French Canadian Pea Soup

French Canadian Pea Soup

Traditionally made with a ham hock, this is a healthier and easier way to make this hearty soup. I sometimes add diced potato along with the carrots. Cette soupe aux pois est très délicieux! - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

French Canadian Pea Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup diced carrot


  1. In a medium soup pot, sauté onion, celery, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except carrots) and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and simmer, covered, an additional 10 minutes.

Notes: For more on this recipe in my blog click here.

64 Comments on "French Canadian Pea Soup"

  1. Nina

    I wonder if you can find yellow peas at an East Indian grocery? Perhaps.

    • Semantha

      Not sure where you live but I always buy them at Adonis I love in Quebec

    • Nancy

      Yes, you can purchase split pea in any East or West Indian food store also most grocery stores sell them, just be sure to wash prior to using.

  2. Pauline McTaggart

    I like to add a bit of dried ginger to my pea soup and basil….I am also a French Canadian….

  3. ann

    i am a French Canadian born here in Massachusetts and my Hubby is from Quebec City. We have eaten pea soup and made pea soup forever. We like the whole yellow peas, but when not available we use the yellow split peas. Goya whole peas are sometimes available and then I stock up. I just have to make sure that my Sister and my Brother don’t get their hands on my stash. My soup recipe is much the same as yours except that I use marjoram and black pepper. When I use whole peas I heat them to boiling and let them sit, off heat, for at least an hour. I just purchased a Ham Soup Base from Penzey’s Spice and I anxious to try this instead of the usual Chicken Broth.

    • Sheila

      I have not been able to find whole yellow peas for about 2 years, I live in Ontario Canada. I need a source. Years ago they were always available. I do the spilt peas but the soup is not the same!

      • Gord

        I bought whole yellow peas at Farm Boy in London yesterday. They are the Farm Boy brand. 750g package.

        • Charmaine

          Thanks for the lead, Gord. A Farm Boy just opened up at the end of our street. I wanted to make this recipe, but I had issues with even buying the split peas. Thanks again. Will try FB tomorrow.

      • Shannon

        I know your comment is a couple years old but I found whole yellow peas a few weeks ago. Compliments brand at IGA. Sobeys should have these too since it’s their brand.

  4. Jennifer


    French Canadian Pea Soup doesn’t usually have the word “split” in it. French Canadian Pea Soup is made with whole yellow peas. Soak for 8 hours (overnight), rinse, boil for a few minutes, turn to simmer, and add your favourites. I often save a cup (3 big handfuls in our house) of chopped ham to put in 10 minutes before serving so the ham pieces have loads of flavour. Also, my grandmother’s recipe (she was from Gaspe, Quebec) always add bay leaves and a dash or marjoram.

  5. Germaine

    As long as I could remember- Split Pea Soup was a great soup my mother would make with the ham bone which was left from a holiday meal, a whole bag of yellow split peas, diced onions and diced carrots and vegetable broth or chicken broth.. Everything was tossed into one big pot and brought to a boil, turned down to a low simmer and cooked until the peas ver mushy and tender while cooking, we would check and if needed water added and stirred… I make it this way today and the family enjoys it as much as I did growing up.. usually there would be very little leftovers- but being only two of us now – half the soup will be split into containers and frozen until we wanted another serving for a meal…

  6. The soup nancy

    I love soup, but have never tried pea soup. I will make yours as it sounds easy and delicious, do you have a recipe for Johnny cake?

  7. Diane

    I was born in Quebec in 1951. My mom served “la bonne soupe au pois” before lunch AND dinner every single day! We always loved it!
    After we moved to the US, it was never available in stores. If any relatives came to visit, we made sure to request that they bring a big sack of peas–the whole yellow dried ones. The cooked soup is thick with big, soft nutty-flavored peas. I urge you to try the whole peas, not split. The texture is part of the delight of this dish!
    Now I can buy the whole dried peas on the internet & they are delivered to my door. I came to this site to get ideas on varying the fixings and spices.
    Thank you all, ladies!

    • Carla

      Would the amount of broth required and the cooking time change if you used whole peas?


  8. RoseA

    Smoked turkey wing can be used as a ham hock alternative. Tastes just like ham used in soup or green beans!

  9. Tracy

    To be authentic, you need to use a large smoked ham bone with lots of meat still on it. I’m French to the core, so don’t argue with me.

    • nan

      i am french , husband polish. ham hock is used in polish soups also. don’t argue

      • Ray Brunka

        I’m canadian and have polish parents. I’m 82 and grew up eating soup all the years I was at home. Traditional family soup passed down was yellow peas as most have made their and then the polish side comes in with sour crout that was washed. This was our Christmas soup and I still make today. puts meat on the cold bones when it gets crisp outdoors.

