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Split Pea Soup

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6 to 8 as a first course, 4 as a main course

This soup makes a nice hearty starter, especially garnished with croutons, but I also love to serve it with crusty whole wheat bread and call it dinner.


  • 1-1/2 lb. smoked ham hocks (1 or 2)
  • 1 lb. (2-1/4 cups) green or yellow split peas, picked over
  • 1 medium leek, white and light-green parts chopped
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme or 1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 large dried bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne, more to taste
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 280
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 50
  • Fat (g): 5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 5
  • Sodium (mg): 250
  • Carbohydrates (g): 44
  • Fiber (g): 22
  • Protein (g): 15


  • Rinse the ham hocks and split peas. Combine them in a deep 7- to 8-quart stockpot with 15 cups water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam, and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer, add the leek, thyme, and bay leaf, and simmer gently until the peas are falling apart, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring with a wooden spatula, until browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the carrots and celery, cover, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the carrots and celery are just tender, another 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the ham hocks to a plate. Add the vegetables to the soup, scraping the skillet with the wooden spatula to release any browned bits. Stir in 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, the cloves, and the cayenne, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Turn the heat off, discard the bay leaf, add the parsley, and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender, working in batches) until smooth.
  • Cut the skin from the ham hocks, and then remove the meat from the bone, discarding any large pieces of fat. Dice the meat and add it to the soup. Reheat the soup over medium-low heat, simmering and stirring occasionally, until it’s the consistency of heavy cream and pours easily from a ladle, about 10 minutes. Thin with a little water, if necessary. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and cayenne. Serve hot.

Make Ahead Tips

The soup can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. It will thicken as it cools, but will thin again when heated. Reheat slowly, adding water as needed, to prevent the bottom from burning.


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Reviews (14 reviews)

  • User avater
    Lemonbri | 01/02/2020

    I followed the recipe exactly except using a ham bone instead of ham hocks. I also added more diced ham than you could get from a ham hock (about 2 cups total). I left the pot partly covered (lid ajar) during the long simmer. The consistency was perfect - like a heavy cream as stated in the recipe. The flavor was excellent but different from most split pea soups. My teenage daughter who normally runs in the opposite direction from anything green loved it. I'm not sure about the ground cloves, might try it without that next time. The cayenne is important, I think without it the flavor would be a bit cloying.

  • Krispie | 12/07/2019

    I made this using a leftover ham bone. It was very tasty. There was something a little sweet about it that my husband didn’t love - I did adda few extra carrots so I may back those off next time to see if it reduces the sweetness. I will be making again right after we finish the Christmas ham!

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