Split Pea Soup (with ham).

split pea soup with ham

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Oh, man. I get food-excited pretty often, but I have a special love for all the components of a Thanksgiving dinner. I love it so much that I usually want to have the same exact meal in the same exact proportions a second night. Also: open-faced turkey and gravy sandwiches. Also: all of the pie.

If the leftovers just keep hanging around, though, I can get on board with repurposing them. And if your Thanksgiving includes a ham (or if it didn’t, you can probably get one at a good price this week!), you can make thick, hearty, hammy, and and oh-so-photogenic split pea soup!

My mom has been here this week, and she’s the master of snuggling the baby, playing with the three-year-old, folding our laundry, and helping in the kitchen – all while throwing the tennis ball for Lucy 1,000 times a day. This is her recipe, and I got to take some action shots while she made the soup!

It starts with a ham bone (if you have one – you can also make the soup without and it just add cut up ham pieces, but the bone adds a salty richness that I love). We let this one simmer for a couple of hours on its own, but you can add it along with the veggies if you’re in a hurry!

ham bone for split pea soup

ham stock for split pea soupCheck out that stock. So much meaty flavor in there!

The ham bone comes out, and the veggies and split peas go in!

veggies for split pea soup

adding the split peas for split pea soup

We were able to pull a lot of meat off of the bone to add to the soup – a little over 2 cups – but you can also just cut some up from leftover slices!

The peas break down and get really soft – almost like the soup has been pureed. You want to check it occasionally to make sure it’s at a low simmer and stir it more frequently toward the end since it will get thicker and more likely to stick to the bottom of the pot (not that I know this from experience or anything).

split pea soup in the pot

The soup is thick and tasty with mild sweetness from the peas and salty richness from the ham, and it’s full of tender carrots and lots of your good Thanksgiving ham. Delicious!

Split Pea Soup (with ham).

Split Pea Soup (with ham).


  • 1 hambone and ham scraps (2 to 2-1/2 cups of ham pieces)
  • 6-8 cups of water (if you simmer the bone separately to make stock, you will probably need the larger amount since you'll lose some liquid to steam during that time)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) green split peas (rinse well a couple of times first)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4-5 carrots, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 teaspoon of salt)


Place ham bone in a large pot and add 6 cups of water, bay leaf, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1-2 hours. Remove the bone from the stock and add rinsed peas, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Add pieces of ham (from the bone or cut up leftover slices). The soup has a high ratio of veggies to broth, but you may need to add 1-2 cups more water if it seems overly thick. Simmer, covered, about 1-1/2 hours or until peas are well-done (it will look like the peas have been pureed). Stir occasionally while it cooks, and more frequently toward the end of the cooking time as it will be more likely to stick as it thickens.


If you’re looking to use up your other leftovers, I’m feeling very inspired by these cheesy mashed potato puffs from The Kitchn. And this milkshake from Blogging Over Thyme that has a piece of pumpkin pie in it? I’m thinking Jay and I can talk each other into that. And of course, you can use turkey just like you would a rotisserie chicken – give my spicy chicken soup a try! What’s your favorite way to eat your Thanksgiving leftovers?


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