Traditional Dutch Pea Soup

It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s slippery.

Although I am a big fan of winter, it doesn’t seem like we have any proper ones in The Netherlands anymore. Sure, it’s colder than usual, but we haven’t had a decent pack of snow in years. The last time I was able to skate on natural ice was about 3 years ago. And that’s what winter should be like. Not this fall kind of stormy weather. I do not like it.dutch split pea soupDue to the wind and rain, I sometimes need a little pick me up. This comes in the form of split pea soup. Or snert as we call it in Dutch. Honestly, a recipe doesn’t get any more Dutch than this. It’s one of those traditional classics that just never seem to go out of fashion, as there’s always this wet weather which calls for comfort. Also, it incorporates one of the true Dutch ingredients: rookworst. Basically, this translates to smoked sausage, and it’s what we eat with our mashed potatoes every winter.dutch split pea soupThe pea soup is quite thick, and very filling. But oh so, comforting. The flavour is so earthy, and basic, yet so layered. Besides that, it’s incredibly easy to make. Just boil the peas along with the bacon and pork steak. After about 1 hour, you add the rest of the vegetables, the smoked sausage and some herbs. Leave to boil for another half hour, and you’re done!

dutch split pea soupTraditionally, we serve it with rye bread and smoked bacon (or katenspek in Dutch). Rye bread really is something else though. Personally, I just cannot eat it, I thoroughly dislike the sour taste, but there are tons of people who adore it. If it’s your first time eating Dutch Pea Soup, definitely try to have the rye bread as accompaniment for the full Dutch experience!

Traditional Dutch Pea Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 500 grams (17.6 oz) split peas
  • 1 pork steak (shoulder part)
  • 250 grams (8.8 oz) bacon
  • 1/2 celeriac
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 potato
  • 1 smoked sausage (rookworst)
  • 20 grams (0.7 oz) celery leaves
  • 20 grams (0.7 oz) parsley
  • Optional: rye bread and smoked sliced bacon

Used kitchen appliances

  • Large soup pan


  1. Boil the split peas in 2 liters of water along with the pork steak and bacon. Let it simmer on a low heat for about 1 hour or until the peas are cooked through.
  2. In the meantime, dice the celeriac and potato, and slice the leeks. Chop the celery leaves and parsley. Add the vegetables, 3/4 of the herbs, and smoked sausage to the pan when the peas are done. Take out the pork steak, and remove the bone. Chop the meat and put back in the pan. Let simmer for another 30 minutes.
  3. Take out the smoked sausage and bacon, and slice. Add them to the soup. Season to taste.
  4. Top it off with some chopped herbs. Serve with the rye bread and smoked bacon slices.

Note: it might be that the split peas available in your supermarket need to soak in water overnight. Check this with your vendor, or the instructions on the package.


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