German Split Pea Soup (Erbsensuppe)

This German Split Pea Soup Is Filling And Really Easy To Make!

If you’re looking for a warm and thick soup you can really sink your teeth into, try this Split pea soup.

Made from soaked split peas and lots of freshly chopped vegetables like carrot, leek, potato, and celery, this soup – known as Erbsensuppe in German – includes European-style wieners for an authentic meaty taste.

You can garnish this German pea soup with a little bit of chopped parsley for a pop of color.

white bowl of german green bean soup with green pot behind
One bowl of German split pea soup, please!

Split pea soup is pretty popular in Germany. It’s very much a classic “Oma recipe” that the older generation would make.

This is partially because split peas – which are dried and peeled green peas – last long in storage and are full of good calories that keep you full.

Split pea soup is a soup Lisa grew up eating in the south of Germany. So, we’re happy to have recreated it here!

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you run off to make this German pea soup recipe, here are a few things to consider:

Not all split peas are the same so keep this in mind when looking at our cooking times and adjust, if needed.

We like our vegetables softer but some like them with a bit less tender. If this is you, add the vegetables with the potatoes after the peas have simmered for a bit.

bowl of german split pea soup with blue towel and spoon beside
Look at those chunks of vegetables, wiener sausage, and potatoes!

We like using European wiener for an authentic taste (as close to Germany as we can get) but any cooked sausage can be used.

If you can find celery root (as opposed to green celery stalks) then you can also use them – celery root is more traditionally German anyway!

In case you can get your hand on authentic German “Schinkenspeck” feel free to use that. We have found that pancetta bacon is a great alternative that is often readily available in North America.

However, if you can’t find pancetta bacon either, you can cut a couple of slices of thick-cut bacon into small pieces or try a bit of pre-cooked ham for extra flavor (we have not tried this yet, though).

How to Make German Split Pea Soup – Step by Step Instructions

If you want to make this thick and delicious split pea soup, you can check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

For those wanting to follow the step by step instructions with visuals, you can see the recipe process photos below.

green split peas in silver pot on stove top
Soak the split peas.

It’s best to soak the split peas first since this reduces their cooking time noticeably.

So first, wash the split peas in a strainer under running water, then add them to a pot or a large container with a lid.

Add enough water so that it covers the split peas generously. Then put the lid on and let the peas sit for around 12 hours.

chopped onions and pancetta bacon on white cutting board
Cut the onion and bacon.

After the peas have soaked and are ready to be cooked, peel the onion and chop it into small cubes.

Also, cut the pancdetta bacon into small pieces if you haven’t bought it pre-cut.

chopped celery and carrots on white cutting board
Cut the carrot and celery.

Peel the carrot and wash the celery. Cut everything into small pieces.

green leek cut into rings on wooden cutting board
Cut the leek.

Next, wash the leek really well since it can be quite dirty. Then cut it into rings.

frying pancetta in large pot on stove
Fry the pancetta bacon.

In a large pot, heat a little bit of oil. Then add the pancetta bacon and fry it on medium-high heat until the fatty pieces appear translucent

onions and pancetta frying in large soup pot
Sauté the onions.

Then add the onion pieces and sauté them until they are clear and the pancetta bacon is lightly browned.

chopped raw vegetables in large soup pot on stove
Add the chopped celery, carrot and leek.

Now add the carrot, celery, and leek. Give everything a stir, then sauté them for around 2 minutes as well.

If you want your vegetables to keep a bit of a crunch, don’t add them yet – add them with the potatoes later!

split peas on vegetables in soup pot on stove
Add the soaked split peas.

At this time, add the soaked split peas – including the water they soaked in – to the pot.

split pea soup with broth in soup pot on stove
Add the vegetable broth.

Pour enoguh vegetable broth into the pot so that it just covers its contents. In our case, this is around 4 cups of vegetable broth.

However, depending on the size of your pot, the vegetables, and how much water you used to soak the peas, you might need slightly more or less.

Now bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, add the lid and turn down the heat to low. Let the soup simmer for around 25 minutes until the peas are semi-soft. Make sure to stir occasionally.

dark green chopped parsley on white cutting board
Chop the parsley.

In the meantime, wash and finely chop the parsley.

chopped potatoes on white cutting board
Cut the potatoes.

Also, peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes.

chopped parsley on simmering split pea soup in pot on stove
Add the potato cubes and chopped parsley to the soup.

After the soup has simmered for around 25 minutes, add the potatoes and the chopped parsley. Give everything a stir, then let the soup simmer for another 30 minutes.

If you didn’t add the other vegetables at the earlier stage, add them now. Also add some more vegetable broth as necessary.

chopped weiner sausage in split pea soup in pot on stove with wooden spoon
Add the cut up wieners.

When the soup is almost done, cut up the wiener sausages. Add them to the soup and give everything a stir. You can also leave the sausages whole if you prefer it this way.

