Split Pea Soup with Ham (Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or Stovetop)

Overhead of split pea and ham soup in a bowl with a spoon in it.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Instant Pot, Slow Cooker40 minutes
Fancy food it is not, but Split Pea Soup with Ham is delicious, comforting, and affordable. Stovetop, Instant Pot, slow cooker—we'll show you how to make it all three ways!

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I’m not going to lie, Split Pea Soup with Ham isn’t going to win any beauty contests. But I think that’s okay, because so often, the tastiest, coziest foods aren’t all that beautiful. And I think that’s a wonderful life lesson—sometimes the best things in life come in the most unsuspecting packages.

Just know that this soup is so delicious, so comforting, and so flavorful that it made my six year old dance in the kitchen when she tasted it. Literally. She grabbed a bowl, grabbed a spoon, took one bite, and started dancing right there on our kitchen rug because it tasted so good. And I’m dancing because you can make this Split Pea Soup in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on the stovetop—I love me a flexible recipe that works no matter my schedule!

Close-up of finished split pea soup in a bowl.

Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?

Unlike other beans and legumes, split peas are tender enough that they don’t need to be soaked before cooking.

Wholefully Protip

If you have a history of digestive problems from split peas, you might want to go ahead and soak them in cold water overnight before cooking—it might help!

How do you make split pea soup from scratch?

You can cook this soup on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot, but the process is pretty similar for all of them. To make split pea soup, here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Sauté the aromatic veggies (onion, celery, carrots, and garlic).
  2. Add the ham hocks, broth, water, split peas, and herbs, and simmer until tender.
  3. Remove the ham hocks and bay leaves. You can choose to leave the soup chunky, or you can use an immersion blender to make it smooth.
  4. Then add in some chopped ham. Season to taste, and enjoy.

Wholefully Protip

Split Pea Soup thickens considerably as it cools, so if it feels too thin right out of the pot, give it 5-10 minutes of cooling time before serving.

All told, the soup takes about an hour and a half to cook on the stovetop (and only about 40 minutes in the Instant Pot), but most of that time is hands off!

Overhead of all the ingredients for split pea soup with ham hock in a large pot.

Can I make Instant Pot split pea soup?

Sure can! We actually prefer making this split pea soup recipe in the Instant Pot because it’s the fastest and easiest way to make it out of all three methods. The Instant Pot makes this soup ready in about 40 minutes (and that includes heat up and cool down time).

How do I make split pea soup in the Instant Pot?

Oooh, you are going to love how easy this is! It’s about five minutes worth of hands on time, and then you let the magic of your Instant Pot do the rest:

  1. Using the sauté function, sauté the aromatic veggies (onion, celery, carrots, and garlic) until tender.
  2. Add the ham hocks, broth, split peas, and herbs. Set it to high pressure for 15 minutes.
  3. When cooking time is up, allow a 15 minute natural pressure release before opening the Instant Pot.
  4. Remove the ham hocks and bay leaves. You can choose to leave the soup chunky, or you can use an immersion blender to make it smooth.
  5. Then add in some chopped ham. Season to taste, and enjoy.

Wholefully Protip

Be sure NOT to add the 2 cups of water called for in the stovetop version when cooking in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, or your soup will be thin and watery.

How do I make slow cooker split pea soup?

Making this soup in the slow cooker couldn’t be easier! You’ll just mix all the ingredients in the basin of your slow cooker, and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Then, just remove the ham hocks and bay leaves, and add the chopped ham. Easy-peasy!

Overhead of two bowls of split pea and ham soup on a round wooden serving board.

Is split pea soup with ham nutritious?

This classic comfort food is a winter staple for good reason—it’s packed with nourishing split peas, which contain tons of fiber, plant-based protein, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

Wholefully Protip

Between the ham and the chicken broth, it’s easy for this soup to become very sodium-heavy. Make sure to use low or no sodium chicken broth, and taste the soup before adding any additional salt.

What goes with split pea soup?

In our opinion, split pea soup is best served with a big pile of warm, crusty bread for sopping up all the delicious soup in the bowl. If you’re looking to add a little freshness to the meal, a simple green side salad is a great addition.

Bowl of split soup with ham garnished with fresh marjoram.

How do I make split pea soup creamy?

We prefer our split pea soup a little bit chunky (as shown in the pictures here), but you can easily make it super smooth with the help of your handy-dandy immersion blender. After you remove the ham bone or ham hock, just blend the soup until it’s your desired consistency. Tada! Smooth and creamy split pea soup.

