Many split pea soups use ham and bacon for good, smoky flavor. Taking it one amazing step farther-add crabmeat. Freeze this one without toppings (freeze the cooked bacon separately), then reheat soup in a saucepan. Feel free to add more chicken stock or broth when reheating if you need it. Sprinkle bacon and fresh crab on top of bowls of hot soup. Stephen Exel, Des Moines, Illinois
I like to bake a ham just so I can use the leftover bone to make my split pea soup. After moving to New Mexico a few years ago, I discovered folks here put peppers or chilies in almost everything. So I decided to add some to this soup.
My grandma's pea soup was a family favorite. What makes it different from any other pea soups I have tried is the addition of whole peas, spaetzle-like "dumplings" and sausage. Try it once and you'll be hooked. —Carole Talcott, Dahinda, Illinois
I've been making this soup for years. After every holiday where ham is served, the hostess hands me the ham bone and a bag of peas when I leave. I love it with a slice of crusty fresh bread. —Susan Simons, Eatonville, Washington
Alice Jarrell of Dexter, Missouri waited a long time to get this favorite recipe—but it was well worth it. "I had eaten this soup countless times at a small restaurant in our town," she tells. "When the owner finally retired, he said I deserved the secret recipe and passed it along. Now, my family enjoys it at least once a month!"—Alice Jarrell, Dexter, Missouri
For a different spin on traditional split pea soup, try this recipe. The flavor is peppery rather than smoky, and the corned beef is an unexpected, tasty change of pace.
-Barbara Link, Alta Loma, California
This slow-cooker soup is my secret weapon on busy days. It’s delicious served with oyster crackers tossed in a bit of melted butter and herbs, and then lightly toasted in the oven. —Whitney Jensen, Spring Lake, MI