The Best Traditional Seven Layer Salad

Are you struggling to find a dish for an upcoming potluck? Have no fear! Instead of stressing over what to bring, try this classic seven-layer salad recipe.

It’s super easy to make, can be made ahead, and is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

close up photo of the recipe

During the Summer months, I could make a meal from salad alone. The layers of goodness in this dish go together deliciously. This classic seven-layer salad has well, seven layers!

Imagine that: lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, crumbled bacon (we cook ours in the oven), chopped tomatoes, green onions, grated American cheese, and peas.

Related Read: How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

The dressing is a simple combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, and a tablespoon of sugar to taste.

7 Layer Salad

This seven layer salad recipe is bursting with vibrant tastes and rich, dramatic colors.  This traditional 7-layer salad has lasted through the years with each crunchy taste. Latered salad is a bright, crunchy, and delicious throwback for any gathering. You can make it exactly as you remember it or you can change the layers in a thousand delightful ways. This simple side dish recipe is higher in protein than a regular seven-layer salad since it has a tone of cheese, bacon, & eggs. The flavor of the creamy dressing is fantastic. This layered salad is ideal for barbecues and picnics.

The best part is that you can use any veggies which you easily access in your kitchen and make it. It turns out to be among the best meals you have ever eaten. This creamy dressing contains the flavor that pulls you in. It goes incredibly well with the iceberg lettuce’s crisp texture and the green peas on top. You’ll grab your neighbors, friends, children, and colleagues.

Any party will be a hit with this classy side dish. This classic side dish has been around for centuries! It has been a family favorite since the 1940s and continues to remain so. The seven-layer salad is smooth, savory, spicy, crunchy, and sweet. The dish is completed by the different flavors and textures that each layer adds. All the other ingredients are brought together by the mayonnaise’s creamy layer, and the small amount of sugar that is stirred in provides the ideal level of sweetness.

serve at the table with plate and spoons

A Seven-Layer Salad Recipe You Can Prepare Ahead of Time

Here’s something we can all appreciate about it: this 7-layer salad recipe keeps very well in the refrigerator. While you might expect it to turn brown, the lettuce to wilt, or for it to spoil fast, it does not.

Since the lettuce is on the bottom of the salad, it is protected from the dressing. Plus, iceberg lettuce does not get soggy as fast as romaine lettuce does. Since it is nestled underneath the crunchy layers of green onions (and celery if you would like), it has a shield.

But it gets even better. If you can manage to keep the layers intact as you eat from the bowl, the 7 layered salad will be as good as leftovers the day you made it. It only takes two hours to chill before eating.

I bet anything you will want to add this dish to your regular lunch and dinner recipe rotation.

Seven Layer Salad Recipe

Perfect for a Crowd and Easy to Adapt

The thing I like most about this 7 layer salad – besides the flavor, of course, is that you can feed a crowd with it. It’s great for potlucks, picnics, cookouts, and other holiday celebrations like Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

How many reunions have you been to where a classic seven-layer salad recipe has shown up? For me, it’s been more than I can count, but I’ve got to say that there are so many different seven-layer salad recipes out there.

There are probably as many variations for the classic seven-layer salad recipe as there are cooks who make them. And that is the fun part.

Let’s Get Started

My method is here to get you going in the right direction. If you would like, you can add your fun twists to this classic dish. And while it is a pretty healthy recipe, there are a few alterations you can make for it to be even healthier.

I will walk you through those options as we go along. I will also give you a step-by-step guide on making the salad, including what to chop up, portions, how to make the dressing, and how to cook the bacon. Are you ready? Let’s go. I hope you came hungry.

a bowl of seven layer salad

7 Layer Salad Instructions

Alright, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Here is my step-by-step breakdown of how to make the classic seven-layer salad recipe.

First, take half a head of iceberg lettuce and cut it up into small pieces. Spread it as a layer on the very bottom of the bowl. Top the lettuce with six green onions (thinly sliced). Feel free to add green peas and celery.

If you are waiting to serve the dish, you can add in frozen green peas (you don’t want to use canned peas or it will make the dish too soggy). It’s best to just avoid using any canned food products in this dish.

In a separate container, mix one-half a cup of mayonnaise, one-half a cup of sour cream, and a tablespoon of sugar. Make sure to blend the sugar, sour cream, and mayonnaise beforehand to ensure an evenly sweet spread (and yes, I did say white sugar, sour cream, and mayonnaise).

A Real Crowd-Pleaser

While these sound like three ingredients that should never be mixed in a bowl, trust me. It ends up being one of the most delicious dishes you have ever tried. The flavor that hooks you lies in this creamy dressing. It pairs so well with the crisp iceberg lettuce and the topping of green peas.

Your friends, neighbors, kids, and co-workers will be hooked. Set the mixture aside. We are going to add it on at the end, topped with some shredded cheddar cheese and fully-cooked bacon.

Add in those raw, green onions, cooked salty bacon, and cheddar cheese, and you have yourself a delicious piece of heaven. But I am getting ahead of myself. This dish does require a little bit of patience.

Next, you are ready to add some sliced, hard-boiled eggs on top of the iceberg lettuce, green peas, onions, bacon, and cheddar cheese. Do you think this sounds good? I sure do.

