Split Pea Soup
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This Split Pea Soup is easy to make and full of flavor. With green split peas, veggies and bacon, this soup is one of our favorite comforting meals.
Slow-simmered on the stove, this split pea soup is one of the best comfort foods. It’s warm, satisfying and nutritious, made with just a few simple ingredients.
Many recipes for split pea soup call for a ham bone to enrich the soup with savory flavor. But it’s not always easy to get a ham bone or ham shank, unless you’ve just cooked a ham for dinner. I wanted to create a split pea soup recipe that would give you the same delicious flavor as split pea soup with ham, but that you can make any day with easily accessible ingredients.
My solution? Bacon!
To make this split pea soup, you’ll cook chopped bacon in your soup pot until it’s crispy and then sauté the vegetables in the bacon grease. When serving the soup, the cooked crumbled bacon adds the perfect bite of salty, savory flavor. If you do want to make this soup with a ham bone, you’ll find my directions for that below.
Split Pea Soup Recipe Ingredients
You’ll need just a few ingredients to make the best split pea soup.
- Bacon: Bacon gives the soup rich, savory flavor.
- Onion, Celery & Carrots: This trio of vegetables are the base of many delicious soup recipes.
- Garlic: For flavor.
- Potato: Yukon gold potatoes bring heartiness to the soup. The chopped potatoes cook down until they are very soft and help to thicken the soup.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme leaves bring a fresh, earthy flavor. You can substitute dried thyme if you don’t have fresh on hand.
- Salt & Pepper: To season the soup. Adjust the amounts to your tastes. The bacon (or ham, if using) will add quite a bit of salty flavor so don’t add too much salt in the beginning. You can always add more after the soup cooks, if needed.
- Green Split Peas: Split peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein. You’ll need 16 ounces of dried green split peas to make this recipe. Rinse and pick over the peas before adding them to the soup pot, to remove any dirt or debris.
- Vegetable Broth: Be sure to use a low sodium vegetable broth or the soup may turn out too salty.
How to Make Split Pea Soup
Find the full printable recipe for split pea soup with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
- In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, cook the chopped bacon until it’s browned and crispy. Then transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
- Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the bacon grease.
- Add the garlic, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes to help the flavors develop.
- Stir in the split peas and vegetable broth.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 75-90 minutes, until the peas start to break down and become tender. Stir the soup occasionally to keep the potatoes and peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If the soup isn’t thickening as much as you would like, you can uncover the pot during the last 20 minutes of the cook time.
- Serve the soup topped with the crumbled cooked bacon.
You can make this soup with a ham bone instead of the bacon, or make it vegetarian. Here’s how:
Split Pea Soup with Ham
To make split pea soup with a ham bone, omit the bacon from the recipe. Sauté the veggies in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. After adding the split peas and broth, nestle the ham bone into the soup. Once the soup is finished cooking, remove the ham bone. You can slice off some meat from the ham bone to add to the soup, if desired.
How to Make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
To make this recipe vegetarian, omit the bacon and sauté the vegetables in 1 tablespoon of olive oil instead of the bacon grease. After the soup cooks, taste it and add more salt, if needed, since you’ll lose the saltiness of the bacon.
What to Serve with Split Pea Soup
This soup is perfect served with bread and/or a salad. Try one of these favorites:
Storage & Reheating Tips
This soup will thicken as it cools. If the leftover soup is too thick, you can stir in some additional broth or water to thin it out as you warm it.
- Refrigerator: Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store extra cooked bacon crumbles in a separate airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer: Let cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Cooked bacon can also be frozen in a separate airtight container. Be sure to freeze it as soon as it cools.
- To Reheat: Add broth or water as needed to thin out the soup. Reheat in a pot on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Or reheat in the microwave.
More Favorite Soup Recipes
Try one of these delicious soup recipes next!
- Minestrone Soup
- Cabbage Soup
- Hamburger Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Tomato Soup
- Asparagus Soup
Split Pea Soup
- 5 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped Yukon gold potato, ½-inch pieces, about 5 ounces of potato
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 16 ounces dried green split peas, picked over to remove any debris, rinsed and drained
- 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- Heat a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the bacon grease in the pot. Let the cooked bacon cool and then refrigerate it while the soup cooks.
- Add the onion, celery and carrot to the bacon grease in the pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes, until softened.
- Add the garlic, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the split peas and vegetable broth.
- Bring soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 75-90 minutes, or until peas are tender and have broken down and soup has thickened. If the soup is not thickening as much as you'd like, you can uncover it during the last 20 minutes of the cook time.
- Taste the soup and add additional salt and/or pepper if needed. (Remember that the bacon will add saltiness if you will be serving the soup with bacon on top.)
- Serve soup garnished with the chopped cooked bacon.
- If not using a low or no sodium broth, omit the added salt or the soup may be too salty. You can always season with salt to taste after cooking.
- To make split pea soup with a ham bone, omit the bacon from the recipe. Sauté the veggies in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. After adding the split peas and broth, nestle the ham bone into the soup. Once the soup is finished cooking, remove the ham bone. Slice off some meat from the ham bone to add to the soup, if desired.
- To make this recipe vegetarian, omit the bacon and sauté the vegetables in 1 tablespoon of olive oil instead of the bacon grease. After the soup cooks, taste it and add more salt, if needed, since you’ll lose the saltiness of the bacon.
- Soup may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Store cooked bacon separately from the soup. The soup will thicken as it cools. If the leftover soup is too thick, you can stir in some additional broth or water to thin it out as you warm it.