Instant Pot Cuban Style Split Pea Soup (Potaje de Chícharo)

My favorite part about writing this blog is definitely sharing my family’s recipes and learning about the history and experiences behind the dishes I make. As I have gone along I have gotten family members interested in cooking more and sharing with me their recipes and stories and even gotten a few of them to buy Instant Pots. And now slowly, but surely, they are starting to convert their own recipes to IP masterpieces.

If you read my recipe for Cuban Tamales, you probably saw my dad in the instructional videos. One of his all-time favorite dishes is his Split Pea Soup. It started back in Cuba with my Abuela’s family and over time it made its way through the kitchen of my Aunt Nayibe and then to my dad, who added a few things and perfected it even more. So I was so excited when I went by his house to see not only had he used the IP to make his famous Split Pea Soup, but he also took pictures of his steps and wrote down the recipe just for this blog!

Instant Pot Cuban Split Pea Soup

Recipe by Carlos Horruitiner 

1  16 oz Bag of Goya Green Split Peas

1 Medium size Smoked Ham Hock (If you can’t find a ham hock, you can substitute with large pieces of smoked ham or a leftover ham bone)

1 thick slice Pork Belly, cut in large 1 inch pieces (You can use bacon if you don’t have pork belly, just make sure it’s a thicker cut)

1 Cuban Style Chorrizo, cut in 1 inch thick pieces (You can also substitute other types of Chorizo or similar sausage)

1 large Carrot, sliced 

1 Medium sized Yellow Onion, chopped 

5-6 Garlic Cloves, whole

2 1/2 cups Water

2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock

7-8 Whole Allspice 

4 Large Bay Leaves

Kosher Salt

Vegetable Oil

-Rinse the Split Peas in a colander and set aside to drain.

-Add 4 TBL Vegetable to the Instant Pot and press “SAUTE” button. Once hot add the Pork Belly and stir. Allow the pork to get deep brown color.




-Add the whole Ham Hock and the Chorizo and continue to sauté for another minute or 2 to get the flavor infused.


-Add chopped Yellow Onion, Carrots, and Garlic and sauté for another minute. Be sure to stir continuously so the garlic does not burn.


-Add the washed and drained 16 oz Split Peas to the pot and stir for about 20 seconds to make sure all the peas are coated with flavor.


-Add the 2 1/2 cups of Water and 2 1/2 cups of Chicken Stock. Add 1 TBL Kosher Salt, 4 Bay Leaves, 7-8 whole Allspice and stir ingredients.



-Lock the top onto the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to “SEAL”, and then Pressure Cook on High for 30 mins and allow to NPR completely (about 15 minutes). Once all the pressure has naturally released open the lid and stir. Taste and add salt to taste if it needs it. Serve!



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Harlan says:

    Hi there – this is Harlan, the guy who commented on your Facebook post. I have a couple of questions:
    1) How much smoked ham would I need to replace the ham hock?
    2) How much bacon would I need to replace the pork belly (and when/how do I cook the bacon)
    3) how much chorizo

    I love this soup and am excited to make it. Your chicken soup is next.

    Thank you in advance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi Harlan! I would say about 3 cups smoked diced ham would be a good substitute. You could use 1 or 2 if those ham steaks that have the circle bounce in the middle and I would use the bone too. I would replace the pork belly with 4 thick cut slices of bacon. You can use more or less it’s up to you. I link of chorizo. The thing about Cuban cooking is it’s all about using what you have (because most of the time they have very little and have to improvise). Let me know how you like it! 👍❤


      1. Harlan says:

        Lana, muchas gracias! very helpful. Assuming I would follow the directions and saute the ham as you did with the ham bone? As for the bacon, would I precook cook that and add it after the chorizo or cook it in the IP too? I live in Miami and had this soup in Little Havana. I am Jewish and had a Cuban another half for a long time … and hence, our connection.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. drlanaperez says:

        De nada! Yep, even with substitutes cook it the exact same way as the recipe stated. Saute the ham with the bone, just for a shorter time since it’s chopped. Also the bacon will take less time too. I grew up in Miani. Hialeah actually. I miss it!


  2. Sandra says:

    I made this recipe and it came out amazing but after a few minutes it dried out. I am using an 8 quart machine. Was I supposed to add more liquid?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi Sandra. So, whenever using a larger IP (most recipes are made for the 6 QT) you usually to ifset by adding more liquid because the surface areas of the heat and the longer are greater so its more spread out.


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