Mama’s Homemade Split Pea Soup

Meeghan Aimone
by Meeghan Aimone
6 servings
8 hr 15 min


There is nothing like home cooking. My mama’s homemade split pea soup recipe is the best! It’s simple, delicious, and the epitome of comfort food. Simply throw all the ingredients in a crockpot in the morning, turn it on, and come home several hours later to the delicious aroma of split pea soup ready to eat. It doesn’t get better than that! Serve it with a fresh green salad and warm crusty bread. It’s the perfect supper to warm you up on a cold night from the inside out… Just like a hug from mama.

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Nothing Like Home Cooking

I am a huge fan of healthy recipes with minimal ingredients and big flavor. This soup recipe is one of those recipes. Since I can remember, my mama has made the best homemade split pea soup. She often made it after Christmas or Easter with the leftover ham bone from the holiday dinners. When I asked her for the recipe years ago, she said she was happy to share it with me. I was so excited!

As I waited for the email or text message of the recipe, I was dreaming about finally making her delicious split pea soup for my family at home. However, I never received the recipe.

The next time I saw my mama, I asked, “What happened to you sharing your split pea soup recipe with me?” She replied, “Oh I forgot, I can give it to you right now.” Then, she proceeded to rattle off ingredients which included a lot of words like, “a little bit of this…” “a pinch of that…” and very vague instructions. She basically told me, “Throw it all in a crockpot, and voila!”

Now I love an easy recipe as much as the next person, but I couldn’t help feeling like there were some details missing in my mama’s dictated recipe. It became clear, very quickly that I was going to have to do my best to recreate her amazing recipe using the “notes” she gave me. Clearly, it was just one of those recipes that she “whips up.” Therefore, I took my notes, got my ingredients, and hunkered down in the kitchen to piece it all together.

Sharing is Caring

I am happy to report, I nailed it! Even my mom gave me an enthusiastic nod of approval and two thumbs up when she tasted my split pea soup. “You got it!” she said. Now, it is my honor and pleasure to officially share the recipe for my mama’s homemade split pea soup with y’all.

What’s in my Mama’s Homemade Split Pea Soup?
  • Onion, carrots, and garlic – They provide a beautiful and flavorful foundation for the soup.
  • Celery and celery leaves – According to my mama, this is her “secret ingredient.”
  • Chicken broth and water – I like to use a combination of both so that the flavor of the peas isn’t overpowered by the flavor of the broth.
  • Dried split peas – These do not have to soak overnight. However, you do want to pick through the split peas, rinse and drain them to be sure that there are no pebbles or debris in them.
  • Bay leaves and thyme – They enhance the flavor and bouquet of the soup.
  • Salt and pepper – I wait until the end to add salt to the soup. The ham adds some salt as the soup cooks. Therefore, adding salt at the end ensures the soup is not over-salted.
  • Ham – A meaty ham bone is ideal, but cubed ham is good too. This soup is the perfect way to use up the leftover ham bone from a Sunday supper or holiday dinner.
  • Fresh parsley – Parsley is the perfect fresh herb to add color and enhance the flavor of the soup before serving.

The Secret Ingredient in Mama’s Homemade Split Pea Soup:

According to my mama, the secret ingredient is… celery leaves. That’s right I said it, celery leaves. Don’t throw them away. As a matter of fact, try to buy the bunch of celery with the most leaves. Throw the leaves in the crockpot and (according to my mama) they add the best flavor and elevate the soup. The celery leaves disintegrate into the soup as it cooks.

How to Make my My Mama’s Homemade Split Pea Soup

It doesn’t get easier than this! The soup is made in a crockpot (or slow-cooker). Simply throw all the ingredients (except for the parsley) in a 5-quart crockpot in the morning, turn it on low, and let the soup cook for 7-8 hours. You can also cook it on high for 5-6 hours.

If you want to make it in an Instant Pot:

  • Press the “saute” setting on Instant Pot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, celery, and onion, saute for 3 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Press “cancel” on the Instant Pot.
  • Pour in broth and water, split peas, carrots, thyme, bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham/ham bone.
  • Cover and press “manual” mode then set to 15 minutes.
  • Once time is up allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  • Shred ham from bone (if you’re using it) into pieces and return to soup.

Freeze the Leftovers:

If on the off chance there are any leftovers, my mama’s homemade split pea soup freeze beautifully. Store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stove the next day. It’s delicious!

I hope you and yours enjoy my mama’s homemade split pea soup recipe as much as we do here on the farm. If you are looking for more delicious, nutritious, and easy soup recipes, you may enjoy these:

Loaded Potato Soup

PopPop’s Minestrone Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Basil Olive Oil

Mexican Chicken Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

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Mama’s Homemade Split Pea Soup
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 8 Hours Total time: 8 hr 15 min
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  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (Save the celery leaves too!)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1- 16 ounce bag dried split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound ham, cubed
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Add all the ingredients (except the fresh parsley) to the crockpot and stir.
Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high heat for 5-6 hours.
Serve soup hot garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
  • If on the off chance there are any leftovers, my mama's homemade split pea soup freeze beautifully. Store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stove the next day. It's delicious!
  • The soup will thicken as it cools. If you want to thin it out, add some water to help thin it out.
Meeghan Aimone
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  • Reading this recipe made me laugh. This is exactly my mom, dad and grandmothers style of cooking. And I do the same thing and it takes me several tries to get the recipe correct when having to quantify each ingredient. Luckily I like to cook and have quite a few taste testers to provide honest feedback. Like your recipe but will prepare stovetop. No worries I know how to adjust cooking time so it will turn out beautifully. Going to go check you out to see what other delicious recipes you have to share. Caligirlinasouthernworld is darling. I am in Southern California and also have ties to the south. Two separate and distinct areas of the country that are unique. I get culture shock going as well as returning. Every. Single. Time. Thanks again!

    • Meeghan Aimone Meeghan Aimone on Apr 01, 2022

      Thank you for your kind comment, Naomie! I hope you enjoy the recipe. Sending my love to Cali.

  • Linda W Linda W on Mar 31, 2022

    Sounds delicious and very much like my recipe. But in the last 2 hours of crockpot cooking I add sliced kielbasa and small pork and sage meatballs. I guess mine should be called Meat Lovers Split Pea Stew, lol!