How to Soften Split Peas? [6 Useful Methods]

How to Soften Split Peas? [6 Useful Methods]

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Imagine cooking split pea soup because it’s such a healthy and delicious meal. It turns out the split peas are hard even after cooking. Now that would be a frustrating situation. I understand you would want to avoid that.

How to soften split peas?

Always buy fresh split peas. You can use a pressure cooker if you’re in an elevated area. If the split peas are hard, try the food processor to make puree and cook again. Add salt and acidic components after the split peas are cooked. Putting a pinch of baking soda while cooking also works. Use filtered water to avoid hard water.

On your way to try out these methods? Wait. I haven’t told you everything yet. Read on to find all the details.

Why Won’t Split Peas Become Soft After Cooking?

Split peas usually soften and break down when cooked correctly. And that results in a gravy that is thick. Not like a puree, though. 

If that’s the case, you might want to know how to thicken puree.

However, sometimes split peas stay crunchy even after cooking. There are some explanations for that. 

It’s important to know what’s keeping the split peas from becoming soft. That’s how you’ll know what you should or shouldn’t do. So, bear with me.

Let’s start then.

Aged Split Peas

The age of the split pea affects cooking. Typically, the ones that are aged don’t soften. That’s because their shelf life is not indefinite. 

The packaged ones have a “best use” date. Split peas won’t get unusable immediately after the date has passed. 

It will get increasingly challenging to soften them as time goes.

Hard Water

This kind of water has minerals such as calcium. And it stops the split peas from being soft.

Does your area have hard water? Well, then you know why your split peas won’t get soft. So, the hardness of the water you’re using to cook needs to be addressed.

High Altitude

Yes, your geographical location has an impact on your cooking. 

It’s essential to consider your area’s elevation. Because the boiling point of water varies depending on that. When you reside in a high-altitude zone, you see the problem.

You see, water heats up at a reduced temperature at high altitudes. So, the boiling point might be low enough. And that won’t cook the split peas. 

Salt And Salty Undertones

Here’s the thing – salt hinders the process of osmosis. As a result, the water cannot get soaked up by the dried split peas.

So, cooking split peas with salted stock or salted water causes the problem. It prevents the split peas from being soft enough. 

Are you using ham bone and chicken stock to cook the split peas? Actually, there’s residual salt in it. So, you need to bear that in mind.

Acidic Components

We unintentionally add acidic ingredients to a split peas dish at times. And that doesn’t allow the split peas to get soft.

Actually, tomato sauce, onion, lemon juice, and vinegar have acidic components. These ingredients will interfere with your cooking.

These were all the explanations I know won’t let your split peas become soft. I’ll discuss what you can do to soften them in the next segment.

Are There Any Methods to Soften Split Peas?

Well, I have good news for you. I know of some methods that will help to make split peas soft. I’ll elaborate on them.

Method 1: Buy Fresh Split Peas

The fresh ones will be easy to cook. And it will make your split peas just the way you want them. 

Some splits sit at the backside of the grocery rack for an extended period. You need to avoid buying these ones. Because it’s highly unlikely that these are fresh. 

You can get split peas from a store that has a consistent stock turnover rate. Purchases can also be made at the farmers’ market.

Method 2: Utilize Pressure Cooker

You can utilize a pressure cooker to soften split peas. Also, if you reside in a high altitude area, this could be a viable option.

However, some pressure cooker brands instruct you to not cook split peas in it. To avert kitchen disasters, I’d advise you follow these instructions.

This is the pressure cooker I use. It’s amazing and can do so many different things. It has an insane 64,535+ reviews on Amazon with the majority positive. This pressure cooker does a great job. You’ll be satisfied with the performance.

Method 3: Cook With Baking Soda

Here’s a trick that you can try. Go and get your hands on baking soda. Now, put a pinch of that into the cooking water.

It will tenderize the split peas. You won’t have to cook for long then. Because baking soda will do the job in a shorter amount of time.

But the Vitamin C concentration can decrease because of that. Also, don’t go overboard with baking soda’s amount. 

Two pinches will also work. However, too much of it will ruin the taste.

Method 4: Use Bottled Water

Bottled water is your savior if you get hard water in your area. Basically, you need to opt for water that is filtered. 

Try boiling the water beforehand. That should make a difference. 

Method 5: Add Salt And Acidic Components Later

You already know that these inhibit the cooking process. So, use unsalted water when you cook split peas. Also, don’t put salt when you saute them. Add the salt after they are soft.

The same goes for ingredients that have acidic components. Bring these together with the split peas in the last stage.

Method 6: Try Food Processor

After cooking the split peas, you can transfer them into a food processor. You can also use a blender. Then blend your split peas.

It will turn into puree now. You can cook that for up to an hour. And that’s how you’ll get soft split peas.

There you go. Try these out.

Some Tips to Follow

I have some general tips for you. I usually follow them. Today, I’ll share them with you. 

Tip 1: Don’t Buy In Bulk

You should not buy split peas in bulk. This is especially true if your family is small. Because you won’t need it that much. So, it will keep getting old and stale.

Tip 2: Soak Overnight

It’s better if you can soak the split peas before cooking. I prefer to soak it overnight. Sometimes I leave it for much longer than that. 

That’s about it.

Recommended reading –

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you consume split peas that aren’t fully cooked?

Partially cooked split peas are unlikely to be dangerous. But it might cause intestinal distress. You should factor in how your body reacts to it.

Is it true that split peas can cause gas?

Yes, split peas can generate gas in your stomach. Actually, it is applicable for other types of dried legumes. Such as – soya, lentils, and beans.

Is it possible to overcook my split peas?

Not really. You cannot overcook your split peas. But it is possible to burn it. Just don’t let the water get dried up. Add more water when needed. 


I hope you liked my article on how to soften split peas. I tried to be thorough.

I’ve mentioned quite a few methods. You need to figure out which one works for you. Also, you should pinpoint why your split peas are crunchy.

Alright, I’m signing off. Have a lovely day!

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