Classic Pea Salad Recipe — Experience the timeless flavors of comfort food with our Classic Pea Salad recipe.

This delightful side dish is a perfect addition to any meal, combining the sweetness of peas, the creaminess of mayonnaise, and the savory goodness of crispy bacon and cheddar cheese. 

Classic Pea Salad Recipe
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Whether served at a summer barbecue, holiday gathering, or simply as a weekday treat, this pea salad brings nostalgia and taste together in every bite. Join us in rediscovering this classic favorite that’s sure to please the whole family. 🥗🥓🧀  

This recipe has stood the test of time and is the perfect side dish! So, if you are looking for an easy recipe for your next Holiday table (perfect for large gatherings) or a simple side dish that will soon be your family favorite, it makes for a delicious summer salad dish.

If you are looking for easier recipes, my family’s favorites are Fry Sauce and Bang Bang Sauce.

Classic Pea Salad

​What Is A Pea Salad?

A Pea Salad is a classic side dish with green peas as its primary ingredient. Typically served cold, it’s known for its refreshing and satisfying flavors. The basic components of a pea salad include peas, mayonnaise, and various mix-ins like bacon bits, chopped onions, cheese, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs. These ingredients combine to create a creamy, slightly sweet salad that pairs well with various main courses. Pea salad is a popular dish at picnics, potlucks, and family gatherings, loved for its nostalgic appeal and delicious taste.

It’s the perfect combination of flavors and makes for an amazing alternative to any pasta salad. 

Classic Pea Salad (2)

​Why You Will Love This Creamy Pea Salad Recipe

You’ll fall in love with this Creamy Pea Salad recipe for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s incredibly flavorful and satisfying. The combination of sweet peas, creamy mayonnaise, and the perfect blend of seasonings creates a delightful taste that’s hard to resist.

Additionally, this salad is incredibly easy to make. With a few simple ingredients and a short preparation time, you can whip up a delicious side dish that complements a wide range of main courses.

Another reason to adore this salad is its versatility. You can customize it by adding crispy bacon, shredded cheese, or diced hard-boiled eggs to suit your preferences. This versatility allows you to create a pea salad that perfectly complements your meal.

Lastly, the Creamy Pea Salad’s vibrant green color and delightful taste make it an appealing addition to any picnic, potluck, or family gathering. It’s a classic dish sure to please a crowd and leave everyone returning for more.

​Ingredients Needed For Classic Pea Salad

The ingredients needed for Classic Pea Salad come together to create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. This salad celebrates the natural sweetness of frozen peas while balancing it with the savory crunch of bacon, the tangy bite of red onion, and the creamy richness of cheddar cheese. The dressing, made with mayonnaise, sour cream, a touch of sugar, and a hint of vinegar, ties it all together, resulting in a delightful side dish that’s both refreshing and satisfying. Whether served at a summer barbecue or a family dinner, this Classic Pea Salad is a timeless favorite that everyone will enjoy.

Ingredients Needed For Classic Pea Salad

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Frozen Peas: Sweet and tender, frozen peas are the star of this salad, providing a burst of vibrant green color and fresh flavor.
  • Bacon: Crispy bacon adds a savory and smoky element to the salad, complementing the sweetness of the peas.
  • Red Onion: Thinly sliced red onion brings a mild, tangy bite and a pop of color to the salad.
  • Cheddar Cheese: sharp cheddar cheese cubes provides a creamy and slightly tangy contrast to the peas.
  • Mayonnaise: Creamy mayonnaise forms the base of the dressing, contributing richness and a hint of tanginess.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream adds a touch of tangy creaminess to the dressing, balancing the flavors.
  • White Sugar: White sugar provides a hint of sweetness that enhances the overall flavor profile.
  • White Vinegar: White wine vinegar offers a subtle tang that balances the sweetness of the dressing.
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper: These common seasonings enhance the flavors and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

​How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

To make the best classic pea salad, follow these simple steps:

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

Prepare the Peas: Thaw the frozen peas by rinsing them under cold water or leaving them in the refrigerator overnight. Drain any excess water.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

Mix the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, white sugar, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir until well blended, creating a creamy dressing.

Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add the thawed peas, cubed cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, and chopped celery. Toss these ingredients together to distribute them evenly.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

Add Dressing: Pour the prepared dressing over the pea mixture. Gently fold everything together until the dressing coats the salad ingredients thoroughly.

