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This English pea salad is cool, crisp, creamy, and packed full of flavor! The crowd-pleasing, easy side dish has been a Southern favorite for generations. Serve it with a pineapple glazed ham for Easter, or pair it with grilled hamburgers and bbq chicken at your next summer cookout.

Side shot of a white bowl full of English pea salad on a blue and white striped cloth napkin.
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make English Pea Salad | 1-Minute Video
  2. Why You’ll Love this Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Directions
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage Tips
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Expert Tips
  9. English Pea Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for even more fresh salads to try this season, be sure to check out our favorite marinated vegetable salad, this classic pasta salad recipe, the best Southern macaroni salad, and this cucumber tomato onion salad, too!

How to Make English Pea Salad | 1-Minute Video

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Light. While many creamy Southern salads can be weighed down with rich dressings, I’ve kept this pea salad healthy and light by using an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt to cut the mayo — without sacrificing taste or texture. The bright green peas, the yellow bell pepper, the purple onion, and the red pimientos make it colorful, fresh, and nutritious.
  • Flavorful. Just because it’s full of veggies doesn’t mean that it has to taste bland or boring. Instead, this salad is packed with a variety of interesting flavors, from the sweet English peas to the creamy dressing, rich cheese, tangy vinegar, and bright herbs.
  • Easy. Just stir everything together and your job is done! This simple recipe only requires about 15-minutes of hands-on prep time (and no actual cooking).
  • Make-Ahead. Whether you’re hosting a holiday meal or just entertaining some friends for a casual get-together, this convenient prep-ahead dish eliminates any last-minute stress in the kitchen.

We love peas, and we all agreed that this was a fantastic tasting pea salad, especially when served with a light meal on a hot summer’s day. Thanks Blair

– Angela

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a traditional English pea salad recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Mayonnaise and plain Greek style yogurt: the creamy base for the dressing.
  • Basil: use dried basil for convenience, of sub with fresh basil when it’s available.
  • Apple cider vinegar: for a bright, tangy addition to the creamy dressing.
  • Seasoned salt, garlic, sugar, and ground black pepper: to season the dressing.
  • Yellow bell pepper: for crisp texture and sweet flavor.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: for rich flavor.
  • Red onion: for zesty onion flavor.
  • Diced pimiento: for color, flavor, and Southern flare!
  • Fresh or frozen peas: English peas are also known as green peas, shelling peas, shell peas, or garden peas. They’re known for their sweet flavor and their bright green color. I use frozen and thawed peas for convenience, but the fresh variety is also a great option when they’re available. If you like, canned peas would work in a pinch (they just tend to have a softer texture and a saltier flavor).
Whisking together ingredients for English pea salad.

Directions

You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the peas. Mix well.
  2. Gently stir in the peas and coat them with the dressing.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 3-4 hours. Enjoy!
Overhead shot of a traditional english pea salad on a white table.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the easy pea salad recipe alongside any of these delicious entrees:

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: This salad gets better as it chills, so prepare the dish at least 3-4 hours ahead (or the day before). Cover and refrigerate so that the ingredients can absorb the dressing, come together, and soften a bit.
  • How to Store: The salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days; however, the dressing will get thinner as it sits and the veggies release liquid. It’s best within 24 hours of preparation.
  • How to Freeze: I do not recommend freezing this salad since the creamy dressing will likely “break” when thawed. The vegetables will also have a watery, soggy texture if frozen and thawed.

Recipe Variations

  • This recipe yields a big portion to serve a crowd — perfect for holiday gatherings, a church picnic, or your potluck! To serve a smaller family, cut the ingredients in half. The rest of the instructions remain the same!
  • Add cooked, crumbled bacon to the salad for salty, smoky flavor.
  • Stir in diced ham for a heartier, more flavorful pea salad. This is particularly great if you have holiday leftovers to enjoy!
  • Add chopped hard-boiled eggs, diced celery, pickle relish, or chopped nuts (such as almonds or pecans) for even more flavor and texture.
  • Swap out the zesty red onion and use more mild green onions or fresh chives instead.
  • Make this pea salad with lettuce by serving the creamy pea mixture over a bed of crisp, fresh greens.
  • Swap out the yogurt and use sour cream instead.
  • I typically use apple cider vinegar in this homemade dressing, but you can also feel free to use red wine vinegar, basic white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar if that’s what you have on hand. Lemon juice would work, too!

