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French Canadian Pea Soup

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This authentic French Canadian recipe is a classic belly warmer and perfect for a cold day. Split-pea soup with a ham bone, ham hock or salt pork. Make it a vegetarian split-pea soup by leaving out the ham bone and using vegetable stock instead of water.












Trans-fat Free, Low Carb


1 pound peas, dried
8 cups water
½ pound salt pork
all in one piece
1 onions
large, chopped
½ cup celery
¼ cup carrots
¼ cup parsley leaves
fresh, chopped
1 bay leaves
1 teaspoon savory
to taste
black pepper
to taste


This soup is excellent reheated. For a truly authentic version of Quebec's "soupe aux pois" use whole yellow peas, salt pork, and herbs. Outside fo Quebec, it tends to be difficult to find whole yellow peas so we typically have to settle for yellow split-peas.

Alternatively to dried or fresh herbs, "herbes salees" (herbs preserved with salt) are frequently used; either home-made or purchased commercially.

Pea soup prevails as a popular dish in restaurants where tourists can enjoy a true and authentic taste of old Quebec.

If using whole dried yellow peas. Wash and sort the peas and soak in cold water overnight. Simply rinse before using, when using split-peas.

  1. Add the drained peas to a large pot; add the salt pork, onion, celery, carrots, parsley, bay leaf, savoury, water and 1 teaspoon of salt.

  2. Bring to the boil then reduce heat down to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, occasionally stirring, until the peas are very soft, about 2 hours. Add more water if needed.

  3. Remove the salt pork (if using); chop and return to soup. Discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Close-up of a spoonful of yellow-split pea soup

How to serve pea soup

Following cooking, the pork is commonly diced and returned to the soup. Sometimes the pork or ham is removed, thinly sliced and served on the side or as a topping.

Newfoundland Pea Soup

Newfoundland Pea Soup is quite similar but typically includes more vegetables such as diced carrots and turnips, and the soup is often served topped with small dumplings.

Split-pea soup with ham bone

Use a ham bone or ham hock instead of the salt pork.

Thick pea soup

For a thicker consistency (although this is not traditional) a cup or two of cooked peas may be puréed then returned to the soup.


In some regional variations, garlic, leeks, different vegetables or a ham bone are added for flavor.

Authentic French Canadian pea soup.


* not incl. in nutrient facts

Add review




Mobile, United States
 about 11 years ago

Love this recipe. I use ham bone instead of salt pork when I have it.

 over 9 years ago

This is an excellent and easy recipe! I'm from Quebec and we've been maling Fr. Cdn pea soup for years.

Miami, United States
 almost 9 years ago

love this soup. Full of flavor and guilt free. Just right after holiday reason.

Bobbi Roy
Los Angeles/Miami
 over 8 years ago

My parents brought this soup as well as other
French Canadian recipes from Lewiston Maine.
I have a hard time finding the whole yellow peas. Used to find them at Ikea! Recently found
whole yellow peas at an Indian/Fiji grocery store.

I would give this a five star!
I will get back to you re: Fiji peas.4

Whole yellow are found everywhere in quebec. Try the bulk stores and supermarkets. I have always had trouble finding them in the states.

Bon Appetit

Home chef
Toronto, Canada
 about 4 years ago

Glen Allen, United States
 over 8 years ago

having lived in the province Quebec, their pea soup was always one of my favorites! So look forward to trying this recipe.
Joanne H Ferguson

plattsburgh ny
 about 5 years ago

My Quebecois family always made this soup with a leftover ham hawk and whole yellow peas. Maybe it's a family alteration but the small carrots were always left whole and hominy was also mixed in with the peas. I cheat and use no-salt chicken broth instead of water for a richer flavor.

Winnipeg, Canada
 almost 3 years ago

When do you add the salt pork or ham hock? I can only find when to remove it!

Thanks for the comment. The salt pork or ham hock should be added along with onion, celery, and carrots. Just edited the recipe. Happy Cooking :)

GTA, Ontario, Canada
 almost 3 years ago
, United States
 over 1 year ago

Everything should be slow cooked for a few hours until it taste right. We simmered ours over the wood stove all day till supper time. It’s a soup along with buttered French or Italian buttered bread. Dip it in the soup! It’s delicious. The cost to buy it through Canada from Virginia is prohibitive!

, United States
 11 months ago

I made this recipe exactly as written. This by far is the BEST French Canadian Pea Soup recipe I've tried. Please don't take offense if I compare it to my favorite canned Habitant Pea Soup but it's as good if not better! Online shopping has taken the hassle of trying to find whole yellow peas. I let it set and served the next day. Nice & Thick!!

Ottawa, Canada
 3 months ago

we in Serbia also use ham but smoked ribs, of bacon or sausage as well as alternative meats. Carrot, parsley and onion are usual vegetables used in soup. Our Northern Macedonian neighbours have thicker version of it called 'Tavche - Gravche' which some people argue is different dish though...

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 291g (10.3 oz)
Amount per Serving
Calories 22094% of calories from fat
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 35%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 423mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Sugars g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 7%
Calcium 2% Iron 2%
* based on a 2,000 calorie diet How is this calculated?


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