How to Cook Split Peas + Our Best Split Pea Recipes!

Close up of a pile of green split peas.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Plant-Based Protein20 minutes
Split peas are so underrated. These pulses are packed with nutrition, cook quickly, and are super delicious! Let us show you the joy of split peas.

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And the most underrated pulse award goes to…split peas! Seriously, other than the occasional pot of soup, most people don’t experience the joy of these little green guys regularly in their lives. 

Just like all the other pulses out there (pulses include dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, and beans.), split peas are a super affordable, delicious, sustainable, protein-packed source of fiber. But unlike their more finicky cousins, chickpeas and dried beans, split peas require NO presoaking or precooking, meaning they cook up in a FLASH. Woohoo for weeknight shortcuts!

Ingredients for salad such as uncooked split peas, broth, frozen corn kernels, ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine, and chopped fresh herbs.

What are split peas? Are they the same as peas?

Dried split peas are the same as regular green peas that you might have as a side dish for dinner. The difference comes in how they are processed. Instead of eating them fresh, split peas are shelled, dried, and then split in half along the natural seam of the pea—this splitting process is what makes them faster to cook.

Are split peas good for you?

Split peas are packed with tons of fiber, plant-based protein, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. They are a great addition to your plate!

Overhead of serving bowl full of finished split pea salad with wooden serving spoon scooping up the first serving.

Are split peas the same as green lentils?

They look a lot alike, but split peas and green lentils come from two entirely different plants. In many split pea recipes, they can be used almost interchangeably, however, split peas tend to have a bit of a sweeter flavor and creamier texture. Green lentils can have an earthy flavor and a bit of a gritty texture. 

Which is healthier—lentils or split peas?

Both are packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and nutrients. They are both excellent additions to your diet! Some folks do struggle with digesting pulses, so if you find yourself having tummy discomfort after eating either, you can presoak them to see if that gives you some relief.

What do split peas taste like?

A lot like sweet green peas! They have that sweet flavor and creamy texture that makes peas a family favorite.

Overhead of a party platter of split pea hummus with veggies and pita chips for dipping.

What’s the difference between green split peas and yellow split peas?

Not a whole lot! You can basically use them interchangeably (or even mixed) in recipes. Yellow split peas do have a bit of a more mild flavor.

Do I need to soak split peas before cooking them?

Nope, split peas cook up super quickly, even without soaking. If you tend to have digestive issues with beans and lentils, you might benefit from a split pea presoak, though. Just place the dried split peas in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak at room temperature over night. When it’s time to cook, drain and rinse the split peas before cooking.

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

How do I cook split peas?

Split peas are typically cooked in something—like a soup—but split peas can also be cooked solo for adding into salads or putting in as part of an awesome grain bowl. Here’s the method:

  1. Pour the dried split peas into a bowl or tray, and pick through. looking for any debris. Then rinse the split peas well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  2. Add the split peas to a pot with your preferred cooking liquid—water, vegetable broth, and bone broth are all good options.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the split peas are tender but not mushy and most of the liquid is absorbed. It should take about 20 minutes.

Can I cook them in the Instant Pot?

Sure can! The Instant Pot makes even quicker work of split peas, although the Instant Pot is quite a powerful tool and tends to make split peas go a little mushy and shapeless.

  1. Pour the dried split peas into a bowl or tray, and pick through looking for any debris. Then rinse the split peas well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  2. Add the split peas to the Instant Pot with your preferred cooking liquid—water, vegetable broth, and bone broth are all good options.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 7 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before venting.
 
Close up of a pile of green split peas.

Basic Cooked Split Peas Recipe

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Split peas are most often cooked in another recipe (like Split Pea and Ham soup), but you can also cook split peas "straight" for use in salads or other dishes.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dried split peas
  • 1 1/2 cups water, vegetable broth, or bone broth
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour the dried split peas into a bowl or tray, and pick through looking for any debris. Then rinse the split peas well in a fine-mesh sieve.
  2. Add the split peas to a pot with your preferred cooking liquid—water, vegetable broth, and bone broth are all good options.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the split peas are tender, but not mushy and most of the liquid is absorbed. about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and season with salt to taste.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 52Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 438mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

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.

 

Our Favorite Split Pea Recipes

Looking for interesting ways to use up a bag of split peas? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our fan-favorite split pea recipes.

And here are some of our favorite split pea recipes from around the web:

 

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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