Pea Salad

published Mar 20, 2022
Pea Salad Recipe

Put together this potluck-friendly dish in just 20 minutes.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 4 1/2 cups

Prep8 minutes to 10 minutes

Cook8 minutes

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a bowl of peas, tossed as a salad with cabbage, carrots and other vegetables.
Credit: Kelli Foster

I was skeptical the first time I was introduced to pea salad, but what I quickly learned after loading up my fork is that this classic salad is a mix of flavors and textures that simply cannot be beat. If you’re not familiar with pea salad, it’s a retro recipe that combines sweet peas, crispy bacon crumbles, shreds of sharp cheddar, snappy red onion, and fresh parsley, and the whole thing gets tossed with a tangy, creamy dressing. It’s perfect for spring and picnic season, both of which aren’t that far off.

Each forkful is packed with just the right balance of sweet, savory, salty, tangy flavor and a crunchy, chewy bite. Serve it as a side with chicken or fish for dinner, or take it along to your next potluck.

What’s in Pea Salad?

  • Frozen peas
  • Bacon
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Red onion
  • Parsley 
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Apple cider vinegar

Pea Salad Substitutions

A fun place to play around in this salad is the cheese. The recipe calls for cheddar cheese, which adds a sharp, nutty flavor, and is our personal favorite. Most other semi-firm or firm cheese will work here. Provolone has a bold flavor, which is a nice contrast to the sweet peas. And the same goes for salty Parm or Pecorino. If you love smoked Gouda, give it a try here. 

Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Store Pea Salad

Store leftover pea salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The bacon will lose a little bit of its crisp, but the leftovers are still delicious. 

Pea Salad Recipe

Put together this potluck-friendly dish in just 20 minutes.

Prep time 8 minutes to 10 minutes

Cook time 8 minutes

Makes about 4 1/2 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    frozen peas

  • 6 slices

    bacon, not thick-cut (6 to 7 ounces)

  • 1/2

    small red onion

  • 1/2 small bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 2 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup shredded)

  • 1/4 cup

    sour cream

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Let 1 pound frozen peas sit at room temperature until thawed, about 3 hours.

  2. Place 6 slices bacon in a large frying pan in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, flipping halfway through, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes total. Meanwhile, thinly slice 1/2 small red onion. Place in a small bowl, cover with cold water, and set aside for 10 minutes to make the onion less potent. Pick and finely chop the leaves from 1/2 small bunch fresh parsley until you have 1/4 cup. Grate 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1/2 cup).

  3. When the bacon is ready, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then crumble into small pieces. Drain the onion and discard the liquid.

  4. Place 1/4 cup cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the peas, onion, parsley, and cheese, and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow for flavors to meld.

  5. Stir in the bacon and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.