A classic cold salad recipe for special occasions or BBQs, this Green Pea Salad with Bacon, Red Onions and Cheese features a creamy, sweet homemade dressing and a colorful confetti of yummy ingredients.
Green Pea Salad Recipe
Green Peas Salad is one of those love it or hate it recipes.
Generally, if you don’t like peas – you’re not going to like this recipe. (Replace the peas with broccoli or check out my favorite Brussel Sprouts salad or Cucumber Avocado salad instead.) However, if you’ve only ever had canned peas I definitely suggest giving frozen peas a try – the flavor is completely different and may just change your mind!
But for those that love them, this easy marinated salad with tender green peas, tangy and sweet dressing, acidic red onions, salty bacon and plenty of cheese is comfort food at it’s finest.
Each spoonful is perfectly balanced and the combination of textures – from the pop of the green peas to the crunch of the onions and bacon – is so incredibly satisfying.
Our recipe below is based on the BBQ or potluck classic, but you can swap out ingredients based on your personal preferences or what you have on hand:
- swap out the red onions for chopped sweet peppers
- swap out the green peas for chopped broccoli, cauliflower or corn
- or, swap out the green peas for cooked pasta
- use your favorite shredded cheese in place of the cheddar
- use small cubes of cheese instead of shredded cheese for a more indulgent salad
- use ranch dressing or coleslaw dressing in place of the homemade mayo-sour cream dressing
- swap out the bacon for leftover holiday ham, shredded beef or even chopped hardboiled eggs
- serve this green pea salad on a bed of lettuce or kale for an even more filling salad – and bonus, the green pea salad will dress your greens for you
Can I used canned green peas in green pea salad? Yes, but I don’t recommend it. Green peas always have a tinny, slightly sour flavor – even the good brands suffer from this. Frozen green peas are the way to go, as they are blanched before being flash frozen and thaw out quickly. Since the green peas are the base of this salad, you want their flavor to be the absolute best.
Do I need to cook the green peas for green pea salad? No, because we are using thawed, frozen peas we can skip blanching them ourselves since they were blanched before being frozen. Simply rinse and get them come to room temperature to thaw as you prepare the other ingredients.
Can I prep green pea salad in advance? Yes, and actually you want to dress and refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to let the peas and onions to really marinate in the dressing and soak up that flavor. Wait until just ready to serve to add the bacon to avoid it softening – you want it to still be crunchy! (Or add half of the bacon when preparing and add half when ready to serve.)
More Classic Southern Side Dishes
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
- Homemade Coleslaw from Kylee Cooks
- Copycat Cracker Barrel Potato Casserole
- Sweet and Spicy Instant Pot Baked Beans from The Soccer Mom Blog
- Steakhouse-style Creamed Spinach
Green Pea Salad Ingredients
- 2 cups peas, uncooked
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 Tablespoons white sugar, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, or more to taste
- Salt and pepper, as desired
- 3-4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 red onion, diced
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: check out our list of substitutions above if you don’t have all of the ingredients on hand.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula
- Sharp Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
How to Make Green Pea Salad with Bacon
If using fresh green peas, bring a saucepan full of water to boil over high heat.
Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
If the peas are still warm, place in the fridge as you assemble the rest of the salad.
If using frozen green peas, place in a colander and rinse with cold water. Allow them to sit and thaw for about 5 minutes as you prepare the dressing.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to your personal preferences.
Stir in the cooled peas, chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and diced red onion until all ingredients are completely coated.
Place the salad in the fridge for at least an hour to marinate.
Grab your free printable recipe card for our Green Pea Salad recipe:
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
This easy cold pea salad is perfect for potlucks, BBQs, weeknight side dishes or holiday meals and is so incredibly versatile so you can whip it up with just about anything you have on hand.