Creamy Yellow Split Pea Soup (Instant Pot Friendly!)

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We recently cracked the code for perfect yellow split peas in the Instant Pot and realized they’d be the perfect candidate for soup!

Our favorite way to enjoy yellow split peas? At Ethiopian restaurants!

This soup is inspired by the flavors of Ethiopian Atir Kik Alicha (Yellow Split Pea Stew), but with a creamy twist. Just an Instant Pot and 9 ingredients required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Origins of Split Pea Soup

It’s believed that split pea soup was enjoyed by the Greeks and Romans as far back as 400-500 BC. And it’s been made in varying forms in many countries and continents around the world, including Canada, several European countries, African countries, the Caribbean, and beyond!

The following is our creamy, plant-based version using yellow split peas and spices commonly used in Ethiopian split pea stew.

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

The Instant Pot is our preferred method for cooking split peas because they cook in less than half the time they take on the stovetop. Plus, they get perfectly tender with no soaking required!

To evoke the flavors of Ethiopian split pea stew, we include onion, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, plus a healthy pinch of black pepper to enhance the health benefits and bioavailability of the turmeric.

Once the water and vegetable broth go in, the Instant Pot does its speedy cooking magic (just 15 minutes!).

Once the pressure has released, coconut milk is added for creaminess. To make it even more smooth and creamy, you can optionally purée with an immersion blender.

We hope you LOVE this split pea soup! It’s:

Creamy
Gingery
Savory
Flavorful
Comforting
& Delicious!

It’s perfect as a main dish or side, and especially magical topped with cubed roasted sweet potatoes. It also pairs well with naan, gluten-free naan, roasted carrots, and/or coconut curried greens.

More Comforting Instant Pot Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Creamy Yellow Split Pea Soup (Instant Pot Friendly!)

Creamy, Ethiopian-inspired yellow split pea soup made in the Instant Pot. A delicious, comforting plant-based side or main. Just 1 pot and 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
4.87 from 23 votes
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 40minutes
Total Time 50minutes
Servings 4(~1-cup servings)
Course Entrée or Side
Cuisine Ethiopian-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

SOUP

  • 1Tbspavocado or olive oil(or sub 1/4 cup water)
  • 1cupchopped white or yellow onion(1 small onion yields ~1 cup)
  • 2medium clovesgarlic, minced(2 cloves yield ~2 tsp minced)
  • 1 ½tspfinely minced fresh ginger
  • 1cupyellow split peas
  • 1cupwater
  • 2 ½cupsvegetable broth
  • 3/4tspground turmeric
  • 1healthy pinchground black pepper
  • 1/3cupfull-fat coconut milk (canned)
  • Sea salt, to taste(optional // only if needed)

GARNISH optional

  • Coconut milk
  • Freshly chopped cilantro

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

INSTANT POT

  • Turn on the sauté function on your Instant Pot (to the default “Normal” — not high or low). Once hot, add oil (or water) and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add a little bit more water as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Turn off the sauté function by pressing “Cancel.” Then add yellow split peas, water, vegetable broth, turmeric, and black pepper and stir.
  • Put on the Instant Pot lid and turn to seal. Pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes (it will take about 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before cooking begins). Once the timer goes off, let the steam release naturally (~15 minutes), or carefully press the quick release if in a hurry. Turn off the Instant Pot by pressing “Cancel.”
  • Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Optionally, to purée soup, let it cool slightly, then carefully remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot base and tilt the pot to one side while using an immersion blender to purée. This will help prevent splatter. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding salt to taste or coconut milk for creaminess.
  • Best when fresh. Optionally, garnish with a swirl of coconut milk and freshly chopped cilantro. This soup pairs well with naan or cubed roasted sweet potatoes. Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop, adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking.

STOVETOP

  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water) and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add a little bit more water as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add yellow split peas, water, vegetable broth, turmeric, and black pepper and stir. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until split peas are tender.
  • Add coconut milk and stir to combine. Optionally, to purée soup, let it cool slightly, then tilt the pot while using an immersion blender to purée. This will help prevent splatter. Taste test and adjust as needed, adding more salt to taste or coconut milk for creaminess.
  • Best when fresh. Optionally, garnish with a swirl of coconut milk and freshly chopped cilantro. This soup pairs well with naan or cubed roasted sweet potatoes. Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop, adding a little water, as needed, to prevent sticking.