Can I freeze split pea soup?

Sure can! In fact, it’s one of our favorite soups to have stashed in the freezer for a cold winter evening. Here’s how:

  1. Let the soup cool to room temperature.
  2. Spoon into freezer-safe glass food storage containers.
  3. Label and freeze for up to 6 months.

To reheat, let thaw at room temperature or in the fridge, and then warm in a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat on the stove. You might need to add a splash of water to thin it out if it has thickened too much.

Overhead of a bowl of Instant Pot split pea soup with ham on a round wooden serving board alongside spoons and white kitchen linen.

What else can I do with split peas?

Soup is a great starting point for cooking with split peas, but there is so much more you can do with them! These are some of our favorites:

 
Overhead of split pea and ham soup in a bowl with a spoon in it.

Split Pea Soup with Ham (Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or Stovetop)

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Fancy food it is not, but Split Pea Soup with Ham is delicious, comforting, and affordable. Stovetop, Instant Pot, slow cooker—we'll show you how to make it all three ways!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 large ribs celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks (see notes)
  • 6 cups low- or no-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water (stovetop version only)
  • 1 16-ounce bag dried split peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped ham, if using ham hocks instead of ham bone (see notes)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Stovetop Directions (1 1/2 hours)

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook until just fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ham bone or ham hocks, chicken broth, water, split peas, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, for 60-75 minutes, or until the peas are very tender. You want them to be falling-apart mushy. Depending on the age of your peas, this might take more or less time than listed.
  3. Remove the ham bone or ham hocks and bay leaves from the soup. Discard the bay leaves. If using a ham bone, slice off any ham and chop, discarding the bone. If using the ham hocks, discard. Add the chopped ham (either from the ham bone or extra if using ham hocks). Stir and taste soup for seasoning, adding fresh black pepper and extra salt, if needed.
  4. The soup will thicken up considerably as it cools, so if it feels too thin right out of the pot, give it 5-10 minutes of cooling time before serving.

Instant Pot Directions (40 minutes)

  1. For the Instant Pot, you will not need to use the water listed in the recipe.
  2. Turn on the “Saute” function on your Instant Pot, and add the oil. Once the Instant Pot reads “Hot”, add in the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic, and cook until just fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes. Turn off the “Saute” function.
  3. Add the ham bone or ham hocks, chicken broth, split peas, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Do not add the 2 cups of water listed for the stovetop version. This will cause the soup to be too thin.
  4. Lock and seal the lid, then set the Instant Pot to Manual, High Pressure for 15 minutes. When cooking time is up, allow a 15 minute natural pressure release before opening the Instant Pot.
  5. Remove the ham bone or ham hocks and bay leaves from the soup.  Discard the bay leaves. If using a ham bone, slice off any ham and chop, discarding the bone. If using the ham hocks, discard. Add the chopped ham (either from the ham bone or extra if using ham hocks). Stir and taste soup for seasoning, adding fresh black pepper and extra salt, if needed. 
  6. The soup will thicken up considerably as it cools, so if it feels too thin right out of the pot, give it 5-10 minutes of cooling time before serving.

Slow Cooker Directions (7-8 hours)

  1. For the Slow Cooker, you will not need to use the oil or water listed in the recipe.
  2. In the basin of a slow cooker, add in the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, ham bone or ham hocks, chicken broth, water, split peas, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Do not add the 2 cups of water listed for the stovetop version. This will cause the soup to be too thin.
  3. Cover and turn the slow cooker to low, cooking for 7-8 hours, or until the peas are fall-apart tender.
  4. Remove the ham bone or ham hocks and bay leaves from the soup. Discard the bay leaves.  If using a ham bone, slice off any ham and chop, discarding the bone. If using the ham hocks, discard. Add the chopped ham (either from the ham bone or extra if using ham hocks). Stir and taste soup for seasoning, adding fresh black pepper and extra salt, if needed. 
  5. The soup will thicken up considerably as it cools, so if it feels too thin right out of the pot, give it 5-10 minutes of cooling time before serving.

Notes

  • Between the ham and the chicken broth, it’s easy for this soup to become very salty. Make sure to use low or no sodium chicken broth, and taste the soup before adding any additional salt. I never need to add any when I make it.
  • This soup thickens considerably as it cools and rests. So when you go to reheat leftovers, you might need to add additional water or chicken broth to thin it out.
  • To freeze, let the soup cool to room temperature, then spoon into freezer-safe glass food storage containers. Label and freeze for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 687mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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