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!
Table of contents
- Grandma’s Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
- Why Make Instant Pot Pea Soup?
- Ingredients for Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup
- How to Make Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
- Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Tips for Best Results
- Serving Recommendations
- Making Split Pea Instant Pot Soup in Advance
- More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Yes. If you froze a ham bone or turkey carcass from the holidays, no need to thaw it. Just follow the recipe.
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!
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.
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!
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 shrimp and zucchini 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!
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!
- Soup and salad: A simple lettuce salad recipe or lemon kale salad with garlic and parmesan is a nice accompaniment.
- Soup and sandwich: Serve with half of a grilled cheese, chicken, turkey, tuna melt or ham sandwich. Even just a basket of crusty bread for dipping would be great. I have been known to even serve cottage cheese protein pancakes along with this this soup when that is all I have on hand!
- Soup as a starter: Enjoy a small bowl of soup before serving air fryer chicken wings, Tex Mex chicken and zucchini, or easy pesto chicken.
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
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
- In a colander, add split peas, rinse with cold water and set aside to drain. Prep other ingredients.
- 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.
- Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 15 minutes.
- 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.
- Open the lid, add parsley and stir.
- Serve hot with warm crusty bread.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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