Ham Bone Split Pea Soup

This post has been updated for recipe and photos since its original publication in 2014.

If you love homemade split pea soup, this green pea soup recipe will be your new favorite. Ham Bone Split Pea Soup uses a handful of fresh vegetables and a leftover ham bone for a whole pot of easy split pea soup that’s ready in just over an hour.

I was sauteing mirepoix and garlic in a Dutch oven.

I had misgivings about putting this green pea soup recipe on the blog.  Not because of any flavor issues — but let’s face it — homemade split pea soup — that particular shade of green — doesn’t inspire you to devour bowl after bowl.  No, really it’s the aroma that gets you and keeps you coming back.  And of course, the taste!  This is the way my Mom makes it.

I am adding a leftover ham bone, bay leaves, and fresh thyme to the pot.


I am adding the dried split peas to the Dutch oven.

So everyone put on your rose colored glasses and go with me on this.  Homemade split pea soup is one of the homiest one-pot meals out there.  Yes, chicken soup is good for the soul, but THIS is good for everything else.

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I was covering the ingredients with fresh water.

This  recipe is one of those stick-to-your-ribs wonders that’s rich and satisfying — warming you from the inside out.  Plus, it goes great with a grilled cheese sandwich, or if you happen to have any of those angel flake biscuits left-over from the holidays, break them out, now!

The ham bone split pea soup after simmering for a few hours.

Happily, this  pea soup is easy to make and — it makes a lot! This meaty potage gets it’s creamy mouth-feel from those little split peas, which just dissolve into the broth.  And by broth, I mean the ham bone and water.  Split peas and lentils are the two legumes that don’t actually need an overnight soak or extensive cooking times, consequently, I always have a bag of each on hand for quick, easy, satisfying meals.

I was adding ham to the soup (that I picked from the bone).

The key to this soup is the ham bone.  It flavors the broth and provides body and mouth feel to the soup. As the ham bone simmers with the other ingredients, it releases natural gelatins that turns this soup into a jello-mold if you chill it overnight in the fridge.  You know what I’m talking about.  But just heat it up and it returns to that thick, savory amalgam.  Man, is it good.

A cup of split pea soup with ham and vegetables.

Ham bone split pea soup is so good, you’re gonna want to make a baked ham, just so you can use the bone for a homemade split pea soup.

More Ways To Use Dried Peas:

A larger bowl of soup with chunks of ham and carrots.


More easy bean soups:

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A bowl of pea soup with chunks of ham.
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3.75 from 266 votes

Ham Bone Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup with ham is one of the easiest and most delicious, satisfying soups.  A ham bone is essential for flavoring the broth and adding body to the soup.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword bean soup, ham bone, soup, split pea
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 12 ounces dried split peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1 leftover ham bone
  • 4 sprigs thyme leaves tied with kitchen string
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups cool water – or more if soup gets too thick
  • 1 ½ cups ham pulled from the bone and shredded into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, and celery. Saute for five minutes until vegetables are tender.
  • Add the ham bone, peas, water, thyme and bay leaf. Stir and cover. Heat to a boil and reduce heat to medium low.
  • Simmer for one hour or until peas have broken apart and soup is thick. Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in diced ham and heat through.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve.


YouTube video


Soup should be thick, but if it becomes so thick that it’s more like a split pea scoop instead of soup — just stir in more water about a cup at a time to thin it out to your liking.


Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 469mg | Potassium: 673mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5180IU | Vitamin C: 3.8mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2.8mg

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  1. 5 stars
    My husband never liked split pea soup so I rarely made it. I made your soup recipe and he likes it. I make it often now. Very easy recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Followed recipe as printed except use dried thyme. Came out great and delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    I just bought a Lodge dutch oven, and i use it quite frequently, with amazing results. I made this soup tonight, and it was fabulous! I did not have fresh thyme or bay leaves. So i subbed with 1 tblsp italian seasoning. The flavor was magnificent. Great recipe, it is now a part of my soup group!

  4. 5 stars
    I have always been afraid to make this soup, it was my favorite that my dad made when I was a kid. This recipe was easy and it came out just right. Only issue is I accidentally blended the bay leaf. I mixed all the ingredients except some extra ham and carrots, cooked them down for an hour, then blended it (guessing I blended 2 bay leaves, can’t find them so guess it’s ok). I then added the soup back to the pot and added the extra ham pieces and carrots. My house smells amazing!

    1. LOL – that’s too funny about the bay leaf! I’m glad you like the soup, tho!

      1. Hi Lisa, will not having celery effect it too much?

        1. You can make it without the celery if you don’t have any, but it’s part of a classic mire poix, so get some for your next pot of soup!

  5. I have yellow whole peas on the stove, they’ve been cooking about an hour and a half (and finally softening) and I also have chicken bones in the instant pot as i like to use my own broth, I plan to put the ham bone in the instant pot today as well to get some of that goodness. Tomorrow I will salute my veggies and add everything together and simmer, my question is, should I use the water the yellow peas are in as well or should I drain them and just add them to tomorrows broth?

  6. Phyllis Grenda says:

    5 stars
    Spruced mine with chicken stock and no olive oil, Butter makes everything better, and definitely cooked longer for a creamier soup.

  7. Going to make this today, can I use 16oz of dried split peas? I have a 16oz bag and I know if I only use the 12oz recommended the rest of the peas will sit in my cupboard until they’re not good anymore.

    1. by all means use the 16 oz. You may need more water, but that’s ok.

  8. Can you use dried thyme if you don’t have fresh? How much?

  9. Hi I’m trying to make this right now. I only have hamhocks. Ok to use?

    1. Yes, you can use ham hocks, but you probably won’t get any meat from the bones, however, it will flavor the soup nicely and add body.

  10. We tried making some split pea and ham soup (Not your recipe unfortunately). Soaked the peas overnight, brought mixture to a boil in a dutch oven and simmered for a couple hours. Peas never got soft. What brand peas do you use? We used Goya split peas. HELP PLEASE. We both enjoy this type of soup but don’t want to make again, afraid same thing will happen. Thanks Dan

    1. I’ve used Goya split peas as well as Iberia. Split peas don’t need to soak overnight, generally, and will break down in the soup when simmered for a long time. Do you know how old your dried peas were? Sometimes if they’re past their best buy date, you may have to cook them longer and may require more liquid (sometimes up to 2-3 cups more). Rest assured, they will eventually absorb the liquid and soften up. Just give it more time.