This Instant Pot split pea soup is the ultimate meal: it’s filling, plant based, and easy to make in a pressure cooker. It’s a tasty, healthy vegan dinner recipe!

Instant pot split pea soup

Split pea soup might sound humble, but it’s pretty much the perfect meal. Really, split pea soup? Yes, this tasty soup has lots of virtues. First of all, it’s delicious: full of cozy, lightly smoky flavor. It’s a whole food plant based recipe (WFPB) and because split peas have lots of plant-based protein, it’s very filling. Best of all, it’s very easy to make! If you use your pressure cooker to make split pea soup, all you’ll need is about 15 minutes of active time: then it’s totally hands off!

Want to make it on the stovetop? Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Tips for making Instant Pot split pea soup

This vegan Instant Pot split pea soup has a cozy, nostalgic feel for me. I think it’s because Alex’s mom often makes this tasty soup for soup nights, so it gives me a familial feel. This soup is often made with ham or bacon, but we’ve swapped that out for a little liquid smoke. The great thing about split peas is that they’re packed with plant based protein, so this vegan soup stays filling without the meat! Here are a few tips for making it:

  • Feel free to grab extra bags of split peas. Because we know that you’ll love it, we suggest grabbing a few pounds of split peas so you can make this soup often. Did you know split peas are shelf stable for 2 to 3 years? Yep, it’s perfect for stocking your pantry for nutritious meals in a hurry.
  • Use the Saute function for the aromatics. First, you’ll dice onion, carrot, and celery: traditionally called aromatics because they add a fantastic underlying aroma to soups.
  • Dump, set it and forget it. Then, you’ll add the remaining ingredients and pressure cook on High for 15 minutes. That’s it! Remember that the pot will take about 10 to 15 minutes to come up to pressure before it starts cooking.
Instant Pot split pea soup

What to serve with this split pea soup?

There are lots of things to serve with this Instant Pot split pea soup! Here are some of our favorite ideas:

split peas

What are split peas?

So, you might be wondering: what are split peas? Are they the same as lentils, or different? Well, split peas and lentils are both legumes. But split peas are a different type of legume from lentils. They’re a field pea, a pea grown for drying, It’s a special type of dried pea that is split in half, making it break down easily into a thick, soup like consistency when cooked.

Split peas are available at most grocery stores. You can also often find them in the bulk bins, or buy split peas online. As we mentioned above, the shelf life of split peas is 2 to 3 years! So it’s a great healthy ingredient to stock up on.

Instant pot split pea soup

Instead of ham, liquid smoke.

Traditional split pea soup often has ham or bacon. For our version of Instant Pot split pea soup, we wanted to make it a vegan, whole food plant based recipe. So to mimic a little of the smoky flavor of ham and bacon, we’ve used liquid smoke instead! It’s a small jar and you can usually find it near the condiments in the grocery store.

Is liquid smoke synthetic? No, it’s actually a natural product made from condensing the smoke from burning wood. How cool is that? You’ll find that it’s fairly strong, so use it sparingly. The amount we’ve used here adds a little undertone to our Instant Pot split pea soup, but not so much that it’s overwhelmingly smoky.

Other recipes using liquid smoke? Easy Tempeh Bacon, How to Make Coconut Bacon

Split peas

What kind of Instant Pot to use?

All pressure cooker brands vary! The brand we use is an Instant Pot 6 Qt Programmable Pressure Cooker. This recipe is customized for a 6 quart pressure cooker. We also can’t speak to other brands and types of pressure cookers. For example, Instant Pot Mini works differently, so use it at your own risk!

More Instant Pot whole food plant based (WFPB) recipes?

Whole food plant based recipes can be some of the tastiest dinners around: and they’re easy to make in the Instant Pot! Head to our Whole Food Plant Based Diet Guide for more recipes, or check out a few of these favorite Instant Pot soups:

  • Instant Pot Vegan Chili: This chili is so tasty, featuring two types of beans and lentils for added texture. Top with cashew cream for fully plant-based toppings.
  • Instant Pot Lentil Soup: This ultra cozy soup stars fennel, fire roasted tomatoes, and lentils: it’s an easy vegetarian meal that everyone will love!
  • Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup Recipe: This soup is impossibly creamy, packed with flavor and full of tender veggies and hearty rice. Everyone asks for the recipe—it’s that good.

