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Best Split Pea Soup with Leftover Ham

Soups, Dinner, Lunch

Every year after Easter I make the best Split Pea Soup with leftover ham. This recipe is inspired by my dad’s simple split pea soup he made when I was growing up, but I added a few of my own touches to make it even better, sorry dad!

Split-Pea-Soup-on-spoon-in a bowl
This comforting timeless soup is perfect for putting that leftover ham to delicious use. After years of refining this recipe, I'm proud to declare that this is the best Split Pea Soup. Each spoonful is creamy, hearty, and bursting with flavor.

I’m a huge fan of making homemade comforting soups so if you love soups like I do, be sure to also check out my entire collection of soup recipes.

The secret to making the best Split Pea Soup

There are a few tricks that help make my version of split pea soup extra delicious.

  • First, instead of using oil or butter, I separate all of the fat from the leftover ham and set it to the side. I then sauté the fat in my soup pot until the bottom of the pot begins browning and is all greased up. Then I remove the ham and add my vegetables. This adds incredible flavor and depth to the soup. Since the leftover ham is not added until the end, sautéing the fat infuses the soup with more of the smoked ham flavor.
  • My second trick is adding a squeeze of lemon juice. All soups need some type of acidity to brighten up the flavor. Adding a small squeeze of lemon at the very end helps all the flavors come together.
  • Do not boil your split pea soup, gently simmer it or your vegetables will be mushy.

Is Split Pea Soup Healthy?

This Split Pea Soup with leftover ham is actually very low-calorie. This recipe makes 5 generous servings that are 2 cups which is enough to fill a large bowl. Each bowl is only 189 calories. Additionally, my split pea soup is Keto-Friendly with only 6g of net carbs. Plus it is very high in protein with 15g per serving and it’s also Gluten-Free!

Here’s why I skip using the Instant Pot

I absolutely love my Instant Pot, but for this soup I skip it. When using the Instant Pot, vegetables cook incredibly fast and it’s not enough time to infuse the soup with the flavor of all the vegetables. When I make Split Pea Soup, the best result is letting it simmer for at least an hour.


Recipe Modifications

With Split Pea Soup, I find that everyone has their preferences. For example, I like my soup more hearty with the peas still holding their shape, while others like the peas to be almost completely smooth.

Some people like their split pea soup to have more liquid, while I personally like my soup thicker. This recipe can be easily adjusted to fit your preferences.

Smoother Pea Soup

For a smoother pea soup, just continue simmer your soup and check the soup in 15 minute increments until the peas have cooked down more to your preference.

For less thick pea soup

If you don’t like your pea soup thick and prefer it to be more soupy, add 8 cups of chicken broth, instead of 6.


Recipe Instructions

First, separate the fat from your ham. Then in a large soup pot on medium heat, add the ham fat and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of your pan begins browning and there is a thin layer of grease coating the pot.


Then remove the ham fat and add your diced onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 2-3 minutes and stir often to bring up all the brown bits so they completely coat all the vegetables.

Once all the brown is no longer on the bottom of the pan and the onions are translucent, add the split peas, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together.


Next, add your broth, stir, and bring to a very low boil. Preferably, as soon as you see the soup is about to boil, reduce the stove to a light simmer, cover completely, and simmer for 50 minutes.

Once your soup has simmered for 50 minutes, remove the lid and add your parsley, cubed ham, and lemon juice. Then simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

If at one hour your split peas are not as cooked down as you would like them to be, continue to simmer and check every 15 minutes until the desired consistency is reached. At the very end you can add any additional salt and pepper to your taste.


This Split Pea Soup will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. However, what I really love about this soup is it is freezer-friendly. I like to pre-portion this soup into freezer-friendly containers to use it for lunches throughout the month.


You can take the soup out and leave it in the fridge the night before or place it on the counter the morning you’d like to enjoy it. You can also run the container under water until the sides loosen up and dump the frozen block into a bowl.

Then cover with microwave-safe wax paper and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and stir. Put the soup back into the microwave for an additional minute, remove, and stir. Then put the soup back in the microwave for 30-second increments until it’s nice and warm. The soup will be ready to enjoy in about 4-5 minutes.

Enjoy More Healthy Soup Recipes


Best Split Pea Soup with Leftover Ham

This comforting timeless soup is perfect for putting that leftover ham to delicious use. After years of refining this recipe, I'm proud to declare that this is the best Split Pea Soup. Each spoonful is creamy, hearty, and bursting with flavor.
Sondra Barker
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 5 servings
Calories 183 kcal


  • 1 Large Pot


  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups ham diced, save the fat
  • 2 cups carrots diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • ¼ cup yellow onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • Remove the fat from your leftover ham and then set it to the side.
  • Take out a large pot and turn it on medium heat (not on high heat). Then add the ham fat and saute for 2-3 minutes until it adds a small coat of fat to the pot and just slightly browns the bottom of the pan.
  • Then add your diced onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Saute on medium to low heat for 2-3 minutes and stir to combine the ham fat. As the vegetables cook, it should bring up any browning on the pan as you stir.
  • Next, add your split peas and stir to combine. Then add your chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
  • Gently bring the soup to a low boil, then simmer on low heat for one hour.
  • 15 minutes before the soup is finished, add your diced ham, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Once the soup is finished you can taste and add any additional salt if needed.


  • If after 1 hour, if the peas on not soft enough or cooked down to your liking, simply continue simmering for 15-minute increments.
  • Do, not over-boil your soup. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to delicious split pea soup.
  • for less thick soup, add 2 extra cups of chicken broth


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 1764mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 8785IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbohydrates: 6g
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About The Author


DSC_1770 cropSondra Barker
I created this site for purveyor of exceptional eats and escapes; our team is always on a journey to find the perfect bites in the most wonderful places.

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