Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

10 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad is a simple but delicious creamy dish made with peas, ham, onion and cheddar cheese in a lemon and mayo dressing.

This easy Side Dish is perfect to serve up with your favorite summer recipes. Fire up the grill, make some Chicken, whip together some BBQ sauce, and this salad, and presto! You’ve got an amazing BBQ ready to go!

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad in bowl


We’ve got a lot of Pasta Salads on this site. There’s the Classic, Easy Pasta Salad, Pimento Cheesy Pasta Salad, BBQ Pasta Salad and more. But hands down this Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad has been the favorite with kids. It’s no wonder. They always love simple ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch. This salad is essentially the same thing, but with pasta instead of bread and some extra delicious veggies mixed in.

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad ingredients in mixing bowl

Don’t worry though, as much as most kids love this Pasta Salad it’s been a favorite with the adults who’ve tried it as well. The tangy lemon dressing and onion give it that extra bit of flavor it needs to be loved by everyone. Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad is the perfect dish to bring to a potluck, family reunion, or cookout because it’s always a huge hit. Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you may want to double up this recipe. Trust me, it goes fast!

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad in mixing bowl

The bonus is, even if you make too much and end up with leftovers this dish keeps well in the fridge. The leftovers make a great lunch or even dinner for days when you don’t want to cook. Just cover it tightly and continue to enjoy the pasta salad for the next few days.



  • Prep: Make sure to take the peas from the freezer several hours before starting the recipe. That way they have time to thaw before you mix them in the pasta salad. You’ll also need to cook and drain the pasta before starting the recipe.
  • Dressing: In a large serving bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Continue mixing until the dressing is well combined.
  • Salad: Add the cooked pasta, thawed peas, ham, cheddar cheese, and onion to the same bowl. Toss the salad together until the ingredients are all coated in dressing.
  • Set: Don’t serve right away. Cover and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours so everything has time to set. Then serve the Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad.

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad in bowl


  • Pasta: Don’t have shell pasta? No worries! you can easily exchange the shell noodles for penne, rigatoni, elbow macaroni, or any other short pasta. This salad recipe is easy to adjust for whatever ingredients you have in your pantry.
  • Protein: If you want to add in some extra filling ingredients and turn Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad into a main course, you can always add some extra meat. Try putting in chicken, turkey, or tuna. You can either replace the ham with the new meat or combine the two. Sprinkling some bacon bits over the top would also be delicious.
  • Cheese: You can replace the cheddar cheese with swiss, provolone, pepper jack, or gouda.
  • Yogurt: If you want to lighten up this creamy salad, use Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise. It keeps a similar texture and only slightly alters the taste of the overall salad.



  • Serve: Don’t leave Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you’re at a BBQ or some event that will last longer, put the bowl in a cooler or a dish with ice to keep it cold.
  • Store: Kept tightly covered or in an airtight container, you can store pasta salad in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze: Unfortunately, the mayonnaise in the dressing means this Pasta Salad won’t freeze well. Better to make a fresh batch.

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad in bowl

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Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad is a simple but delicious creamy dish made with peas, ham, onion and cheddar cheese in a lemon and mayo dressing.
Yield 10 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells , cooked and drained
  • 12 ounces frozen peas , thawed
  • 1/2 pound diced ham , about 2 cups
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese , diced
  • 1/4 red onion , minced


  • In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Add in pasta, peas, ham, cheese, and onion and toss well.
  • Refrigerate, covered, for 2 hours before serving.



Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 503IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad

Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad Collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. This is similar to a recipe I’ve made for at least half a century except I use diced celery instead of peas and add half a tin of pineapple pieces. The dressing is 1/2 a cup of mayonnaise mixed with 1/2 a cup of juice from the tinned pineapple which is easily shaken together in a screw topped jar.
    An orange or tinned mandarin can also be used, substituting orange juice for the pineapple juice.

  2. I found this recipe because I was trying to use some ingredients that were in the fridge and needed to be used up. I used 1/2 c mayonnaise and 1/2 c Greek yogurt in the dressing, and used a variety of cheeses in the salad because I had a little each of cheddar, jack & mozzarella on hand. Also added a cup of sliced celery and some sliced black olives. It turned out very nicely. Will make it again.

  3. Want to make this recipe but how much ham do you use? It just says 1/2 ham. Please let me know. This looks so good but I’m not a great cook and need recipes. Thanks.