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Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup

December 30, 2017

By Kath Dedon


If you have an Instant Pot and leftover holiday ham, you really should try J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe for Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup. Bob proclaimed twice last night that it is the BEST Split Pea Soup he has ever had! Ever!! Even better than Julia Child’s, and it’s much easier and faster than her version.

I have always used an immersion blender to blend split pea soup a bit when it’s done, but that step is unnecessary when you use a pressure cooker. Kenji uses a quick release when the soup is done and says that when you open the pot the soup will be boiling furiously, essentially puréeing itself. My soup was beautifully puréed without using the quick release.

If I had the 8-quart Instant Pot I might have tried the quick release method because the pot would not be as full. With my 6-quart pot, however, I was nervous about sputtering soup if I used a quick release. I used a natural release. I’m not sure how long that took because I was busy socializing with Bob and our friends in the living room and not watching the pot. After the pressure was released, the Instant Pot went into “Keep Warm” mode.

When we were ready to eat, I removed the lid, gave the soup a quick stir, and it was PERFECT! As Kenji points out, Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup may not be the most beautiful dish, but it sure is tasty! If you have an Instant Pot but don’t have leftover ham, go out and get a good quality ham steak and make this soup!


Not very photogenic, but Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup is a winner!

(Southern Corn Bread was great with the soup.)

Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup


Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup

(Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Split Pea and Ham Soup recipe)


(print the recipe)


Serves 5 – 6


Important notes:

  • I would not double the recipe in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Split peas (and other legumes and grains) can foam and clog the valves if the pot is too full. That said, a friend told me that she did double it in her 8-quart Instant Pot and it worked fine.
  • Do not reduce the butter. Adding fat to the pot can help to keep the foaming down. If you want to use oil instead of butter, use 3 tablespoons.
  • If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, pressure cook it for 20 minutes. Monitor it closely, never setting the heat higher than medium-high.


Kenji calls this a “30-minute” soup. He uses a stovetop pressure cooker which cooks a bit faster than an Instant Pot. He also uses the quick pressure release as soon as the time is up.                                                                                                                                                         Using an Instant Pot and a natural release, as I did, the recipe takes longer than 30 minutes. After you seal the pot it takes some time (15 minutes?) for it to get up to pressure before the 23-minute cooking time starts. The Natural Release Method adds another 30 minutes or so. Allow about an hour and 15 minutes, but most of that is unattended time.


3 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion (about 6 ounces), diced

1 large rib celery (about 4 ounces), diced

6 – 8 ounces ham, diced (I used 8 oz.)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed and drained

6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock (I pulled 2 cups of homemade stock from the freezer and used 4 cups of Swanson’s Chicken Stock.)

2 bay leaves

Scant ½ teaspoon Salt (Optional. Omit if your chicken stock and ham are particularly salty.)


  1. Press the Sauté button on the Instant Pot and use the Adjust button to set it at Normal (medium heat).
  2. Let the pot heat up. In a few minutes it will indicate “HOT” when it’s ready. Add the butter to the pot. When it has melted add the onion, celery, and ham. Cook, stirring often, for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened a bit but have not yet browned.
  3. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  4. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to stop the sauté function. Add the peas, broth, and the bay leaves. Stir in the salt, if you’re using it.
  5. Put the cover on the pot, setting the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Manual button and set the time to 23 minutes. (If using a stovetop pressure cooker, cook it under pressure for 20 minutes.)
  6. When the 23 minutes are up, the pot will “beep”. Just leave it alone and let the pressure release naturally. That will take about 30 minutes.
  7. When the float valve has dropped back down, open the pot, and give the soup a stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!


Instant Pot


Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup  - Copy.jpg


2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2018 6:07 am

    Some of the most delicious dishes are not very photogenic. That’s the bane of us food bloggers. Happy New Year, Kath!

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