The Best Bacon Pea salad is a simple side dish that everyone loves, perfect for potlucks.

Tender sweet peas are mixed with bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and a bit of red onion. It’s all tossed in a simple creamy dressing for an easy make ahead dish.

Since this uses frozen peas, it’s quick to make and the perfect salad all year long!

The Best Bacon Pea Salad in a bowl

Ingredients in Pea Salad

This is a take on a classic pea salad, jam-packed with flavor. It’s the perfect side dish for a summer bbq or even Thanksgiving dinner!

Peas – Frozen peas are the best option. They’re sweet, tender, and don’t require cooking. To make creamy pea salad with fresh peas from the garden, shell the peas and place them in a pot of boiling water for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool completely.

Add-Ins – We love crisp bacon, cheddar cheese, and red onion. Chopped boiled eggs can be added if you’d like.

  • Use real bacon bits in place of cooked and crumbled bacon.
  • We love sharp cheddar cheese best in this pea salad recipe but you can swap in your favorite cheeses.
  • Green onion or sweet white onion can be used in place of red onion.

Dressing – This pea salad dressing is both tangy and creamy and takes just a couple of minutes of prep. A bit of mayo is mixed with sour cream, a splash of vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Simple yet perfect.

  • For a lighter dressing swap the sour cream with Greek yogurt.
  • The dressing in the recipe is best but you can also use Ranch dressing if you prefer.
Pea Salad ingredients in a clear bowl before mixing together

Do You Have to Cook Frozen Peas for Salad?

You do not have to cook frozen peas to make green pea salad.

Frozen vegetables are blanched before freezing (in other words, partially cooked and quickly chilled.) This prevents the cell walls from bursting and turning vegetables into mush.

To make a sweet pea salad, buy frozen tiny peas, sometimes called baby peas or baby sweet peas. They contain more sugar, and make a nice complement to the saltiness of the bacon.

Simply run the peas under cold water to allow them to thaw.

Closeup of Pea Salad

How to Make Bacon Pea Salad

Here are the steps to making a delicious pea salad with bacon:

  1. Thaw the peas by running them under cold water.
  2. Cook the bacon until crispy and then crumble.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the peas, bacon, and onion, and stir to coat with the dressing.

Voila. It’s so easy!

Got Leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. This pea salad does not freeze well.

More Veggie Salads

The Best Bacon Pea Salad in a bowl
4.97 from 175 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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The Best Bacon Pea Salad

Bacon Pea salad is a creamy, crowd-pleasing side dish with tender peas, cheddar cheese, and bacon.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cool Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 4 cups frozen peas thawed
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • cup red onion diced


  • cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper


  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add peas, bacon, onion, and cheese to the bowl and gently stir.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Season with additional salt & pepper to taste.


To quickly thaw peas, place them in a strainer and run them under cold water for a few minutes. They do not need to be cooked.
To save on dishes, whisk the dressing in the bowl you’ll be mixing the salad in.
Additional bacon can be added for garnish before serving. 
Store leftover salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Stir before serving. 
4.97 from 175 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 372 | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 352mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 965IU | Vitamin C: 39.5mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
The Best Bacon Pea Salad in a bowl with onions and cheese with a title
close up of The Best Bacon Pea Salad with a title
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The Best Bacon Pea Salad in a bowl and close up photo with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Absolutely delicious!!! When I bring it to share with others they ask for the recipe and I direct them to your website – Thanks so much!!!5 stars

  2. Hands down the best pea salad recipe that you will find ANYWHERE!! This was a hit with my husband, AND with me!! I followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfecto!! Thank you so much for publishing this!!5 stars

  3. I was looking for an option with fresh peas and although I questioned cooking them like you suggested, I did it against my better judgment. I would hope you take that suggestion out of your recipe. it was a shame to grow, shell and then use them in this manor. Especially the quantity. Would have been better with fresh peas, especially if you don’t like cooked peas.3 stars

    1. Hi Lisa, we do find frozen peas are the best option as they are already blanched before frozen. And while we haven’t tried this recipe with uncooked garden peas, if you don’t like cooked peas then fresh would be a good alternative. Love to hear how it turns out if you attempt it again.

    2. Holly specifically stated that frozen peas are the best option for this recipe, but if you prefer fresh garden peas, shell them and cook 5-8 minutes OR until tender. Surely if you grow peas, you would know how long to cook them for a cold pea salad. It seems unfair to give this recipe a lower rating based on your mistake. This recipe is delicious as written!

  4. Taking this to picnic today ! I have taken it before and it was requested again this year5 stars

  5. Made it today for a BBQ. This is crazy good. I feared it would be too sweet, but definitely not – it’s perfect! The only thing I did (and always do) is soak the red onion in cold water for 10 minutes or so to take the bite out. I’ll absolutely be making this again (and again and again :)5 stars

  6. I made this for the second time today, such a nice summer salad. I skipped the cheese (preference) and it is perfect.5 stars

  7. Thank you for sharing your recipe! I made it once and my husband raved over it and asked me to make it for an event he was cooking for at the local Senior Center. Well everyone loved it. I am now using it for my favorite go to recipe especially when we have people over. Again Thank you!

  8. I made your Dill Pickle Pasta Salad and OMG, it was to die for. My sister and my daughter loved it as much as I did.
    Can’t wait to try this one! I love your recipes.