Ham and Split Pea Soup is a delicious use of leftover holiday ham, and today I’m bringing you an easy and hearty soup that you can enjoy as a meal. Baked ham makes great leftover sandwiches, but when all the large slices are gone, and you get close to the bone, all that’s left are small pieces of ham meat. This is one of my favorite soups to use up all those bits.

A white bowl of Split Pea and Ham Soup

Using the leftover ham bone

The leftover meaty ham bone from your Thanksgiving or Christmas ham holds a wealth of flavor, making this, in my opinion, the best split pea soup—it’s crafted just the way my mum used to make it.

This is a classic split pea soup recipe, and a delicious vegetarian version can be made by leaving out the ham. With the earthy flavor of bay leaves, onion, and vegetables, vegetarian split pea soup is just as delicious. Furthermore, if you prefer a smoother soup, it’s easy to blend or use an immersion blender to make it smooth because there is no ham.

If your ham is boneless, like a ham steak, for instance, you will still get a delicious soup. You don’t always have to use leftover ham to make this comforting soup. I’ve used ham steaks or a small boneless ham. To add extra smoky flavor, you could include a smoked ham hock or ham shank.

A collection of the ingredients
Are split peas just regular peas?

While you might think that split peas are just dried fresh peas, this is not the case. Green split peas come from field peas that are specifically grown to be dried.

Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?

It is not necessary, but soaking overnight will reduce cooking time.

Can I use yellow split peas?

Yes, it will be just as delicious, just a different color. There are many yellow varieties, and they all will work.

Step by step photos

How to Make Ham and Split Pea Soup – In 6 Easy Steps

  • Step 1 – Preheat the olive oil in a large pot or large Dutch oven over medium heat and soften the vegetables (onions, carrots, celery)
  • Step 2– Add the ham
  • Step 3 – Add the split peas 
  • Step  4– Mix in chicken stock, chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • Step 5 – Add bay leaf
  • Step 6 – Cover and simmer

Ham and Split Pea Soup in the Slow Cooker

This is one the best ‘set-it and forget-it’ slow cooker split pea soup recipes. You can add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours or until the peas have cooked.

Freezing Ham and Split Pea Soup

This Ham and Split Pea Soup freezes really well too and will keep well sealed  for up to 3 months. I like to stock pile my freezer and I have a filling, hearty meal whenever I’m craving soup. Freeze in individual serving containers so thawing is easier and quicker this way, you’ll be able to thaw as many portions as you need at the time.

A bowl of green pea soup with ham and carrots

Chefs Tips

  • Some people like the soup thicker, some like it thinner. This is a personal choice so you will need adjust the liquid accordingly.
  • You will need to be mindful of the sodium level. You’ll notice there is no added salt because there is salt in the ham, ham bone and the stock.

If you’ve made this Ham and Split Pea Soup or any other recipe leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 10

Ham and Split Pea Soup

Chunks of ham, carrots split peas and potato on a spoon

Leftover ham is cooked with carrots and split peas.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups (350 ml) cooked ham, diced small
  • 1 pound (453 grams) green split peas, rinsed
  • 8 cups (4 pints) low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Leftover ham bone (optional)
  • 1 cup (150 grams) potatoes, peeled and cubed


  1. In a large soup pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper, stir to mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add the diced ham, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the green split peas, chicken stock, bay leaf and ham bone.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 1 hour or until peas are soft and broken down. If you are using potatoes, add them 30 minutes into the simmering. Check periodically to make sure liquid doesn't evaporate too quickly. If it does, add more stock or water to thin it out.
  3. Test for seasoning and if it needs salt, add to taste. 


I have adjusted the recipe to add salt only if needed at the end since a lot of hams have different salt levels and you may not need any.

If you like the soup thicker, cook the peas longer and mash them to help thicken.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 267Saturated Fat 1gCholesterol 7mgSodium 347mgCarbohydrates 37gProtein 16g