Expert Tips

  • Do not cook the peas before making the salad. The creamy dressing helps to tenderize the vegetables as the salad sits and the dressing soaks into the ingredients.
  • If starting with frozen peas, thaw, drain, and pat them dry before adding them to the salad.
  • For the best flavor and texture, use full-fat mayo (Duke’s brand is our favorite) and whole milk plain Greek yogurt.
  • Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. You can add more salt and pepper, make it a little spicy with some cayenne pepper, or include extra herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme, or oregano.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley for a bright, colorful finishing touch.
Close up side shot of English pea salad in a white serving bowl.

More Creamy Salad Recipes to Try

Square image of english pea salad in a white bowl with fresh flowers in the background.

English Pea Salad

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 cups (about 16 servings)
Calories 78.6 kcal
An easy, make-ahead side dish that's full of fresh flavor!

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup plain Greek style yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry's brand)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup total)
  • ¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons diced pimentos
  • 2 lbs. shelled fresh peas or 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen peas, thawed and well drained

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, basil, sugar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and ground black pepper. Stir in the bell pepper, cheese, red onion, and diced pimentos.
    Whisking together ingredients for English pea salad.
  • Gently fold in the peas until everything is coated in the dressing.
    Bag of frozen peas.
  • Cover and refrigerate the salad for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
    Side shot of a white bowl full of English pea salad on a blue and white striped cloth napkin.

Video

Notes

  • Do not cook the peas before making the salad. The creamy dressing helps to tenderize the vegetables as the salad sits and the dressing soaks into the ingredients.
  • If starting with frozen peas, make sure that they’re thawed, drained, and patted dry before adding them to the salad.
  • For the best flavor and texture, use full-fat mayo (Duke’s brand is our favorite) and whole milk plain Greek yogurt.
  • Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. You can add more salt and pepper, make it a little spicy with some cayenne pepper, or include extra herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme, or oregano.
  • Recipe adapted from Country Living magazine.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 78.6kcalCarbohydrates: 8.7gProtein: 3.8gFat: 3.4gSaturated Fat: 0.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 3.1mgSodium: 167.3mgPotassium: 97.6mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword: easy side dish, english pea salad, Pea Salad, Pea Salad Recipe
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in April, 2014. It was updated in March, 2024.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. kaz at melting moments says:

    I don’t usually like peas but I think I’d like them in this salad 🙂

    1. Dina says:

      I make mine with cut snap and snow cut snow peas and yellow peppers, red onions, and bacon, I toss with ranch dressing. Easy peasy.

      1. Blair says:

        Sounds delicious, Dina!

  2. Cindy Eikenberg says:

    Hi Blair! I’ve never had pea salad before and I love finding new salad ideas for vegetables! Thank you so much for sharing at Best of the Weekend and your photo looks fabulous – pinning! Hope you have a happy Sunday and a wonderful week!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Cindy! It’s definitely the perfect way to eat some spring veggies. 🙂

      1. colleenmora41@yahoo.com says:

        It says COOK time 3 hrs. but yet the recipe says to combine and refrigerate..

        1. Blair says:

          That’s right, Colleen! The recipe form doesn’t give me an option for “chill” or “refrigerate,” so I just added the 3 hours under “cook time” so that it would show that it’s not a last-minute recipe (I just want to be sure that you allow some refrigeration time). There’s not actually any “cooking” involved. 🙂 Hope that helps, and enjoy!

  3. Julia says:

    I didn’t know pea salad was a southern thing, but I do like it. I’ve made one that’s dairy-free. It’s nice to have something that’s healthy and delicious!

    1. Blair says:

      Yep — healthy and delicious is important when it comes to veggie side dishes. My family really likes this one! 🙂

  4. Julie@Sweet and Spicy Monkey says:

    I love peas and this salad looks delicious! All the flavors in it, the red onion, basil, pimento, and apple cider vinegar….YUM! Pinning this 😉

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Julie! Thank you! I hope that you get to try it. 🙂

  5. Joy @ Yesterfood says:

    Ooooh, I love these kinds of salads! I’m so glad you shared this at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned and tweeted! 🙂

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks SO much, Joy!

  6. Angela says:

    5 stars
    We love peas, and we all agreed that this was a fantastic tasting pea salad, especially when served with a light meal on a hot summer’s day. Thanks Blair 🙂

    1. Blair says:

      Hooray! So glad that it was a hit, Angela! Thanks for letting me know!