Video

Notes

*Cook time includes active cook time, time for the Instant Pot to pressurize, and release time.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Inspired by the flavors of Ethiopian Atir Kik Alicha from Eleni’s Kitchen.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1cupCalories: 150Carbohydrates: 16.9gProtein: 4.9gFat: 7.2gSaturated Fat: 3.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.56gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.45gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3.2mgPotassium: 280mgFiber: 6.5gSugar: 3.2gVitamin A: 4.23IUVitamin C: 3.01mgCalcium: 30.42mgIron: 1.41mg

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Reader Interactions

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  1. Juliasays

    Okay we’re in the middle of a crazy heat wave so it’s not exactly soup weather, but I came across this recipe while looking for easy & clean ‘dump dinners’. I’ve been injured and on bed rest for a couple weeks and my body’s just *over* take out and those quick processed meals.

    This recipe was not only delicious but budget friendly and my picky husband liked it too. Best of all, it was super quick and easy for me to create a hearty, nutritious meal in no time.

    P.s. I couldn’t get yellow split peas so I used green and they worked great. Next time I will double the recipe since we both wished there were seconds. In 109 degree weather!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We’re so glad the recipe was helpful, Julia! Wishing you a speedy recovery! xoxo

      Reply
  2. Lucysays

    This is a simple, nutritious and delicious recipe. Will be making this one again, so good!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Great! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Lucy. Thank you for sharing! xo

      Reply
  3. Beckysays

    This soup is delicious, easy to make, and such a gorgeous golden color! I did the oil-free stove-top version and served it with a vegan Israeli Couscous & Kale Salad. Next time I think I’ll either leave part of the soup unblended for more texture, or blend all of it in the Vitamix for a smoother soup. The immersion blender doesn’t get it as smooth as I like. The flavor is on point.

    Reply
  4. Amysays

    I made this recipe in my Instant Pot for myself and my husband and we were blown away at how delicious it was. Especially considering how easy it was! I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, including blending a little with my immersion blender (but not enough to make it a purée). Yum. So good.
    I also made some homemade naan bread to go with it and it was perfection.

    Reply
  5. Christysays

    Great recipe, though I’ve tweaked it a bit. I omit the onions and add in a bit of onion powder instead. I’m not a huge onion fan, so that’s why I leave it out. Sometimes I substitute 1/4 tsp of ground ginger if I don’t have fresh ginger, thought I certainly prefer using the fresh ginger. I also add chopped carrots and sweet potatoes into the soup and let them simmer with the split peas.

    I don’t have an instant pot, so I simmer everything about 45 minutes on the stove after I’ve sauteed the base and added everything else, except for the coconut milk, which I don’t add until the very end.

    Reply
  6. Ninasays

    Yum! Easy, nutritious and comes together quickly with pantry staples. I did add a few carrots and celery when sauteing the onions to bump up the veg (and I needed to use them up). I used homemade veg broth and leftover lite coco milk from another recipe. Lots of pepper at the end with some lime. I left it as a brothy soup so I also added extra broth as it cooked down a lot. I didn’t have any cilantro unfortunately. Such a fresh flavor, a great soup for the beginning of Nov/post Halloween/welcome to SoCal Fall. Thank you MB for another winner!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Amazing! Love your modifications, Nina! Thank you for the kind review! xo

      Reply
  7. Nicole Madsensays

    This soup was easy to make and very comforting and tasty. I made roasted yams and topped with cilantro. We all loved it!

    Reply
  8. Zarasays

    Thank you for this amazing meal! All your recipes are incredible so I made this version times 4! (16 servings)
    Thank you for all the recipes you share, you are the reason I love cooking now!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, thank you so much for sharing, Zara! It makes us so happy that you’re enjoying cooking now! xoxo

      Reply
  9. Mackenziesays

    This soup was SO GOOD! I have an off-brand pressure cooker (not an insta-pot) 🤣 and it doesn’t have a sauté setting so I just sautéed everything in a pan and then transferred it. I also added jalapeño for a little extra kick. I had to cook it twice (30 min total) but I think that’s just an issue with my weird cooker.

    This soup had so much flavor. Will definitely make it again!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Mackenzie! Thank you so much for sharing! xo

      Reply
    • Melsays

      Very good right out of the Instant Pot, even better the next day. Definitely could have used an immersion blender, but not necessary. Excellent flavor and texture. A few leaves of cilantro looked wonderfully appealing and added to the depth of the flavor. Will definitely make again.

      Reply
  10. Ann Juodakissays

    This was delicious but I would cut back on the liquid a little, it came out a little thinner than I would have liked. Also definitely double the recipe – it only made enough for 2 of us!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Thanks for sharing, Ann! Glad to hear you enjoyed the flavor!

