French Canadian-Style Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Canadian pea soup

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
225 Calories
1g Fat
40g Carbs
15g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 658mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 16g 56%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 6mg 28%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 600mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Split pea soup is pure comfort food for many and it's surprisingly easy to make at home. All you need is a slow cooker, a ham bone or ham hocks, peas, and a few veggies. Get it started in the morning, let it cook slowly all day, and it's ready for dinner. Yellow peas are traditional for French Canadian pea soup, but feel free to use green if that's what you have.

The magic of split pea soup is that the peas are so small that they melt into a thick slurry as they cook. This creates a comforting texture that makes this traditional dish so enjoyable. Their size also makes them easy to cook, which is why there's no need to soak them like you would dry beans.

As this recipe proves, split pea soup is anything but boring. This version gets the additional flavor from garlic, bay, and parsley, along with a little pepper. You can change up the veggies and top it with a variety of garnishes, from parsley to croutons and bacon to sour cream. These little additions will set it over the top and create a perfect meal the entire family will love.

Additionally, you can blend the finished soup for a smooth texture or mash the peas and vegetables with a potato masher for a chunkier soup. Enjoy this satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs soup with freshly baked cornbread or a good, crusty French bread.

1:23

Click Play to See This Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed

  • 1 meaty medium ham bone, 2 ham hocks, or 2 cups diced ham

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion

  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves, coarsely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 cups hot water, or broth

  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt, more to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a slow cooker, layer the ingredients in the order given—split peas, ham, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, parsley, pepper, and salt; add the water or stock. Do not stir the ingredients.

  3. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours until peas are very soft and the ham falls off the bone.

  4. Remove the meat from the bones and chop. Save some of the chopped ham for a garnish, if desired. Remove the bay leaf.

  5. Before serving, mash the peas slightly to thicken the soup or blend the soup in batches for a smoother texture (safety tips below).  

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.

Tips

  • If you use low-sodium stock or broth, make sure to taste the soup and add the seasoned salt about an hour before it's ready. Also, keep in mind that some vegetable broths will darken the soup a bit. If you are looking for a bright green or yellow soup, use a light color broth or all water.
  • Split peas are merely dried peas that are cut in half. You will find both yellow and green varieties, though green is more common. The yellow split peas have a mild flavor, and they do make an interesting soup as well.

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to vary the vegetables. Almost any veggie can be added to the soup, particularly cubed potatoes or parsnips. You can also simply add more onion and carrots.
  • Garnish the pea soup with croutons, some of the diced cooked ham, cooked crumbled bacon, or fresh parsley. Try serving it with a swirl of olive oil, greek yogurt, or sour cream. Crumbled fried onion rings, freshly grated carrots, or chopped scallions are nice additions as well.
  • If you don't have a slow cooker or want to make it more quickly, you can also make a stovetop pea soup with ham.
  • This soup is also delicious when made with shredded pork picnic (smoked pork shoulder). Or, you can brown some diced smoked sausage in a skillet and add it to the soup about 20 minutes before it's done. Andouille sausage split pea soup is another excellent choice that has a spicier profile.

How to Store and Freeze

Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. You can reheat the leftover split pea soup in a saucepan on low heat.


  • Split pea soup can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three to four days.
  • Freeze your soup in airtight containers or freezer bags; it will last for three months in the freezer.

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