Top It Off

Alright, it is time for the grand finale. You are almost done with your 7-layer salad recipe.  You are going to add your three-ingredient salad dressing on top of all of the other layers, but feel free to add another layer of veggies before we do.

It’s always fun to improvise a little on a recipe to make it more your own. Once all the veggies have been added in, it is time to pour the dressing on top. The sugar helps to sweeten it up quite a bit.

Feel free to add another layer of shredded cheese (some parmesan cheese is always a nice touch!), and even another sprinkle of green peas and bacon if you would like for a garnish.

Cool the seven-layer salad overnight or for a few hours. Just try not to eat it as soon as you finish making it. This trifle dish is more than worth the wait.


Why Do I Love Seven Layer Salad?

  • Flavorful and simple to feed a crowd!
  • It tastes best when prepared in advance so that the flavors may mingle.
  • Ideal for hosting parties so you have less to do on the actual party day.
  • There are so many alternatives for layers that you can customize with your preferred components!
  • Easy to make
  • Created as a dish to prepare in advance.
  • Delicious
  • Appears impressive
  • Complements everything

Health Benefits

Although salad is considered a side dish to the main course, it can be a necessary component of your meal. Eating salad may be very healthy for you in many ways, including physically & emotionally, you can add proteins and carbohydrates to it to make it more substantial.

1) Improves digestion: green Salad is a great source of fiber. High-fiber foods can facilitate better digestive processes and lessen constipation.

2) Weight loss support: Consider implementing salads into your regular activities if you’re attempting to lose weight but aren’t seeing any progress. When compared to diets high in fast food and sweets, those high in fruits and vegetables are usually associated with lower body weight.

3) Heart & muscle development: Salad greens are a great source of calcium, which can support cardiac muscle strength and boost heart muscle contraction during exercise.

4) Blood pressure management support: When regularly eaten, leafy green vegetables have been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in some people. Additionally, since having high blood pressure increases your chance of developing other conditions like diabetes and a stroke, it’s critical to maintain it under control through a healthy diet.

5) Increased energy levels: Some people have even been shown to have more energy after eating fresh salads (particularly vitamin-rich veggies). Participants reported increases in clarity of mind, stamina, and an overall feeling of well-being after just one meal.

Some people have even been shown to have more energy after eating fresh salads (particularly vitamin-rich veggies). After just one serving people feel the clarity of mind and stamina.

How to Serve 7 Layered Salad?

Lettuce will start to get soggy when the dressing combines with it, it is better to serve and serve this within a day. When the salad is ready to be served, top it with additional cheese, bacon, and green onions. Extra peas are a lovely garnish for the salad.

How to Store Layered Salad?

After it is made, this salad keeps for around 24 to 48 hours, but after it is served and the layers are combined, it doesn’t stay fresh. The lettuce will immediately begin to turn brown. Therefore, eat it within 24 hours of being served.


Refrigerate the 7-layer salad for at least 4-5 hours before eating. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap.


By varying the ingredients in the layers, this salad can be modified in countless ways. And no one will object if you add a few more layers to make a 9-layer salad.

Nutrition Information

Per serving:

Calories237 kcalCholesterol94 mg
Calcium164 mgFat14 g
Saturated Fat5 gPolyunsaturated Fat2 g
Sugar6 gPotassium404 mg
Vitamin A3947IUVitamin C24 mg
Iron2 mgProtein13 g

Final Thoughts

It’s a classic recipe that everyone loves, and honestly, it couldn’t be easier to make — especially when you can even cut up all the layers the day before and just put together the salad several hours before serving.

Be sure to add this seven-layer salad to your upcoming BBQ parties as well.


  1. What a lovely presentation.

  2. This looks like such a refreshing summer salad. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe on Merry Monday. Pinned.

  3. That looks beautiful! Pinned for future reference!

  4. I would like to make this for a family reunion, but we are traveling 3 hours to get there. Can I make this fully in advance and keep chilled, or should I wait to add the dressing when I get there? Thanks!!

  5. Made this several times now and a hit every time! We like extra dressing though, so I double the dressing recipe.

  6. Pam Johnson says

    I just really don’t like english peas. Substitutions?

  7. Patricia Patterson says

    I’ve made this recipe and it was so fantastic. There was a small amount of leftovers and several people wanted to take it home!

  8. Karen Boyd Vanthoff says

    I found the dressing to be spectacular! I added some hot sauce and it came out dreamy!

  9. Phyllis Pardee says

    I made this for company. We don’t eat meat so
    I subbed mushrooms for the bacon layer. And added some Parmesan …..IT WAS DELICIOUS!!

  10. Love it! Almost exactly like my Aunt used to make. But we always skipped the bacon (eek! I know) because we had several vegetarians, and used toasted walnuts on top instead. Just have some bacon on the side.

  11. I’ve made a 7 layer salad for years but have never added sour cream to the dressing. I wouldn’t add it the next time I make it, as it prevented the dressing from marinating down into the salad which it is supposed to do. Very disappointing.

  12. Patricia Corkell says

    Where are the 26 baking tips that were supposed to be the topic of this site? I didn’t need a 7 layer salad recipe. I was really wanting to read the baking tips. So dissapointed.

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