This split pea soup I grew up with in Germany is hearty and comforting. It is loaded with protein-packed split peas, seared pork chops and bacon, and tons of vegetables. The meat can be skipped to make this Erbensuppe (the German name for it) vegetarian and vegan. I have perfected and simplified the recipe over the years and I know you'll love it! Along with my lentil soup, it's one of the most budget-friendly and healthy ways to feed a crowd in the colder months.
- Split peas. I use dried split peas for my soup. They will naturally fall apart in the cooking process to make it smooth.
- Onion. I chopped up a yellow onion.
- Carrots. Just a couple of color and natural sweetness.
- Celery. Instead of the celery stalks, you could also use celery root for a milder celery flavor.
- Leek. I like the addition of the earthy onion-flavored leeks. It's a common addition in German soups.
- Potatoes. Medium dice your potatoes, so you don't end up with large chunks in the soup.
- Bacon. It's typical in America to use ham in split pea soup, but I love sauteeing bite-sized bacon to add even more flavor.
- Pork chops. Also chop those up into bite-sized pieces and sautée with the Bacon. Instead of using bacon and pork chops, you could also use sliced hot dogs. You would want to add those at the very end to simply warm them up. Not a meat lover? The meat can be left out to make this soup vegetarian and vegan.
- Bay leaf. To help flavor the soup as it cooks.
Make it vegetarian or vegan
I find that this split pea soup is super easy to make as a vegetarian (and vegan) soup. Simply leave out the meat and follow all other instructions. If you feel like you're missing that meat flavor, add in some vegetarian sliced hot dogs or Wiener sausages.
You can easily make this soup in either a crock pot or an instant pot.
If making in a crock pot, first sautee the meat separately (if using) to bring out more flavor, then add the veggies and other ingredients and cook on low for 4 hours.
If using an instant pot, use the pressure cooker mode to reduce the 60 minute cooking time down to 15 minutes (plus 15 minutes of natural steam release). Then add the veggies and let simmer for another 15 minutes before serving.
How to video
You'll see how simple it is to make homemade split pea soup by watching this 20-second how-to video.
If you need more soup inspiration, also check out my lentil soup, goulash soup, Riesling soup and chicken noodle soup recipes, all inspired by my German upbringing. Subscribe to my weekly email newsletter to stay in the loop.
The BEST Split Pea Soup
- 500 g dried peas
- 750 g pork chops
- 250 g bacon cut into small pieces
- 1 onion medium diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots large carrots, cut into slices or medium dice
- 2 celery stalks medium diced
- 1 leek discard green parts and roots, cut into ½ inch rings
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 potatoes large, medium diced
- pepper, salt to taste
- 1 handful parsley chopped, plus more for garnish
- Cut the pork and bacon into small, bite-sized pieces. Salt and pepper the pork.750 g pork chops, 250 g bacon, pepper, salt
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Sear the meat on all sides with the bacon until browned. Remove the meat and sauté the onion until starting to brown.1 onion, 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Add back the meat and 2 quarts of water, the peas and the bay leaves and cook for 60 minutes on medium low heat, stirring every 15 minutes or so.2 bay leaves, 500 g dried peas
- In the meantime , prep the remaining vegetables and potatoes by cutting them into medium-sized pieces.2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 leek, 4 potatoes
- Sauté in one tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes, and then add to the meat and peas. Simmer for 15 more minutes and stir occasionally.2 tablespoon olive oil
- Add a handful of chopped parsley to your split pea soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.pepper, salt, 1 handful parsley