Best Ever Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon

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Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon is a popular southern dish that is filled with crunchy peas, crispy bacon, chopped red onions, and cheddar cheese. This is an easy to make side dish that is perfect for your next potluck! 

I am a lover of “salads” of every variety! Fruit salad, pasta salad, actual salad, you name it and I’m here for it. If you are like me, then you are going to love this California Spaghetti Salad, this delicious Ambrosia Salad, and this crowd-pleasing Pistachio Salad.

Creamy Pea Salad

Peas. You either love them or hate them right? I love peas. One of the only veggies I actually like to eat. Even if you don’t like peas, this creamy pea salad is a potluck staple. I have been making some classics here on the blog lately. Ones that I have grown up with and are always at a potluck or family gathering (like this cheesecake salad and this bacon ranch potato salad). This creamy pea salad is one of them. It is a southern favorite and really popular. And filled with bacon, it makes it even better!

I love this pea salad because it is so simple to make. I am usually in a hurry to make something quick for a barbeque and that is why I love to make this dish. You just have to add in some thawed peas, bacon, cubed cheese, and red onion and toss it in a creamy mixture. It is ready to go out the door in no time at all.


The basic ingredients in this best ever creamy pea salad are what makes this recipe one I make all the time. It’s so simple to throw together and it’s always a hit. I don’t have this on the list, but you can definitely add some freshly cracked black pepper over the top. I usually do! You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.

  • Peas: I like to use frozen because that is the most convenient. Let them thaw before using.
  • Red Onion: Because you won’t be cooking the onion, it’s a good idea to use purple onion. They are mild and crisp.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Buy a block of cheese and cut it into cubes.
  • Bacon: This is super delicious with the peas. You can leave it out if you want to, or use ham as a substitute. You won’t need to add salt because of the bacon.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley adds great flavor and color.
  • Sour Cream: This is part of what makes it so creamy and delicious.
  • Mayonnaise: Mix mayo with the sour cream for the perfect taste.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This is the ingredient that makes this different from all of the other salad recipes out there. It’s fresh with a little tang that brings the whole salad to life.
  • Sugar: This is to balance out the acid from the vinegar.

Classic Creamy Pea Salad Recipe

Creamy pea salad is a simple pot luck staple that you can whip up in just 15 minutes. These are very basic ingredients that come together to make the best pea salad you’ll ever try! You could add some dill and garlic powder to the creamy pea salad dressing ingredients if you wanted to mix things up. Here is how to make this recipe.

  1. Add Ingredients: In a large bowl add the peas, red onion, cheddar cheese, bacon and parsley. 
  2. Whisk Wet Ingredients: In a small bowl whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and sugar.
  3. Toss Together: Pour the creamy mixture in the large bowl over the peas. Toss until the peas are fully coated. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Process photos of all of the ingredients separately and then together.

Tips for Making Creamy Pea Salad

There are definitely more ways than one to make this delicious creamy pea salad recipe. I don’t even make it exactly as the recipe is written every single time. If you are short on ingredients or want to switch up the flavors, here are some ways that I’ve made this recipe and loved it.

  • Frozen Peas: You can definitely eat them raw. A lot of people wonder if it’s safe to eat frozen peas without cooking them. The answer is yes! Just like you can put frozen strawberries in your smoothie, frozen peas are totally safe to eat raw.
  • Shredded Cheese: If you would rather shredded cheese in your green pea salad than cubed cheese, go for it! It is just as good with shredded cheese, and if you buy pre-shredded it cuts down on your prep time. I prefer the texture of the bigger chunks of cheese but it’s totally up to you.
  • Substitutions: You could substitute the sour cream for greek yogurt. It actually tastes amazing that way and it stays just as creamy and flavorful. You could also add ranch dressing instead of the mayo if you wanted.

Storing Leftovers

This creamy pea salad makes great leftovers. It holds up really well in the refrigerator and is great eaten cold or at room temperature. Here is how to store leftovers.

