by Olena

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

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Olena Osipov
5 from 35 votes

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Comforting Instant Pot Split Pea Soup is brimming with flavour, budget friendly, and easy to make! It’s hearty, protein-rich, and comforting, made with split peas, ham or soup bones, and fresh veggies in a fraction of the time without any presoaking!

Love pulses and love your Instant Pot? Check out Instant Pot black bean soup, Instant Pot lentil soup, and out of this world Instant Pot vegetarian chili.

Grandma’s Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Making Instant Pot pea soup is one of the easiest ways to make this delicious classic soup. I ate this soul-warming, budget-friendly soup a lot growing up in Ukraine as I know most of you did too! It’s so buttery, creamy, thick, and hearty and tastes so good, especially with the addition of smoky, salty ham!

I knew that since I took my grandma’s borscht recipe and made a pressure cooker borscht version, I could do the same with her split pea soup recipe. It’s one of those mouthwatering soups that gets passed on through generations but with the modern Instant Pot, the pressure cooker does all the work for you in under 1 hour!

Why Make Instant Pot Pea Soup?

  • It’s delicious: Using a pressure cooker to make soup is a game-changer. As you can tell by my pressure cooker vegetable soup or pressure cooker minestrone recipes, using high pressure imparts amazing flavour.
  • Makes a big batch: It’s a one-pot meal hearty enough to satisfy even the hungriest crowds. 
  • A no-fuss soup: It’s all made in one pot which means easy clean-up and minimal effort!
  • Healthy and easy: Simple wholesome ingredients many of which are probably already in your kitchen. This recipe will save you time and money.
  • Leftovers: This soup not only makes great leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day BUT you can also use leftovers in the soup itself. Leftover holiday turkey or leftover ham bone. Use rotisserie chicken or any leftover homemade broth.
pressure cooker split pea soup with ham

Ingredients for Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup

  • Yellow or green split peas: Split peas sometimes get confused with lentils. While they are both legumes and have a similar appearance, they are not the same.
  • Meat (optional) with bone: My grandma always made split pea soup with soup bones if she had them. She would make a vegetarian version when money was tight. You can use (smoked) ham bone or ham hock, diced ham, chicken, or beef soup bones. After the holidays, you can use a leftover turkey carcass or a smoked turkey leg.
  • Veggies and aromatics: Potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves.
  • Liquid: If using meat, you will cook the soup with water. In other cases, you can use chicken broth or vegetable stock/broth from a carton or bouillon cubes diluted in water.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, fresh herbs like parsley or dill.

One of the main reasons (other than its literal deliciousness) I love this Instant Pot split pea soup recipe is because 99% of the time I already have all of the ingredients in my pantry. Especially when I make vegan Instant Pot split pea soup because I love to keep smoked paprika on hand. I’ll use it instead of a ham bone!

How to Make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

  • Rinse peas and rinse them well! There is no need to presoak them, which is the beauty of a pressure cooker.
green split peas being rinsed
  • Add all ingredients: In Instant Pot, add meat/bones (if using), onion, carrots, garlic, split peas, potatoes, water or stock, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. No need to sauté onion or garlic in olive oil, as food cooked under pressure comes out more flavorful.
  • Pressure cook for 15 minutes: Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. With pressure building up, cooking time, and a bit of pressure coming down, split pea soup in Instant Pot takes about 1 hour.

Size affects time. Cooking time also depends on whether you use 6 quart or 8 quart electric pressure cooker. There is less liquid to heat in a 6 quart pot which means the split pea soup cooks faster.

  • Release pressure and season: Once the cooking time is up, press cancel. You can let pressure come down on its own (if you are away) or wait 15 minutes for the liquid to stop bubbling and turn the valve to Venting to release the remaining pressure. Now, add parsley or dill, stir and pour yourself a bowl!

