Creamy Yellow Split Pea Soup (Instant Pot Friendly!)

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Two bowls of Instant Pot yellow split pea soup beside roasted sweet potatoes and naan

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!

Onion, olive oil, yellow split peas, garlic, ginger, black pepper, cilantro, vegetable broth, and coconut milk

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.

Sautéing onion in an Instant Pot

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!).

Instant Pot of yellow split peas, water, broth, and spices

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.

Using an immersion blender to purée split pea soup

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!

Holding a bowl of yellow split pea soup topped with roasted sweet potato and cilantro

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
Bowls of yellow split pea soup topped with roasted sweet potato
4.82 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
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

  • 1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil (or sub 1/4 cup water)
  • 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion (1 small onion yields ~1 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~2 tsp minced)
  • 1 ½ tsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 healthy pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned)
  • Sea salt, to taste (optional // only if needed)

GARNISH optional

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: 1 cup Calories: 150 Carbohydrates: 16.9 g Protein: 4.9 g Fat: 7.2 g Saturated Fat: 3.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.56 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.45 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 3.2 mg Potassium: 280 mg Fiber: 6.5 g Sugar: 3.2 g Vitamin A: 4.23 IU Vitamin C: 3.01 mg Calcium: 30.42 mg Iron: 1.41 mg

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Reader Interactions

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My Rating:




  1. Zara says

    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!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  2. Mackenzie says

    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!

    • Mel says

      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.

  3. Ann Juodakis says

    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!

  4. CVB says

    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.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  5. Sejal says

    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.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      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?

  6. Tash says

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

  7. Kate says

    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!

  8. Krista says

    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.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      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

  9. Carol Knapp says

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

  10. Nicole says

    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.

  11. Kayla says

    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!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  12. Holly T says

    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!

  13. Jude says

    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.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  14. Mrs E says

    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.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      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!

  15. Linda Mikhail says

    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!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      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!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      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.

  16. Phoebe says

    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!