Classic Southern Pea Salad Recipe

This Classic Southern Pea Salad is a staple at gatherings, known for its creamy texture and comforting flavors. It combines sweet peas with the richness of eggs, the crunch of bacon, and the sharpness of cheddar, all dressed in a creamy mayo and sour cream mixture. Here’s how to whip up this delightful salad:


  • 1 (16-ounce) package sweet peas, frozen or canned, drained well
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
  • 4 to 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (or 1 cup of cooked and chopped ham, optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (or 1/2 cup of chopped celery for added crunch)
  • A sprinkle of cayenne pepper, for a touch of heat
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Prepare the Peas:
    • If using frozen peas, thaw them completely and drain any excess water. For canned peas, simply drain them well and set aside.
  2. Cook the Bacon:
    • If you haven’t already, cook the bacon until crispy. Once cooled, crumble it into small pieces. Alternatively, if using ham, ensure it’s cooked and chopped into small bits.
  3. Combine Salad Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained peas, chopped hard-boiled eggs, crumbled bacon or ham, chopped green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.
  4. Season the Mixture:
    • Sprinkle in the black pepper, salt, garlic powder, celery seeds, and a touch of cayenne pepper for some heat. Mix gently to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  5. Prepare the Dressing:
    • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream until smooth.
  6. Dress the Salad:
    • Pour the dressing over the pea mixture. Stir gently until all ingredients are well coated with the dressing. Be careful not to mash the peas.
  7. Chill and Serve:
    • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving. This chilling time allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  8. Final Touches:
    • Before serving, give the salad a gentle stir to refresh the coating of the dressing and check if any additional seasoning is needed. Adjust according to taste.


  • Variations: You can add diced red bell peppers for color or substitute the bacon with smoked turkey for a lighter version.
  • Make Ahead: This pea salad can be made a day in advance, making it perfect for picnics, barbecues, or potlucks.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve as a side dish with grilled meats, sandwiches, or enjoy it as a refreshing, standalone salad.


This Classic Southern Pea Salad offers a delightful mix of textures and flavors, making it a beloved choice for both casual and special occasions. Its creamy, crunchy, savory, and slightly spicy profile ensures it’s a hit at any dining table. Enjoy this easy-to-make, comforting salad at your next gathering!