The Best Bacon Pea salad is a simple summer side that everyone loves. Tender sweet peas are mixed with bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and a bit of red onion for some zest. A simple mayonnaise based dressing is seasoned with a little vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Simple yet perfect.

Already sounds tasty, doesn’t it? This easy side is a welcome salad at any potluck and perfect served next to grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, and other delicious mains!

Pea Salad in a wooden bowl

Classic Pea Salad

The list of ingredients alone will be enough to show how you can take sweet peas and turn them into the perfect side dish for potlucks and barbecues!  Green pea salad is versatile, add in bell peppers or other favorite veggies, substitute leftover ham for the bacon, your favorite cheeses instead of cheddar, and ranch dressing if you don’t have sour cream and mayonnaise.

English pea salad is another favorite variation, add in diced hard boiled eggs. Now that’s one hearty side dish, more like a main course!

Pea Salad ingredients in a clear bowl before mixing together

Do You Have to Cook Frozen Peas for Salad?

You really don’t have to cook frozen peas before making green pea salad. That’s because anytime you buy frozen vegetables, they’ve already been blanched. (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 defrost.

Closeup of Pea Salad

How to Make Bacon Pea Salad

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

  1. Defrost the peas under cold water and cook the bacon until crispy and then crumble.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the peas, bacon, and onion, and stir to coat with the dressing.

Voila. It’s so easy! 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 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool completely. If you’d prefer, bacon bits can be substituted for bacon.

Can You Freeze Pea Salad?

In a word, no. Freezing pea salad is not recommended. The mayonnaise will separate, the sour cream will get grainy, and you’ll probably wind up with a yucky mush. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days however, so make it ahead if you need to.

More Easy Sides

Pea Salad in a wooden bowl
4.97 from 109 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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The Best Bacon Pea Salad

Pea salad is a delicious crowd pleasing summer side dish with tender peas, cheddar cheese and bacon.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings


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


  • cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons 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.
4.97 from 109 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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

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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. This is the best cold pea salad I’ve ever had. I’ve always added mustard, but this is way better. The sour cream, bacon and cheese are a delicious addition.5 stars

    1. This can be made a day ahead. I would suggest setting the bacon aside and adding before serving to keep it crisp.

    1. To.add to my original post I used red wine vinegar and left out the onion (for the kiddos)…adjust to your family. Loves it!5 stars

    1. As mentioned in the post Carriw, 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 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool completely.

  2. This is a winner for sure. Taste great and is a nice side dish or salad. The peas were surprisingly sweet and crisp. The bacon added a nice smokey flavor with just the right amount of saltiness. I love red onions but they can be a bit inconsistent, some running hot or sweet, others strong and sharp. Just alter the amount based off your liking. I’m not a fan of ranch so the original dressing was wonderful. So glad I have added this in my winners rotation!5 stars

  3. I love your recipes but this one missed the mark. I made this recipe exactly as stated in the instructions. It was so soggy and just looked like mush. It was not a hit. I’ll definitely be back for more of your great recipes but this one was not one of them :(2 stars

  4. I was just about to start making this pea salad when I realized that I don’t have enough sour cream. Can I omit the sour cream and just use plain Mayo? I have all other ingredients on hand. Thanks!

    1. That should be ok, this will make it a bit richer and thicker. You can thin out with a touch of milk if needed. Greek yogurt or plain yogurt can be used.

  5. Love ❤️
    I make this salad all the time, for years!
    I use real bacon bits to simplify and if I cooked my own bacon —-It probably would never end up in the salad!
    5 stars

  6. I put salted peanuts in it for crunch factor as the restaurant in Mi did 40 yrs ago. They used the old fashion type peanuts not dry roasted.5 stars

  7. Bacon hack—I saw this on a TV cooking show. For easier diced or crumbled bacon, freeze the bacon strips, chop them while still mostly frozen, then toss into the pan to fry. Easier to chop, easier to fry (more stirring than flipping strips). Be sure the drain well on paper towels.