    • Jacqueline

      Im French Cdn too eh and I don’t eat pork! Any smoke meat will do chérie d’amour. LOL. I use smoke turkey drum sticks.

      • Debbie

        For anybody who is vegetarian, a Gouda SMOKED cheese can also be used as a replacement for the ham… Just offering for those who are interested 🙂

        I’m also from Quebec 🙂

  10. Dan H

    The only thing I would suggest adding is savoury. It is the traditional used spice in a typical French Canadian ( Quebec) style split pea soup. I think this would take the soup to even a higher level!!!

  11. Joyce

    Jenny, thank you for this recipe. I don’t eat pork in any form, and finding good recipes for my favorite legume soups isn’t always easy. This is delicious, and SO comforting to (inhale!) eat 🙂

  12. Josie

    Thank you from Kemptville, Ontario.

    A lovely simple recipe I make during the week when strapped for time. I use vegetable or chicken bouillon and serve with savoury biscuits.

  13. Lianne Watkins

    I have always preferred the flavor of the yellow split peas. Sometimes they are a little hard to find but well worth it. I`m so glad it`s coming up soup season soon.

  14. Colette

    Sorry but I always made pea soup with the ham bone it gives it the best flavour

    • Joyce

      I prefer to leave the pig meat out of any recipe, for both religious beliefs, as well as knowing the purpose of pigs. My mother taught me decades ago that pig meat was never meant for humans to eat, then explained why–she was not in any way religious, just so that doesn’t get misconstrued–and that took care of that! I’m grateful for recipes that leave that kind of meat out of them.

      • KC

        So what’s the problem with pork?

        • KathyJo

          Nothing is wrong with pork, in my opinion! It does add flavor to the beans if you have some around. My husband goes wild hog hunting each year and the meat is fabulous. God put animals on earth for a reason.

  15. Terry

    Sorry, I missed the last ingredient, carrots. Me bad !

  16. Terry

    I don’t see the carrots on the list of ingredients, how many do you recommend?, and I assume diced.

  17. edgar

    can you used whole yellow peas and do you have to boil them.

    • Jenny

      I have only made this soup with dried split peas and I don’t know what you mean by whole yellow peas. If you mean fresh, I have never seen them fresh so I don’t really have an answer.

      • Diane Marie

        there is such a thing as whole dried yellow peas… Unfortunately, I’ve only found it once, many years ago. I still always try looking in every new grocery store I go to. That was how it was made in Canada…. I however, have not made it in years due to not being able to find whole peas & that I no longer eat pork products. Thanks for this recipe, I will definitely have to give it a try.

      • Chantal

        I am French Canadian and we grew up eating soups year round.
        We always made our pea soup with dried whole yellow peas.
        They used to only be available in Canada but in Nashua NH i have been able to purchase the Goya whole yellow peas.

      • Carol

        I have found the whole peas up here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Perhaps because of the large Scandinavian population.

      • Elaine

        Dried Whole yellow peas are split peas with the skins still on them. I am French Canadian, my ancestors are all out of Québec. My Mom only used whole dried yellow peas for soup, and often times had a ham bone or ham hock in the pot. But I have used split peas and they are good but not the same.

    • nan

      peas need no soaking. fast cook soup.

  18. Anna C

    Hi Jenny, my husband hates pea soup… Can I replace the peas with lentils?

    • Jenny

      Lentils cook faster than split peas so I would suggest using a recipe for lentil soup. That way you won’t be disappointed. You can let your husband know that this soup tastes nothing like green pea soup… maybe he might try it. 🙂

  19. Becky

    Just absolutely delicious!

    Thanks for another amazing recipe.

  20. Katie


  21. Irene

    Hi Jenny,

    I love your show & recipes.

    Are the dried split peas soaked at all or are they just thrown in dried as they are (after being rinsed)?

    How many cups does this soup recipe yield? I was hoping to make a larger batch and freeze it, so I need to know in advance the end yield result.

    Thank you for You being You!

    • Jenny

      The peas go in the pot just as they are – dried with no pre-soaking. As for how much it makes, I don’t have it made right now so I can only guess. I think it makes no more than 4 cups… maybe 3 1/2 to 4 cups when cooked.

      • Noella B

        I use whole yellow peas. I am Canadian & we always soak the peas overnight before making the soup.

        • nan

          not needed

        • Ledwards

          I agree. I’m from Saskatchewan where pretty much all the peas are grown and harvested. Soaking overnight is the way to go.

