Old Fashioned Pea Salad

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Old fashioned pea salad is a creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet salad. Whether it is a weeknight meal, cookout, holiday meal like Easter or Christmas, it is the perfect make-ahead salad to share with friends and family.

This dish has been a staple in American kitchens for decades, and for a good reason. It’s simple to make, packed with flavor, and pairs perfectly with lots of main courses. An Easter dinner or a summer gathering wouldn’t be the same without this classic pea salad on the table!

This green pea salad recipe features a base of peas mixed with onion, crispy bacon, and cheese in a creamy dressing. The result is a fresh and refreshing salad that’s sure to please your taste buds.

In this article, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for making pea salad at home, explore different variations of this classic side dish, and include serving ideas. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner in the kitchen, you’ll find something to love about this classic dish.

Looking for more refreshing spring salads? Try broccoli crunch salad, orange fluff salad, or caprese salad!

🥘Ingredient Notes

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Frozen peas – Fresh peas will also work. Canned peas don’t work well in this recipe.
  • Cooked bacon – I suggest cooking the bacon in the air fryer. Real bacon bits will also work in the recipe.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Onion – Use red onion or green onions
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
ingredients for pea salad.

🥣How to Make Pea Salad

  1. Set the peas out while you cook the bacon and dice the cheese and onion. This should take about 15 minutes, the right amount of thawing time for the peas.
  2. Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
  3. Stir the peas, cheese, and onion into the bowl. Mix until the ingredients are completely coated in the dressing.
  4. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Then chill the salad for about 1 hour to let the flavors blend.
  5. Add the bacon right before serving.
dicing the veggies for the salad.
Dice ingredients
mixing all the ingredients.
Combine in bowl
making the mayo dressing.
Make dressing
adding the mayo to the pea salad.
Mix the pea salad

🍴Serving Ideas

Old-fashioned pea salad is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways.

  • As a side dish: Pea salad is a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, cold sandwiches, or fried chicken. Serve it as part of an Easter dinner for a holiday celebration.
  • On a bed of lettuce: For a lighter meal, serve pea salad on a bed of lettuce. The crispness of the lettuce complements the creaminess of the salad.
  • In a wrap: Pea salad makes an excellent filling for a wrap. Spread the salad on a tortilla and add your favorite toppings, such tomatoes, lettuce, or guacamole.

Pea salad is also a great dish to bring to potlucks and picnics. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. Just be sure to keep it chilled until time to eat.

spoonful of pea salad.

🥗Variations

  • Use ham instead of bacon in the pea salad. Or leave out the meat, so the salad is vegetarian.
  • Add fresh herbs like parsley, dill weed, fresh mint, or chives for extra flavor.
  • Experiment with different types of cheese, such as feta or blue cheese, for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
  • To make this with fresh garden peas, steam them and cool them before making the salad.
  • Make it a pea pasta salad by cooking a box of pasta and stirring it in.
  • Dice water chestnuts and stir them to add a slight crunch to this delicious salad.
  • Add diced hard-boiled eggs to the salad.

💭How to Store

Store leftover pea salad in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep well for 3 days. This salad should not be frozen.

blue bowl with old fashioned pea salad.

⭐Tips

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Only thaw the peas halfway. Peas that get too warm will get mushy when you stir them into the salad. If you’ve had pea salad before and not enjoyed the texture, it was probably from peas that were thawed too long.
  • Chop the onions finely, so they don’t overpower the other flavors in the salad.
  • Use high-quality mayonnaise for a richer flavor and creamy textures.
  • Canned peas do not work well for this recipe.
  • It is easy to double this recipe for a large gathering.
  • This classic salad is simple and versatile. Make changes to it to make it your own.

📝FAQ

Can I make this salad ahead of time?
 

Yes, you can! This is the perfect side dish to make up to 24 hours beforehand. Store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. However, adding the bacon just before serving so it doesn’t get soggy.

Can I substitute the mayonnaise with a different dressing?

Absolutely. If you don’t like mayonnaise, you can use sour cream or Greek yogurt instead. You can also use ranch dressing or a mayonnaise substitute like Miracle Whip.

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top view of vintage pea salad in a blue bowl.
4.58 from 7 votes

Pea Salad Recipe

Published By Anne
Vintage pea salad is a creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet salad. Whether it is a cookout, Easter or Christmas, it is the perfect make-ahead salad.
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings: 12
Print Save Rate Pin

Ingredients
 

  • 2 bags frozen peas (10 ounce bags) about 4-6 cups – thawed halfway
  • 1 cup cooked bacon chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese cubed
  • ½ cup red onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Get the peas out to partially thaw. While you wait, cook the bacon and dice the onion and cheese. This should take about 15 minutes, the right amount of thawing time for the peas.
    2 bags frozen peas (10 ounce bags), 1 cup cooked bacon, 1 cup cheddar cheese, ½ cup red onion
  • Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper in a large salad bowl. Whisk until combined.
    ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup sour cream, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Stir the peas, cheese, and onion into the bowl. Mix until the ingredients are completely coated in the dressing.
  • Cover and chill for about an hour before serving to let the flavors blend.
  • Top with bacon right before serving.

Notes

Variations

  • Use ham instead of bacon in the pea salad. Or leave out the meat, so the salad is vegetarian.
  • Add fresh herbs extra flavor.
  • Experiment with different types of cheese, such as feta or blue cheese, for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
  • To make this with fresh garden peas, steam them and cool them before making the salad.
  • Hard-boiled eggs make an excellent addition to the salad.

Tips

  • Only thaw the peas halfway. Peas that get too warm will get mushy when you stir them into the salad. If you’ve had pea salad before and not enjoyed the texture, it was probably because the peas were thawed too long.
  • Canned peas do not work well for this recipe.
  • It is easy to double this recipe for a large gathering.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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Pea salad in a bowl with cheese and bacon.
anne

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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