The Best Classic Pea Salad is the easiest to make, cold, summer side dish! Creamy pea salad is packed full of flavor with frozen sweet green peas, a flavorful mayonnaise dressing, crunchy onions, bacon, and cheddar cheese!
Pea Salad may be an “old fashioned” side dish just like Grandma used to make, but, it truly withstands the test of time as a summertime favorite!
This classic salad is a Midwestern and Southern staple. You won’t go to a potluck and not find it on the menu! I personally have craved pea salad even as a child. There is something so tempting about the slightly sweet and savory combination that I just can’t get enough of!
How to Make Pea Salad:
Pea Salad simply starts out with a 16 ounce bag of frozen peas. You can use canned peas instead if that is what you have on hand. Keep in mind that the frozen peas are much more green! They look prettier, have a slight crunch that makes this salad so good, and they hold up a little better than canned. If you use canned peas, I would recommend chilling them for a couple of hours before making this salad so that they don’t become mushy as you stir.
If you are using frozen peas, go ahead and set them out on the counter to thaw slightly while you mix the rest of the salad ingredients together. If your peas are still a little “frosty” that is ok. They will thaw the rest of the way while the pea salad chills in the refrigerator. You will want to chill this for 1-2 hours for best flavor before serving.
The dressing for pea salad is a simple mixture of mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar. I don’t add vinegar to my dressing at all, I think it’s too overwhelming. You can use light or fat free mayo for this pea salad as well if you are watching your calories. Don’t be turned off by the added sugar either! It truly just helps amp up the flavor, it does not make it sugary.
This salad is seriously easy to make, it maybe takes about 10 minutes. Go ahead and add all of your dressing ingredients to your bowl along with your bacon bits, shredded cheese, and diced red onion. Mix it all together at once, then add your peas and stir to combine everything very well.
As mentioned above, I use real bacon bits pieces for my pea salad. However, you can cook up regular bacon (about 6-8 pieces) and use instead if you prefer.
Make this classic pea salad, and let me know what you think! If you have never had pea salad, be prepared to be amazed at how comforting a simple cold salad can truly be!
Be sure to try out these other great summer side dishes too!
- Grandma’s Best Macaroni Salad
- Italian Tortellini Salad
- Popcorn Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Raspberry Peach Cheesecake Salad
- Greek Cucumber Salad
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The Best Classic Pea Salad
- 1 16 Ounce Bag Frozen Green Peas
- 1 1/3 Cups Mayonnaise
- 2 Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Small Red Onion, Chopped
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 2.8 Ounce Bag Real Bacon Bit Pieces** See Note
- Remove the frozen peas from the freezer. Open the bag and place the peas in a colander. Allow them to thaw slightly on the counter while you mix up the salad dressing.
- In a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, sugar, salt, and pepper with the red onion, cheese, and bacon bits.
- Add the frozen peas to the salad and stir well, but gently to combine.
- Chill the salad, covered, for at least one hour before serving.