish. Freeze for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in a large pot.
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