You just can't beat a bowl of thick, savory old-fashioned split pea soup with ham on a cold day. Comforting and hearty, this virtually bulletproof slow-cooker recipe is an easy, economical way to repurposed leftover ham and ham bones, too.
Why You Will Love this Recipe
Old-fashioned Ham Bone Split Pea Soup has been one of my favorites since I was a child, when my mom used to make it for us during the week following every "ham holiday" (i.e., Easter, Christmas, etc.). We make this split pea soup in the slow cooker four or five times a year, every year.
I won't call our Split Pea Soup recipe completely fool-proof, because there is always that one cook... However, barring anyone who might try to substitute Skittles for split peas, it's about as close to fool-proof as you're ever going to find.
Split pea soup is an easy, economical way to repurposed leftover ham and ham bones. If you want to make soup and don't want to eat a whole ham to do it, you can often buy ham bones at your butcher's counter, or at Honey Baked Ham. (HoneyBaked ham bones are my absolute favorite for this making soup!)
What Goes into this Recipe
★ Use fresh split peas. Old dried peas may not soften properly in the slow cooker.
The Hambone Determination
The type of ham bone you use will determine the underlying flavor profile of your soup. If you use a honey or glazed ham bone, your soup will be slightly sweeter. If you use a smoked ham bone (or ham hock), your soup will taste more smokey. Personally, we prefer our split pea soup on the sweet side, but it really is just a matter of personal preference.
How to Make this Recipe
If you follow the directions and use the ingredients as directed, this recipe is virtually fool-proof.
Rinse the peas and combine them with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Give everything a quick stir, and then set slow cooker to HIGH and cook 4-6 hours.
If possible, stir it about halfway through.
After cooking for 5-6 hours, the meat on the ham-bone should be falling apart. Reduce the slow cooker to LOW. If your soup seems too thick, add a little more water at this time.
Using tongs or an extra-large serving spoon, carefully remove ham bone to a plate to cool. When the ham bone is cool enough to handle, remove any ham and return the meat to the soup.
Discard the ham bone. Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve.
That is literally all there is to it!
FAQs & Expert Tips
Like most soups and stews, split pea soup is always best eaten "the day after," when the flavors have melded, and the starches have had a chance to do their job as they naturally thicken the soup.
Cornbread is the traditional favorite. Try our Sweet Skillet Corn Bread recipe, made with pan-fried corn. When we make cornbread and split pea soup together, we like to make extra pan-fried corn to sprinkle on top of our soup.
Homemade biscuits are another favorite; or, if you want to lighten things up a bit, serve some fresh fruit on the side.
The peas for this recipe do not need to be soaked.
Soup is one of our specialties!
Old-fashioned Ham Bone Split Pea Soup
- 1 pound green split peas about 2 ¼ cups
- 1 meaty ham bone
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion about one large onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons honey (or agave; or brown sugar)
- 1 cup diced celery 2-3 stalks
- 1 cup diced carrots 2 large or 3 medium carrots
- 1 dash hot sauce optional
- 6 cups water up to eight cups for thinner soup
- Rinse peas, and combine with remaining ingredients in slow cooker.
- Give everything a quick stir, and then set slow cooker to HIGH and cook 4-6 hours. If possible, stir it about halfway through.
- After cooking for 5-6 hours, the meat on the ham-bone should be falling apart. Reduce the slow cooker to LOW. If your soup seems too thick, add more water at this time.
- Using tongs or an extra-large serving spoon, carefully remove ham bone to a plate to cool.When the ham bone is cool enough to handle, remove any ham and return the meat to the soup. Discard the ham bone.
- Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.