To make soup in the slow cooker: Saute onion and garlic with a bit of butter. Then combine all ingredients in the large slow cooker and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Keep it vegan/vegetarian: Omit the meat, use vegetable broth, and add smoked paprika or liquid smoke to taste. Do this once the pressure cooker split pea soup has finished cooking.
  • Cooked bacon or even pancetta is a great alternative to using ham!
  • Any additional seasoning can be used to please your taste buds! Try a little thyme or red pepper flakes.

Finish it off with a squirt of lemon juice for serving. It gives it a vibrant finish to an otherwise rich soup.

Tips for Best Results

  • To create rich broth with deep flavor: If you have time, make Instant Pot bone broth first and use it as a soup base. So many health benefits come with it! Use it to sip on its own if you have any left.
  • Wait 15 minutes before releasing pressure: Even after the soup is done cooking, the liquid is boiling vigorously inside the pot. Let it settle a bit to avoid starchy soup splattering all over your kitchen.
  • 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut ingredients of 6-quart recipe in half and cook for the same time.
  • Yellow peas. Yellow peas have a higher starch content which means the texture may differ slightly than if you were to use green peas. Neither one will require an immersion blender, because of how soft and buttery they are, but with yellow peas, you may feel the need to thin it out a bit.

FAQs

Do I have to soak split peas?

No. For some reason, my grandma always soaked split peas in Ukraine many years ago. Maybe we had different split peas or she wanted them to cook faster. Not sure. Today, you do not have to soak split peas or lentils.

Can I make 6 quart amounts in 8 quart?

Yes. You can follow the directions for the 6-quart size in an 8 quart Instant Pot. If you’re feeding about 6 people and don’t need (or want) any leftovers, then this would be a great idea. The 8-quart amounts would feed the same amount of people but will probably provide leftovers.

Can I use frozen ham bone or carcass?

Yes. If you froze a ham bone or turkey carcass from the holidays, no need to thaw it. Just follow the recipe.

Is split pea soup good for you?

It is! Split peas are high in fibre, iron, potassium, vitamin K and help to lower cholesterol. The soup is hearty and satisfying which means less snacking in between meals. However, you should always be mindful of the sodium levels of soups, especially if you’re using store-bought broth. Read the labels, adjust ingredients to suit your needs, and reap the health rewards!

Can you make split pea soup without ham?

Absolutely. You can completely omit the ham and any meat and replace that smoky flavor with smoked paprika or liquid smoke. If you don’t eat pork but would like to add some protein you could use chicken or turkey (smoked or not) instead.

How do I make split soup creamy?

Split peas are naturally soft and buttery when cooked. The soup is generally creamy all on its own, so if your soup isn’t thick and your peas aren’t soft by the time the cooking time is over, it may mean that your peas are old and too dried out. Otherwise, if you are looking for a creamier, thicker consistency, you could try a cornstarch slurry. You probably won’t need it though!

What else can I do with split peas?

Swap the lentils for split peas in this Instant Pot dal recipe. Once cooked you could add them on top of your salad or into a stir fry for added protein and fibre. I have even been known to toss them into chicken noodle soup! Some people also make fritters, hummus, or split pea curry. I suggest instead of buying a small package of split peas, buy some in bulk. Dried pulses and legumes tend to have a long shelf life so not only are you reducing packaging but it’s more bang for your buck with all the ways you can use them!

split pea soup in a bowl with spoon beside it

Serving Recommendations

This soup doesn’t need anything else to complete it. However, I know the hungry teenager situation all too well. Here’s what I do sometimes!

Making Split Pea Instant Pot Soup in Advance

Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container or inner pot with a lid for up to 5 days.

It’s a thick soup! This Instant Pot split pea soup (vegan or not) thickens with time. With the gelatin in the ham, even more so. It will thin out again as it warms, but you may still need to add a bit of water or broth until desired consistency is reached.

Reheating: Right after cooking, the soup will look watery. In 5-6 hours or overnight, split peas will break down further thickening the soup. Reheat on the stove top or inner pot of the Instant Pot on saute. Along with thinning it out a bit, you might also have to add a bit more salt.

