Your family is going to love this classic, creamy Pea Salad. It's packed with flavor. Tender peas, crunchy bacon bits, and bites of hearty Cheddar cheese.
Like the Amish Macaroni Salad, this salad makes a great side dish you can bring to parties, potlucks, or backyard barbecues.
Why This Easy Pea Salad Recipe Works
VERSATILE - This salad can be served as a side dish with a variety of meals, or it can be a light main dish on its own. It's also great for picnics or potlucks because it can be made ahead of time and served chilled.
QUICK & EASY - This recipe is pretty straightforward, making it an excellent choice for a quick meal or side dish. It doesn't require any unusual ingredients or complicated cooking techniques.
ADAPTABLE - You can easily add or swap ingredients based on your preferences. For example, you could add some chopped bell peppers for extra crunch or use a different kind of cheese if you prefer.
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
SWEET PEAS - If you choose frozen peas, allow enough time to defrost the peas. If you are in a hurry, you can also defrost them using the microwave.
This is a terrific recipe to use up that bag of frozen peas that's been sitting in the freezer for months.
CHEDDAR - Choose your favorite type of cheddar cheese. We prefer sharp Cheddar cheese at my house, but if you prefer mild or white cheddar, that will work, too. You should use a block of cheddar (not pre-shredded) and cut it into small quarter-inch cubes.
BACON - Again, use your favorite type of bacon. I have recently used thick-cut bacon for a lot of recipes. But you can also use regular bacon, pancetta, Canadian bacon, or Turkey bacon.
RED ONION - This adds an extra crunch.
SOUR CREAM - Adds a bit of tanginess.
MAYONNAISE - This creates the base for our simple 4-ingredient dressing.
VINEGAR - Apple cider vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of SUGAR create a sweet and tangy balance, thus perfectly complementing the savory salad ingredients.
How To Make A Simple Pea Salad
Please check the printable recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- BACON - Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit and cook the bacon for 15-18. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
- SALAD - Combine peas, red onion, bacon, and Cheddar cheese in a large bowl.
- PEA SALAD DRESSING - Whisk sour cream, mayo, apple cider vinegar, and sugar until smooth. Pour dressing over the salad and combine well. Serve and enjoy.
Easy Substitutions and Variation
We've been there; you have almost everything in your fridge or your pantry except for. Don't sweat it! Here are some simple substitutions that will all work well when you're in a pinch!
- Celery works great instead of red onion.
- And instead of bacon, you can use pancetta or even prosciutto.
- Plain or Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream. It has the added benefit of saving you some calories, too!
- Use mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise.
- You can use lemon or white wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
- Use maple syrup, agave, or Stevia instead of plain sugar.
- Add a bit of extra protein. Add a couple of boiled eggs.
📌 Save This Pea Salad Recipe!
How long Does The Salad last in the fridge?
STORE - If you have any leftover pea salad, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator. Place it in an airtight container, making sure it's fully sealed. This salad should keep well for up to 3-4 days. Before serving, you might want to give it a good stir to redistribute the dressing.
FREEZE - It's not recommended to freeze this pea salad. The salad contains ingredients like mayonnaise and sour cream, which can separate and become watery when thawed, changing the texture of the salad.
What if you want to prep the salad for a party? Pea salad is a popular party salad! Ready to wow a party crowd? No problem.
Add all ingredients, except for the bacon, into a large bowl. Cook off the bacon, but store it in a separate container.
Add the bacon just before serving the pea salad. This way, you'll make sure to give your salad the perfect amount of crunch and texture.
DEFROSTING PEAS - You can defrost the peas in the microwave.
But I prefer to let the peas thaw out naturally and slowly. And a simple trick I've found is to put the frozen peas onto a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet on top of the stove while the bacon is cooking. The heat rising from the oven will slowly thaw out the peas.
More Easy Party and Potluck Salad Recipes
Classic Pea Salad
Bacon and Eggs
- Cook the bacon at 425º Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes or until crispy. Allow the bacon to cool, and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- While the bacon is in the oven, cook the hard-boiled eggs.
Assembling the Salad
- Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl until smooth.
- Combine peas, bacon, Cheddar cheese, and red onion in a large bowl. Add dressing and combine. Serve and enjoy.