Classic Creamy Pea Salad Recipe (Better Than You Remember)

Creamy pea salad recipe is a classic side dish I grew up eating. My Grandma Verna always made a big bowl for summer potlucks or when she would have the whole family over for lunch, and she would often serve it with sloppy joe sandwiches. Her version featured Miracle Whip, but this one doesn’t. I’ve spruced it up and added more nutrients, but it still features all the tangy, savory flavor I remember.

Growing up, Miracle Whip was a staple ingredient for my Grandma Verna. Every salad or sandwich had it. I can literally visualize exactly where the jar of Miracle Whip was in her fridge. So, I knew I had to incorporate that creamy consistency and unique flavor when recreating her classic pea salad recipe. And with the help of Greek yogurt, I was able to pull it off!

This lightened-up easy pea salad has quickly become one of my favorite salad recipes. But don’t just take my word for it! Jessie also tested it and served it for Easter dinner when her parents were in town. Turns out pea salad is one of her dad’s favorite recipes, too!

Recipe Highlights

This yummy creamy pea salad will be a go-to of mine all summer long. Here’s why: 

  • All the ingredients can be prepped a day in advance so I can assemble it in minutes. I also like to make extra hard-boiled eggs to keep on hand for quick breakfasts and snacks! 
  • It’s easy to mix and match different ingredients to suit any dietary needs or flavor preferences you might need to accommodate, especially if you’re preparing this recipe for a gathering. 
  • With no cooking required, you can easily prepare a big portion in just 20 minutes and still have plenty of leftovers to enjoy.
  • Not only is this recipe nostalgic for me, but I also love the variety of tastes and textures in every bite. With a sweet and tangy creamy dressing, crisp radishes, peas, savory bacon, and crunchy sunflower seeds, my taste buds never get bored. 

Easy Ways I Love To Switch It Up

  • Any nut or seed will work great. I also like cashews in this recipe instead of the sunflower seeds. 
  • Any kind of cheese could work as well. I went with cheddar cheese to keep it classic, but I think feta would be SO good in this recipe. Although, feta is my favorite cheese. So, my opinion may be skewed a little. 
  • For the fresh herbs, I like the mix of dill and chives, but you can really use what you have on hand – parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme would be other great options. 
  • I love the addition of radishes in this recipe. It really makes it the perfect side dish for spring and summer (featuring all kinds of spring produce – spring peas, radishes, chives, and dill). However, you could also use veggies like finely chopped celery, cucumbers, green onions, or even water chestnuts to add some flavor and crunch.
  • In my house, the crispy bacon bits are a must. But if someone is looking to make this recipe vegetarian, they could omit them or use smoked almonds instead for a similar smoky flavor.
  • For the dressing, you could also use ranch dressing. Or, substitute the Greek yogurt with sour cream.
  • To make this green pea salad dairy-free, use dairy-free yogurt and omit the cheese.
  • This salad could be turned into a pasta salad by incorporating cooked macaroni noodles.

Creamy Pea Salad Recipe

Nutrition Notes from Dietitian Jessie

Not only is this classic American summer salad super tasty, but it also offers more health benefits than your standard creamy pea salad. For instance, Stacie’s recipe is:

  • lower in sugar (some pea salads have twice as much added sweeteners!)
  • relatively high in fiber for a side dish, containing 3 grams per serving
  • a good source of protein with 11 grams per serving

How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Give the mixture a stir to redistribute the ingredients before serving, and enjoy it chilled.

I do not recommend freezing this recipe. The dressing will not thaw well and the salad is likely to become mushy.


Creamy Pea Salad With Cheese

You may remember this creamy pea salad from your youth. I grew up eating it at many family gatherings. I recently had a craving for this salad and decided to spruce it up a bit with a simple homemade yogurt-based dressing and a few new mix-ins. It’s even better than I remember!

Prep: 20 minsCook: 20 minsTotal: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 1/2 cups total (68 servings) 1x


For the Dressing: 

For the Salad:


  1. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Stir or whisk until well combined. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the thawed peas, eggs, radishes, cheese, red onion, and herbs. Pour the dressing over top.
  3.  If serving right away, you can also add the bacon and sunflower seeds then toss gently until salad ingredients are coated evenly with the dressing. If making this salad ahead, add and gently mix in the sunflower seeds and bacon just before serving. 
  4. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe (3/4 cup)
  • Calories: 219
  • Fat: 14 g
  • (Sat Fat: 4 g)
  • Sodium: 425 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 11 g
  • (Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 4 g)
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Cholesterol: 63 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians

Can you use canned peas? 

I don’t recommend it. They’re not as bright as fresh peas, and their texture is likely to be too mushy when tossed with the salad dressing.

How to thaw frozen peas? 

Thawing peas is easy! Set them out in a large bowl or in the bag, on the counter. You can also place them in the fridge the night before you plan to use them. To speed it up, place the bowl of frozen peas in a sink with warm water. Then, I let the peas thaw while I prepare the other ingredients.

What is the difference between sweet peas and English peas?

Sweet peas and English peas are two names for the same vegetable. They’re also known as garden peas. They have firm, round pods, and the peas themselves are sweeter than other varieties.

Is it okay to eat frozen peas without cooking? 

It’s completely safe to eat frozen peas as long as they are cooked before being frozen. 

The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel Cook of Half Acre House.

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