This easy green Pea Salad is an old fashioned classic recipe served cold and enjoyed all year round. Made with bacon, cheddar cheese, red onions, and a sweet dressing, all in one bowl and in only 15 minutes!
Oh my sweet baby pea lovin’ heart, this classic pea salad speaks to me on so many levels.
I’m all about the old fashioned recipes lately, and this green pea salad is no exception.
Another staple at potlucks, baby showers, and luncheons all across the Midwest and Southern states, you’d be hard pressed not to find it served at any type of gathering. And for good reason – it’s crazy easy and super delicious!
Pea…salad? I know. Sounds weird, right? But it’s incredibly fantastic.
What ingredients are needed for this Pea Salad Recipe?
One of the reasons this pea salad recipe is so popular (other than its wonderful texture and taste) is how easy it is! You only need a handful of ingredients and it comes together in minutes.
- Peas – the star of this salad are peas, of course. I always use frozen petite peas, which are sweet, colorful, and have a slight crunch. You can use canned peas if you want, but just keep in mind that they don’t look as nice and because of their softer texture, they don’t hold up as well.
- Bacon – the end. Lol. Just kidding. Salty bacon adds another level of awesome flavor and also balances out the sweetness of the peas and dressing. I cook mine in the oven and then dice or crumble it. You can totally use real bacon bits, though, to make this even easier!
- Cheese – my preference for this salad is sharp cheddar cheese, for the best flavor. I also buy a block and cube it about the same size as the peas, but many pea salads use shredded cheese, which is totally fine, too!
- Onion – I always use red onion for this pea salad. I love the taste and color.
- Dressing – this is really the other star of the show. It’s a simple mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Like so many classic salads, it has a sweet and tangy flavor that cannot be denied! Don’t freak out over the sugar – it’s a necessary ingredient to balance out the vinegar and it’s only a small amount.
Do you serve this Pea Salad cold?
Yep! This sweet pea salad is a recipe kept in the refrigerator and served cold.
How To Store Leftovers
Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this salad, however. The dressing will not hold up very well, and the peas and bacon will get too mushy once thawed.
I’ve served this pea salad so many times over the years to friends, whose first reaction is “ew” – and then they ask for the recipe after one bite!
Try this side salad at your next gathering and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Other Recipes with Sweet Peas we absolutely love!
Creamy Pasta with Bacon and Peas (this is a 20 minute skillet dish, served hot for dinner!)
Meatball Rice and Pea Skillet
Chicken Pot Pie Noodle Skilet
Other Tried and True Salad Recipes!
Deviled Ham Salad
Delicatessen Fruit Salad
Creamy Waldorf Salad
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Easy Egg Salad
The Best Chicken Salad
I hope you love this delicious and easy recipe – be sure to give it a review below! Also don’t forget to follow Belly Full on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!
Classic Pea Salad
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups frozen peas , thawed
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 3/4 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese (approximately the same size as the peas)
- 8 slices bacon , cooked crispy and crumbled
- Put sour cream, mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; whisk to combine.
- Add peas, onion, cheese, and bacon to the bowl; gently stir to coat completely.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with some crispy bacon.
Reader Questions and Reviews
I’ve made this several times. I usually add two boiled eggs. Minus bacon if I don’t have it. Everyone loves it here. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
This w/b VERY easy to veganize !!
Great recipe. I substituted rice vinegar and it was delicious.
I never had pea salad before, I didn’t have cream cheese, but added celery. I liked the tangy taste. Nice change of pace.
Love the pea salad,great recipe,one thing I do is add parmason cheese in the dressing,I do this with 7 layer salad ,tried it with this pea salad and its good.Great recipe!
I’ve made this many times and it’s the best!!! I could eat this evert day. Followed directions and wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for sharing.
My favorite part of a 7 layer salad! I just ate 1/2 the batch!
I made this at a family dinner and my grandmother said she hadn’t had pea salad like that in a long time! Great recipe
I have tried this salad recipe but instead of using mayo, I have used ghee. Ghee has worked a taste enhancer and I like the creamy mouthfeel of the dairy oil.