This Instant Pot split pea soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan.

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Instant pot split pea soup

Easy Instant Pot Split Pea Soup


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

This Instant Pot split pea soup is the ultimate meal: filling, plant based, and easy to make in a pressure cooker. It’s a tasty healthy vegan dinner recipe!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound split peas
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the onion. Finely chop the carrots and celery.
  2. Turn on Saute mode and add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. When it is heated, add the onion, celery and carrots and saute for 7 minutes until the onions are softened. Add the broth, kosher salt and split peas to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
  3. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes 10 to 15 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  4. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
  5. Add the final flavorings: Stir in the grated garlic (you can grate right into the pot) and liquid smoke, some fresh ground pepper. Add a little more kosher salt if you’d like. Allow to cool and thicken for about 10 minutes before serving (it thickens as it cools). Garnish with hot sauce. Serve with crushed crackers or biscuits
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Plant Based

Keywords: Instant Pot Split Pea Soup, Vegan Split Pea Soup

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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21 Comments

  1. I am excited to try this recipe.

    When you say 2 ‘stalks’ celery, do you mean the large stalks (which are a bundle of ribs joined at the base), or 2 individual ribs / sticks? I don’t want up under or overdo celery amount.

  2. Just made this hearty soup for my family for breakfast! I had added in some butternut squash and Braggs aminos, it was delicious. Kept it warm til everyone could serve themselves, with some sour dough toast and avocado. Everyone was
    happy with the meal. A good way to start the day, without stress to the cook. Appreciate that the instructions were easy to follow, as I am just learning how to use my 6 qt InstaPot. Will make the sour dough bread recipe next. Thank you again,

  3. I’m a split pea soup lover. I’ve tried 6-8 different instant pot recipes, and this is by far my favorite. Small changes: I add the garlic at the end of the aromatics sauté; I add a bay leave before the pressure cook; and I hold back two carrots, cook them separately (in microwave) till almost done, and add them with the liquid smoke. I like the texture that just cooked carrots add. The IP cooks carrots too much, so I pressure cook two and just cook and add the other two.

  4. What do you consider 1 serving? As in how many ounces per serving? I’m trying to track my macros in myfitnesspal and I am sort of lost as to how to calculate this one. Also…this soup is delicious!!

  5. Do you have to soak the peas or do you just put it in the instant pot dry and directly from the bag?

  6. I made this soup and it turned out really well. I am new to pressure cooking and I live at high altitude (about 5,500 feet which impacts pressure cooking of course). My peas were still quite firm after 15 minutes on High pressure. I cooked the soup for 5 more minutes on High pressure. My soup was initially more watery than I prefer but the soup got significantly thicker after refrigeration. Perfect. I’m very pleased I tried your version of split peas soup. I’ll make this again. Thank you.

  7. This has become a staple in our house. As someone who would turn my nose up as a kid to the idea of split pea soup, this has won me over! Often I find it comes out a bit too watery when I first make it (it thickens up beautifully when cooling and for leftovers), so sometimes I’ll make it an hour early, then turn it off and the extra time allows it to thicken a bit while still staying hot! We love to serve it with cornbread. Love all of your instant pot soups – thanks so much!!

  8. Rarely do I not have to add anything to a recipe to make it that much better… but this one of those! Absolutely delicious, agreed on letting it thicken up over time.

    Great recipe, thank you!!

  9. Hello! I am excited about making your recipe today as my first instant pot cooking experience.

    For years I have cooked a very similar recipe in the stovetop. I have always used 2 quarts of water in the stovetop version. I’ve read to reduce the amount of liquid used when using an instant pot since no water evaporates during the cooking process. However I see your recipe also uses 2 quarts of liquid for a similar amount of ingredients. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for helping this newbie!
    -K

    1. We think that the consistency on this one is pretty much the same as our stovetop version with the same amount. It might be slightly thicker on the stove, but not significantly.

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