In this post: This creamy pea salad makes the perfect addition to any potluck or picnic. It’s light, easy to make, and very flavorful. Packed with peas, cheddar cheese, onion, and dill, this recipe will be your new favorite go-to for the summer!


This old-fashioned pea salad is the perfect go-to side dish for any summer get-together. Of course, it works great all year round as well. Bold flavors of cheddar and onion mix with the calming flavor of peas and sour cream for a delicious side dish or snack.

If you’re looking for a light and tasty side dish to bring to your next potluck, look no further than this pea salad recipe. It’s perfect for warm-weather gatherings, and best of all, it’s easy to make!

Just follow the simple steps below, and you’ll have a delicious salad that everyone will love.

pea salad in a bowl from above

What is Pea Salad?

Old-fashioned pea salad is a side dish often found at potlucks and BBQs. It’s most commonly made with peas, onions, cheese, and a creamy dressing. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s classic comfort food for summer. 
  • It can be made dairy-free and even vegan with a few customizations. 
  • It’s super easy to make and can be whipped up in less than 15 minutes.
  • It makes a great bring-along dish for potlucks and picnics!
ingredients for pea salad in little bowls before mixing

Ingredients in Pea Salad

Classic pea salad is a simple and easy-to-make, no-fuss recipe because its ingredients are basic and easy to get your hands on.

Salad Ingredients

  • Frozen Peas – Any kind will work, but petite peas will be sweeter. 
  • Cheddar Cheese – Sharp cheddar cheese adds a delicious tang to the peas. 
  • Bacon Bits – Make it super quick and easy to add bacon flavor. 
  • Red Onion – Cut them nice and small. Adds beautiful color and a nice taste. 

Dressing Ingredients

  • Sour Cream – Adds a bit of tang to this creamy salad.
  • Mayonnaise – Makes the salad nice and creamy.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Adds a different tang. 
  • Salt Black Pepper
  • Dill – Makes every cold salad just that much better!

Variations

  • Use leftover ham or real rasher bacon chunks instead of bacon bits. 
  • Try turkey bacon if you don’t love or can’t eat pork. 
  • Try plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for fewer calories. 
  • Add sliced or chopped celery for more veggies and crunch.
  • Use shredded cheese instead of chunks or cubes. 
  • Add chopped or sliced hard-boiled eggs for more protein. 
  • Try your favorite store-bought ranch dressing in place of the mayo and sour cream in this recipe. 

Dietary Considerations

  • Substitute the cheese and sour cream with non-dairy alternatives to make this dairy-free.
  • In addition, swap out the mayo with vegan mayo, and leave out the bacon bits to make this recipe vegan. 

How to Make Pea Salad from Scratch

peas thawing in a large glass bowl

Prep – Gently thaw the peas in a large mixing bowl. Sliver a red onion and cube a block of cheddar, or buy it already cubed.

remaining ingredients added to peas in a large glass bowl
adding the seasonings

Mix – Add the ingredients to the bowl of peas and gently fold them over each other until they have mixed thoroughly.

peas salad on a spoon

Serve – Spoon onto your plate with all of the other goodies and enjoy!

Tips

  • There are quite a few variations to this recipe since it’s been around for a long time. However, this combination is pretty classic. So, try it and adjust it to your preferences.
  • You can swap the mayonnaise for miracle whip and the cubed cheese for shredded if it’s preferred.
  • Do not over warm your peas. You simply want to warm them enough to where they’re not frozen, but not piping hot. You want them to still be cold, as this will save you chilling time. If you overheat the peas, no problem, just chill the salad before serving.
  • This salad will keep in the fridge, covered properly, for up to 5 days. An airtight container would be best. I do not recommend freezing this salad due to the dairy it contains.
pea salad in a bowl from the side

FAQs

Can you use frozen peas for pea salad?

Yes, frozen peas will work just as well as fresh. If you’re using frozen, let them thaw on the counter for 10-15 minutes before making the salad. 

If your peas are mushy they will smash during the mixing process, and we do not want that!

This is a common problem with canned peas, which is why I don’t suggest it.

How healthy are frozen green peas?

Frozen peas are one of the healthiest vegetables available. They’re full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A lot of diets use peas to replace the protein you get from meat, making it a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets. Plus, they are easy to grow and cheap to buy.

Do you have to cook frozen peas? How do I thaw frozen green peas?

No, that is one of the great things about peas. They taste delicious and sweet when they are raw. I would not recommend eating frozen peas, however. It could hurt your teeth, they have a grainy texture, and their flavor is much milder. Instead, gently bring them up to temperature by soaking them in warm water for a few minutes or microwaving them 30 seconds at a time. Be sure to prevent them from being mushy in the salad mix.

Is it OK to eat raw peas?

Yes, you can eat fresh garden peas raw. The raw pea is crunchy and sweet in its raw form and provides a refreshing, clean flavor. They also contain many essential nutrients, including Vitamin K, C, A, B-complex Vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. If you can use fresh, raw peas in your salad, do so!

Can I make pea salad ahead of time?

Yes! You can prep this pea salad recipe ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for a few days.

Just make sure to store it in an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap.

If you make the salad ahead of time, there’s no need to thaw the peas at all, as they will thaw in the fridge on their own.

Can pea salad be frozen?

No, you can’t. The dairy in with the salad turns would turn out badly if frozen and thawed again once mixed. 

Are peas ok on a keto diet?

Peas are not included in most low carbohydrate diets, including the keto diet. This is because peas contain sugars and starches that can quickly turn into sugar during digestion.

If you’re looking for a low-carb or keto diet option, you can try replacing the peas with chopped lettuce or cucumber, instead!

What to Serve with Pea Salad

Pea salad goes well with almost any meal. You can serve it inside tacos or wraps, on top of lettuce for a salad, or by itself as an appetizer. It is also a wonderful addition to dishes commonly found at a cookout or barbecue.

pea salad in a bowl

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love

This pea salad is so easy to make! So, if you’re looking for a delicious dish that doesn’t take much time at all, this recipe is for you! Print out the recipe card, gather the ingredients, and have fun making your own pea salad today!

Have you made pea salad before? How do you make yours?

pea salad in a bowl from above

Homemade Pea Salad Recipe with Cheese & Bacon

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This old-fashioned pea salad is the perfect go-to side dish for any summer get-together. Of course, it works great all year round as well. Bold flavors of cheddar and onion mix with the calming flavor of peas and sour cream for a delicious side dish or snack.

Ingredients

  • 32 Ounces Frozen Peas, warmed
  • 8 Ounces Cheddar, cubed
  • 3 Ounces Real Bacon Bits
  • 1 Red Onion, slivered
  • ⅓ cup Mayonnaise
  • ⅓ Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper

Instructions

  1. Once you’ve prepped the peas, onions, and cheese, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and fold until fully combined.
  2. Eat immediately or place it in the fridge, covered, until you’re ready to serve it.

Notes

  • There are quite a few variations to this recipe since it’s been around for a long time. However, this combination is pretty classic. So, try it and adjust it to your preferences.
  • You can swap the mayonnaise for miracle whip and the cubed cheese for shredded if it’s preferred.
  • Do not over warm your peas. You simply want to warm them enough to where they’re not frozen, but not piping hot. You want them to still be cold, as this will save you chilling time. If you overheat the peas, no problem, just chill the salad before serving.
  • This salad will keep in the fridge, covered properly, for up to 5 days. An airtight container would be best. I do not recommend freezing this salad due to the dairy it contains.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

5 Secrets to be a Better Cook!

FREE Bonus!

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

Leave a Reply

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