I had this at a baby shower years ago but never got the recipe. Searched and found this one – it was even better than I remember!
Had a group over for the long weekend and doubled this recipe – so glad I did because it was all gone! Even the pea haters liked it. LOL.
Has anyone actually done it with miracle whip instead of mayo? Was it good? I have done it with mayo but I’m out and don’t wanna go out lol
I’ve always just made this pea salad with mayo and it always seemed just a little bland. With this cole slaw type dressing it was just the zing it needed. Thanks
My go to now for church dinners
Was great, especially the dressing
I have looking for this one recipe. I love this classic pea salad.
I found your recipe last year while searching for a dressing recipe and my entire family just loves it! It has become a dish we have in the fridge at the very least once a month, but usually 3-4 times a month. It just never seems to make it very long LOL! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
I made this recipe and added 4 hard boiled eggs. Everyone LOVED it. Thank you for sharing such a quick and easy recipe that people really love!
So good! My husband who doesn’t like peas, asked for seconds!
Loved this recipe very much.
FANTASTIC recipe! My kids even ate some and they don’t like peas.
Love the dressing!! Definitely stepped up from my usual Mayo only. Absolutely delicious! Serving it for Easter, thank you
Made this for a church gathering and it’s delicious! Even my pea hating children like it! This recipe is a staple now. Thank you for sharing.
Can you make this a day ahead?
Yes…its better the next day. Enjoy!
Absolutely delish!!! I added boiled egg and diced ham
Do you think vinegar would be okay to use rather than apple cider vinegar?
white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar would both be fine subs.
First time trying it was a Nashville thank you for this recipe I’ve been looking for it. I just made it and I love it. I’ll be adding to this recipe. Thanks a million….
Awesome recipe! I added boiled eggs
My family loves this recipe. My brother especially likes it when I add bowtie pasta.
The perfect pea salad recipe. I use shredded cheese though.
Wow. Perfect! Exactly what we were looking for!! Just made this and it is awesome. I was short a cup of peas so I added a cup of fresh diced tomatoes. I would definitely pass this one along and highly recommend it.
I loved this recipe. My mom used to make it when I was young. I made it using frozen peas and carrots. Next time I will add celery and green pepper.
I loved this recipe. My mom used to make it when I was young. I used combo of frozen peas and carrots and will add a little celery and green pepper next time I make it.
It’s is the best recipe. Second time I’m making it in 3 weeks. This is a triple batch!!!
Recipe is amazing and was a huge hit!
I have made this so many times thanks to this easy recipe! Thank you for recipes that regular folks can follow! Nothing is worse than failing at a recipe because I didn’t attend cooking school! Thanks again.
Such a classic & the recipe is perfect! I like the vibe of your website too!
I just made this recipe and I had added 4 boiled eggs to it. And I must say this is just awesome.
This is a great recipe! I’m not a big fan of red onions so I used green onions instead. I think next time I’m going to add some hard boiled eggs to it.
Can I use red wine vinegar instead of apple cider?
I personally think red wine vinegar is too strong for this recipe. White wine or champagne vinegar would be better substitutes. But if red wine vinegar is all you have, you could try it.
Perfect! A huge hit with my friends and family. I think the vinegar/sugar mix is the secret ingredient.
I’ve been making this same recipe for 30+ years, except I always add raw cauliflower and chopped cashews. Always a hit whenever I bring it somewhere! Yummy!!
Delicious recipe – refreshing and tasty!
It’s delicious and easy to make. Thanks for sharing.
The best Pea Salad receipe. The perfect combination of flavors. Even my hubby loves it!
My late Gramma Bettie made this every 4th of July, I’m keeping the tradition alive, only thing I do different is add 3 or 4 hard boiled eggs!
didn’t think about water chestnuts, didn’t have any chestnuts, I did have celery, diced it into little squares and use it for the crunch like the water chestnuts~
Really good! The combination of ingredients is a much tastier alternative to plain mayo.
Can you make this salad a day ahead and keep in refrigerator over night?
