Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon

pea soup
Diana Rattray
Ratings (17)
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
188 Calories
10g Fat
14g Carbs
11g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

My first memory of pea soup is one my grandfather made for a huge gathering of family and friends. It was thick and hearty, served with homemade bread, and I have loved split pea soup ever since.

This version is made with a generous amount of bacon for garnish, along with a few potatoes and other vegetables to help thicken and flavor the soup. The half-and-half gives the soup a nice creamy consistency. Feel free to use diced leftover ham instead of bacon.


  • 1 pound dry split peas
  • 8 ounces bacon (diced)
  • 2 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 medium potatoes (peeled, diced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3 chicken (or beef bouillon cubes or equivalent base or granules)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground  black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse split peas in cold water, pick over and discard any discolored peas or small stones. Set aside.

  2. In a Dutch oven or 6-quart kettle over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Refrigerate until later, for garnish.

  3. In the bacon drippings over medium heat, cook the onion and celery until tender and lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the split peas, water, potatoes, salt, pepper, bouillon, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until peas are soft. Stir occasionally.

  4. Discard bay leaf. Carefully purée the hot pea soup in batches, filling the blender no more than 1/3 to 1/2 full each time. Make sure cover is secure when blending the hot mixture. Pour blended mixture into a bowl while blending subsequent batches.

  5. Return the mixture to the Dutch oven; stir in the half-and-half. Cook over medium heat until hot, but do not boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  6. Sprinkle the reserved bacon on top of the soup just before serving.