This hearty and healthy peasant style soup usually takes a couple hours to cook when using dried split peas. The Instant Pot shortens the process to a mere 30 minutes, making this a totally achievable weeknight feast. Make my Split Pea and Ham Soup when you're in the mood for a comforting warm bowl of deliciousness.
Maybe I was a weird kid, but Split Pea and Ham soup has been one of my favorite meals since I was a wee lass. The peas become creamy and soft, thickening up the broth to a quasi chowder. Bites of salty ham cut through the almost sweet base, giving a bit of bite. Add a slice of buttered toast, and I'm in heaven. Read on to learn how to make it into a super quick, one pot weeknight supper.
Now that sweater weather is in full swing - we've had a long stretch of days in the 50s - my trusty Instant Pot is getting lots of action. More than just a pressure cooker, it can sauté, steam, act as a slow cooker, rice cooker and even make yogurt! In our house, it most often gets used when I need to get dinner on the table pronto, as it shaves up to 70% of time off of many dishes.
Table of Contents
- Why Add Ham?
- How to Make Split Pea and Ham Soup in the Instant Pot
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Need more cozy weather food inspiration? Check out these other warming recipes:
Why Add Ham?
Growing up, my Mom would always add a smoked ham hock to her split pea soup. It would give a boost of yummy smokiness, and there was usually a decent amount of meat that we could pull off the bone to put in the soup afterwards.
However, since I've left home, I've tried (and failed) many times in trying to use the same method. I feel like a geezer saying it, but they just don't make ham hocks like they used to! The last several times I've gotten one for either split pea or navy bean soup, they've been totally anemic in terms of meat.
Ham is also infinitely easier to find than ham hocks. I was able to pick up a 2lb round of precooked, thick cut ham at Aldi for just $4 last week. I've easily paid that much for a single ham hock, and gotten just a fraction of the meat from it.
This single ham round has been used for this big batch of soup, in the accompanying ham and smoked gouda grilled cheese, in egg bites, and in a ham and pea pasta. I rest my case. Ham is the obvious choice for flavoring split pea soup.
How to Make Split Pea and Ham Soup in the Instant Pot
Aside from having to chop mirepoix (onion, celery and carrot), ham and garlic, this recipe requires almost no work. Once you have your ingredients prepped, set your Instant Pot to sauté. Add the butter and allow it to melt and begin to bubble.
Add the mirepoix, cooking for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Toss in the garlic and herbs, then stir until fragrant. Add the ham and stir to coat. Finally, add in your liquid, bay leaves and split peas.
TIP: Do a quick examination of your split peas to ensure there are no stones in the mix. I usually pour the bag out through my fingers, which takes about a minute. Give them a quick rinse in a strainer, too.
Secure the lid of your Instant Pot in place, then set it to Manual/Pressure Cook on high for 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and give it a good stir.
Usually, the soup is perfectly thickened, but if you prefer yours a bit thicker, no problem. Just set the Instant Pot back to sauté and cook until the desired thickness, stirring often to prevent burning.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! It's literally that simple!
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I serve this Instant Pot split pea soup?
Quite honestly, I'm perfectly happy eating this out of a mug with a piece of buttered toast cut into batons for dipping. I'd bet it would also be delicious with a grilled cheese sandwich, especially if said cheese was smoked gouda.
What if I don't have any wine on hand?
No worries! Just sub more broth, stock or even water instead.
Can I make a vegan Instant Pot split pea soup?
Absolutely! You can follow my recipe and sub vegetable stock for the bone broth, then add about ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke to mimic the ham. I also happen to love this recipe by Budget Bytes.
Can I make this without an Instant Pot?
If you don't yet have an Instant Pot, I sincerely hope you have one on your holiday wish list! That said, you can still make split pea and ham soup in a dutch oven. Just prepare for it to need to simmer for at least an hour if not longer.
Simply follow the recipe steps until it calls for you to seal the lid on the Instant Pot. Cover the dutch oven at this point, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking or burning on the bottom of the pan. The soup is ready when the peas are nice and soft, which usually takes an hour to an hour and a half, if not longer.
How long will Split Pea and Ham Soup keep?
If I'm being honest, this soup will taste even better after resting for at least a day in the fridge. It will keep up to a week in the refrigerator, and up to 6 months in the freezer.
PRO TIP: Want to freeze the soup in individual portions for quick lunches or kid friendly meals? Simply coat a muffin tin with some nonstick spray, then fill up the wells. Freeze solid, then pop out into a gallon freezer bag. (If necessary, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to release the pucks).
2-3 frozen pucks makes a perfect sized bowl of soup, so just throw however many into a bowl and microwave for 3ish minutes stirring at 45 second intervals. Even the kiddos can handle that!
Need more cozy weather food inspiration? Check out these other warming recipes:
- Instant Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Moussaka Style Lamb and Eggplant Shepherd's Pie
- Pork Tenderloin with Herbes de Provence Mustard and Sheet Pan Veggies
- Sheet Pan Sausages with Apple, Fennel and Root Vegetables
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Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup
- 3 tablespoon Butter
- 1 large Yellow Onion small dice
- 2-3 Carrots small dice
- 2 Celery Stalks small dice
- ¾ lb Cooked Ham preferably thick cut, medium diced
- 5-6 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 lb Dried Split Peas sorted through and rinsed
- 4 C Chicken Bone Broth or any stock
- 2 C Dry White Wine or sub water, bone broth or stock
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste
- Set Instant Pot to sauté on high. Add butter and allow to melt and begin to bubble. Add mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) and stir. Cook about 5 minutes, until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic, thyme and oregano and stir, cooking till fragrant (about 1 minute). Add ham and stir to coat, about 30 seconds.
- Add liquid, dried split peas and bay leaves. Seal lid on Instant Pot, then switch the function to Manual/Pressure Cook on high for 15 minutes. Allow to manually release for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and stir thoroughly. If soup seems thin, set back to sauté and cook for another 5 or so minutes while stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then enjoy!
- Split Pea soup will taste better after a day or two in the fridge.
- Serve with simple buttered toast for dipping.
- Soup will save in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- TIP: If you want to freeze in individual portions, grease a muffin tin with nonstick spray and fill each well with soup. Allow to freeze solid, then place in a gallon sized freezer bag. A portion is 2-3 pucks, depending on how hungry you are. Now your kiddos can easily feed themselves! Just microwave 2-3 minutes, stirring every 45 seconds or so, until hot and ready to eat.