Best Ever Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon (Easy Recipe)

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Pea Salad with Bacon has the perfect balance of crunchy, soft, and creamy textures. Featuring cubes of cheddar cheese and a deliciously tangy dressing, you’ll want to serve this cold pea salad at every barbecue and potluck!

titled: Perfect Pea Salad


Everyone knows about this creamy pea salad recipe.

It’s just about as famous as potato salad at BBQs and family reunions during the summer months, and it’s the perfect side dish for fun flavors. 

The cheddar cheese cubes paired with the fresh peas and salty bacon create quite the flavor combination.

I’ve made this for summer picnics, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. (and it’s my go-to when I make a dish for family gatherings!) 

Make this simple side dish a great addition to any gathering or meal. It’s a simple summer salad that is truly made with simple ingredients.

The crunchy bacon and green peas are so good together! 

Follow the simple steps on the recipe card listed below to get started on making this delicious pea salad. It’s the only thing I crave during the summer months! 

overhead: bowls of ingredients for pea salad recipe

Pea Salad With Bacon

Deliciously fresh and creamy, old fashioned pea salad is making a comeback! Pair it with grilled chicken, juicy lemon garlic shrimp, or any of your favorite cookout foods.

Peas are one of our favorite veggies, and this creamy pasta salad with peas and bacon is just amazing.

Not a fan of peas? Try a similar dish made with broccoli instead. It has a lot of similar ingredients, plus raisins for extra sweetness. 

And for more dishes just like grandma used to make, check out my recipes for southern potato and macaroni salad.

What I love about this easy bacon pea salad is that the cooking process is simple! Make this the next time you have all the ingredients on hand! 

overhead: bowl of diced bacon, cheese, onion and peas

Pea Salad Recipe Tips

  • Thaw the peas. If you toss them in frozen, you will end up with lots of liquid in the bottom of your bowl. 

    Thaw them completely, drain, and pat dry with a paper towel before starting this recipe for pea salad.”
  • Boost the flavor. The ingredients in the dressing, especially the dill, really shine the longer they sit and develop. 

    Mix them together the day before and refrigerate, if you can.
  • Keep it chilled! Because the dressing contains both sour cream and mayonnaise, old fashioned pea salad needs to be refrigerated. 

    For parties, place the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice so it stays cool, and don’t leave it out for more than an hour or two.
  • Add a garnish. Save a little bit of the peas, bacon, onion, and cheese to sprinkle over the top of the finished dish. 

    Or, mix it all together and add some fresh dill as a finishing touch. This tasty salad is simple and forgiving with the best flavor! 
  • Need a smaller amount? Easily halve the pea salad recipe or save the rest for later. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
stirring ranch dressing into vegetable salad

Best Ways To Cook Bacon

I personally love to cook bacon in the oven! It’s less messy and frees up my focus to work on other things, like prepping the ingredients for this old fashioned pea salad. 

Using an air fryer is another quick way to cook bacon.

Because this recipe for pea salad calls for chopped bacon, you can dice the strips cold and cook them on the stove that way. 

Stir them occasionally so they crisp evenly, then drain once they are done!

Cold Pea Salad FAQ

Can I make this recipe for pea salad ahead of time? 

You sure can! Pea salad with bacon can be assembled and chilled a few hours before you plan on serving.

Or, prep the ingredients and whisk together the dressing the day before. Store everything in the refrigerator in separate containers, then put it all together just before you eat!

What else can I add to cold pea salad? 

Other popular additions to pea salad with bacon include crispy veggies like bell peppers and shredded carrots or leftover ham in place of the bacon.

You can also slice up some hard boiled eggs and swap out the cheddar for your favorite variety of cheese.

Can I use a different kind of cheese? 

Absolutely! Have fun with the flavor options. Just be sure to use a cheese that holds its own against the other flavors of this great recipe. Sharp cheddar cheese is a great option to pair with the rest of the flavors of this creamy bacon pea salad! 

 The combination of flavors is what makes this a Southern favorite! 

pea salad in white bowl

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pea salad on spoon, close up

Other Simple Summer Salads

green pea salad on spoon

Best Ever Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon (Easy Recipe)

Donna Elick
Pea Salad with Bacon features cheddar cheese and a delicious tangy dressing. This cold pea salad recipe is perfect for potlucks and picnics!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 8 – 10


  • 2 10 ounce bags frozen peas, thawed and pat dry
  • 1 pound applewood smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill


  • In a large bowl, toss together peas, bacon, cheese, and onion until combined.
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking together the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill. Taste the dressing and adjust seasonings.
  • Add the dressing to the pea mixture and toss gently to combine.
  • Serve! Salad can be prepared several hours in advance of serving and is best served chilled.

Donna’s Notes

Mix dressing a day ahead to allow the dill and other flavors to come out. Other ingredients can also be prepared a day ahead. Toss everything together the day you wish to serve the salad.
Keep refrigerated.
Be sure the peas are thawed and extra liquid is drained or you may end up with liquid in the bottom of your salad bowl.
Reserve a sprinkle of peas, bacon, onion, and cheese to scatter over the top of the salad for a nice presentation. You can also sprinkle some fresh dill over the top of the salad.
Storage: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 518cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 801mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for pea salad recipe

Originally published February 2022, updated and republished March 2024

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    1. I have cooked bacon in my oven for many years. Yes, it does pop in the oven, but not nearly as much as on the stove top. I haven’t ever had a mess to clean up from the grease. I put my bacon on cooling racks and then put the cooling racks inside my cookie sheets. This contains the grease for easy cleanup. It also keeps it off of the bacon for a lot less greasy bacon.

    1. Hi Cliffie,
      The recipe card is located at the bottom of the post above your comment. Hope this helps!
      TSRI Team Member,

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