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 116 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 285

Ingredients 

  • 1 head lettuce shredded
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 2-3 celery ribs sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 12 ounces frozen peas thawed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon granulated 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 chill.

Recipe 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: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 11gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 504mgPotassium: 219mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 780IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Hey there!

    Do you chop your own lettuce or buy a bag or shredded? One time with a different recipe I chopped the lettuce and it kinda wilted on me so I feel kinda nervous for that to happen again at a family thing. I think it was just after being washed and all it was a lot of handling maybe

    1. Hi Mallory, I would suggest buying a bag of shredded lettuce considering the problems you’ve run into before. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  2. I’m with you. No EGG. I have made my 6 layer salad for about 15 yrs for my daughter’s BD dinner. She loves a steak, my salad and a baked potato. Celery might be interesting to add.5 stars

    1. Hi Christine, a little sugar makes the dressing just slightly sweet, but it’s optional! Hope you enjoy. – Meggan

  3. I have been making this salad for many years. I add shredded carrots, diced red and green peppers and the red onion is the key. My topping is mayo with sugar, but very little. I usually make it the night before serving. Our grandson and his fiancee absolutely devour this salad when I make it. Everyone that tastes it for the first time needs the recipe ! I’m so glad so many people also love it as much as we do.5 stars

  4. I made this many years ago. I don’t remember the part about frozen peas. I thought that they were cooked. Can cooked peas be used?

  5. This may already be in an older comment so apologies for any repetition: Can this be made the day before the event?
    Thanks, Lori

    1. Hi Lori, yes! Just make sure it is chilled for at least 30 minutes before serving. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  6. I have made this layered pea salad from your recipe probably 4-5 times now and it is ALWAYS a hit. And I don’t even like peas?! So yummy, thank you!!!!

  7. I had been craving a 7-layer salad and decided to give this recipe a try. For the dressing, I opted for Miracle Whip with Parmesan cheese; I also added a small amount of sour cream. It turned out delicious – thank you for sharing this recipe!5 stars

  8. And this is IT!!! From the 70’s! I’d lost my aunt’s handwritten layering instructions, but my fuzzy memory served me well. Served at dinner, my kid’s went crazy….it was devoured and enjoyed! Don’t count calories…count the wonderful memories this delicious salad still brings to the table! ❤5 stars

    1. Hi June! I got chills! Don’t count the calories, count the memories. 😭 Seven layer salad brings all the memories back for me, too. I am totally inspired to make this now. It is SO GOOD, I just love it. I’m so thrilled that you found it, made it, and enjoyed it. Thank you thank you! You made my day. -Meggan :)

  9. Have been making this salad for years have an OLD Betty Crocker cook book that listed it under vegetable salad. Everyone loves and never had any left. If there was I have found friends in fridge with forks. Tacky I know but it is that good !5 stars

    1. Hi Nita, sure! You can use our version for inspiration and change it to whatever you love. Hope you enjoy! -Meggan

  10. I love this salad recipes it’s a great and delicious and yummy salad recipes..I like it it’s a good idea and good and great and delicious and yummy and overall well and great and wonderful and delicious and yummy salad to eat up it’s a excellent meal.. I mean a excellent salad to eat..I love it

  11. Can this be made the morning of the event. I read that it should be refrigerated for a few hours. Is that true?5 stars

    1. Hi Valerie, yes! As long as you chill it for at least 30 minutes prior to serving, you should be good to go! -Meggan

  12. This reminds me of my former mother in law’s. Tasted just as I remembered her making it. She had given me her recipe and unfortunately I lost it. Being careful with my sugars, could skipping the sugar and peas be subbed with red or yellow bell peppers? For sweetness?

    Thanks for bringing back great memories.5 stars

    1. Hi Adam, I’m so glad! You can definitely substitute peppers, some readers even add them as an 8th layer. Enjoy – Meggan

  13. Almost like my mils. But, no celery, peeled thin sliced cucumbers instead. ALSO Dressing is 1/2 c mayo, 1/2 sour cream 2 tbsp sugar , 2 tbsp bacon drippings. Increase amounts for more dressing.

  14. Made this for family gathering & they couldn’t get enough! Most went back for 2nds! Love this “Blast from the past!”!👍5 stars

  15. I know you may not respond…. but where did you get your nifty clear bowl? I have a trifle glass dish. But love yours for this recipe and others.

  16. This was easy and fast to make. I was trying to make it like my baby sister who unfortunately passed away and I never had the chance to get her recipe. Love this and it will be a tradition. Thank you so much5 stars

  17. Totally wrong. The key to 7 layers is lettuce. It must separate each layer.
    Otherwise I call it a mosh pit.
    Lived Carolina and its old recipe.
    Another tip, peas frozen add, then let it sit ref over night ….till afternoon when grandma served.

    1. I can get on board with the frozen peas, that’s a nice touch. But lettuce at every layer? We are going to have to agree to disagree on that one! LOL! I actually might try it because it sounds nice, but my family and every I know will think I lost my mind. I guess we dig the mosh pit in Wisconsin! -Meggan

  18. To me this is the original seven layer salad recipe. I have made this for a lot of years and it’s my favorite. I can eat it for a meal. For a short cut I buy bacon bits instead of cooking bacon. Just as good to me!5 stars

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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. 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.

      .

  25. 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. 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.

    1. 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!

  26. 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

  27. 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

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

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

    2. 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

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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

    1. 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.

  29. 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. 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.

  30. 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