Seven Layer Salad

Bright, crunchy, and colorful, this easy Seven Layer Salad recipe is a fun blast from the past for any party. Make it as-is, just like you remember it, or switch up those layers in a million different delicious ways.

Seven layer salad in a glass dish.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled Seven layer salad ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Lettuce: Iceberg, crispy head lettuce, or Romaine.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs: Not in my Seven layer salad! But many people say that’s how they make it.

Step-by-step instructions:

Before you begin, you should decide on what bowl to use for your layered salad. A clear glass bowl shows off all the hard work you put into chopping the vegetables. And a clear glass bowl with straight sides makes it easy to assemble.

  1. First layer: In the bottom of the bowl, spread the shredded lettuce
  2. Second layer: A thin layer of chopped red onion
  3. Third layer: Chopped celery
  4. Fourth layer: Peas
    Seven layer salad in a clear dish.
  5. Fifth layer: Spread the mayo over everything and sprinkle with a little sugar
  6. Sixth layer: Shredded cheddar cheese
  7. Seventh layer: Crispy chopped bacon
    Seven layer salad in a glass dish.

Cover the salad up with plastic wrap and chill for a at least a couple hours.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Mayonnaise dressing: Plain, good quality mayo like Hellman’s or Best Foods is perfect. A little sugar makes it just slightly sweet, but even that’s optional if you’re watching your sugar intake.
  • Miracle Whip: Substitute Miracle Whip for the mayo if you are a Miracle Whip fan. The only difference between them is that the salad dressing Miracle Whip already has added sugar, paprika, and garlic powder.
  • Sour cream: Some cooks love mixing half mayo, half sour cream for a tangier dressing.
  • Parmesan cheese: A few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese taste great added to the mayo.
  • Add meat: You could layer in some turkey or ham instead of the bacon.
  • Extra veggies: Change out your layers for different vegetables like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, scallions
  • Change the cheese: Pick the cheese you love like smoked provolone, blue cheese, or feta cheese
  • More toppings: Not traditional, but avocado, olives, and crunchy fried onions are so good!
    Bright, crunchy, and colorful, this easy Seven Layer Salad recipe is a fun blast from the past for any party. Make it as-is, just like you remember it, or switch up those layers in a million different delicious ways.

More delicious salads:

Seven layer salad in a clear glass dish.

Seven Layer Salad

Bright, crunchy, and colorful, this easy Seven Layer Salad recipe is a fun blast from the past for any party. Make it as-is, just like you remember it, or switch up those layers in a million different delicious ways.
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 285kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 1 head lettuce shredded
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2-3 stalks celery sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 12 ounces frozen peas thawed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound bacon fried and crumbled

Instructions

  • Spread the lettuce evenly in the bottom of a glass bowl. Top with red onion, celery, and peas.
  • Spread mayonnaise on top of celery and sprinkle with sugar. Top with cheddar cheese and bacon. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Video

Notes

  1. Lettuce: Iceberg, crispy head lettuce, or Romaine.
  2. Hard Boiled Eggs: Not in my Seven layer salad! But many people say that's how they make it.
  3. Mayonnaise dressing: Plain, good quality mayo like Hellman’s or Best Foods is perfect. A little sugar makes it just slightly sweet, but even that’s optional if you’re watching your sugar intake.
  4. Miracle Whip: Substitute Miracle Whip for the mayo if you are a Miracle Whip fan. The only difference between them is that the salad dressing Miracle Whip already has added sugar, paprika, and garlic powder.
  5. Sour cream: Some cooks love mixing half mayo, half sour cream for a tangier dressing.
  6. Parmesan cheese: A few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese taste great added to the mayo.
  7. Add meat: You could layer in some turkey or ham instead of the bacon.
  8. Extra veggies: Change out your layers for different vegetables like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, scallions
  9. Change the cheese: Pick the cheese you love like smoked provolone, blue cheese, or feta cheese
  10. More toppings: Not traditional, but avocado, olives, and crunchy fried onions are so good!

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 504mg | Potassium: 219mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 780IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Roxann Satrang

    This is a perfect low carb, not quite keto, salad. The peas are a little high so if you use fewer peas and stevia etc instead of sugar. Love it! Though we skip the celery.5 stars

  2. Jane Ander

    My mom made this forever and now my sisters and I make Delish and and filling. I use either lite mayo or olive oil mayo and have never used a whole cup. I use a 9×13 glass pan. Mix romaine with the celery fill the pan. Spread with mayo. Layer from there. No eggs. No sugar needed. No parmesan in mine. Baco bits work or turkey bacon. Don’t need half pound. Just enough to crumble all over top. Baby frozen pees about 3/4 C. I’ve used chopped green onion instead of red.5 stars

  3. Sharon BristerBal

    Been a l-o-n-g time since I had this and fell in love with the simplicity of the recipe, an added plus is it is actually refreshing to eat, especially during the Summer months. I did add the hard boiled eggs as one of my layers. This was so we’ll received that I am making it again this weekend. Thanks for the reminder of a dish that is part of my childhood memories!5 stars

  4. Lori

    Made this over the weekend. It was a huge hit! None left to take home! 5 stars

  5. Robby

    Happy to revisit this salad again. I like this version better than the one I used to make. My family devours it and I just keep making more. Hard to believe that something as simple as mayo and sugar for the dressing can taste so delicious. No variations. I make it as written.5 stars

  6. Kelly

    We always had hard boiled eggs in ours and we loved it that way. Now my husband requests that I use pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar. We didn’t count the mayo as a layer. We would sometimes make it 8 layers layers if we had green peppers on hand. My dad and I would add tomatoes to ours as we sat to eat.
    I like it because you can add and delete to your hearts content and have as many layers as you want.

