• Awesome Split Pea Soup

    8 votes
    Awesome Split Pea Soup
    Prep: 15 min Cook: 2 hours Servings: 8
    by John Spottiswood
    300 recipes
    We made this soup by combining the best of two from America's Test Kitchen and one from Cook's Illustrated's the Best New Recipe. I think this is a split pea soup that can't be beat!


    • 1 lb split peas, rinsed
    • 1-2 pounds ham shank or other bone-in ham piece
    • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 2.5 quarts water
    • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
    • 2 onions minced
    • 2 celery ribs chopped
    • 3 small new potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
    • 1 tsp salt and more to taste
    • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
    • 2 medium garlic cloves minced (optional)
    • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)


    1. Bring the peas, ham, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and water to simmer in a large pot. Cover and cook for 1 hour.
    2. Stir in the carrots, onions, celery and potatoes. Continue to simmer until the peas have softened, about 30 minutes. (Optional, saute carrots, onions, celery and potatoes in 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat for 8-10 minutes until browned, then add the garlic cloves and saute for 1 more minute, before adding everything to the pot. This adds a little nuttiness to the flavor, but is not necessary for a great soup.)
    3. Remove the ham shank, chop, and add back to the soup. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice (optional), season with salt and pepper, and serve with a crusty bread!
    4. You can leave out the ham altogether for a still tasty dish. If you do so, I would add more salt liberally and perhaps 1/2 tsp of ground cumin for additional flavor.

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    • Nancy Miyasaki
      Nancy Miyasaki
      I really enjoyed this hearty split pea soup!
      • Ruthanne Degen
        Ruthanne Degen
        Made this but used a smoked ham hock wow what great flavor
        • Tom Nakfoor
          Tom Nakfoor
          Sounds just like the way I make and I agree, its great. I have a slight variation that you could try...I don't add potatoes and do add one roasted, skinned Pablano pepper chopped and a cup of heavy cream. Try it...adds just the right twist
          • NOEL
            it is the most awesome split pea soup ever and was so super easy to make....added just a bit of crumbled bacon when serving.....delicious..this is my go to recipe now!
            • Fat-Bottomed Girl Kitchen
              Fat-Bottomed Girl Kitchen
              Got 2 hours and a bag of peas? Make this soup!! This recipe is so easy and makes a delicious and hearty soup (and it is now part of my soup repertoire).

              My variations:
              * Smoked turkey leg (made stock from that before making this soup) instead of cured/smoked pork
              * Omitted salt (Step 1), and used both white and black pepper
              * 3 carrots, 1 celery rib
              * Added diced potatoes in with the meat in Step 3, and cooked 15 min (prevents mushiness)
              * Distilled white vinegar instead of lemon juice (cuts the saltiness)
              * Topped it with some crunchy, buttery croutons!

              My long-gone "Momma Lill" used to make me a big pot of her split pea soup, and I never thought I could make one as good--until now. Thank you, John, for publishing this recipe for those who don't have member access to America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country.

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