Ham and Pea Salad

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Ham and pea salad with cheddar cheese is a tasty and satisfying side dish that’s quick and easy to prepare. Tossed with a creamy dressing that perfectly complements the sweetness of the peas and the sharpness of the cheese, this classic pea salad recipe is also a great way to use up leftover ham.

Also known as English Pea Salad or Southern Pea Salad, the recipe is easy to make and the perfect side dish for a holiday meal, summer barbeque, baby shower, picnic, potluck, or any occasion. For more great side summer salads try my red skinned potato salad, broccoli salad with bacon and cheddar or cold pasta salad recipe.

Ham and pea salad with sweet green peas, cubed ham, cubed cheese, red onion, fresh dill, all tosses in a creamy dressing.

This creamy pea salad is sure to be a hit with the whole family – sweet peas, savory ham, and sharp cheese all make for a delicious combination of flavors. The recipe reminds me of an incredible Amish pea salad that I had out in Lancaster County Pennslyvania.

Ham and Pea Salad Ingredients

This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredients in bowls, including: peas, cheddar cheese, ham, mayo, red onion, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ranch seasoning, and sugar.
  • Cooked ham – leftover ham from Easter or Christmas is perfect for this recipe.
  • Frozen peas – frozen sweet peas, thawed and drained. Look for petite green peas or petite peas if your grocery store has them. If not, regular frozen peas are fine, too.
  • Cheddar cheese – I like to use cubed sharp cheddar cheese for this simple side dish but feel free to use shredded cheese or your favorite cheese if you prefer. Blue cheese crumbles, colby jack, pepper jack, and swiss are all great options.
  • Red onion – adds flavor but can be replaced with sliced green onion or even omitted if you don’t like the taste of onions.
  • Dressing ingredients – mayo, sour cream, fresh dill, seasonings, and a little bit of sugar create the perfect creamy dressing for our green pea salad with ham.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Chopping board
  • Serving bowl and serving spoon

How to make Ham and Pea Salad

This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below. 

Step 1: Add dressing ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Two image collage of dressing before and stirring together.

Step 2: Add the remaining ingredients and stir to coat everything in the dressing.

Two image collage of pea salad ingredients in a mixing bowl before and after stirring together and tossing with creamy dressing.

Step 3: Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. Give the salad a stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and enjoy!

Spoon lifting a scoop of English pea salad out of large glass bowl.


In the refrigerator: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

In the freezer: I do not recommend freezing pea salad.

Additions and Variations

  • Swap the ham. Not a fan of ham? Use chopped bacon or bacon bits instead.
  • Use fresh peas. Fresh English garden peas can be used. Just blanch them quickly first.
  • Add more veggies. Trying adding some broccoli, bell pepper, cauliflower, and/or matchstick carrots. Just make sure to add more dressing or use fewer peas.
  • Add hard-boiled eggs. Chopped hard-boiled eggs make a delicious addition to this cold pea salad.
  • Use bottled dressing. Looking for a super easy ham and pea salad recipe? Use ranch dressing instead of making a homemade dressing to make this easy recipe even easier.
Ham and pea salad with cheese, red onion, and a creamy dressing.

Expert tips & tricks

  • Don’t skip chilling. It is necessary to allow time for the flavor to blend together, plus the delicious pea salad is best enjoyed very cold.
  • Prep ahead. Make the easy pea and ham salad a day or two in advance of when you want to serve it and it’ll still taste great. The flavors are even better once they have more time to come together.
  • Stir before serving. Give the pea salad a good stir immediately before serving because some of the dressing may have settled on the bottom of the bowl.

Ham Salad FAQ

What is the best way to thaw frozen peas?

The best way to thaw frozen peas is to run them under cold water; it should only take a minute or two. Avoid using hot water to thaw frozen peas as this can cause them to become mushy and lose their flavor.

Can I use canned peas instead?

While you technically could use them, I do not recommend canned peas for this ham and pea salad recipe. Canned peas do not have the same texture and crispness as frozen peas and can cause the salad to be mushy.

More great side dish recipes for the summer months

Ham and pea salad with cheese, red onion, and a creamy dressing.
5 from 1 vote

Ham and Pea Salad

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
A classic ham and pea salad recipe made with sweet peas, savory ham, cheddar cheese, and red onions all tossed in a creamy homemade dressing.


For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons dry ranch seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the salad

  • 36 ounces frozen peas thawed
  • 2 cups cubed cooked ham
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese cubed
  • ¼ cup diced red onion


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch seasoning, fresh dill, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  • Add the thawed peas, ham, cheese, and red onion, and stir to coat everything in the dressing.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Stir before serving and serve cold.


Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
You can use fresh garden peas, lightly blanched, instead of frozen.


Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 749mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 866IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 2mg
Ham and pea salad with cheese, red onion, and a creamy dressing.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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