Chill: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Chilling allows the flavors to meld and the salad to become more refreshing.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

Serve: Just before serving, top the salad with crumbled bacon if desired. The bacon adds an extra layer of flavor and crunch.

Enjoy: Serve your Old Fashioned Pea Salad as a side dish at picnics, barbecues, potlucks, or alongside your favorite main courses. It’s a classic and delicious way to enjoy peas!

Feel free to adjust the ingredients and seasonings to suit your taste preferences. This Old Fashioned Pea Salad is a timeless favorite that pairs wonderfully with various dishes.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

​Recipe Variations

Certainly, here are some version of this salad and ideas to customize your green pea salad recipe: 

  • Bacon and Cheddar Pea Salad: Enhance the flavor by adding crispy bacon bits and extra cheddar cheese for a rich and savory twist.
  • Ranch Pea Salad: Substitute the mayonnaise-based dressing with ranch dressing for a creamy and tangy alternative.
  • Greek Pea Salad: Incorporate Mediterranean flavors by adding feta cheese, Kalamata olives, diced red bell pepper, diced cucumber, and a Greek vinaigrette dressing.
  • Sweet Pea Salad: Create a sweeter version by adding diced apples, raisins, and a touch of honey to the dressing. It’s a delightful combination of sweet and savory.
  • Avocado Pea Salad: Add diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Drizzle with a lime-based dressing for a refreshing and creamy pea salad.
  • Pea and Pasta Salad: Combine cooked pasta, peas, chopped ham, and a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing for a heartier salad.
  • Spicy Pea Salad: For some heat, include diced jalapeños or red pepper flakes to give your salad a spicy kick.
  • Minty Pea Salad: Freshen it with chopped mint leaves and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a zesty and vibrant pea salad.
  • Nutty Pea Salad: Add some crunch with chopped nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts. They provide a delightful contrast in texture.
  • Dill Pea Salad: Incorporate fresh dill, chopped pickles, and a touch of pickle juice to infuse your salad with dill flavor.

Mix and match these variations to create a pea salad that suits your taste preferences. Pea salad is highly adaptable, and you can customize it with your favorite ingredients and dressings.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

Pro Tips

Here are some pro tips to make your Classic Pea Salad even more delicious:

  • Thaw Peas Properly: If using frozen peas, thaw them by placing them in the refrigerator for a few hours or running them under cold water. Make sure they are well-drained before adding them to the salad to prevent excess moisture.
  • Choose Quality Mayonnaise: Opt for a good-quality mayonnaise, as it significantly affects the flavor and creaminess of your salad. You can also use light mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for a healthier alternative.
  • Add Dressing Gradually: When mixing the dressing with the salad ingredients, start with a portion of it and add more as needed. This way, you can avoid making your salad too soggy.
  • Let It Chill: After mixing all the ingredients together, refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving. Chilling allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a tastier dish.
  • Customize the Seasoning: Adjust the seasonings to your liking. Taste the salad before serving, and add more salt, pepper, or sugar if necessary. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices for added flavor.
  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Before serving, garnish your Classic Pea Salad with fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or chives. The vibrant green herbs add color and enhance the overall taste.
  • Add Bacon Just Before Serving: If you’re including bacon in your salad, cook it separately and crumble it before serving. This helps maintain its crispiness and prevents it from becoming soggy.
  • Serve with a Slotted Spoon: If your salad has been sitting in the fridge for a while, use a slotted spoon to serve it. This will help drain any excess moisture that may have accumulated.
  • Adjust Sugar and Vinegar: The sugar-to-vinegar ratio in the dressing can be adjusted to your taste. If you prefer a sweeter salad, add more sugar; for a tangier flavor, increase the vinegar.
  • Experiment with Cheese: Feel free to experiment with different cheese varieties. Cheddar, mozzarella, or feta can all add great pea salad additions.

By following these pro tips, you can ensure that your Classic Pea Salad turns out perfectly creamy, flavorful, and refreshing every time you make it.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad

Why Does Pea Salad Taste Like?