I prefer to serve it the same day it’s made, but yes you can chill overnight. Give it a good stir before serving to redistribute the dressing.
So good and easy to make
Made this and it’s yummy! Nice summer salad.
I do love this recipe so much, but I also add to mine and always have is water chestnuts. It just gives it a crunch that last forever. To make it quicker, I use cooked bacon bits from the store ( not the fake stuff but the real bacon bits). I’m not lazy but just always in a hurry and it works just as well.
I forgot to tell you about how much water chestnuts you should use. I buy an 8oz can (sliced), Then I cut them up to about pea size. If you are using your recipe exactly, then you would actually want to use about 6oz. Sorry, I didn’t know how to delete the original message and place a new one in there. I usually Make a little more and use the whole can. It all depends on the person making the recipe, I try and have equal parts in my salads that way you taste everything equally.. thank you hope you can help me to correct this.
I am in my 70s and remember taking this to church dinners and on picnics. I lost my recipe years ago and finally decided to see if I could find it online. It was the first one to appear! Love it, love it, love it. Thank you for making it so easy to find.
Fantastic salad! I make it once every few weeks. I totally crave it. I make it exactly to your recipe. Thank you for sharing.
Turned out great, everyone loved it. I’ve made cold salads my whole life, but never pea salad – I’ve had it, but not made it…
Whole family loved this – great recipe, thank you!
Do you cook the frozen peas for this salad first
Nope! Just make sure they’re completely thawed.
So simple and delicious and a perfect salad for any meal!
This was delicious! A hit for our entire family including the toddler!
What is your go-to brand bacon for this salad?
Hi Candy – I like to buy a thicker cut and just look for strips that have less fat, but you can use any brand.
I just want to say that I feel cheated. My mom made us pea salad my whole childhood and not once did she ever put cheese in it. I’ve been robbed!
Yummy, easy and so good!
Love this recipe!
Delicious and so easy!
Great recipe! Love it!
It is delicious. It tastes like seven layer salad, but much easier!
This is wonderful! I thinned the dressing with a little milk and mixed in some cooked macaroni rings – it was delicious.
Hi Amy. Your recipe looks delicious. Any suggestions for a mayo substitute would be appreciated, as I am highly allergic to eggs (and gluten too.)
Hi Peggy! Sorry to hear that! Maybe plain Greek yogurt. It will give it more of a tangy flavor, which isn’t ideal for this recipe, but you’ll get that creaminess needed for the dressing. Try it! And let me know how it goes.
I’m a couple of years late on answering this question (I hope you see this), but have you tried avocado Mayo? It’s egg free and gluten free. I hope you found a way to enjoy this recipe…it’s absolutely delicious!
mayonnaise or miracle whip?
Mayonnaise is listed in the ingredients.
Don’t have sour cream. Any ideas on what I could substitute?
Ps. Love your recipes!
Hi Tanya! Plain Greek yogurt would be a great substitute.
I’m not a fan of Greek yogurt. Lol. Is there a different type of sauce I could maybe substitute?
Thank you so much for your input! I have all the ingredients except for the sauce
There really isn’t another equivalent sub. You could try just using all mayo. It won’t give you the optimal results, but should still be delicious. Maybe Miracle Whip, although I’m not a personal fan.
I don’t care for Greek yogurt either. When I see it called for in a recipe I sub in plain (not Greek) yogurt. Maybe this will work for you.
What is half and half? Is it a yogurt? Thanks
Half n Half is equal parts heavy cream and whole milk…but there’s no half n half in this recipe.
Can canned sweet peas be used instead of frozen ones?
Hi Edna! As I mentioned in the article, you can, but just keep in mind that they don’t look as nice and because of their softer texture, they don’t hold up as well.
I think using canned sweet peas would be misleading and ”GROSS” tasting. I rather have fresh crisp garden peas than overcooked canned peas.
Haven’t ever made a cold pea salad before, but this looks good enough to try.
What if I don’t apple cider. What can I use.
I actually left out the vinegar by mistake and it still tasted wonderful!