I was born to find the best split pea soup at the grocery store. Just the other day at the office, we were discussing our favorite soups (we really do talk about food all day), and my colleague Justine Sterling and I both said split pea. What an underrated and underappreciated soup! It’s packed with plant-based protein and fiber. It’s hearty and filling. And it’s nice and smoky when it’s flavored with a pork product of some kind. But the sad fact of the matter is that there aren’t nearly enough restaurants serving split pea soup. Yes, it looks like what Regan spews onto Father Karras in The Exorcist, but it tastes so good! Anyway, I can’t make restaurants serve split pea soup, but I can direct you toward the best canned split pea soup at the grocery store.
When we sat down for this tasting, we were looking for split pea soup that’s creamy, flavorful, and doesn’t just taste like a can. We wanted restaurant quality split pea soup—and we actually found it. Now, rustle up some croutons, start shifting into soup mode, and let’s talk about the best split pea soup you can buy.
- Progresso Split Pea with Ham
Not to be confused with Progresso Green Split Pea (which is not good), this canned split pea soup has big chunks of carrot and potato, and little chewy cubes of ham. It’s salty and tastes like a lot of other Progresso soups in that sort of homogenous canned soup way, but it definitely scratches that split pea soup itch. It’s also much better than Campbell’s Chunky Split Pea—same idea, but Progresso’s execution is much better. This isn’t the best canned split pea soup at the grocery store, but if you see Progresso soups on sale, it’s definitely worth stocking up on a few cans for the next time you need something hot, filling, and very low effort.
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- Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Split Pea Soup
This vegan split pea soup is bursting with savory flavor. It comes in a cup rather than a can; you just dump in a seasoning packet, add water, and pop it in the microwave. The seasoning packet is a great touch—the flavors of the herbs, parsley in particular, infuse the soup. Dr. McDougall’s also has yeast extract, which amps up the soup’s rich, savory flavor. It almost tastes smoky even though there’s no bacon. This is a really nice, hearty and interesting cup of soup! And we love that it’s both vegan and gluten free. It’s the best split pea soup for vegans, but omnivores will like it, too.
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- Campbell’s Split Pea with Ham & Bacon
Campbell’s condensed split pea soup is a staple in my household. It’s flavorful and smoky and packed with veggies. And when you crack open a can, you can always see a little bit of congealed bacon fat nestled in between the nice, firm split peas—what you’re looking at there is flavor, my dudes. Toss this in a pot with a cup of water, stir it (very) well, and you have an unbelievably satisfying meal in no time flat. If you’re really hungry, it’s the best canned split pea soup for pairing with a buttery grilled swiss cheese sandwich. Perfection.
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- Andersen’s Creamy Soup Split Pea
Here in California, there’s a small chain of restaurants called Pea Soup Andersen’s, which specialize in, you guessed it, pea soup. I’ve never gotten around to stopping on my journeys up I-5, so I was thrilled to discover that Andersen’s sells their pea soup in grocery stores. When I tell you this is the best canned split pea soup I’ve ever tasted, I need you to believe me. It’s unbelievably creamy. If you are highly attached to the texture of whole split peas in your split pea soup, this is not the split pea soup for you. It’s so, so smooth and so rich with pea flavor that I don’t think you’ll miss the chew of peas. At the restaurant, you can add on toppings like bacon bits, shredded cheddar, and diced ham—it would be incredible to dress up the canned version that way. I’m not totally certain this is sold at grocery stores nationwide, but it’s worth ordering by the case on Amazon. (Note: Andersen’s split pea soup is totally plant based, but appears to identify as vegetarian rather than vegan because it may come in contact with eggs and/or dairy during packaging.)
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Best of the Best
Other split pea soup we tried: Tbotchnick, Amy’s, Pacific Foods, Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request