Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup

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This Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup recipe is on my top ten list of ultimate comfort foods. The green peas melt together, giving body and texture to the soup while the ham scents everything with its sweet-and-salty flavor. But, here’s the thing: While I absolutely love eating split pea and ham, I have to admit that I don’t always enjoy making it.

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It takes forever to cook on the stovetop, and sometimes the peas still don’t cook all the way through. Worse yet, they can burn to the bottom of the pot if you’re not careful. I’ve tried cooking it in a slow cooker to solve that problem, but I’m never fully satisfied with the flavor or the texture. Then, I got an electric pressure cooker. This Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup is the perfect way to make a worry-free version of my favorite soup!

Why the Instant Pot is the Best

Unlike the slow cooker, the Instant Pot not only creates the perfect texture for this soup, but it brings the flavors together in an incredible way. I love that it doesn’t take all day to cook, either! Just pressure cook it for 20 minutes, and the unsoaked split peas are ready to eat. Even considering the sautéing step and the time it takes for the pressure to come up and down, this soup takes less than an hour (something that’s impossible on the stovetop!).

There are so many benefits to cooking this soup in an Instant Pot. For starters, that Saute function lets you sear the bacon and soften the vegetables before cooking the soup. With a slow cooker, you’d have to use a separate pot if you wanted to develop those layers of flavor. That means more things to clean later, so no thanks!

Then, because the Instant Pot cooks under pressure, it creates the perfect consistency without worrying about anything burning. The slow cooker seems to create excess condensation, dripping extra liquid into the soup and watering it down. Since liquid can’t evaporate in a pressure cooker, you don’t have to worry about that with this Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup!

Prefer a Thicker Soup?

Some people like their split pea and ham soup thin and watery. Personally, I prefer my soup a touch on the thick side. Somehow, that makes it taste heartier and more filling! Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools, especially if you put it in the refrigerator. But, if you want a thicker consistency and you don’t have time to wait, we have a little trick to help you get there.

Ladle out a few spoonfuls of the soup and place it in a high-powered blender. Puree it until it’s nice and smooth before stirring it back into the soup. Blending the peas helps bind them together, creating a natural way to thicken your soup without having to add flour or cornstarch. That keeps this soup gluten-free!

Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup

Yield: 8 Servings | Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Calories: 436 | Total Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Carbohydrates: 49 g | Fiber: 15 g | Sugar: 9 g | Protein: 29 g | Cholesterol: 46 mg | Sodium: 943 | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 7

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 slices turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (not ground)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth (5 cups for a thicker soup, 7 cups for a thin soup)
  • 3 cups ham, diced medium (nitrate free and low sodium)
  • 1 pound split peas, rinsed (unsoaked)

Instructions

  1. Turn the Instant Pot to the saute setting. Add the olive oil and the turkey bacon. Cook the bacon about half way and add the onion, celery, carrots, thyme, garlic, and pepper. Saute just until the onion begins to turn translucent.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a simmer. Change the setting to manual with high pressure and set the time for 20 minutes. Place the lid on the pot and make sure it is sealed. Once the timer is up, let the steam release naturally for 15 minutes before manually releasing the steam and removing the lid. Serve hot.
  3. *note - the soup will thicken as it cools. However, you can remove some of the soup and puree in a blender, returning to puree to the soup to help thicken.
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