Deliciously customizable 7 Layer Salad is filled with just the right amount of goodness. It’s perfect to make ahead!
This 7 Layer Salad is one of our favorite recipes to bring to brunch or picnics. It’s just as easy and tasty as our famous potato salad, pasta salad and broccoli salad.
Perfect for Holidays + Picnics
We LOVE to have salads prepped and ready for special days.
From holidays, to brunches to showers and picnics – we love to have a large variety to choose from. One of our go-to’s is this 7 Layer Salad that comes with a homemade dressing with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.
This seven layer salad is packed with veggies and is easy to customize basked on the ingredients you love most.
This salad is also gorgeous served in a glass trifle bowl. It’s definitely a family fav and one we love to make for special occasions.
7 Layer Salad Dressing
We prefer a homemade dressing for this salad because it’s easy, quick and yummy.
WHISK + CHILL. To make it, just whisk together the mayo, sugar and vinegar. Refrigerate until you’re ready to top it on the salad.
As always though, you can use whatever dressing you’d like. Ranch dressing, Italian or a vinaigrette would all be great.
Note: If you are using a dressing that is more runny, you may want to toss the salad. If it’s creamy, it can be added on top as a layer and should set fine without having to be tossed.
How to Make 7 Layer Salad
Now just because a salad has 7 layers doesn’t mean it’s a “7 Layer Salad”. The traditional 7 layer salad recipes that I’ve seen all include lettuce, peas, tomatoes, cheese, bacon, and a mayo type dressing.
There’s only one layer that seems to differ from recipe to recipe. Many recipes, like mine, use broccoli florets, but I’ve also seen boiled egg or chopped celery. Whatever you choose to use, be sure the flavors are complementary and the colors contrast each layer.
DRESSING. Make dressing by whisking together mayo, white sugar and vinegar
PREP. Have all ingredients prepped, ready and laid out.
LAYER. Grab a large, flat bowl or trifle dish and layer the lettuce on the bottom followed by the tomatoes, then peas, cheese and then broccoli.
GARNISH + SERVE. Top with dressing followed by the shredded cheese and bacon crumbles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What to serve this salad with? So many options, but here are some of our favs:
Our 7 Layers
Our layers: And in the order we layered them (which is totally by choice).
Romaine Lettuce: I prefer romaine lettuce.The green is vibrant and the leaves are soft, but any lettuce you like will do.
Grape tomatoes: An uncut grape tomato just seems a little too big for the salad, so I half mine. You can also use diced roma tomatoes or dice any tomato you have from your garden.
Peas: Do not use canned peas. Frozen peas work wonderfully. You don’t even need to cook them! You can also use freshly shelled peas from your garden.
Cheddar cheese: Classic Cheddar is my favorite with this recipe. It tastes great with the dressing and other ingredients, but you can easily try using your favorite cheese. I’ve noticed many people like to add Parmesan Cheese.
Broccoli: I like to add broccoli florets. I always have them on hand and I like the flavor and texture they add.
Dressing: This creamy dressing is great for all kinds of green and vegetable salads. The dressing itself can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Bacon: Store bought bacon bits can be used, but I prefer to cook my own. I especially like to bake my bacon in the oven. Once cooled I’ll use kitchen scissors to make my bacon bits. Bacon bits can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Recipe FAQ’s + Tips
To toss, or not to toss? Honestly, I serve with a long handled spoon and let each person dig deep.
Make Ahead: This is a great salad to prep and layer in advance. I will pre chop the ingredients and store them in separate containers in the fridge. I’ll layer the ingredients anywhere from 2-10 hours in advance.
Just be sure to spread the dressing over the entire top and right up to the edge of the bowl. This will “seal” in the ingredients underneath. Cover and store in the fridge until serving time.
How to keep 7 layer salad from getting soggy?
- Leave the dressing on top of the salad. This will keep all the layers nice and dry. When you scoop the salad ingredients out it will naturally grab onto the dressing.
- Be sure that all of the ingredients you use in the salad are dry.
- The order of the layers can factor into creating a soggy salad. The heavier items need to be at the bottom and lighter items at the top. Otherwise the weight from the heavier items will compact and squish more tender ingredients.
- You used ingredients, like cucumbers or mushrooms, that you might not think will leak, but can add extra moisture.
- Adding frozen vegetables like peas can add extra liquid when the thaw.. Allow the frozen peas to thaw and pat them dry before adding them to the salad.
- Cut tomatoes will leak liquid over time. To avoid this simply leave cherry tomatoes whole. You can also scrape or squeeze out the liquidy pulp and seeds if you want to make it ahead of time.
What are some alternate ingredients to include in 7 layer salad? You can easily change up the layers in the salad to ingredients that you prefer, just keep it to 7 Layers.
- Sliced hard boiled eggs
- Veggies, Different types of lettuce, Red Onion, Cucumbers, Cauliflower Florets, Yellow or Red Bell Peppers, Corn
- Sliced Chicken, Turkey or Ham.
- Blue Cheese
We know you’ll love this salad as much as we do. It’s so simple and always a hit with everyone!
For more salad recipes, check out:
Make dressing by whisking together mayo, white sugar and vinegar
Have all ingredients prepped, ready and laid out.
Grab a large, flat bowl or trifle dish and layer the lettuce on the bottom followed by the tomatoes, then peas, cheese and then broccoli.
Top with dressing followed by the shredded cheese and bacon crumbles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.