Freezing: Instant Pot split pea soup recipe contains no starchy pasta or thin flesh vegetables, so it’s great for the freezer! Once thawed, it tastes as good as fresh. Freeze in an airtight glass container with some room for expansion for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on a counter during the day. If in a rush, simmer covered on low, stirring occasionally.

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes

Instant pot split pea soup in a bow for serving
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup {Grandma’s Recipe}

Comforting Instant Pot Split Pea Soup is brimming with flavour, budget friendly, and easy to make! It's hearty, protein-rich, and comforting, made with split peas, ham or soup bones, and fresh veggies in a fraction of the time without any presoaking!
4.95 from 35 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Pressure Build Up & Release Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 (6 Qt.), 8 (8 Qt.) servings
Calories: 310kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

6 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large potato cubed
  • 2 cups (1 lb) green/yellow split peas dried
  • 1-2 lbs ham bone, any soup bones or 8 oz diced ham
  • 6 cups water, low sodium stock or bone broth
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup parsley or dill finely chopped

8 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 large carrots diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups (1.5 lbs) green/yellow split peas dried
  • 2 medium potatoes cubed
  • 1-2 lbs ham bone, any soup bones or 8 oz diced ham
  • 8 cups water, low sodium stock or bone broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley or dill finely chopped

Instructions

  • In a colander, add split peas, rinse with cold water and set aside to drain. Prep other ingredients.
    Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
  • In 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, add onion, carrots, garlic, split peas, potatoes, ham (soup) bones or diced ham, water or stock, salt, pepper and bay leaves. No need to stir.
    Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 15 minutes.
    Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
  • After allow the pressure to naturally release for 10-15 minutes to avoid splattering. Then turn valve to Venting. Or you can let pressure subside on its own which will take about 30 minutes – Natural Release.
    Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
  • Open the lid, add parsley and stir.
    Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
  • Serve hot with warm crusty bread.
    Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container or inner Instant Pot pot with a fitting glass lid for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.

      Reheating: Split pea soup thickens with time. Right after cooking, soup will look more watery. In 5-6 hours or overnight, split peas will break down further thickening the soup. To thin out the soup, first warm it up on the stove or in the inner pot inside of Instant Pot on Saute. If it is still too thick, add water or broth until desired consistency. You might also have to add a bit more salt.

        Notes

        • Too thick or too thin soup? Split pea soup thickens with time. See reheating memo above.
        • When to add broth and when to add water? If you are using soup bones or ham, you can add water or mix it with broth. If making vegan/vegetarian version, definitely use broth or stock.
        • Other veggies: If you like celery in soup, add 2 chopped large stalks. You can also omit potatoes if you are not used to them in this soup, or use less carrots for less sweet taste.
        • Do I have to soak split peas? No. For some reason, my grandma always soaked split peas in Ukraine many years ago. Maybe we had different split peas or she wanted them to cook faster. Not sure. Today, you do not have to soak split peas.
        • To create rich broth with deep flavor: If you have time, make Instant Pot bone broth first and use it as a soup base. So much goodness and health benefits!
        • Keep it vegan/vegetarian: Omit meat, use vegetable broth and add smoked paprika or liquid smoke to taste after split pea soup has finished cooking.
        • Cooked bacon or even pancetta is a great alternative to using ham!
        • Finish it off with a squirt of lemon juice for serving. It gives it a vibrant finish to an otherwise rich soup.
        • Any additional seasoning can be used to please your taste buds! Try a little thyme or red pepper flakes.
        • 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut ingredients of 6 quart recipe in half and cook for same time.
        • Can I make 6 quart amounts in 8 quart? Yes.
        • Frozen ham bone or carcass? If you froze a ham bone or turkey carcass from the holidays, no need to thaw it. Just follow the recipe.
        • To make soup in slow cooker: Saute onion and garlic with a bit of butter. Then combine all ingredients in large slow cooker and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.
        See recipe post for additional tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 2cups | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 812mg | Potassium: 906mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3780IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 4mg
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        97 comments on “Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

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        1. 5 stars
          Ridiculously simple and by far the best pea soup I’ve ever made or eaten! Superb!! (I will admit I swapped out half a cup of peas for lentils for a little extra added protein and I added celery, but still so simple and delicious!)

