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This traditional 7 layer salad with layers of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, peas, bacon, cheese plus a creamy dressing is the perfect make-ahead salad for any party or family gathering.

This side dish is a favorite at potlucks, picnics and cookouts. Other favorites include chicken salad, deviled eggs and honey lime fruit salad!

7 layer salad in a glass bowl.
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Best Layered Salad Recipe

This old-fashioned 7 layer salad has loads of bright colors, yummy flavors and crisp texture. This salad is kept in layers and served in a glass trifle bowl or Pyrex dish so that each of the distinct layers is visible.

My version of a seven layer salad recipe is made with crisp lettuce, hard boiled eggs, peas, red onions, bacon, and a rich creamy dressing that can easily be replaced with ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing.

Serve it with a long spoon or tongs so that there’s a little bit of everything in every scoop.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Delicious. 7 layers of anything has to be fantastic right? It’s probably why the 7 layer dip is so popular. Even my kids go crazy for this timeless classic that stems from the American south.
  • Customizable. There are so many ways to make this easy salad your own. Over time, people have created their own version and I’m sharing some ways to switch it up below.
  • Make ahead. Prep and assemble the day before and keep this overnight salad in the fridge until it’s party time.

7 Layer Salad Ingredients

7 layer salad ingredients on a marble counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Lettuce: Iceberg lettuce cored and chopped is the classic and popular choice. It’s crispy, and refreshing and can withstand whatever you put on top of it. Feel free to use romaine lettuce instead if that’s what you have.
  • Red onion: Mild and slightly sweet, red onion adds a beautiful purple layer without being too pungent.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: If you’ve got leftover hard boiled eggs from yesterday’s breakfast toss them in. Otherwise, take a few minutes to cook them before you begin.
  • Cheddar cheese: Use freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese. Usually I say it’s because it’s easier to melt, but this time it’s just for straight-up flavor. It tastes better!
  • Bacon: Cooked ahead of time, either chopped or crumbled. Allow it to cool before adding it to the salad.
  • 7 layer salad dressing: A combination of mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, honey, garlic powder, lemon juice or vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Tailor the dressing to suit your tastes by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, or pepper.

Substitutions and Variations

As mentioned above, there are so many ways to make this salad your own. Customize it by swapping, adding, or omitting certain ingredients. Below are just some ideas for inspiration:

  • Vegetables: Cauliflower, green pepper, celery, snap peas, red bell pepper , green onions, corn and cucumber.
  • Tomatoes: Either grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
  • Creamy: Add some diced or sliced avocado.
  • Protein: Add some diced turkey or ham.

How to Make Seven Layer Salad

Showing how to make 7 layer salad in a 4 step collage.
  • Wash and dry the lettuce. This is important because any remaining liquid will cause the lettuce to be soggy and too much liquid to gather at the bottom of the bowl. Use a salad spinner to wash and dry the lettuce as best as you can, and then lay it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the rest of the water.
  • Assemble the salad. Start with an even layer of lettuce at the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Then top with even layers of onion, eggs, and peas.
  • Make the dressing. Whisk the mayo, Parmesan, honey, lemon juice, and garlic powder until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add top layers then chill. Spoon the dressing over the peas then sprinkle the final two layers of shredded cheese and bacon over top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Expert Tips

  • A decorative twist. If you’ve ever seen a 7 layer salad recipe that has a decorative row of sliced eggs around the edge of the bowl, you can do that too. Add a line of slices from 3 eggs around the inside of the bowl with the circles facing outwards. Then, add chopped eggs overtop the onions (inside the ring of egg slices) and continue layering as instructed.
  • Use long tongs or a spoon with a long handle. To serve this salad, you want to make sure that everyone can dig deep enough to the bottom to get a little of everything.
  • For individual portions, make smaller salads using glass mason jars. That way everyone can have their own 7 layer salad.
7 layer salad in glass bowl on counter.

Recipe FAQs

Are there really 7 layers in a 7 layer salad?

Yep! The lettuce, onions, eggs, peas, dressing, cheese, and bacon account for the seven layers.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes! Assemble the 7 layer salad up to 24 hours ahead of time. Such an easy way to prepare an overnight salad.

What to serve with a 7 layer salad?

This is one of those side dishes that goes well with so many mains. There is a ton of protein in it, so it’s definitely a meal all on its own, but when used as a side, I like to have it with traditional barbecue dishes.

Homemade hamburgers, BBQ chicken or turkey burgers are family favorites.

If I make it ahead of time, will the dressing make it soggy?

Not at all. It actually acts as a barrier and helps to keep the bottom veggies nice and fresh. Of course, once you start serving it, it will naturally get tossed around, in which case will start to become soggy as any other salad would.

Spoonful of 7 layer salad in glass bowl.

Looking for more delicious salad recipes? Try my cornbread salad recipe, cobb salad, or Asian chicken salad.

More Easy Salad Recipes

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7 layer salad in a glass bowl.

7 Layer Salad

5 from 7 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This traditional 7 layer salad with layers of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, peas, bacon, cheese plus a creamy dressing is the perfect make-ahead salad for any party or family gathering.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12




  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce , cored and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ medium red onion , chopped
  • 6 large hard-boiled eggs , peeled and chopped
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas
  • 1 cups shredded cheddar cheese , more if desired
  • 1/2-1 pound bacon , cooked crispy and crumbled


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey or sugar , more to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice , or vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper , to taste

Optional toppings: Cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions



    • In a salad spinner, wash and dry the lettuce. Lay on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess water. In a small bowl of cold water, soak the onion 5 minutes to mellow flavor. Drain and pat dry.
    • In the bottom of a large glass bowl or baking dish, place the lettuce in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt. Top with even layers of onion, eggs and peas.


    • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, parmesan, honey, lemon juice and garlic powder until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Spoon the dressing over the peas. Then sprinkle the cheese and bacon over top.
    • Cover and chill at least 1 hours or up to 24 hours. Before serving, top with any extra desired toppings. Scoop the salad to serve, or toss if desired.


    Variations: This salad can be made 100 different ways, and most everyone has their favorite combination of layers. Here are a few ways to mix things up:
    • cauliflower
    • green pepper
    • celery
    • sugar snap peas
    • green onions
    • red bell pepper
    • cucumber
    Dressing: Feel free to tailor the dressing by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, or pepper. You can also opt to use your favorite ranch or bleu cheese dressing, if you prefer. 
    Decorative layering: For a bit of a decorative twist, slice 3 eggs and line the inside of the bowl with the circles facing outwards. Chop the remaining eggs and place over the top of the onion. Continue to layer as instructed. 
    Make-ahead: The salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance. I like to add the bacon right before serving so it stays crisp.
    Storage: The salad is best eaten the first day, but leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge up to 2 days.  


    Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 604mg | Potassium: 141mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 419IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Salad
    Cuisine: American

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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