  7. Heather

    I love this salad and was just having a hankering for it. Except, my mom called it 24-hour salad because it’s even better after chilling and melding for awhile. “7-Layer” is the bean dip, not this. So you aren’t limited to 7 ingredients. And yes, it always had eggs! I think my mom’s layers were iceberg, spinach, celery, green onion, peas, bacon, eggs, cheese, and the mayo dressing. Yum.

    1. Suzanne

      Here are a few additions/deletions I’ve found helpful.
      1. Change red onion to chopped red cabbage for the color & for those who don’t like onions.
      2. Don’t add tomatoes they make the salad watery (just like putting tomato on a sandwich that sits overnight)
      3. I add the bacon just before I serve the salad so it’s not cold after sitting in the refrigerator.
      4. If onions are used don’t use the canned fried onions (they are not good cold, very greasy taste when cold.
      5. Make sure the cheddar is sharp. If not the salad is bland.
      6. I’ve added cooked baby portobello mushrooms too!
      7. If you add nuts toast them first. Add them at the last minute as they taste better at warmer or at room temperature.

      .

  8. MaryIsabel

    When my kids were young I quit making it because they didn’t like it. Now that they’re adults, I was trying to remember all the layers and the order. For some reason I always put the peas on top of the mayo–I guess it’s not a big deal. And, although it was always called 7 Layer Salad, it had 8 layers because I added green peppers. Anyways, now that I have it settled in my mind again as to the ingredients, I will be making it for Christmas dinner! Thanks.5 stars

    1. Sherri

      I had this once about 35 yrs ago and loved it! So now it is time for me to make it.
      Thank you for such great ideas and how to’s. I have a tough time getting proteins in so I will add a hard boiled egg and replace the mayo with spices added to Greek yogurt.

  9. Peg

    You forgot the hard boiled eggs !!

    1. meggan

      PEG!!! I NEVER had hard-boiled eggs in 7 layer salad in my entire life. No one i know has ever done that. A look on the internet suggests I might be wrong…. which would be sad. I mean hard-boiled eggs do sound good? But isn’t that too many layers? Or are you not supposed to count the mayonnaise later. Please advise. LOL!

  10. Judie

    My great-aunt Ethel used to make this very salad for our family parties. Her salad included 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper layered between the onions and celery, and 1/4 cup Parmesan mixed in with the mayo and sugar for the dressing. Other than that, it was exactly the same recipe we’ve loved for decades!5 stars

  11. Carole

    I love this salad. We have been making this for years and everyone loves it. As you said you can change up the ingredients a bit to your liking. We use chopped cauliflower in place of the celery. And I put equal amounts of wine vinegar and sugar into the mayonnaise. Then I mix in about a half a cup of grated parmesan. I am making it now and can’t wait till it is ready.5 stars

    1. Meggan

      That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing the variation Carole! :D

  12. Ann Hirano

    We used to eat this! My Mom would serve with pita pockets. So good with this salad stuffed inside.

    1. Lori Johnson

      My mom used Swiss cheese and not cheddar. No egg either although I am a fan. 24 hr salad is what she called it, always assembled the day before. I remember complaining about it as a kid but I love it now.5 stars

    2. Meggan

      Ooooh!! That sounds wonderful! I will add pita pockets to my grocery list next time I make this salad! :)

  13. Kaye

    Does it have to be a glass bowl5 stars

    1. meggan

      Definitely not! I just did that so you could see the layers and know how to arrange it. My mom usually made it in a plastic green bowl and you couldn’t see inside. But where I come from, everyone knows what 7 layer salad is so the bowl doesn’t matter. :) Good luck and thanks!

  14. Marcie

    I made this, but replaced the mayo with ranch dressing and it was delish!5 stars

    1. Meggan

      That sounds wonderful! Being from Wisconsin, ranch dressing is near and dear to my heart!

  15. ToniV

    This seven layer salad is really good. This is the first time I made one and I can not stop eating it.5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Glad that you love it! I know the feeling of not being able to stop, it happens to me every time!

  16. Keith woodard

    How many cheeses can i use? I had it before with more cheeses5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Keith! You should use as much cheese as you want. There is no upper limit on the amount of cheese you can add (or kinds). Any chance you’re from Wisconsin? I like you’re style. :D

  17. G shiets

    Can you mix it all up right before serving?

    1. meggan

      Yes, you definitely can! That’s a good way to make sure everyone gets some of everything. Because when I’m at a party, I just scrape ALL the bacon and cheese right off the top…. just kidding. But if I’m honest, I want to.

  18. Kay

    I forgot the sugar on top of the mayo, so I sprinkled it over the bacon. Sure hope it doesn’t ruin the flavor. What do you think?
    I’m taking it to a ladies card night .

    1. meggan

      Hi Kay, it won’t really ruin the flavor. However, the sugar on the mayo sweetens it a bit. I think you’ll be fine though. If people like mayo, they’ll love it no matter what.

  19. I had no idea layered salads were an American classic, Meggan!

    You can buy them from a ‘posh’ supermarket here in the UK, but it isn’t something people usually make at home.

    Love all the goodies you’ve chosen (well, that your mom chose!) to put in this. :-)5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Wow, and I had no idea they were so ‘posh!’ ;)

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