        • Jacqueline

          Salut Noëla… je suis Acadienne et je ne mange AUCUN porc…j’utilise les pattes de dinde fumés de chez Cosco. Pas de différence …et j’ajoute de la fumée liquide pour encore plus de saveur. Oh…my GOD. hehehe

        • Claudette

          Novella, You’re right. You can also put the beans in a pot covered with water, bring to a boil for one minute, remove it from the heat and let it sit covered for one hour to get the same result. I do the same when I make baked beans. Then I drain them and use fresh water for the soup. This has been proven to remove the effects (gas) and has no bearing on the nutrition or flavor of the end product.

        • Claudette

          Sorry I missed typed your name, Noella. Regarding my previous comment, if you use the boil method, don’t boil for a full minute. Just bring it to a boil Then remove from heat. Covered.

        • Claudette

          Sorry I mistyped your name, Noella. Regarding my previous comment, if you use the boil method, don’t boil for a full minute. Just bring it to a boil Then remove from heat. Covered.

  22. Elizabeth

    What about a.Can you provide a recipe split pea soup with a ham bone

    • Jenny

      Sorry, I do not make spit pea soup with a ham bone.

    • Debbie

      Elizabeth, the recipe would be the same as above only adding a ham bone to it when you add everything except the carrots. Only difference would be to let it simmer an additional l/2 hour then take out of bone and whatever meat hasn’t fallen off, just take off and add to the soup then add the carrots and simmer till carrots are tender.

    • Noella B

      2cups whole yellow peas
      2 carrots diced
      2 stalks celery diced
      1 leek finely chopped
      1 lg onion chopped
      3 tbsp. butter
      8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
      1 small ham bone or pork soup bone
      2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or ground thyme
      1 bay leaf
      Salt & pepper to taste
      2 tbsp parsley

      Soak peas overnight, drain & set aside
      In lg stock pot, melt butter on med. heat
      Add onions & cook 5 minutes
      Add carrots, celery, leek & simmer about 5 minutes stirring occasionally
      Add broth, soup bone, peas, thyme & parsley, & salt & pepper. Bring to a boil.
      Reduce heat, cover & simmer stirring every 15 minutes until peas are completely soft, about 2 or 3 hours. Add water if necessary,(soup should be thick enough.
      Remove soup bone & remove meat from bone & add to soup.
      Garnish with more parsley(optional)

  23. Jeff

    so are we talking dried split peas? I’m guessing green would work too?

    • Jenny

      Yes, dried, and I have clarified that in the recipe. And I have made this soup with both yellow and green split peas – it’s equally delicious either way.

  24. Jennie

    Wow! I made this soup today and it was out of this world. You’ve outdone yourself again!! Thank you Jenny.

  25. Rhonda

    This recipe seems as easy and delicious as your corn chowder. I love soups too. I love soups when it’s cold outside in fall and winter most. I will have to pick up ingredients my next shopping trip which will be soon to make this soup. I have made your corn chowder the past 2 years for our Soup Social and it’s all gone by the end of the night. I make 2 pots of your corn chowder and I’m glad I double the pot. If not, I don’t think it would’ve been enough. Now I have people wanting the recipe for your corn chowder, so I’m linking them your way to this website for the recipe

    • Christy

      Speaking of corn, my favorite split pea soup calls for adding a can of creamed corn. It adds a nice sweet touch. I will try it today with this recipe!

      • Jacqueline

        Darling… you may try rich cream instead which will NOT alter the taste of the soup.

  26. Pat Mazurowski

    Hi Jenny. Well, thanks to you I made my first no knead bread. Your instructions were right on. It came out PERFECT. Next I made the Christmas pecan balls and those were absolutely delicious and super easy. Now I’m going to try making this French Canadian Pea Soup since I too, LOVE SOUP. It’s so much fun to watch your videos and I adore your kitchen. Looks a little like mine with all the tools you have on hand. But I have a use for almost everything and made baking a sort of “hobby”. Better than watching t.v. It’s fun to share with my condo crew too. we’re all about the same age and everyone loves home cooking. Thanks Jenny.

  27. Mary

    My husband and I were just talking about yellow pea soup. On Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 we purchased a bag of yellow peas. He thought it would be nice to find a healthy recipe without the fat. Today, I received your wonderful recipe and will give it a try. Your recipes are very healthy and have helped me take off ten pounds in six weeks. Keep up the excellent work.
    P.S. We are originally from Welland, Ontario, Canada and now live in Nevada.
    Thank you Jenny

  28. Peter Nind

    Jenny, I doubt you remember me from London, Ont. , but we did meet.
    I can’t Thank You enough for this Canadian Pea Soup recipe. it has always been my favorite . Occasionally i will stray and have Black Bean Soup, but don’t have a recipe, so it’s out of a can ! Too bad!
    Thanks again, Colder weather and Winter is coming fast here in Canada, so rest assured there will be several dinners of your Soup , and Garlic Bread .
    Regards, Peter

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