Seven Layer Salad Recipe

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.

Make a big bowl of original Seven Layer Salad as an easy party side with Wisconsin Beer Brats, Knorr Spinach Dip, and a bucket of Pirate Punch. Yo-ho-ho!

Full disclosure: Seven Layer Salad is very much a classic Midwestern recipe.

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.
Pin Now To Save! PIN IT

If you’ve never had it, you’re probably scratching your head trying to figure out how it works, what’s in it, and what it will taste like. (It’s really, really good.)

Making Seven Layer Salad for a crowd? All you have to do is click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

What’s in Seven Layer Salad?

Technically, Seven Layer Salad ingredients are only limited by your imagination. But here’s what a traditional Seven Layer Salad always includes:

  • Lettuce. Iceberg, crispy head lettuce, or Romaine.
  • Red Onion.
  • Celery.
  • Frozen peas.
  • Cheddar cheese.
  • Bacon.
  • Mayonnaise.
  • Sugar.
    **Some cooks swear by adding freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the dressing, too!
    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.

How to make Seven Layer Salad:

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.

First layer: in the bottom of the bowl, spread the shredded lettuce.
Second layer: a thin layer of chopped red onion.
Third layer: chopped celery.
Fourth layer: peas.
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.
Fifth layer: spread the mayo over everything. Sprinkle with a little sugar. (This is also where the Parmesan cheese comes in, if you’re using it. Mix it into the mayo or sprinkle it on top.)
Sixth layer: grated cheddar cheese.
Seventh layer: crispy chopped bacon.
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.

That’s all there is to it! Cover the salad up with plastic wrap and chill for a at least a couple hours.

Seven Layer Salad dressing:

A thicker, mayo-heavy dressing is usually the best dressing for Seven layer Salad because it stays on top and doesn’t make the salad soggy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it a bit!

Here are some great options:

  • 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.
  • Sour cream. Some cooks love mixing half mayo, half sour cream to make Seven Layer Salad dressing. It adds a little extra tanginess to the dressing.
  • Miracle Whip. Families are either mayonnaise or Miracle Whip families. The only difference between them is that the salad dressing Miracle Whip already has added sugar, paprika, and garlic powder, unlike mayo.
  • This is totally up to you and your taste, but you can use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise.
  • Parmesan cheese. A few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese taste great added to the mayo.
  • Blue cheese. Crumbled blue cheese, or the Best Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing might be fabulous.
  • Ranch. Ranch dressing might be too thin, but if you season the mayonnaise with Ranch seasoning—-now we’re talking!

What else can you put in a Seven Layer Salad?

The bowl is the limit, but you can mix up the ingredients as you like. Switch out a few layers, or change it up entirely based on a theme or season. There are absolutely enough ingredients that you could make a different type of Seven Layer Salad that you could eat every day.

How to serve Seven Layer Salad:

Even though you might be tempted to mix the whole thing up, don’t! Serve the salad with a deep spoon and let everyone scoop out what they like. They’ll get enough of everything and it will get mixed up on their plates. Promise!

 

5 from 10 votes

Seven Layer Salad Recipe

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.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 197kcal
  • 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
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 197kcal

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This form collects your name, email, and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Ann Hirano

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

    1. Meggan

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!’ ;)

Scroll to top