This classic recipe for split pea soup comes directly from my Grandma’s kitchen. Made from simple, wholesome ingredients, it nourishes and nurtures you at the same time!
Nowadays, split pea soup is once again becoming popular. There’s even a restaurant, once aired on Food Network, that only serves pea soup and does very well in business.
Despite split pea soup being one of my favorite wintertime meals, the origin of the soup comes from a lack of food diversity in Ukraine. My family would make it when fresh vegetables were scarce and split peas were abundant. Out of necessity, we created a hearty meal with what we had. In many ways, this soup is representative of my people’s resilience in tough times.
Is Split Pea Soup Healthy?
Ukrainians love their soups. We grew up eating them during the harsh winters and revering them as comfort foods. So, when I came to America, I was surprised to see that split pea soup was classified as a “health food”. And, as we all know, healthy food isn’t always characterized as delicious.
However, this recipe is absolutely healthy for you and tasty at the same time. Packed with high-protein split peas and fresh vegetables, this soup is a hearty and healthy option for lunch or dinner. I guess you can have your cake and eat it too! Or in this case your split pea soup…
Meats to Use in Split Pea Soup
The awesome thing about split pea soup is that it is very versatile. The earthy flavor of split peas pairs so well with almost any meat. You can play around with the kinds of protein you use and get a different, yet delicious, outcome each time. Here are a few of my family’s favorites:
- Chicken thighs: Either bone-in or skinless and boneless chicken works great.
- Ham: This is a great option when you have extra ham leftover from the holidays or a dinner party.
- Ham Bone (or Ham Hock): This is a cheap and delicious alternative to using actual ham. Pop a ham hock into the soup and let it slow cook and release all that delicious ham flavor. Yum!
- Bacon Crisps: Skip adding meat altogether and top your soup with crispy fried bacon bits.
- Bone-in Beef: Craving a beefy flavor? Snag some bone-in beef short ribs, beef shanks or oxtail. All the delicious marrow and collagen from the bones will make for an awesome, beefy broth.
- Vegetarian Option: If you want the recipe to be 100% vegetarian, double up on the vegetables and use a vegetable broth concentrate to season the soup.
Should you Soak your Peas Before Cooking?
If you have the time, soak your peas overnight. If not, try to soak them for an hour before cooking. This will speed up the cooking process. If you don’t have the time, don’t worry. Split peas cook much faster than most beans do and you can still get a great soup on the table in around an hour.
What Goes Good With Split Pea Soup?
In my opinion, there is nothing like having a big bowl of soup with a nice chunk of bread. Try making my Easy No-Knead Bread Recipe or my Easy Flatbread Recipe. Now that you’ve got the bread situation worked out, go ahead and soak up that nice broth hanging out at the bottom of your soup bowl!
Other Classic Soup Recipes You May Like
- Red Borscht Recipe – everyone knows about this amazing beet soup!
- Cabbage Soup Recipe – this one is a classic soup recipe that was passed down from my grandma as well.
- Fish Soup aka Ukha – a quick under 30-minute fish soup that every kid will love!
- Prepare ingredients for the recipe.
- Place chicken into salted water and cook it until the chicken is almost fully cooked.
- In a frying pan, saute onions with carrots and oil; cook until vegetables are soft (7-10 minutes). Add the mixture to the boiling chicken.
- Also, add peas into the cooking ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Add sliced potatoes to the cooking soup. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add dill and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve the split pea soup while it's warm or reheat before serving.
This is a really tasty soup. I doubled everything except the water and added a touch of cayenne pepper. Great for a winter night. Thanks for posting!
Hi April! I am so glad that this recipe was a success! Thank you for your feedback. Enjoy!
Tying your soup recipe today! I’ve never had split soup! My one question is I only have dried dill. How much should I add to the soup! Thanks so much and I will leave a comment after we try ! I’m sure we will love it! Thanks Pat
Hi Patricia, I think you are going to love it! If you only have dried dill, add 1 tbsp. You can always add more if it's to your liking. Thank you for reaching out. Enjoy!
