This Instant Pot Split Pea Soup is all about building flavor while cutting down the cooking time. Indulge in the creaminess and taste of green split peas and the savory and smokiness of ham. Budget friendly, gluten-free and we have an option for you to make it vegetarian or vegan.
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
Flavor Profile: Creamy, savory with a hint of smokiness. This savory Split Pea Soup recipe is made with chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaves cooked in a pressure cooker with broth and a ham bone or ham hock, which adds a hint of smokiness. A plant-based version of this recipe is provided.
This Instant Pot Split Pea Soup recipe can be made with a ham hock, a meaty ham bone from the holidays, deli ham or ham steaks.
You can easily make a plant- base version of this soup by making a couple of changes. Skip the ham and use vegetable stock – then enjoy a hearty vegan or vegetarian split pea soup – with crusty bread on the side!
Why This Instant Pot Split Pea Soup Works?
- Quick: In the instant pot; cooking at high pressure, green and yellow split peas are cooked in a fraction of the time than split peas cooked on the stove top like when making traditional split pea soup.
- Flavorful: It’s not all about quick cooking. This humble soup benefits from high pressure cooking by concentrating the flavors from the vegetables, chicken broth, seasonings and the taste of smoky cooked ham (especially from a meaty ham bone).
What’s in Instant Pot Split Pea Soup?
Ingredients and Subtstitutions
- Split Peas: They are part of the legume family just like lentils and beans. Unlike beans, split peas don’t need to be soaked and cook a lot faster than most legumes. You can get a bag of split peas in most grocery stores. Classic split pea soup is made with green split peas but yellow split peas can be used as well.
- Ham: Split pea soup is a tasty soup even if you are making a vegetarian version of this hearty soup. However, there is no denying that split pea and ham soup is a lot tastier. This Instant Pot split pea soup recipe can be made with a leftover ham bone, a ham hock or even smoked turkey (smoked turkey leg is my favorite). If you preferred, you can top the soup with cooked ham chopped into smaller pieces. If you prefer making a plant-based version of homemade split pea, I suggest using a really good vegetable stock and adding some lemon juice, to taste – at the end.
- Bay Leaves: I like adding a dried bay leaf to this homemade split pea soup. It adds such an earthy flavor.
- Vegetables: Like any classic soup, this recipe starts with a vegetable mirepoix – a combination of onion, carrot and celery. You can use white, brown or yellow onion.
Substitutions Worth Mentioning Again
- Thick-Cut Deli Ham: If you don’t have a ham hock, ham shank or a leftover ham bone, you can make the soup with thick-cut deli ham or already chopped cooked ham.
- Bacon: The smokiness of bacon will givis this soup a lot of great flavor.
- Liquid Smoke: In a pinch, you can use this ingredient to add a smokey taste to the soup.
- Bouillon Cubes, Granules or Paste: If you plan to make this soup without ham, we suggest you add chicken or vegetable bouillon for a boost of flavor. Tomato flavored bouillon is also a good option.
How to Make Homemade Split Pea Soup in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker)?
- Using the sauté function of your instant pot, heat the oil (and/or butter), and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they become softened. Stir in the garlic, dried oregano and ground black pepper.
- Add the ham bone (if using), the cooked diced ham, the split peas, broth and the bay leaves. Close the lid, seal the pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. After the cooking cycle is done, do a natural release for 10 minutes then set the valve to the venting position and get rid of the remaining pressure (quick release).
- Open the pot and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the bone to a bowl and pull off some of the meaty pieces. Add them to the soup.
- Add lemon juice and season to taste. Serve hot.
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup Tips for Success
- If you don’t have a ham bone left from the holidays, you can use a smoked ham hock or shank. If you want to skip the bone altogether, we recommend you add chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon to season the soup at the end.
- Thick-cut deli ham, cut into cubes can be used.
- Instead of ham, bacon (about 12 ounces, chopped) can be used. Before sautéing the onions, carrots and celery, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer the crispy bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pot, then sauté the onions.
Do Split Peas Need to Be Soaked Before Cooking?
Split peas unlike beans, don’t need to be soaked before cooking. It’s a good idea to pick over them for debris and to rinse them before cooking them.
How to Make Split Soup Thicker?
If the consistency of this soup recipe is not thick enough for you, turn on the sauté function and simmer the soup for a few minutes, stirring as needed. Alternately, you can blend some of the soup to make it thicker and creamier. For convenience, use an immersion blender.
Can I Use Leftover Ham to Make Split Pea Soup?
Absolutely! This is a great way to use leftover ham especially after the holidays.
How Long Will Split Pea Soup Last?
You can store leftover soup in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Can you Freeze Split Pea Soup?
Yes, like most soup recipes, split pea soup freezes well. Cool it completely and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for 2 months.
Take a Look at These Other Soup Recipes:
- Coconut Curry Soup with Shrimp
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)
- Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach
- Instant Pot Pho Recipe
This recipe was originally publish in 2018 and has been updated with new photos. The recipe remains the same.
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Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (or a combination of both)
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery ribs, diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ham bone smoked ham hock or ham shank
- 2 cups diced ham cut from the ham bone or store bought
- 1 pound dried split green peas rinsed and picked over
- 6 cups low sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Fresh lemon juice about 1 tablespoon
- Fresh thyme or chopped parsley
- Grated Parmesan cheese
Pre-soaking is not necessary when making split pea soup.
- Turn a 6 or 8 quart Instant pot / pressure cooker to the sauté setting. Heat the oil and/or melt butter and stir in the onions, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent and veggies start to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, dried oregano and black pepper and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Add the ham bone (if using),the cooked diced ham, add the split peas, low-sodium stock or broth and the bay leaves. Close and seal the pot and cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes. After the cooking cycle is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release the remaining pressure. Unseal and open the pot.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves. If using a ham bone or ham hock, transfer it to a bowl and cut off any bits of meat you want to use in the soup. Discard the bone and add the meat bits back to the soup.
- Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately garnished with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
- Blend some of the soup to make it thicker and creamier. Using an immersion blender is ideal as you can just blend enough to make the soup thicker and creamier.
- If you don’t have a ham bone left from the holidays, you can use a smoked ham hock or shank. If you want to skip the bone altogether, use 1 – 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon s to season the soup at the end.
- Thick-cut deli ham, cut into cubes can be used.
- Instead of ham, bacon (about 12 ounces, chopped) can be used. Before sauteing the onions, carrots and celery, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer the crispy bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pot, then sauté the onions.
- If the consistency of this soup recipe is not thick enough for you, blend some of the soup to make it thicker and creamier. For convenience, use an immersion blender. Alternately, you can turn on the sauté function and simmer the soup for a few minutes, stirring as needed.