Split Pea Soup With Ham

March 20, 2024

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By G. Daniela Galarza

Velvety and rich, this split pea soup gains lots of flavor from bits of smoked ham and musky bay leaf. A generous squeeze of lemon cheers up the homey soup. The recipe is straightforward and makes a lot, but the soup freezes well if you’re not feeding a crowd. Check the expiration date on the package of split peas before you buy them, to make sure they’re fresh and will cook quickly and evenly.

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Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. (The soup may thicken significantly as it sits. If this happens, add additional broth or water while reheating. The soup may separate when defrosting; stir it back together before reheating.)

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza.


measuring cup

Servings: 4-5 (makes 8 to 10 cups)


Time Icon
25 mins
Total: 1 hour 10 mins

  1. Step 1

    In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Carefully add the ham, watching for splattering, adjusting the heat as necessary, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ham to a bowl.

  2. Step 2

    Add the onion, carrot and garlic to the pot along with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, allowing the vegetables to soften, about 5 minutes. If the pot seems dry, add a splash of water or additional oil.

  3. Step 3

    Stir in about 1 cup of broth and, using a spoon or spatula, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Increase the heat to high, and add the remaining broth, split peas, bay leaves and another pinch of salt. Bring the soup to a boil, stir it well, then reduce the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Partially cover the pot, and let the soup cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the peas are so soft, they’ve nearly melted, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

  4. Step 4

    If you like your soup chunky: Stir in the reserved ham.

  5. Step 5

    If you like your soup smooth: Use an immersion blender to partially or completely puree it. (Or, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender: Be careful to not fill it more than halfway, and make sure to remove the center ring from the lid and hold a kitchen towel over the lid as you blend to prevent splatters.) Stir in the reserved ham.

  6. Step 6

    Return the pot to low heat to rewarm the soup. If the soup is thicker than you’d like, stir in more broth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice.


Instead of split peas >> make this with split yellow or red lentils. The cooking time may vary.
Don’t eat ham? >> Skip it and add a dash of smoked paprika to the onions as they cook.
If you dislike bay leaves >> try this with thyme or dill.

Nutritional Facts

(2 cups, using 8 ounces ham), based on 5

  • Calories


  • Fat

    22 g

  • Saturated Fat

    5 g

  • Carbohydrates

    46 g

  • Sodium

    874 mg

  • Cholesterol

    32 mg

  • Protein

    30 g

  • Fiber

    13 g

  • Sugar

    6 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by Kara Elder.

Published February 7, 2024

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