This seven layer salad recipe is simple to make and always a hit! It’s perfect for potlucks, summer cookouts, or any gathering where you need a quick and tasty side dish. A pretty, crunchy, and delicious salad that we have been enjoying for years.
There always seems to be at least one version at any gathering we attend throughout the year, and it is always gone in a flash. We serve this for Sunday dinner, Holiday dinners, summer potlucks, or any time that we want something tasty and fresh.
With just a few simple ingredients, you can have this delicious dish ready to serve in no time. It’s a great recipe for anyone trying to eat heathier. It has been in my recipe box for decades and is one of my favorite recipes.
Just follow my simple steps and you’ll have a delicious and healthy salad everyone will love. It’s a real crowd pleaser.
Classic 7-Layer Salad
Recently, I made this salad for a gathering. One of the male guests that is rather picky about what salad he will eat. (He brings his own Western French Dressing to restaurants). I had a bottle of the salad dressing ready for him to use. He was so excited to see the side dish because he had not enjoyed this salad since his mom used to make it.
The bottle of salad dressing was never opened, and he happily took a big helping of salad. He told me it was just like his mom’s version. I love it when food brings back memories!
Container for a Layered Salad
This recipe can be made in a large glass bowl or in a glass 9 X 13 baking dish. The key is to use a glass container so the beautiful layers can be seen through the clear bowl. To be fancy, I often see this served in a trifle dish.
I do prefer a 9 X 13 baking dish because with each scoop, all the ingredients can be scooped out at once. When using a large glass bowl, often, when scooping out the ingredients the spoon only gets halfway down through the ingredients.
Seven Layer Salad Recipe with Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise
For years, there has been a debate over Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise. I have made this recipe using both salad dressings and I have yet to hear one complaint either way when people are enjoying this side dish.
So, please feel free to use the one that you and your family prefer the taste of in this recipe. No matter which one you use, this is sure to become a family favorite.
Now that we have covered that, let’s get onto the layers and ingredients used in this simple recipe. Use fresh ingredients.
First Layer. At the bottom of your container, add the lettuce. Use a nice crisp iceberg lettuce or other crisp lettuce.
Second Layer. Next is red onion sliced thinly.
Third Layer. Add celery that has been diced rather fine. About 1/4 -inch dice.
Fourth Layer. The frozen green peas are added in this layer and the good news is, you do not have to thaw them before adding. Unless you plan on eating this salad right away, the peas will keep everything cold and that rather quickly anyway.
Fifth Layer. In a small bowl mix the mayo with granulated sugar and gently spread this salad dressing over the peas layer.
Sixth Layer. Shredded cheese. This can be cheddar or a cheese blend.
Seventh Layer. Finally, add bacon that has been fried until crisp and chopped into pieces to the top of the salad.
That’s all there is to it. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. I like to chill about an hour to let the layers of ingredients meld with each other and stay crisp. It is a great salad to make ahead.
Make This Layered Pea Salad Recipe a Day Ahead
Yes, you can make this salad recipe the night before. Why? It is because the salad dressing is a bit thick, and it is layered on top of the salad ingredients. If it were to be mixed in, it would cause the lettuce to wilt.
Therefore, the layering of the ingredients is an important step if you want to make this ahead of time. Additionally, the salad dressing goes on top of the pea layer and that also helps keep the sauce off the leaves of the lettuce.
Variations to the Traditional Seven Layer Salad Recipe
There are different ways we have enjoyed this recipe. I think it just depends on the taste preferences on who is making it. I have shared with you the traditional recipe that I have been using for a long time. However, you can change up the recipe to your liking. Layering the ingredients makes for such a pretty presentation.
Adding a few layers of different ingredients is a great way to feed more people too.
Layer Salad Dressing. Use Mayonnaise dressing or Miracle Whip dressing. As I previously mentioned either one works well. I often reach for mayonnaise for this recipe. The sugar helps add just the right amount of sweetness. However, if you are watching your sugar intake, you can leave that out. Use a good quality mayo or use homemade dressing.
Other salad dressing options. Swap out some of the salad dressing for sour cream. It adds a bit of a creamy taste to the salad.
Cheese. I will often use a sharp cheddar cheese, mild cheddar cheese, or a cheese blend. However, there are so many great options depending on the taste you prefer. I have used shredded Asiago, Parmesan cheese, even a spicier blend like Pepper Jack. Use the cheese you prefer or have on hand. It all works in my opinion.
Add more meat layers. Think about additional types of cooked meat in addition to or in place of the bacon.
Extra vegetables create more color and add additional flavor to this salad recipe. Here are a few ideas green onions, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, or cauliflower.
Add hard boiled egg. Just slice thin and have an egg layer after the salad dressing tier.
What to Serve with a Seven Layer Salad?
The layered salad is a fresh side dish that will compliment any summer grilling entrée such as BBQ chicken, burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, or even steaks. Make this salad the night before for easy entertaining.
Here are a few other recipes that are perfect snacks and salads for feeding a crowd.
Traditional Midwestern Salad
This is a classic midwestern salad we enjoy often throughout the year. Give this gorgeous 7 layer salad a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Easy Seven Layer Salad Recipe
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- 1 Head Lettuce Diced
- 1/2 Cup Red Onion Sliced Thin
- 2 Ribs Celery Diced fine
- 12 Ounces Green Peas Frozen or Thawed
- 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese Shredded
- 1/2 Pound Bacon Fried and Crumbled
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- Cook the bacon and drain on paper towel otherwise there will be too much grease.
- In a large glass bowl or 9 X 13 glass baking dish, spread the lettuce over the bottom evenly. Add a layer of red onion, celery, then sweet peas.
- Mix the mayonnaise and granulated sugar and spread the salad dressing on top of the peas.
- Top with the shredded cheese and bacon.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.