Let them heat for around 5 minutes. At this time, also add salt and pepper to taste.

bowl of green german split pea soup on wooden cutting board
Our German split pea soup topped with a little more chopped parsley!

Serve the soup hot. You can garnish it with a little bit more chopped parsley if you want.

Storage Tips

You can store leftovers of the split pea soup in the fridge for around 2 days. Just make sure to store them in an airtight container with a lid. Also, make sure that the soup has cooled first before placing it in the fridge.

Reheat the portions you want to eat in a pot on the stove (our preferred method) or in the microwave.

Just be sure to give the split pea soup a stir before ladling it out to reheat it since the solids and water can separate a tad. You might also have to add a little bit more water to the pot/the bowl.

Alternatively, you can also freeze (some) of the soup. We would recommend doing so in portions. This way you can easily thaw and heat it quickly in a pot on the stove on low heat.

FAQ

Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?

Ideally, yes. Soaking the split peas softens them to be ready for cooking. Unsoaked split peas will take a long time to soften while cooking and this will undoubtedly throw off the recipe (overall cooking time, tenderness of vegetables, amount of water needed, etc.)

Can I substitute lentils for split peas in soup?

Sure, but then it’s not split pea soup. It’s lentil soup – and the cooking time will vary based on the type of lentils used.

Can you use whole dried peas instead of split peas?

Sure – but then it’s not split pea soup. Also, don’t expect the soup to turn out creamy. Whole peas will tend to stay together and the resulting broth will be thinner than in a split pea soup.

How do you make split pea soup from scratch?

To make split pea soup from scratch, wash and soak the split peas overnight, then cut and boil the vegetables, peas, and any meat in broth. You can find the detailed recipe instructions for split pea soup below.

Related Recipes

For more authentic German recipes, check out these other tasty creations:

bowl of green german split pea soup on wooden cutting board

German Split Pea Soup (Erbsensuppe)

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

German Split Pea Soup - known as Erbsensuppe - is so easy to make. Packed with vegetables, potatoes, meat, and a whole lot of split peas, this hearty soup will keep you warm and full!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked green split peas, soaked
  • 1 lb potatoes (approx. 4 medium-sized potatoes)
  • 1 leek
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 5 oz pancetta bacon (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (approx.)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 4 European-style wieners
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Since the split peas are quite hard it's best to soak them overnight. First, wash your split peas in a strainer, then add them to a pot or a large container with a lid. Add enough water so that it covers the split peas generously. Put the lid on and let the peas sit for around 12 hours.
  2. Cut the pancetta bacon into small cubes. Also, peel the onion and finely chop it.
  3. Peel the carrot and wash the celery. Cut everything into small pieces.
  4. Wash the leek really well (it can be quite dirty) and cut it into rings.
  5. Heat some oil in a large pot. Add the pancetta bacon and fry it on medium-high heat until the fatty parts are translucent. Then add the onion pieces and sauté them until they are clear and the pancetta bacon is lightly browned.
  6. Add the carrot, celery, and leek. Give everything a stir, then sauté them for around 2 minutes as well. If you want your vegetables to keep a bit of a crunch, don't add them yet (see notes)!
  7. Now add the soaked split peas - including the water they soaked in - to the pot.
  8. Add enough vegetable broth to the pot so that it just covers its contents. In our case, this is around 4 cups of vegetable broth. However, it might be slightly more or less for you depending on the size of your pot, the vegetables, and how much water you used to soak the peas.
  9. Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, add the lid and turn down the heat to low. Let the soup simmer for around 25 minutes until the peas are semi-soft. Stir occasionally.
  10. In the meantime, peel your potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Also, wash and finely chop the parsley.
  11. After the 25 minutes are up, add the potatoes and the chopped parsley and give everything a stir. Let the soup simmer for another 30 minutes.
  12. When the soup is almost done, cut up the European wiener sausages and add them to the soup to heat for around 5 minutes. Also, add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve the soup hot!

Notes

  • Depending on the split peas you are using, they might take slightly more or less time to cook. So, please use our time references above as guidance and adjust accordingly.
  • Some people like it when the vegetables still have a bit of a firmness/crunch to them. If this is you, then don't add the leek, celery, and carrot with the peas. Let the split peas simmer for 25 minutes first, then add the vegetables when you add the potatoes and the parsley. You might have to add some more vegetable broth as well.
  • To give this soup its true flavor, make sure to add European-style wieners. In our opinion, they taste quite a bit different than North American hot dogs and give the soup the taste you'd also get if you made it in Germany. We can buy them in our local grocery store (in Canada). If you can't find European wieners, you can of course add other sausages as well.
  • Germans often use "Schinkenspeck" - which is a type of bacon - when cooking. The closest equivalent that we could find in North America (and is readily available) is Italian pancetta bacon. That's why there's Italian-style bacon in this German recipe!
  • In Germany, celery root is usually used for soups instead of the green stalks of celery that are very common in North America. So feel free to use a small celery root if you can get them at your local grocery store.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 816mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 14g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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