  • In the Refrigerator: You can store your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon

4.89 from 9 votes
Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon is a popular southern dish that is filled with crunchy peas, crispy bacon, chopped red onions, and cheddar cheese. This is an easy to make side dish that is perfect for your next potluck! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 6 people


  • 2 pounds peas thawed
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese cubed
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar


  • In a large bowl add the peas, red onion, cheddar cheese, bacon and parsley. 
  • In a small bowl whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and sugar.
  • Pour the creamy mixture in the large bowl over the peas. Toss until the peas are fully coated. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.



Originally Posted May 14, 2019
Updated March 3, 2023


Serves: 6

Calories2745kcal (137%)Carbohydrates159g (53%)Protein118g (236%)Fat184g (283%)Saturated Fat78g (390%)Cholesterol372mg (124%)Sodium2633mg (110%)Potassium3074mg (88%)Fiber48g (192%)Sugar72g (80%)Vitamin A10430IU (209%)Vitamin C385.8mg (468%)Calcium1610mg (161%)Iron16.1mg (89%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword creamy pea salad, creamy pea salad with bacon, pot luck salad
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    OMG!! I made a double batch for my first try and WOW!! When I got to the point of mixing everything together, in my head – I wasn’t liking this salad. But first spoonful won me over! This is THE BEST pea salad…ever!

  2. Very good, I haven’t had pea salad for some time so I looked at several recipes. The only thing lacking from this was the hard boiled eggs.

  3. Oooh my…. I’m 70 and during my last move ( I was in the hospital in and out for a year ) my children packed up the house. Well my cook books are somewhere… don’t know where but I don’t have hem haa. Maybe the storage man has been cooking great lately. This recipe I had written in the margins of my old beautiful
    blue and white checked (only it was sorta gray and cream with age) first cook book.
    I had such a craving for this and then
    WALLAAH•• there it was . I’m now wheelchair bound ~ but know I can handle this easily. My dad absolutely loved loved this but he liked lots of black pepper.
    Thanks for pulling this out of the cobwebs,
    Oh PS make sure it’s nice and cold.. even better the next day

  4. 4 stars
    I brought the salad to a potluck yesterday and it was a big success. Easy to follow recipe. The bacon was perfect with it but the cheese seemed like an odd ingredient to add. It did not seem to go very well with the other ingredients. I will leave it out next time. Otherwise this was a very good recipe. Thanks for posting it.

    1. Personally I’ve made it several times and use packaged 4 cheeses and it’s very delicious. I think it would miss something without the cheese. I don’t usually use bacon or parsley but it’s a nice change.

    1. Hi, I LOVE pea salad, but I prefer that the peas, are just a tiny bit frozen. Also I have used several different flavors of cheese, in my salad. I happen to Love onion cheese, so that’s what I use. I also always, make up two different batches, of the creamy mixture. I put the first batch in the salad, and put the other batch in a container over night. We found that after the salad sits over night, it doesn’t seem as creamy. Some times, we dump the whole second batch in, and other times, just part of it.
      I hope this helps you out.

  5. how many calories does a cup have and how mush carbs and can i substitute stevia for the sugar?

    1. I am in the process of adding nutritional facts to each of my recipes at this time. In the meantime you are welcome to use for any questions you may have.

      1. I dont use the vinager or sour cream but i do double the amount of peas and add a red pepper for color.

        I have also made it with Italian dressing instead of the mayonnaise dressing.

      1. I didn’t see anything about elbow macaroni – did I miss something? Making this today – peas thawing!!

    1. Many, many years ago when I was in high school I had dinner at my friend’s house and her mother made a pea salad only she used canned peas, Velveeta cheese, Miracle Whip and no bacon. My grandmother and mother both made varied meals often trying different recipes but I had never even seen this pea salad until that night. I remember I even liked that version but I’ve not ever had it again. I think I will try it again very soon.

      1. Yes, please do try this one! It is a popular salad and always a classic at most potlucks or a great side dish for dinners. Let me know how you like it!

  6. This recipe was in my email today, Sounded good so bought the ingredients and mad.e for my supper. Loved it Used Colby instead of Cheddar although it is a form of Cheddar. The only thing it needs is some black pepper.

  7. Oh, this was a specialty of my mother’s. I miss her so; I should make this in hommage.
    BTW, can’t eat raw potatoes or cassava. Of course, there’s an exception to every rule. I love raw peas.

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