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Salty, sweet, and savory all in one delicious dish! This easy Pea Salad Recipe only takes 15 minutes to make and uses simple ingredients. It’s a refreshingly delicious summer side dish, perfect for holidays and all other special occasions!

A white oven serving dish filled with green pea salad.

I have to admit, making this dish made me a bit nostalgic for a simpler time. For me, Green Pea Salad is a Southern thing, as it is a staple found in our church potlucks and family gatherings. Personally, I grew up with this side dish as a regular dish served by my grandmother each holiday.

And those big fish fry or fried chicken gatherings always included a heaping bowl of Southern Green Pea Salad along with other Southern favorites like Macaroni and Cheese, Collard Greens, and Southern Style Lima Beans.

No matter where you are from, an old-fashioned English pea salad is always a hit! Looking for more delicious and simple holiday side dishes and pasta salads? Try my Southern Style Green Beans, Creamy Cucumbers and Tomatoes, or flavorful Grilled Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad!

Ingredient Notes

  • Bacon: Bring salty, savory bites and a slight crunch with freshly cooked crumbled bacon.
  • Sour cream and Mayonnaise: Add these two for a light, tangy dressing.
  • Sugar: Compliment the sweetness of the peas with white granulated sugar.
  • Vinegar: Make the flavors complex with acidity from white wine vinegar or white vinegar.
  • Salt and pepper: Sprinkle in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cheese: Bring a delicious cheesy taste with shredded cheddar cheese. Shredding a block of cheddar cheese is always more flavorful than bagged shredded cheese.
  • Onion: Add diced red onion to the salad for a tangier and sweeter taste.
  • Peas: You can use thawed frozen petite peas for this recipe. Note that canned peas are too soft for this dish.
A labeled image of ingredients needed to make green pea salad.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Add Protein: Add cubed ham or chopped hard-boiled eggs for protein. 
  • Macaroni Salad: Mix it with elbow macaroni and double the dressing for a hardier dish. 
  • Cheese Options: Use any cheese of your choice– Sharp cheddar and gouda are excellent options! Shredded or cubed cheese will work for the recipe.
  • Use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar instead of white wine or white vinegar.
  • Boost the flavor with the delicious addition of fresh herbs.
  • Substitute the key dressing ingredients, sour cream, and mayonnaise, for Greek yogurt for a healthier alternative.
  • Add a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar to this simple side dish for a contrast in color and tasty topping.

How To Make Easy Green Pea Salad Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Prepare and crumble bacon

Get started with this easy recipe by placing the pre-cooked bacon in the air fryer to cook at 350° F for three to five minutes or until it is golden brown and crumbly. 

Then, remove it from the air fryer and place it on the paper towels to remove the excess grease. Cut or tear the strips of bacon to make crumbles, and save a tablespoon of bacon bits in a small bowl to garnish the pea salad.

Step 2 | Mix dressing

Next, add the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper to the large bowl, mixing well to combine.

Dressing ingredients for pea salad added to a white bowl and then stirred together.

Making the dressing right in the bowl you will serve it in makes this a one-bowl recipe! When the dressing is mixed well and creamy, you can add in the sweet and savory salad ingredients.

A bowl of mayo and sour cream dessing.

Step 3 | Add in the salad ingredients

Stir in the bacon crumbles, cheese, and red onion. Mix those until they are all covered.

Adding cheese, bacon, and onion to the bowl of dressing and combining.

Mix the peas into the dressing with a spatula or spoon to combine all the ingredients evenly. Sprinkle the reserved bacon pieces on top and serve!

Tips

  • Thawed Frozen Peas– You don’t need to cook the sweet peas for this recipe. Place them in the fridge the night before you make the salad, or defrost them in the microwave the day of. You can also run cold water over the frozen peas until they thaw.
  • Make-Ahead Dressing– If preferred, save some time by making the pea salad dressing the night before and adding it to the recipe the following day.
  • Cooking the Bacon– You can cook the crispy bacon in the microwave or stovetop.
A wooden spoon serving up a scoop of green pea salad.

Recipe FAQs

What are the benefits of sweet pea salad?

Don’t let their size fool you– Peas are packed with minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that promote brain, bone, nervous system, and immune system health!

Do frozen peas need to be cooked?

Nope! Peas are cooked before frozen, so you only need to thaw them before adding them to the recipe.

Do you serve this pea salad cold?

Yes! Keep the salad in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. It should chill for at least 30 minutes before being served.

A silver fork removing a bite of green pea salad.

Storage

Refrigerate: Store any leftover pea salad in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Because of the creamy texture, don’t store leftovers in the freezer.

What to Serve with The Best Pea Salad Recipe

Serve your homemade pea salad with one of my favorite holiday main dishes, like this tender and flavorful Prime Rib Recipe or smoky Collard Greens Wrapped Pork Roast.

If you’re making this easy recipe for a weeknight meal, some of the best dishes to serve are comfort food dishes, like my Instant Pot Meatloaf and Potatoes or this Easy Oven Fried Chicken.

More Quick and Easy Side Dish Recipes

Hungry for more easy, home-cooked, delicious recipes?

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A bowl with a green rim filled a serving of pea salad.
Recipe
4.88 from 8 votes

(click stars to rate)

Pea Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
Salty, sweet, and savory all in one delicious dish! This Southern Pea Salad Recipe only takes 15 minutes to make and uses simple ingredients. It’s a refreshingly delicious summer side dish, perfect for holidays and all other special occasions!
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Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 6-8 strips bacon, cooked
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, (or white vinegar)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 16 ounce frozen petite peas, thawed

Instructions

Cook Bacon

  • Place the pre-cooked bacon in the air fryer. Cook at 350° F. for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crumbly. Remove from the air fryer and place on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Cut or pull apart to make the crumbles. Set aside. Reserve a tablespoon to top the salad. You can also cook in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Prepare Pea Salad

  • In a large bowl add the sour cream, mayonnaise, white granulated sugar, white wine vinegar, coarse kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix until combined.
  • Add the crumbled bacon (reserving 1 tablespoon for the top), cheddar cheese, and red onion. Mix until combined.
  • Next, add the peas and gently mix with a spatula or spoon until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Top with the reserved bacon crumbles and enjoy.

Notes

  • Thawed Frozen Peas– You don’t need to cook the sweet peas for this recipe. Place them in the fridge the night before you make the salad, or defrost them in the microwave the day of. You can also run cold water over the frozen peas until they thaw.
  • Make-Ahead Dressing– If preferred, save some time by making the pea salad dressing the night before and adding it to the recipe the following day.
  • Cooking the Bacon– You can cook the crispy bacon in the microwave or stovetop.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 195kcal (10%) Carbohydrates: 11g (4%) Protein: 7g (14%) Fat: 14g (22%) Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0.01g Cholesterol: 26mg (9%) Sodium: 218mg (9%) Potassium: 177mg (5%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 6g (7%) Vitamin A: 670IU (13%) Vitamin C: 23mg (28%) Calcium: 131mg (13%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is such an easy and refreshing side dish that goes well with so many main meals! Made it for a potluck a few nights ago and everyone loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite dishes to bring to a potluck or make in the summer! It’s so fresh and sweet and savory, I always eat way too much of it!

    1. I agree! So much goodness in this dish! It’s a classic! Thank you for stopping by to let us know you enjoyed it.