  7. Erin says:

    Will it be fine if made the day before and refrigerated all night?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Erin! I think so, although I’ve never made it quite that far in advance. I’d give it a good stir the next day and you should be good to go! Let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear if it works or not. 🙂

  8. Sydney Martenis says:

    This looks fantastic!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Sydney!

  9. Sydney Martenis says:

    Excited to try this!

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you! Enjoy! 🙂

  10. Verona says:

    We absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write concerning here.
    Again, awesome web site!

  11. Jayne Zoch says:

    What can I use instead of greek yogurt?

    1. Blair says:

      Sour cream is a perfect substitute! 🙂

      1. Barbara Delano says:

        This looks delicious; my mother used to make creamed peas that were just delicious. She never taught me how to make them and, I have never been able to find a recipe for them. Do you have one that I could see?

        1. Blair says:

          Hi, Barbara! I’m sorry — I don’t have a recipe for creamed peas. But I love the idea and I’ll add it to my list to try! 🙂

          1. Bev Gladin says:

            Came across this recipe and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks!

          2. The Seasoned Mom says:

            We hope you enjoy it, Bev!

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you so much, Katie!

      1. Randall Walters says:

        5 stars
        Blair, is it possible to add rice to this? I had a salad similar to this at a family reunion years ago, but no one in my family remembered making it. Please, let me know, if you would!

        Thank you,
        Randall

        1. Blair says:

          Hi, Randall! Absolutely, I think rice would be a great addition. Maybe just decrease the peas and substitute rice for some of them so that you keep the other proportions the same. Hope you enjoy!

  12. Barbara Delano says:

    This sounds a lot like a cold version of a creamed pea recipe my mother used to make when I was a child. I never knew how to make it creamy. Was the yogurt what made this one creamy?

    1. Blair says:

      Yes! Yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise will all make it creamy. 🙂

  13. Ashleigh says:

    Made this salad and perhaps the frozen (thawed) peas didn’t drain enough or juice from peppers makes it seem runny before refrigerating… any tips? Has this happened to anyone? Idk if it will thicken up at all.

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Ashleigh! I haven’t had that problem, so I’m not sure what the issue might be. The peas definitely need to be well drained, and you want to make sure that you’re using high-quality mayonnaise and thick Greek yogurt (I like Duke’s mayo and Fage brand yogurt). Low-fat or fat-free varieties tend to be more watery, so maybe that was an issue. It’s hard for me to know exactly, but that would be my guess from afar. Hope it still tasted good — even if the dressing was thin! 🙂

  14. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    I have to try this.i love pea salad ,and this is somewhat different than what I know.thanks for recipe.sounds delicious.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hope you enjoy it, Jessica!

  15. Robin Crittenden says:

    Just got this recipe this morning, so obviously haven’t made it yet, but I often put peas in my tossed salads, so I plan to make this asap. But first I need to know, if I use Miracle Whip instead of Mayo, which I really don’t like, do I need to change amounts of any of the other ingredients? Maybe leave out the sugar?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Robin! I don’t use Miracle Whip, so I’m not the best to advise on substitutes. That said, I do know that Miracle Whip has a sweeter flavor, so I would leave out the sugar to begin with. You can always stir in a little bit to taste if you decide that you want it a little bit sweeter. Otherwise, I don’t think you should need to make any other adjustments.

    2. Robin Crittenden says:

      Thanks; going to make it for a potluck next week!

      1. The Seasoned Mom says:

        We hope you enjoy it, Robin!

  16. Mike DuMont says:

    We absolutely love this recipe. However, I must state that peas are one of our most used vegetables and yet we haven’t made this recipe until NOW.
    I can see me making varieties of this depending on the season and my cravings. No matter what, this is a keeper and a future contribution to neighborhood gatherings.
    Thank you again.
    Mike in South Carolina

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you so much, Mike! I hope your neighbors enjoy it, too! 🙂

    2. Robin Crittenden says:

      *photo
      Sorry, retired English comp. teacher; just can’t let typos go!

      1. The Seasoned Mom says:

        Please do let us know how it turns out, Robin! We hope you enjoy the recipe.

  17. Robin Crittenden says:

    Mine looks like your phot with just one 1-lb. pkg. of thawed frozen peas! I did everything else in the right amounts, so I don’t think I’ll add the 2nd pkg. I’ll let you know how it goes after chilling a couple of hours. Fingers crossed!