Slow Cooker Recipe: Split Pea Soup with Ham
This recipe, Split Pea Soup with Ham, is an ideal make-ahead meal for busy nights. It’s one of our favorite healthy slow cooker recipes because it’s tasty, filling, and easy to make.
Split Pea Soup with Ham is a classic for a reason. It’s hearty and warm, perfect for chilly nights. It’s filling. It’s healthy. And when cooked in the slow cooker, it makes dinnertime a snap: Put the soup together whenever you have time earlier in the day, and it’ll be ready for you when it’s time for your evening meal.
Split pea soup is made with dried peas, and usually includes ham, onion, and spices. Variations of this soup are common in many cultures around the world, and its history goes back to ancient times, when it was a common Athenian street food.
These days, split pea soup is commonly eaten throughout Europe, especially in England, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Poland. It’s also common in Canada, perhaps brought over by the French, as well as other countries that started as European colonies: the United States, Indonesia, and Australia, for instance.
Each country has slightly different ways of preparing and serving split pea soup. In Denmark, for example, pea soup is served with pancakes or rye bread and mustard. In Poland, it’s prepared very thick, while in the United States it’s often a thin soup. Some cultures like to add lots of vegetables to their split pea soup, while others keep it simple.
Split Pea Soup with Ham is commonly served in the winter and spring. In the U.S., it’s often served to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, while in Norway it’s an Easter dish. In Sweden and Finalnd, the soup is traditionally served on Thursdays!
Our recipe, Split Pea Soup with Ham and Baguette, is on the thicker side and contains a modest amount of vegetables. We include carrots in the soup for extra flavor and nutrition, and often add a side salad for a light, fresh accompaniment (try mixed greens, grapes, and pistachios!). Served with a generous chunk of crusty baguette for soaking up the soup, it’s a beautifully balanced meal that will leave you satisfied yet craving leftovers.
Ready to jump in? Let’s talk about how to prepare this tasty recipe, and some of our favorite tips for making the prep easier!
Meal Planning Smarts
- Split peas: Split peas are an inexpensive ingredient, making this soup a good option for budget cooks.
- Ham: We have you use thick deli-sliced ham in this recipe, such as you’d get at the meat counter at your grocery store. Ham can vary quite a bit in cost, so choose a type that works well for your budget.
- Using the slow cooker to cook this soup means you can spend the pre-dinnertime hour with your family or friends. This soup can also be made ahead and reheated to serve, or can be frozen for later use.
- Need a refresher on the best ways to chop the veggies used in this soup? Check out the short demonstration videos below, which we always include with our recipes:
How to Chop & Dice an Onion
Learning how to dice an onion correctly will save you so much time in the kitchen.
How to Chop Carrots
Watch this video to learn our tips on how to best peel, chop, and dice carrots easily.
- Slow cooker: A slow cooker is the only special equipment you’ll need to make this recipe!
For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools
- Onions - 1, diced
- Carrots - 8 oz, diced
- Ham, thick deli-sliced - 6 oz, chopped
- Thyme leaves - 1 tsp
- Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Stock, any type - 4 cups
- Split peas, dried - 1 cup
- Bay leaves - 1
- Sour cream (opt) - for serving (sub plain or Greek yogurt)
- Baguette - 1, sub any crusty bread
- Onions / Carrots / Ham – Prep as directed. Combine onions and carrots. Store ham in its own container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Combine onions, carrots, ham, thyme leaves, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, stock, split peas, and bay leaves in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook until split peas are completely soft, on high for 2 to 3 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours.
- When soup is done cooking, discard bay leaves. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. If the soup is very thick, thin it with some more stock or water.
- Divide soup between bowls and top with sour cream. Serve soup with crusty bread on the side. Enjoy!
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