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How To Thicken Split Pea Soup | The Best Way

Split pea soup is a creamy and delicious treat, especially on a cold wintery day. But if the pot of split pea soup that you have been simmering on the stove all day turns out watery?

The best way to thicken split pea soup is to mash some of the peas with a potato masher and add them back in. Alternate thickening methods include adding a slurry or adding additional ingredients including pureed vegetables, some uncooked rice, dairies such as cream or yogurt, or mashed potatoes.

It is important to thicken a good pot of soup without changing its taste, and in the following paragraphs, we will discuss each of these methods in more detail and whether they will change the flavor of the soup.

The Best Way To Thicken Split Pea Soup By Mashing Some Peas 

The absolute best way to thicken split pea soup is by removing 1 to 2 cups of peas from the pot, mashing them with a fork or a potato masher, and then returning them to the pot. Be sure the peas are hot when you mash them and return them while still hot. They will then act as a naturally starchy thickening agent.

Thickening split pea soup by mashing some of the peas will not affect the taste of the soup; only the texture of the soup will be altered.

7 Alternate Methods For Thickening Split Pea Soup

1. Add a Cornstarch Slurry

Thickening split pea soup by adding cornstarch is another good method, and even though it could possibly affect the flavor of the soup, the change should not be significant.

This method involves making a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cool water or broth from the soup, mixing it well, and adding it to the pot of soup.

Pro Tip: If using broth from the soup, make sure the broth is cool before adding the cornstarch or there could be lumps in the slurry. Combining the cornstarch and cool liquid together with a whisk should make a smoother slurry which will combine more easily with the soup in the pot.

Here’s a video I did on thickening with a cornstarch slurry:

2. Add a Flour Slurry

This method is similar to adding a cornstarch slurry, but uses flour and water rather than cornstarch and water. For every cup of liquid to be thickened, mix a slurry of 2 tablespoons of flour with ¼ cup of cold water, and add back to the pot. Whisking the flour and water together will make a smoother slurry with no lumps. Stir the beans well to incorporate the slurry and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes to thicken.

When using this method for thickening, use the least amount of flour possible because using too much of the flour slurry will result in a rather bland-tasting soup.

3. Add a Tapioca Starch (Flour) Slurry

Tapioca starch, which is the same thing as tapioca flour, is made from the starchy pulp of the root of the cassava plant. These products are gluten-free and paleo-friendly and can be used in baking and as a thickening agent in sauces, soups, puddings, and pies.

Tapioca starch can replace cornstarch at the rate of 2:1 by replacing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch. Tapioca flour can replace regular all-purpose flour on a 1:1 basis.

A slurry is a quick and easy way to thicken soups.

4. Add Pureed Vegetables

Thickening agents such as pureed vegetables will not significantly change the flavor of the split pea soup depending on the kind of vegetables that are in the puree, but the texture of the soup will be changed by making it thicker and richer.

Pureed vegetables that can be added to the split pea soup without changing the flavor are potatoes, carrots, and any white peas or beans like limas, great northern, and navy beans.

5. Add Dairy

Dairy products such as yogurt, heavy cream, and whole milk can change the texture of the soup from watery to rich and creamy. Depending on how much soup you are cooking, start by adding the dairy product of your choice in ½ cup portions until the desired thickness of the pea soup is achieved.

For a Vegan option, add coconut milk for a rich and creamy texture that may affect the flavor of the soup, but only slightly.

6. Add Rice

By adding approximately ¼ cup to ⅓ cup of any kind of rice, basmati, jasmine, long-grain, or short grain, the rice will absorb part of the liquid as it cooks and will blend with the flavor of the peas and make a very nice, thick dish.

Bowl of Cooked Rice
Just a little rice can go a long way.

7. Add Mashed Potatoes

Another good way to thicken split pea soup is by adding mashed potatoes to the soup. The mashed potatoes shouldn’t significantly change the way the soup tastes, but will only make the soup thicker and creamier. Be sure, however, to thin the mashed potatoes before adding to the soup by adding a little milk and stirring until the potatoes are thinned to a consistency to be added to the soup without having lumps of potatoes floating around.

