Instant Pot Split Pea and Ham Soup


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

Serves 5 - 6


Important notes:

·        Do not double the recipe. Split peas (and other legumes and grains) can foam and clog the valves if the pot is too full.

·        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, monitor it closely, never setting the heat higher than medium-high.


Kenji calls this “30-minute” soup, but it takes longer than that. 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!