You are saying that this recipe is from your Ukrainian grandmother. But you call the soup russian....🤔
Hi Lyuda, you make a good point. Thank you for your feedback.
I have a lot of leftover cooked peas and carrots from a dinner party. How could I incorporate this into your recipe to use them up?
Hey there Susan! The recipe calls for carrots. You can always add the peas into the soup as well. I have not tried adding in fresh cooked peas, but if you give it a try, I would love to know the results!
I’m Pat. Ukrainian grandfather, Polish grandmother. I’m in the process of making my grandmothers split pea soup, which is exactly like yours. I had a hambone, chicken broth, and leftover peas and carrots, which I threw in to the pot . Perfect outcome. I am in southwest Florida, it is hot as Hades and I am still enjoying my split pea soup today and to add ,dill is a staple in my house.
Pat, thats such a sweet story. My grandma would make it all the time and I felt like we have a same connection. Thank you for sharing this.
This looks very good please send me the website thank you
Hi Christine, I am not sure which website you are referring to. You can find all of our recipes on Momsdish.com Hope this helps!
Is it safe to add the vegetables to the same pot the chicken was cooked in? In other recipes, they always mention to drain the water to avoid any bacterial issues.
Hi Dario, Yes, it is safe. All the bacteria gets cooked and boiled out, so there would be no issues with contamination. I am surprised to hear that other recipes call for draining the water because that's the broth you would use for the soup.
PLEASE CHANGE THE NAME OF YOUR SOUP TO UKRAINIAN MOM'S HARDY PEA SOUP.
Love the name, thanks for your feedback! It is my grandmas recipe but I will use your tip in the future!
Made this soup. We love it so much. Thanks for this yummy recipe.
Hello Inna, I'm so glad you love it, thank you for taking time to leave feedback!
16 quarts of water made for a watery almost tasteless soup. Looked nothing like the picture.
4 quarts not 16…;))))
Hi Rita- I'm sorry yours came out watery. I add a lot of water because the split peas absorb liquid. You could always use less water in the beginning and add more liquid at the end as needed.
Question about the salt: is the sodium level per serving based on 1tsp=6grams?
Hey Quin- I'm honestly not sure. We use an outside program to calculate the nutrition information, and I'm not sure how they calculate everything. I wish I could be of more help!
I don’t think you really want to grate the carrots, do you? They look to be chopped to me.
Karen, you are so right, lol... I will update the recipe but grating is a great option 🙂
Love this recipe! I followed this recipe exactly and the end result had my Russian husband's full approval 🙂 Thanks Natalya!
Can this recipe be adapted for the slow cooker/ crock pot to save time? xx
Hey dear, I havent tried making it in a slow cooker. Thats a great idea. Meed to test it out.
Thanks for your reply Natalya. Will test it out in a slow cooker today and let you know how I get on!
Pretty darn good! I have never made split pea soup and this was delicious!
I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe! It really is a delicious one!
This went very well with maybe 2-3 qt of water and some extra chicken (we have more meat than the USSR did, after all). I'm quite surprised how good it tastes with so few seasonings. Thanks for posting it.
Thank you, Richard, for the tips. I'm glad you enjoyed the soup!
Can you double this recipe? In which case, do you just double all the ingredients, including the water?
Hey Fran, if you double the recipe you should double all ingredients. Enjoy
I smoked my chicken thighs with some seasoning. Can't wait!
Oh Cristen, that sounds so amazing! I am excited for you!
It’s a good ingredient recipe, but didn’t make sense. Like why would you cook the chicken alone when peas need to cook longer. 4 qts of water, that’s 16 cups of water! I browned the chicken, then sauted vegetables and cooked everything with peas for over an hour. Even though I used 3 qt of water, it was still liquidy. I just don’t get the proportions, timing and just don’t understand how it all works together.
Hey Kristina, I like to cook chicken alone and remove all the stuff that comes to the top as the chicken cooks and it creates a better broth when chicken cooks for a longer time. The soup does thicken up the longer it sits. Also, it would depend on the type of peas you use, some fall apart quicker than others.