      Reply
  11. CVBsays

    This soup is SO. GOOD. So much better than the sum of its parts! I remember not being that jazzed when I first saw the recipe but I’m so glad I tried it. I would recommend reducing the liquid a little but holy smokes, this is one of my favorite soup recipes and it is so low effort.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, yay! We’re so glad you gave it a try and enjoyed it. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

      Reply
  12. Sejalsays

    OMG this is SOOOO good! Made it exactly as the recipe suggested in Instant Pot, only added flaky finishing salt when I ladled into a bowl, and loved this simple recipe of ethiopian heaven. For all of the desis out there with a stockpile of dals, I researched that yellow split peas are chana dal. I used Toovar Dal, which are yellow split pigeon peas and it was delicious.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Molly, sorry to hear that! We made it in the Instant Pot too. Did you use freshly chopped ginger, garlic, and onion? That’s primarily where the flavor comes from. Another ideas is perhaps the brand of broth wasn’t very flavorful?

      Reply
  13. Tashsays

    10/10 delicious and 10/10 would recommend and have recommended! Thanks for great recipe. Tasty and budget friendly!

    Reply
  14. Katesays

    This is verrrry tasty. I was surprised, considering how simple the recipe is! Loving the Instant Pot recipes. Perfect for a busy mom. Please keep them coming!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Whoop! We’re so glad you’re enjoying them, Kate! Thanks so much for sharing! xo

      Reply
  15. Kristasays

    I made this recently and was surprised by how rich the flavor was. I can not use coconut milk but used oat instead. Added a little more potatoes to create the creaminess. I added homemade croutons. It was very satisfying and never tired of eating the leftovers.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Krista. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

      Reply
  16. Carol Knappsays

    This was delicious! We topped with sautéed tempeh strips (“fakin’ bacon”), cilantro (good suggestion!), and served with sriracha, and naan on the side.

    Reply
  17. Nicolesays

    This was so delicious! It’s definitely different than anything we’ve eaten lately and was perfect for a snowy evening. I couldn’t find yellow split peas, so I replaced them with Tur Dal and this turned out very well on the stove top. These did not need to cook as long as yellow split peas. We topped with sweet potatoes as suggested. I was too lazy to make naan and we can never find vegan naan at the store, so we served with crusty bread and garlic confit. I doubled the recipe and glad I did, though I think I added too much water for tur dal. Next time I will make it thicker so we can grab it with bread like traditional Ethiopian food. Five stars for a gingery, fantastic recipe. Thank you for another great one, Dana! We will definitely add this to our rotation.

    Reply
  18. Kaylasays

    I just made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I ended up doubling the recipe and serving it as a main meal for the family.

    The only minor change I made to the soup was only adding 1 cup of water (instead of doubling it to 2 like the rest of the ingredients), and I followed the option to puree it to make it more creamy. With the sweet potato croutons, I seasoned them with ~1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, some salt, and sprayed them with olive oil before baking (which is just my general go-to for sweet potato cubes). But honestly, even before adding the ‘croutons’, the soup was already delicious on its own. With the coriander and the swirl of coconut milk just before serving, it was perfect.

    Highly recommend this and will absolutely be making it again – everyone loved it!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Kayla! And your modifications sound lovely. Thanks so much for sharing! xo

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Naj, perhaps cashew milk? But we haven’t tried that way. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
  19. Holly Tsays

    Made this last night! Absolutely delicious, easy and satisfying. I love rotating through pantry staples, and this recipe came at the perfect time. Hearty, gingery, absolutely warm & comforting. I love quick meals where I can to use my instantpot. This is yet another keeper, thanks to the MB!

    Reply
  20. Judesays

    This was absolutely wonderful. I did end up using a big onion which was probably twice as much onion. I used a full tablespoon of minced ginger. I found that a small can (~ 4 oz) of coconut milk works just perfect. I think next time I will double it though because it didn’t really make that much.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Jude! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

      Reply
  21. Mrs Esays

    Hi! Is the Muehller immersion blender the one pictured in your post, maybe a different model as pictured? I have not heard of this brand, is this the one you use on a regualr basis? I am looking for a new immersion blender.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi! We do like that one. Our other preferred at the moment is a KitchenAid, but really any with a removable, stainless steel blade are good in our experience. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  22. Linda Mikhailsays

    I don’t have an immersion blender, may I use the food processor instead? Is the taste similar to your delicious red lentil curry soup, I love that!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We haven’t tried it that way, but that sounds promising. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We haven’t tried this recipe with chana dal, but it might work. It likely won’t be as smooth and creamy though. Let us know if you try it!

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Yes, they do have a different flavor. Yellow split peas are best here, but let us know if you give it a try with green.

      Reply
  23. Phoebesays

    This looks delicious! What size instant pot do you use? I have the 3-quart, it would be helpful to know what size the recipe fits in so I can know ahead of time if I need to halve the recipe or not! Thanks!

    Reply