Hernekeitto Finnish Split Pea Soup

This recipe for Hernekeitto, Finnish Split Pea Soup, is very easy and just requires the patience of waiting for your peas to split and cook. Combines delicious flavor of ham and onions. You can also add carrots, potatoes or even rice or barley to the soup, which gives a little more texture and variety. However, I also prefer to keep it simple and just use the plain peas!

There is nothing more satisfying on a cold and snowy day than this soup. In Finland it is common for workers to bring soup in a thermos and enjoy it during their lunchtime with some Rye Bread.

Hernekeitto Finnish Split Pea Soup

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Hernekeitto Finnish Split Pea Soup


8 cups water
1 lb dried whole green peas
1 lb smoked ham (include bone if you can)
1 bay leaf
1 onion
1 -2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, paprika to taste
Potatoes (optional)
Carrots (optional)
Rice or barley (optional)


  1. Clean and drain peas using a collander.
  2. Add water and peas to a large pot and begin simmering on medium high heat.
  3. Slice onion and add to pot.
  4. Add ham and bone to pot.
  5. Add salt, pepper,and bay leaf.
  6. Boil soup until the peas begin to split (this takes around 2 hours). If you leave them on a high boil for longer, you can cut off about 20 minutes if you are lucky!
  7. If you are using potatoes or carrots, you can dice them and add them at this point.
  8. After the ham is fully cooked it will begin to come off the bone, so you can remove the bone and ham at that time, and cut the ham into smaller bite size pieces and add back into the soup.
  9. Use your judgement on how much salt you add, I prefer my split pea soup on the salty side, however you may not, so be sure to taste as the peas cook- they will absorb some of the salt so you may need to keep adding more as they continue cooking.


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