Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
comments 7

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham

Red bowl full of green split pea soup on a wooden table
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham

Thanks to a tip from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, I can make Instant Pot split pea soup as thick as any fog.1

That tip? Make sure to quick release the pressure. The pressure release starts a vigorous boil inside the pot, boiling, roughing up the peas and releasing their starch into the soup. My pea soups used to be a little watery; now I can practically stand a spoon in them. (Not really, but you know what I mean.)

Pork and peas are a perfect pair, so I add pork in two different ways. A smoked pork hock gives up its flavor to the peas, and cubed ham adds meaty bites to the soup. I also sauté my vegetables – a mix of onion, celery, carrot, and garlic – to add a sweet undertone to the bowl. Don’t skip the sauté step – the soup will be bland without it.

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Red bowl full of green split pea soup on a wooden table

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 bowls of soup 1x


Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham. Soup as thick as a fog, from dried split peas, in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking!


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices (or 4 ounces pre-sliced carrots)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 pound green split peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 medium pork hock (about 1 pound)
  • 8 ounces cubed ham
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Sauté the aromatics and cubed ham: Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in another pressure cooker), add the butter, and wait for the butter to melt and stop foaming, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and cubed ham to the pot, and then sprinkle with the dried thyme and ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add peas, hock, and water to the pot: Add the split peas to the pot, nestle the smoked ham hock in the peas, pour in the water, and stir in another ½ teaspoon of salt.
  3. Pressure cook the soup for 18 minutes with a quick pressure release: Lock the lid on the pot and pressure cook for at high pressure for 18 minutes (Manual or Pressure Cooking setting in an Instant Pot), or 15 minutes in a stovetop PC. When the cooking time is over, quick release the pressure. If the quick-released steam starts spitting, close the quick release valve and let the pressure come down naturally for a few minutes before starting the quick release again. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the scalding hot steam.
  4. Season and serve: Fish the pork hock out of the pot and discard – it gave up its flavor to the soup. Stir in the fresh ground black pepper, serve, and enjoy!.


Don’t go over the half-full line on your pot when cooking split peas. They tend to foam up and can block the pressure valves, which could be bad news. There’s a reason everyone has a family story about grandma’s pressure cooker exploding and spraying pea soup all over the kitchen…and it starts with an overfilled pressure cooker.

This recipe is sized for a 6-quart pressure cooker, right up to the half-full line. Halving the recipe is fine, but don’t increase the ingredients unless you have a larger cooker.


6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)

  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Soup

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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  1. Turns out, a “pea soup fog” is bad news. Reading about the London Pea Soup Fog of 1952 took me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole…focus! Back to the soup! ↩︎

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Fleur says

    Love your recipes. Think maybe you were doing a bit of copying and pasting? Step 2… I was wondering where the beans were in the list of ingredients!! 🙂

  2. M & P Richardson says

    Three things my husband said after tasting your soup:

    This is the best split pea soup I’ve ever had.
    I can’t believe how good it is!
    I could it this all day.

    Thanks for the recipe!!

  3. I made this soup today. It’s delicious, much better than versions I’ve made before in a crock pot.
    I really enjoy your site. Going to try making a cheesecake next…

  4. I’m going to try this and try it a second time with whole yellow peas. Thanks for being there. I appreciate you.

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