Delicious Southern Pea Salad Recipe You Must Try!

Get ready to indulge your taste buds with a classic Southern pea salad recipe that will transport you to the heart of the South. Our creamy and tangy southern pea salad is a must-try side dish for any BBQ, picnic or potluck gathering. Made with sweet peas, crispy bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and cheddar cheese, this salad is a perfect combination of flavors and textures.

This recipe is inspired by the traditional Southern pea salad that has been passed down from generation to generation. We put our own spin on it by adding some extra ingredients, but still keeping the classic flavors intact. It’s easy to make and requires only a few simple ingredients that are affordable and readily available in any grocery store.

If you’re tired of boring salads or want something different to serve at your next gathering, then this Southern pea salad is just what you’re looking for! So grab your apron and get ready to prepare a delicious side that will leave everyone asking for more.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Pea Salad
Southern Pea Salad

Folks, I have got a recipe that’s going to knock your socks off! This Southern Pea Salad Recipe is the epitome of heavenly deliciousness. You’ll not only fall in love with the flavors, but you’ll also be amazed at how simple it is to whip up this stunning salad.

First and foremost, this salad has plenty of vibrant colors and textures that make it look as good as it tastes. The sweet peas bursting with flavor and freshness are combined with succulent tomatoes, crispy bacon slices, crunchy lettuce, and sharp cheddar cheese all tossed in a creamy mayo dressing that will make your mouth water.

But what truly sets this recipe apart from other salads is its versatility. Whether you’re attending tailgating or family dinner, it works as the perfect side dish. And since it’s best served cold, you can prepare it ahead of time and keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve.

Moreover, this salad is pretty straightforward to make – even for those who don’t consider themselves expert cooks! All you need to do is mix your ingredients together, and voilà – you’re done!

Lastly, for those of us trying to watch our waistlines, there are modifications that can be made without sacrificing the taste or texture. Instead of using full-fat mayonnaise and sour cream (which we all know are delicious on their own), consider opting for low-fat versions. Trust me; they work just as well!

So whether you’re looking for an easy-to-make dish for an upcoming potluck or simply want a quick salad to elevate your dinner game, give this Southern Pea Salad recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Ingredient List

 A colorful and refreshing salad that's perfect for summer!
A colorful and refreshing salad that’s perfect for summer!

Let’s talk about what you need to make this Southern Pea Salad recipe. Here are the ingredients you will need for this flavorful and creamy side dish:

For the Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sweet peas, drained
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup of diced cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices of bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

You can use either fresh, canned or frozen peas for this recipe. If using frozen peas, make sure to thaw them before using in the recipe. Hard-boiled eggs can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. The combination of crispy bacon, soft boiled eggs, sharp cheddar cheese and sweet peas tossed in a tangy dressing will make this salad an instant favorite at any gathering!

The Recipe How-To

 A southern classic with a twist of flavors.
A southern classic with a twist of flavors.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get cooking! In this section, I’ll guide you through the steps of making a delicious southern pea salad. First off, gather all your salad ingredients in one place. Once everything’s ready, you can start with the following:

Step One: Cook the Bacon

  • On medium-low heat, cook four slices of bacon until nicely browned and crispy.
  • Use a paper towel to remove any excess grease from the bacon.
  • Then cut it into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Step Two: Prepare the Peas

  • Whether you’re using canned or frozen peas, make sure to drain them thoroughly.
  • If using frozen sweet peas, let them thaw for an hour or two before draining.
  • If using canned peas, rinse them under cold running water to remove any excess salt.

Step Three: Hard Boil Your Eggs

  • Place two eggs in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover them by an inch.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  • As soon as it boils, turn off heat and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Then rinse the eggs with cold water and peel them. Chop them into small pieces.

Step Four: Add Remaining Salad Ingredients

  • To a large bowl, add 16 ounces of drained peas (whether it be green peas or any other variety), 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion, 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and your chopped hard-boiled eggs.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well until everything is evenly distributed.

Step Five: Make the Dressing

  • In another bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of sour cream, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper until creamy.

Step Six: Mix and Chill

  • Pour the dressing over the salad mix in the large bowl.
  • Add half of the cooked bacon and stir well.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for an hour or more to enhance its flavor.
  • Once you’re ready to serve, sprinkle some more bacon bits on top of the salad.

There you have it, a beautiful bowl of southern pea salad. Tossing together all your salad ingredients with its creamy mayonnaise-sour cream dressing will surely lead to a delicious result!

Substitutions and Variations

 This dish embodies the essence of southern hospitality.
This dish embodies the essence of southern hospitality.

While the classic Southern Pea Salad recipe may be enjoyed just as it is, there are a few substitutions and variations that you can try to put your own spin on this favorite dish.

If you’re looking to switch up the salad ingredients, consider swapping out the peas for black-eyed peas or green peas. You can also add a bit of variety by including English peas or even Le Sueur sweet peas in the mix.

For those who prefer a creamier consistency to their Southern Pea Salad, you can substitute part of the mayonnaise with sour cream or even Greek yogurt. This will give the salad a tangy kick that pairs perfectly with the other salad recipe ingredients.

Not a fan of bacon? You can easily leave it out of the recipe and still enjoy it just as much. If you want to add some protein to your salad, try using grilled chicken or even shrimp instead.

For a more colorful final product, experiment with adding diced tomatoes, red bell peppers, or even roasted corn. These additions will make your Southern Pea Salad burst with flavor and texture.

Finally, if you’re looking for an alternative way to enjoy this classic pea salad recipe, consider whipping up a pasta salad with similar ingredients. Simply cook your favorite pasta according to package instructions, add in some frozen peas and bacon bits and toss with a mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Serve it up as a side dish at your next potluck or barbecue – this creamy pea pasta salad is sure to be a hit!