While mashing potatoes and adding them to the soup will work for some types of soup, it will not work as a thickener for as many dishes as cornstarch, flour, milk, or cream.

Thickening Better During The Cooking Process

The methods for thickening split pea soup that we have been discussing are useful after the soup has been cooked and we discover that it is watery and not thick enough. But, during the cooking process, there are some things we can do to make sure our split pea soup thickens as it cooks. Here are two of those suggestions: 

Thickening By Propping The Lid Up While Cooking To Reduce The Liquid

While the soup is cooking, if the pot is either left uncovered or the lid is tilted at such an angle to allow evaporation, the liquid will be reduced and the soup should be thicker and less watery.

Thickening by simmering longer to reduce the liquid

While the soup is cooking, not only leaving the pot uncovered or tilting the lid to allow for evaporation will reduce the liquid making the soup thicker, but simmering at a lower temperature for a longer period of time will help to thicken the soup.

Thickening Better by Refrigerating Overnight

To thicken a pot of split pea soup without adding any additional ingredients, make the soup a day in advance and refrigerate it overnight. The soup will thicken as the peas absorb liquid resulting in a thicker soup when you serve it the next day.

Is Split Pea Soup Supposed To Be Thick?

Split pea soup should be soft and creamy and similar in texture to potato soup. It is better when cooked for one to one and one-half hours over low heat, and is ready when the peas are soft and have been cooked all the way through.

Split pea soup that is watery can be thickened by using one or more of the methods discussed above. If your split pea soup is too thick, it can be thinned by adding some vegetable or chicken broth. 

How To Thicken Crockpot Soup?


Making soup in a crockpot is very popular now because it allows us to cook those “from scratch” recipes that we all love in spite of busy schedules. So, when cooking split pea soup we can avoid watery soup by not adding as much liquid as we would add if we were cooking in a pot on the stove because a crockpot does not allow as much evaporation as traditional cooking. 

In addition, soup cooked in a crockpot can be thickened by leaving the lid off during the last half of the cooking cycle or by simply tilting the lid so that evaporation can occur.

However, if the soup does turn out to be a little watery and not as thick as we would like, any of the methods mentioned above can be used to thicken our crockpot soup.

How to Thin Your Soup if It Is Too Thick

One of the biggest problems when making soup is getting the consistency right. We have been discussing ways of thickening soup if it turns out to be a little watery. But, what would you do if your soup is too thick? 

The best way to thin split pea soup if it is too thick is by adding vegetable or chicken broth, just a little at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. It is better not to use water as the thinned soup could possibly taste watery and not be as hearty and flavorful as we would like.

What To Serve With Split Pea Soup?

Once you have made your pot of split pea soup, and it is just the right consistency and seasoned perfectly, the next question is what to serve with the soup. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add rye bread and slices of corned beef with a fresh green salad.
  • Add a ham and cheese quiche with sourdough bread and glazed carrots.
  • Add grilled cheese sandwiches with fresh cucumber slices.
  • Serve with a charcuterie board filled with cured meats, cheeses, nuts, and fresh or dried fruits.
  • Add cornbread and grilled sausages.
  • Serve topped with croutons with a caesar salad on the side.

Final Bite

There are so many kinds of dry beans and peas available that you have many choices for the kind you use for making soup. Soup can be made from whichever variety of beans and peas that happen to be your favorites. But, no matter what kind of soup you decide to make, if the consistency is not right, there are many options in this article for either thickening your split pea soup or thinning it. 

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss Is it Safe to Eat Raw Lentils?


Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Hey, Caroline! Thanks for the comment! That is a great suggestion and one that I should have mentioned in the article. I think most people do keep them on hand, and they would be a quick fix for the watery split pea soup.


Monday 23rd of May 2022

Hi Anne, thought I’d mention that adding INSTANT mashed potato flakes directly (unprepared) to an over-watery split pea soup is a super breezy fix and especially great for cooks in a time crunch. They’re made from 100% potatoes and do not depart any noticeable or different flavor to the soup.