Instant Pot Split Pea Soup has lots of flavor, and is a comforting, warm hug in a bowl! With ham, onion, garlic and thyme. You can also make this vegetarian or vegan.
Turn the pressure cooker on to the Sauté function. Let it warm up and add the olive oil and butter.
Add the onion, celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to turn translucent.
Add the carrots, garlic, bacon or ham, if using, and pepper. Cook for a minute.
Add the broth and ham bone or ham hocks, if using (Add liquid smoke, if using, for vegetarian method). Let come to a simmer.
Stir in the split peas.
Place the lid on the pot and lock it in place. Set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
Cancel the sauté function and Choose Pressure Cook/Manual, and use the + or - or dial to choose 18 minutes. High pressure. It will take a few minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
When the cooking time has finished, let the pot sit undisturbed for 15 minutes to naturally release some of the pressure. Then turn the steam release knob to Venting to quick release the remaining pressure.
When the pin in the lid drops down, carefully open the lid, facing away from you. Remove the bay leaves and the bone or ham hocks, if you used them.
Taste and add the salt as desired.
Serve hot. The soup will thicken quite a bit when it cools, that is normal.
If you want a Vegetarian or Vegan soup, omit the butter (for vegan), use vegetable broth, and try some liquid smoke to give the soup a nice smoky hint of flavor.