        2. 5 stars
          Great quick meal that everyone loved. We were cleaning out the pantry and used SPAM as the meat. Also added the paprika for a bit of a smokey flavor. Delish….

        3. 5 stars
          Made the bone broth first with a smoked ham bone ; and then proceeded to make to the split pea soup. Oh my goodness , one of the best soups I have ever made.

          Thanks Olena

        4. 5 stars
          I just made this instant pot split pea soup and it was arguably the best I ever made. I used a meaty ham hock and chicken broth. Not only that it was ready in one hour. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you.

        5. 5 stars
          I made the pea soup today using whole, yellow peas. I had to cook the soup an extra 15 minutes because the whole peas weren’t quite cooked. Perfection! Wonderful flavour!

        6. This soup sounds so good! I have whole yellow peas for French Canadian Pea Soup, do you think they would work in this recipe or would I have to increase the time?

        7. 5 stars
          Your split pea soup recipe was exactly like my mother’s Cape Breton soup. Most pea soup recipe do not use potatoes I I think they make it a complete meal. delicious. it tastes better next day. thanks, Bob

        8. 5 stars
          Excellent recipe! I substituted with onion powder. I had a ham bone and left over ham in the freezer from Thanksgiving so I used that. I did use only about 8-9 cups of liquid bc I had hit the 2/3 mark in the 8qt pot. So good! Thank you!!

        9. The reason gramma soaked the beans is because back in the day they knew that soaking released the harmful chemical LECTIN and made beans safe for the human body, I have been looking into this as its clearing up a lot of my issues simply by following this lectin free diet.
          A pressure cooker kills lectins.
          Have a great day and thank you for sharing~!

        10. 5 stars
          This soup is amazingly easy and delicious!!! It smells so good!!! My family really enjoys your recipes. Thank you, Olena 🌹

        11. 5 stars
          I left out onion and added onion powder. I used dried parsley instead of fresh. I added chopped chicken, garlic powder, and liquid smoke. Really good.

        12. 5 stars
          Made this recipe and it was excellent, Added a ham steak diced and frozen corn and peas.
          used 10 cups of roasted chicken better than bouillion broth
          This will be one of my goto recipes this coming winter.
          Love your recipes, simple and easy to follow your videos

        13. 5 stars
          Hi Olena
          We made the vegan version of this soup last night and it was absolutely delicious 🙂
          Thank you so much for the recipe

        14. 5 stars
          Made this as written and it turned out awesome! Loved it and the simple ingredients I already had on hand! 2 drops of liquid smoke I added at the end. Soup bones gave great flavour.

        15. 5 stars
          Great quick recipe. I have used better than bullion stock and did not add any salt to compensate. Adding some tomatoes adds nice acidity. In addition to this recipe I have fried tortillas with cheese inside on a pan, they go good together.

        16. Hi! I don’t have any bones, but I have chicken breast. Can I add that raw chicken to the pot?

        17. 5 stars
          Delicious soup that’s also super easy to make! I ran out of regular potato and ended up using sweet potato instead – it was still delicious. Thanks Olena!

          1. I enjoy your blog so much! The recipes are great and remind me of meals I grew up with. Thank you for creating a positive, enjoyable, and informative site!

        18. 5 stars
          This was delicious! I just finished a bowl. The only thing I did differently, I used a small ham shank instead of bones. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

        19. 5 stars
          Question before I make this for dinner tomorrow… Do I need to thaw the soup bones before cooking? Or, can I put them in straight from the freezer?

            1. Hi,
              Since I do not have enough split green beans, can I make a mixture of red lentils and split green peas…and still have it turn out yummy?
              I’m new to insta pot cooking….love your detailed instructions!!

          1. As a garnish to a pot of cooked soup. In a pot and some in bowls. Fresh herbs are always added this way to the soup. Best not to cook them. Enjoy!

        20. 5 stars
          I used vegetable better than bullion to make it vegan, and it worked great. Using the smoked paprika or liquid smoke really adds to the rich flavor.

        21. 5 stars
          Just made this soup using your recipe, wow, so delicious. The only thing is my peas came out a little overcooked, so next time I will cook for 20 min most. While my soup was cooking I baked boneless, skinless chicken thighs and added it to cooked soup. I was nervous, but it’s an absolutely delicious soup. Thank you so much for sharing ;))

        22. Hi I am thinking about making this for dinner tomorrow. Can it be made with out the soup bones as I don’t have any on hand.

        23. 5 stars
          If you love split pea soup, make this. If you are not sure if you like split peas, make this. If you think you probably don’t like split peas, MAKE THIS! I have had this on my list to make for fall. Yesterday, the weather went from hot in the morning to cold in the afternoon, so I tossed these ingredients into the crock pot in the morning (yes, I know this is an instant pot recipe, but Olena’s recipes are adaptable). I was skeptical about liking this since I normally only like peas in small quantities, but since I have been eating more healthy for a few months I decided I was willing to try to develop a taste. When I walked in from the cold, wet evening to my warm house smelling like this soup….ahhhhhhh, so cozy! I cooked a few whole skin on chicken thighs in the soup, so I fished them out and used two forks to remove the skin and bones and shred the meat, which I returned to the pot. This soup was SO GOOD, and now I have enough for a couple of days as well as a few mason jars for the freezer when I don’t have time to cook (or to take to work). (I just finished a jar of Olena’s Thai Chicken Soup for lunch since I already had it thawed. Check out that wonderful recipe, too.)

          1. So happy to hear, Kimberly! Of course you can cook it in a crock pot if you know the machine. Too funny but I made this soup today cleaning out the fridge. So even turkey juices and gravy went there from my recipe tests. I was short on split peas so I added red lentils and white beans. My teenager asked for this soup today and now he is in heaven.
            Thanks for taking time to write such a long wonderful review. Have a great weekend!

        24. 5 stars
          Absolutely the best split pea soup I’ve tried! Thank you so much for the recipe. Quick question…how can I incorporate whole grains into the recipe? I want to save time by adding it to the instant pot instead of cooking them separately. I was thinking of brown rice, pot barley or bulgur. Would that work?

          1. Yes, for sure. I do it very often. Just add 1/2 cup of uncooked and rinsed grain right with other ingredients. Consistency will be great right after but next day you might want to add more water or broth and adjust salt to taste. Split pea soup really thickens overnight and with extra grains there – for sure.

          1. Why not? Why ham and not soup bones? Of course! Nice rich flavour without loads of sodium like ham. Use what you have. Bones go with any soup. Always. 🙂

        25. I am about to put your recipe together for tonight’s dinner. It sounds delicious. One thing concerns me though, the makers of instant pot said absolutely DO NOT put the inner pot on the stove. Do I or don’t I ?

          1. They did? Not sure. To me it looks like regular stainless steel pot. I have been reheating in it for years on the stove and no issues. For reheating, not cooking in it on the stove. I don’t see why not but it’s up to you how you reheat the soup. I do many things with IP against “their rules”.:) Many are for legal reasons they say.

        26. 4 stars
          Because I have a smaller pot (Ninja Foodi), it was way too high after I added all the ingredients and I was afraid it would blow up!! I transferred it to a Dutch oven and cooked this on stove top for 3.5 hours. It is delicious! It is thick, and I don’t miss the hambone at all. I added more salt and used Hungarian paprika…it is really, really good!! Thanks Olena!!

        27. 5 stars
          I made this soup this morning. I used beef bones, as thats what I had in my freezer, and beef broth. First let me say, it tasted nothing like the split pea soup of my youth..BUT.. it was absolutely delicious!! I loved it! It was like the most mouth watering beef and vegetable soup with the heaviness of the chunks of beef. I will definitely be making this again, especially throughout the winter months!

        28. 5 stars
          My grandma used to make a split pea soup and it had potatoes. I made your version with bacon and it was delicious. Thank you so much!

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