Classic Pea Salad has a refreshing and creamy taste with a hint of sweetness and tanginess. The flavor profile can be described as follows:

  • Sweetness: The sweetness comes primarily from the peas themselves. The peas used in the salad are naturally sweet, especially when they are fresh or high-quality frozen peas. The sweetness is balanced and enhanced by the other ingredients.
  • Creaminess: The creaminess in pea salad is achieved through mayonnaise or a mayo-based dressing. This creamy element binds the salad together and coats the peas and other ingredients, providing a smooth texture and richness.
  • Tanginess: The tangy flavor typically comes from adding vinegar or pickle juice in the dressing. This tanginess complements the sweetness of the peas and adds a pleasant contrast to the overall taste.
  • Saltiness: If you add ingredients like bacon, ham, or cheese to your pea salad, they can contribute a savory and slightly salty flavor, balancing the sweetness and adding depth to the dish.
  • Freshness: Classic Pea Salad often includes ingredients like chopped red onions, celery, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs, which contribute freshness and a mild crunch to the salad.
  • Seasonings: Depending on the recipe and personal preferences, you might find seasonings like black pepper, garlic powder, or paprika, which can add additional layers of flavor to the salad.

Overall, Classic Pea Salad is a well-balanced combination of sweet, creamy, tangy, and savory flavors, making it a delicious and versatile side dish that pairs well with a variety of main courses.

How To Make Old Fashioned Pea Salad


Can I use fresh peas instead of frozen peas in Classic Pea Salad? Yes, you can use fresh peas if they are in season. Simply blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, then cool them in an ice bath before adding them to the salad.

How far in advance can I make Classic Pea Salad? You can prepare Classic Pea Salad a day in advance. It actually benefits from some time in the refrigerator as the flavors meld together. However, if you’re adding bacon, it’s best to add it just before serving to maintain its crispiness.

Can I make Classic Pea Salad without mayonnaise? Yes, you can substitute mayonnaise with Greek yogurt or a mayo alternative if you prefer a healthier option. The taste and texture may vary slightly, but it’s still delicious.

Is Classic Pea Salad served warm or cold? Classic Pea Salad is typically served cold. It’s a chilled salad that’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a side dish.

How long does Classic Pea Salad last in the refrigerator? Classic Pea Salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap or an airtight container to keep it fresh.

Can I add other ingredients to customize Classic Pea Salad? Absolutely! Classic Pea Salad is versatile, and you can add ingredients like diced red onions, chopped hard-boiled eggs, shredded cheese, or crispy crumbled bacon to suit your taste.

What type of peas are best for Classic Pea Salad? Frozen peas work well for Classic Pea Salad as they are convenient and retain their freshness. You can also use canned peas, but make sure to drain and rinse them thoroughly.

Can I make Classic Pea Salad vegan or dairy-free? Yes, you can make a vegan or dairy-free version of Classic Pea Salad by using plant-based mayonnaise and omitting any dairy ingredients. It’s a flexible recipe that can accommodate various dietary preferences.

How can I add extra flavor to Classic Pea Salad? You can enhance the flavor of your Classic Pea Salad by adding fresh herbs like dill or parsley, or by incorporating different seasonings and spices such as garlic powder, paprika, or onion powder.

What occasions are best for serving Classic Pea Salad?– Classic Pea Salad is a great side dish for a variety of occasions, including picnics, barbecues, potlucks, family gatherings, and holiday meals. It’s a versatile and crowd-pleasing salad that complements many main dishes.

Classic Pea Salad

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Classic Pea Salad Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


Classic Pea Salad Recipe — Experience the timeless flavors of comfort food with our Classic Pea Salad recipe.


  • 32 ounces Frozen Peas, warmed
  • 8 ounces Cheddar, cubed
  • 3 ounces Real Bacon Bits
  • 1 large Red Onion, slivered
  • cup Mayonnaise
  • cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Dill
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper


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


  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Large Spoon


Here are some helpful tips for making this classic pea salad:
  1. Customize to Your Taste: Classic pea salad recipes have evolved over time, and there are various ways to make it. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your preferences.
  2. Mayo Options: If you’re not a fan of regular mayonnaise, you can use Miracle Whip or a mayo alternative of your choice. It’s all about what you enjoy.
  3. Don’t Overheat Peas: When warming the peas, be careful not to overdo it. You just need to thaw them, not make them piping hot. Keeping them cool will save you time when chilling the salad. If you accidentally heat them too much, simply chill the salad before serving.
  4. Storage: This pea salad can be refrigerated for up to 5 days when properly covered. Using an airtight container is recommended for freshness. Avoid freezing it, though, as the dairy in the salad may not freeze well.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 14gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 962mgPotassium: 478mgFiber: 9gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 78IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 2mg

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