Serving and Pairing

 A captivating blend of textures and tastes.
A captivating blend of textures and tastes.

Southern Pea Salad is a versatile dish that can complement nearly any meal. As a staple of southern cuisine, it pairs well with other southern classics like fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread. The creamy texture and savory flavor of this salad perfectly contrast the rich flavors of these dishes.

Pea salad is an excellent side dish for barbecues and potlucks. Its refreshing taste makes it especially popular for outdoor events in the hot summer months. You can also add it to your lunch menu as it makes for a great salad topper or a standalone option.

If you’re looking to make the salad more colorful, consider adding some diced tomatoes or lettuce on top just before serving. For added crunch and flavor, sprinkle some bacon bits on top. The perfect pairing for Southern Pea Salad would be sweet tea – the classic southern beverage.

If you want to turn up the heat, try adding sliced jalapeños or hot sauce! These add-ons will give the salad a spicy kick that will pair nicely with grilled meat, burgers or any savory baked dishes.

In short, Southern Pea Salad is an ideal side dish that can complement various entrees or be served alone. Its versatility makes it perfect for any occasion from a family dinner to a large gathering. Regardless of how you choose to serve it, your guests will enjoy its fresh and creamy taste.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Bean there, done that - but this recipe is a must-try!
Bean there, done that – but this recipe is a must-try!

Southern Pea Salad is an excellent make-ahead dish that can be prepared up to 2 days in advance of serving. Once the salad has been assembled, it should be covered tightly with plastic wrap or an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. This step helps the flavors to meld together.

If you have leftovers of this Southern pea salad recipe, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, but make sure to keep it properly refrigerated. This salad tastes best when chilled.

Reheating this pea salad is not recommended as it contains mayonnaise that may not hold up well when heated. It is best served cold, right out of the refrigerator.

If you are taking this salad to a potluck or picnic, pack it in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice to keep it cool and fresh until ready to serve.

One pro tip for making this salad ahead of time is to keep the bacon separate until just before serving. Cook and chop the bacon as usual but store separately. Then add it right before you serve the pea salad to retain its crunchiness.

With these tips, you can easily prepare Southern Pea Salad without any worries about serving it promptly while not compromising on its taste and quality.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A salad that will bring colorful sensibilities to your table.
A salad that will bring colorful sensibilities to your table.

When it comes to making a perfect southern pea salad, attention to detail is key. To elevate this classic dish and make it stand out at any Southern gathering, I have some helpful tips and tricks that will take your salad to the next level.

First and foremost, make sure to season your salad correctly. This means adding enough salt and pepper to the dressing mixture to ensure that every bite is flavorful and well-balanced. To take it one step further, you can also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or cider vinegar for a tangy kick.

Next, be mindful of the texture of your salad. The combination of soft peas, crunchy onions, salty bacon, and creamy dressing should create a harmonious blend of textures. If you want to add some crunch, try sprinkling some chopped pecans or crispy fried onions on top.

When it comes to serving the southern pea salad, presentation is key. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter or individual plates and then spoon the pea salad onto the lettuce. Top with sliced tomatoes, diced red onion and crumbled bacon for the full effect.

A crucial tip when making this dish is not to oversaturate it with dressing – this can make your salad too soggy. Instead, take a more measured approach by whisking together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl before adding it gradually to your pea mixture.

Finally, always taste as you go along. It may sound like an obvious tip but tasting as you prepare is so important to become familiar with the flavors and getting it just right. Trust me when I say that all these little tricks will come together to make a perfect southern-style pea salad that will leave you satisfied for this classic dish served as a side at your dinner table.


As with any recipe, you may have some questions or doubts before you begin to make it. In this FAQ section, I have tried to answer some common queries that you might have regarding this southern-style pea salad. So, let’s dive into it and address any uncertainties that you may have!

What is pea salad made of?

An iconic American side dish, pea salad is a vibrant medley of green peas, red onion, cheddar cheese, and crispy bacon, all of which are generously coated in a sour cream and mayonnaise-based dressing. This dish is further elevated by the addition of red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a touch of sweetness from a pinch of sugar.

What are the benefits of pea salad?

Peas are packed with essential nutrients like minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and protein that benefit our bodies in many ways. Consuming peas, whether raw or cooked, can help feed and support our muscles, brains, bone health, and nervous system. Additionally, it can boost our immune system and provide various health benefits.

Bottom Line

Conclusively, Southern Pea Salad Recipe is a perfect side dish for any occasion. With its beautiful blend of flavors and textures, this classic salad is sure to please everyone’s taste buds. The combination of sweet peas, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, cheddar cheese, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs come together flawlessly. You can easily substitute or add any ingredients as per your preference.

As a chef who has specialized in southern-style cuisine for years now, I can say with certainty that this recipe is undoubtedly worth trying! Not only will it leave you craving more but it will also give you a break from the typical salad recipes. Give it a try today and impress your loved ones with the delicious flavors of the South!

Southern Pea Salad

Southern Pea Salad Recipe

This recipe has been in my family for at least 75 years.I remember my great-grandmother making this salad during the summer and serving it with BBQ chicken.It is so simple to make and has always been a comfort food for me.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 210.5 kcal


  • 6 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups small early june peas
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 6 slices crumbled fried bacon
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper


  • Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!
  • If you're making this ahead of time, add the tomatoes at the last minute to avoid a watery salad.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 181gCalories: 210.5kcalCarbohydrates: 19.5gProtein: 12gFat: 9.8gSaturated Fat: 3.1gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 168.2mgFiber: 6.3gSugar: 8.4g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Summer, Vegetable
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