Split pea soup with ham is a thick and comforting soup that’s loaded with smoky ham, sweet carrots, celery, onion, and creamy split peas.  Our version includes a recipe for the best garlic croutons which can be piled on when serving.  We’ve also included suggestions on how to make this vegetarian so it is really a dish that can be enjoyed by all!

Hands holding white bowl of split pea soup with ham and croutons.

Split pea soup with ham is one of my favorite soups of all time.  

The rich smoky flavor of the ham hock adds wonderful depth to the soup and is perfectly balanced by the sweet carrots. 

 

I always serve my split pea soup with garlic croutons because they just make it better!

And the croutons would be great with many of our other soups, like Tuscan white bean soup or Italian lentil soup.

A cup of split pea soup would be a perfect side to a hot roast beef sandwich, but a bowl of it would be substantial enough to be a meal alongside a simple salad.

Ingredients shown: split peas, onion, garlic, bay leaf, ham, chicken stock, ham hock, carrots, and celery.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f and dice 8 ounces of ham, 5 medium carrots, 3 celery ribs, and 1 medium onion.  Mince 3 cloves of garlic and slice 3 cups worth of bread into 1-inch cubes.  
  2. Add the cubed bread to a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.  If you would like more croutons, just increase the amount of oil and seasoning.

Split pea soup with ham recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Spread the bread mixture out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted but still chewy inside.  
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot to medium-low and add a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil along with half of the carrots, and all of the celery and onion.  Saute until very soft taking care to not burn (about 12-15 minutes).  Once soft, add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Add a smoked ham hock or ham bone and 16 ounces of dried split peas along with 1 large bay leaf, 4 cups of low-sodium chicken stock, and 4 cups of water. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Partially cover the pot leaving about 1-inch open.  Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
  4. After 20 minutes of simmering, add the remaining carrots and stir to incorporate.  Continue to simmer the soup, slightly covered and stirring occasionally, for about 60-75 minutes until the soup thickens and the peas break down.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the diced ham, and if the soup is too thick, add a touch of water to thin it out.  On the other hand, if the soup is too thin, just increase the heat a bit to help it thicken.  Continue to stir while doing this to prevent sticking. 
  2. Taste test the soup, making sure there are no hard peas – if so, just continue to simmer until soft.  Season the split pea soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Before serving, remove the ham bone and bay leaf.  Serve in bowls and top with garlic croutons. Enjoy!

Overhead shot of Dutch oven with split pea soup.

Top tips for perfect split pea soup with ham

  • Split peas.  Before using your split peas, it’s best practice to sort through them before using and discard anything that might not be a pea.  Since split peas are for the most part sorted in factories, sometimes a small pebble will make its way in with the peas. 
  • Cooking time.  The time is a general guide.  Make sure there are no hard peas left before serving.  If there are, just continue to simmer until they have all softened.
  • Ham.  Most grocery stores will sell ham hocks and smoked ham hocks to use in soups, etc.  If you can’t find a ham hock, you can use ham or deli ham that’s been sliced thick.  I’ve even used thin-sliced deli ham in a pinch and it’s still good. This is also a great time to use up a hambone from a spiral ham!  Since the ham is so salty, I suggest not adding any salt until tasting right at the end.
  • Serving. As with most soups and stews, they will taste better the next day.  If you can wait to eat your split pea soup, it will be worth it.  Or just enjoy the enhanced flavor of your leftovers!  I do suggest making the homemade garlic croutons as they do make the soup better and add great texture but if you prefer to skip that step, the soup will still be great!
  • Modifications.  To make this split pea soup vegetarian or vegan, simply replace the chicken stock with water or vegetable stock and omit the ham.  If you want some smoky flavor, smoked paprika has incredible flavor and will enhance the split pea soup greatly!  

White bowl of split pea soup and tray of croutons in background.

More hearty soup (and chili) recipes

Here are a few of our favorites we know you’ll love!

If you’ve enjoyed this split pea with ham hock recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

Split Pea Soup with Ham

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Split pea soup with ham is a thick and comforting soup made with dried split peas, smoky ham, sweet carrots, celery, and onion and topped with the best homemade garlic croutons!

Ingredients 

For the split pea soup

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 medium carrots diced, divided
  • 3 celery ribs diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 smoked ham hock or ham bone
  • 1 16-ounce bag split peas see notes below
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 ounces ham diced - can use deli ham, cooked ham, etc
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the croutons

  • 3 cups bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

For the croutons

  • Begin by tossing the crouton ingredients together. Spread the croutons out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350f for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted but still chewy on the inside.

For the split pea soup

  • Heat a large Dutch oven to medium-low and add the olive oil along with half of the carrots, and all the celery and onions. Saute until very soft without burning (about 12-15 minutes). Once soft, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Add the ham hock, split peas, bay leaf, low-sodium chicken stock, and water. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot, leaving about 1-inch open. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
  • After 20 minutes of simmering add the remaining carrots and stir to incorporate. Continue to simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for roughly 60-75 more minutes to thicken and break down the peas.
  • During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the diced ham. If the soup is too thick add a bit of water to thin it out. Conversely, if too thin, just increase the heat and stir frequently while cooking until the soup has reduced and thickened to your liking.
  • Taste test the soup, making sure there are no hard peas. If so, just continue to simmer until soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving remove and discard the ham bone and bay leaf. Serve in bowls and top with the garlic croutons. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Split peas should be sorted before use.  Discard anything that is not a split pea.  Sometimes small rocks can get through the factory sorting process.
  • Smoked ham hocks add amazing flavor to this soup.  Ham hocks and the diced ham are salty.  For this reason, do not add any salt until taste testing before serving.
  • For a vegetarian option, sub chicken stock for water and omit the ham and ham hocks.  Smoked paprika can be used for a smokey flavor in place of the ham.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.  Leftover split pea soup tastes even better the next day!

Nutrition

Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.8g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 21.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 815mg | Potassium: 1069mg | Fiber: 21.7g | Sugar: 9.3g | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

20 Comments

  1. I add barley to my pea soup because I love barley. I also add a tablespoon of powdered hot mustard. It adds to the flavor.