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.

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 as 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 seven-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.

Related Read: Classic Seven Layer Salad Recipe

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

Recipe for Seven 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 7-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.

Ready to Wow with Our Seven Layer Salad Recipe

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.

4.2 from 5 reviews
Classic Seven Layer Salad Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Heading to a potluck? Hosting a cookout? This Classic Seven Layer Salad Recipe is a MUST make! A crowd-pleaser for sure! It's super easy to make, can be made ahead and feeds a crowd!
Serves: 12-14 servings
  • ½ head Iceberg Lettuce - cut into small pieces
  • 4 Eggs - hard boiled and sliced
  • 1 package (12 oz) Bacon - cooked and cut into small pieces (cook bacon in the oven)
  • 4 small Tomatoes - chopped
  • 6 Green Onions - tops sliced thinly
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese - grated
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas - thawed
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, to taste
  1. Clean and cut all ingredients
  2. Mix dressing and set aside
  3. Layer ingredients in order listed
  4. Top with dressing
  5. Garnish with additional cheese and peas if desired
  6. Place in refrigerator to chill completely - about 2-4 hours before serving
  7. Cover leftovers and place in refrigerator


  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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