Thanks for your reply! I am curious now what peas you use. I grew up with my mom making this soup and I remember it was always a long process. It did thicken up a bit today, but it’s still watery and I only used 3qts. Either way, great flavor! Very nostalgic. Thank you!
We always use green peas, organic. Ours is still a bit watery, maybe you prefer a much thicker soup.
How does the pea soup thicken.
Peas absorb liquids as they cook so it does thicken.
I followed the recipe with a few exceptions. I omitted the potatoes and threw in a few pieces of baked hame. Let it all simmer for several hours and used my immersion blender to have a uniform texture. It was yummy at this point, but missing something that I remembered from childhood. I added some heavy whipping cream and my granddaughter and I were immediately in love with our new/old soup! Thanks SO much for this delicious bowl of nostalgia! It won’t be my last !
Hey Janice, I am so glad you loved the soup. Thank you for sharing your tips, I think they will be helpful to others. Have a great day!
Made this vegetarian and it turned out fabulous! I did add half a teaspoon of sour cream to my bowl and loved it even more. Thanks for the recipe!
my mom use seleryroot cut in cuber
Helena, great tip! Thank you for sharing
Hey Julia, thank you for sharing that. My hubby loves soups with sour cream, I will pass on your idea to him. 🙂
I browned the chicken thighs then sautéed the carrots and onions in the same pan I browned the chicken in. The leftover fat is to good to waste! Added this to boiling salted water and continued with recipe as written. Delicious and comforting.
Sherry, I appreciate you sharing this with us. My mom would always use the leftover fat in the soup. 🙂 There was no waste in our home for sure!
In the final product, are the peas supposed to be hard? I soaked mine for 24 hours and boiled longer than 20 minutes and my peas were still hard.
I always have to cook split peas double the time most recipes call for to get my desired texture. It also depends if you are at sea level or high altitude. If high altitude try not adding salt until tender, that works for me.
This is so neat, thanks for sharing!
After you add peas you still have 45 minutes of cooking time, see steps 4, 5 and 6. They still have texture but they shouldn't be hard.
Great soup. I just finished making it and I'm eating as I'm leaving this review. I definitely recommend soaking the split peas overnight. I soaked mine for about 3 hours and I felt it wasn't enough. I'm under the weather and this soup is hitting the spot. Grandmother's always have the best recipes ♡
Hey!!! I am so happy this soup is hitting the spot. I do a like a bit of texture in the soup. Yes, it’s a good idea to soak peas if you want that creamy texture.
Made this soup again. We love it so much. I also added some chili flakes for a little kick. Thanks for this yummy recipe.
Thanks for the idea with chili flakes, I really like spicy soups so this is amazing tip. I dont know why I have never considered adding flakes to mine. Thank you again. 🙂
When you say to bring a new pot of water to boil, does this mean add 3 cups to the previous water? Or throw out the previous water and then fill with 4 quarts + 3 cups?
I usually pre cook chicken separately, and rinse out the chicken. You can just continue cooking with the previous water.
Yum! I love pea soup! And it's delicious without meat too. My daughter really likes the book Owl at Home lately, there is one story about how owl is eating pea soup when he lets winter into his home and it freezes the soup into green ice. Might have to make the soup to go along with the story sometime, even though its not winter 😉
That's so cute!! We need more stories about soups lol
So, this makes a gallon of soup? Is that really enough peas and chicken for a whole gallon of water?
Your pot only looks like a 2 quart pot...that's the main reason I'm asking. Thanks for the post!
The pot int the picture is actually over 4 quarts. There is more water because as the soup cooks the liquid evaporates, it will turn out just like in the picture if you follow instructions. This soup absolutely delicious.
Ok thank you. I'm making this soup now and 4 cups of water seems not much.. should I add more Or it be ok?Do u use the bullion from chicken in the soup?
It's 4 quarts of water, thanks that catch ;)Sometime I add bullion to the soup, it all depends if we are in a mood for that flavor.
Can I use chicken tenders instead? Is it going to make a difference?I don't have drumsticks right now.. Thank you!
You can use that too. I usually used drumsticks, it adds a nice bullion.
I am making this soup right now!
I bet your home smells so good!!!