Food ingredients

Why Are My Split Peas Still Hard?

Split peas are a popular legume. They have several similarities to lentils since they belong to the same family, but they also have several differences.

The term split peas refers to peas that have been dried. When they dry up, producers remove their outer skin then split the peas in half.

Split peas can either be green or yellow, depending on the variety you buy. In comparison, green split peas are much sweeter.

Split peas have several uses, but most people use them to make peas. Unfortunately, there are instances when no matter how long you cook them, the peas don’t soften up.


If this happens to you, you may wonder: ‘why are my split peas still hard?’

There are several possible reasons why your split peas remain hard after cooking. They include;

  • Using old split peas.
  • Adding acidic ingredients early on.
  • Failure to wash the peas before cooking.
  • Using salted water.
  • Using hard water.

This article will discuss the above factors in detail. Additionally, we will look at how to store split peas and how to get soft split peas every time you cook them.

Other than that, we will answer some frequently asked questions. Read on.

Also, Check out; What is a Suitable Chicken Broth Substitute?



Split peas have a relatively long shelf life since they are a dried product. When you store split peas properly, they can retain their quality for up to three years.

For split peas to retain their quality for a long time, store them in an airtight container that is insect-proof.

Place the container in a cool and dry place. Additionally, you should ensure that the container is far away from any sources of heat or light.

Note that the older the peas get, the harder it will be for them to soften during cooking. Therefore, I recommend that you buy split peas in small batches so that you can use them up before they get old.

Why are my tamales dry? Click to Read

How to cook them


Split peas don’t require soaking beforehand. Therefore, all you have to do before cooking is rinse them to get rid of dust and insects. While rinsing the peas, remove the discolored ones as their quality won’t be up to par.

Cooking split peas is very easy. Simply place a cup of split peas in a pot, add to cups of water, and let them boil. Once they boil, let the peas simmer for 30 minutes or until they are soft.

Generally, split peas take a relatively short time to cook. They will be ready in 20-50 minutes depending on the recipe you are using.

When the peas are mushy and soft, add them to your recipe.

Is it necessary to soak split peas before cooking?


Unlike beans, it is unnecessary to soak split peas before cooking.

You can use them directly in your recipe, just be sure to wash them beforehand. Rinse the peas thoroughly to get rid of dirt and other unwanted particles.

Wash split peas thoroughly but quickly so that they don’t lose essential nutrients.

Why are my dumplings doughy? Click to Read

Why do they remain hard after cooking?

Cooked correctly, split peas soften and fall apart to form a thick gravy.

Unfortunately, there are instances when the split peas don’t soften even after you cook them for the required time. Here are some reasons why split peas remain hard after cooking.

  • Using old split peas.

If your split peas do not soften despite you cooking them for several hours, there is a chance that they are old. Old split peas don’t soften.

I recommend buying new split peas the next time you are shopping for them. The newer the peas, the easier it is for them to soften up.

Note that although split peas have a long shelf life, you shouldn’t buy them in bulk because the longer you store them, the harder it will be for them to soften during cooking.

  • Adding acidic ingredients early on.

Adding acidic ingredients to split peas may hinder them from softening the way they should. Acidic ingredients interfere with

Therefore, if you intend to add acidic ingredients like lemon, vinegar, onions, and tomatoes, only add them when the split peas have softened.

  • Failure to wash the peas before cooking.

It is unnecessary to soak peas before cooking. However, it is unnecessary to soak peas before cooking.

However, you should wash them before boiling them. If you don’t wash split peas beforehand, they will be hollow and not cook properly.

  • Using salted water to boil the peas

If you add salt to the water you use to boil peas or use salted stock, it may be the reason why your peas remain hard. Note that when you use salt, it prevents the peas from pulling in water via osmosis.

I recommend you first boil the peas in plain water, then add salt and flavorings once they soften up.

  • Using hard water

If the place you live in has hard water, the chances are that the hard water is the reason why your split peas don’t soften.

Hard water contains various minerals, including calcium which hinder the peas from softening. Try using filtered water the next time you cook split peas for them to soften up.

Tips on getting soft split peas every time


Use the tips below to get soft split peas.

  • Don’t store split peas for too long, use them within a year for the best results.
  • Filter or boil hard water before using it to cook split peas.
  • Always wash your peas before cooking.
  • Don’t add salt or salty seasonings to split peas until they soften up.
  • Don’t add acidic ingredients to the peas until they soften up.

What would happen if you eat undercooked split peas?

Eating undercooked peas is not necessarily dangerous. However, there is a high chance that you would have an upset stomach.

Therefore, I advise against eating split peas that are still hard after cooking.



When you cook split peas correctly, they make for a delicious and nutritious meal.

You can add them to various dishes, including meaty soups, or use them to make vegetarian soup.

If your split peas are still hard after cooking, the factors we discussed above may be responsible. Use the tips discussed above to soften them up.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *