This classic pea salad is simply perfect! With peas, chunks of cheddar cheese, plenty of crisp, salty bacon, and chopped scallions, all tossed in a simple, creamy dressing, this side dish is so quick and easy to throw together. Made with green onions for loads of flavor but no surprise big chunks of onion!
What Makes This Pea Salad Recipe So Good
- It’s so, so easy to make, and if you use bacon bits instead of fresh bacon then there is absolutely NO cooking involved! Just stir everything together, chill, and serve!
- Our pea salad is low carb, grain free, and gluten free, and it’s easy to make vegetarian or vegan, too. Perfect for a variety of dietary needs!
- It’s a little salty, a little sweet, and a little tangy. The flavors are amazing complements to summer staples like steak, ribs, and BBQ chicken.
- Get a head start on your cookout or potluck prep! The pea salad will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days, so you can absolutely make this a day or two ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve!
Key Ingredients for Pea Salad
Peas – We use frozen peas here for ease, but you can use fresh peas if you prefer. I wouldn’t recommend canned peas, because their texture isn’t quite right for this – they’re usually a little too soft. There’s no need to cook the peas since they’re blanched before they’re frozen, so all you need to do is let them thaw! For a slightly sweeter salad, use frozen sweet peas instead of frozen green peas.
Cheddar Cheese – Sharp cheddar cheese will add a lot of flavor to your pea salad, but you can use mild or medium if you prefer! I like to buy a block of cheese then chop it into very small, pea-sized cubes. If you’d rather use shredded, you can! I recommend still buying the block and shredding your own, since prepackaged shredded cheese contains fillers to keep it from clumping.
Sugar – There’s a tiny amount of white sugar in the dressing which offsets the tang of the sour cream and the saltiness of the bacon beautifully. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet at all. If you’d rather not use white sugar, you can absolutely substitute honey or Swerve sweetener instead!
- No need to cook the frozen peas, but you do want to thaw them before you assemble your pea salad! If you mix everything together while the peas are still frozen, then as they thaw, the water they release will change the consistency of the dressing. To thaw the peas, let them sit out at room temperature or run them under cold water. I dump them into a colander first for either method so the water can drain.
- If you’re a fan of ranch, substitute ranch for the mayo or sour cream in your dressing. The zesty ranch flavor is so good with the other ingredients in the salad!
- The pea salad can be eaten right away, but I really recommend refrigerating it for at least 2 hours after assembling. That’ll give the vegetables time to soak up that tangy dressing, which really enhances the flavors!
- For extra protein, add in a few chopped hard boiled eggs! Voila – now you have a super easy, super delicious English pea salad!
More Easy Potluck Salad Recipes
For the Dressing
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar see Notes
- 2 teaspoons vinegar of choice white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc.
- plenty of salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 4 cups frozen peas thawed
- 8 slices bacon cooked, crumbled
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese cut into very small cubes, roughly pea-size
- ¼ cup scallions chopped
- Small bowl
- Large bowl
- Large spoon or silicone spatula
- In small bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, sugar, vinegar, and salt & pepper. Whisk until combined.
- Place thawed peas in large mixing bowl and add dressing. Stir to coat.
- Add in bacon, cheddar cubes, and scallions. Stir together until thoroughly coated.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, then serve chilled.
- Sugar: If you prefer not to use white sugar, you can substitute with honey or Swerve sweetener.
- Make it Vegetarian: Use vegan bacon.
- Make it Vegan: Use vegan bacon, cheddar, mayo, and sour cream.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.