This Classic Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon is a delicious side dish that is full of flavor with sweet peas, savory bacon, and bites of sharp cheddar cheese. Perfect for weeknight meals or easy to make ahead for special occasions, potlucks, or holidays.
A Classic Side
If you have ever been to a potluck, then you most likely came across this classic side dish. This Creamy Pea Salad is a get-together staple for the best reasons. It has the perfect balance of sweetness from the cool peas and the creamy sauce with the savoriness of sharp cheddar and crispy bacon. And it can be made ahead of time so it’s an easy go-to staple for any bbq, party, or holiday.
- Peas– the main ingredient and the key to success is using frozen peas. Do not use canned. In my opinion, they are way too soft and have a very different taste from frozen peas.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese– what doesn’t taste better with cheese? Sharp or mild will work well.
- Red Onion– dice it small and it will really enhance the dish. If the onion flavor is too strong, soak the onion in cold water for up to thirty minutes, drain, and pat dry before mixing together. This will make it milder.
- Bacon– this could be optional but it really adds a good savoriness to the dish.
- Sour Cream and Mayonnaise– this combination makes it super creamy.
- Apple Cider Vinegar– white vinegar also could be used if needed.
How to make it
This salad is so simple to make. All you have to do is:
- Mix- mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until it blends together.
- Fold – in the peas, cheese, onion, and bacon until everything is covered and the dressing is evenly throughout. If you prefer the bacon to be crispy, set it aside and mix in right before serving.
- Refrigerate– covered for at least an hour and up to 24 hours in advance.
- Store– covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this salad.
Make ahead options
Pea Salad is perfect to make ahead! Just prepare per the recipe, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.
I do not recommend freezing this salad. The mayonnaise and sour cream will lose their taste and texture and make it much less desirable.
Frequently asked questions
This side dish will last in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days.
No, you do not need to cook the frozen peas since they are already flash-steamed before they are frozen. Just thaw in the refrigerator overnight or run cool water over frozen peas and drain before making the recipe.
Pea salad is perfect for any occasion. Enjoy this side dish with barbeque meats, sandwiches, fried chicken, or bring to any potluck for a delicious meal.
Tips and tricks
* If you want crispy bacon, add it in right before serving. Save a little for the top for a garnish!
*The salad will become slightly runny after a few days in the refrigerator.
* Do not use canned peas. They will not have the same consistency or flavor as frozen peas.
More delicious salad recipes
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Bacon Blueberries and Feta– sweet, sharp, and savory salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
- Caesar Pasta Salad– filled with juicy tomatoes, sharp parmesan, and creamy Caesar dressing.
- Cherry Cheesecake Marshmallow Fluff Salad– a favorite dessert or salad that has only 5 ingredients with cherry pie filling, cheesecake pudding, marshmallows, and cool whip.
Classic Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon
- 4 cups frozen peas thawed
- 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese cubed
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- 8 slices cooked bacon diced or crumbled
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper until creamy.
- Gently fold in peas, cheese, onion, and bacon into the bowl and combine until the dressing is evenly covering everything.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 24 hours before serving.