Classic 7 Layer Salad is an easy, make-ahead recipe perfect for a crowd! With crisp veggies and tangy dressing layered on top, it’s a potluck favorite!
A classic 7 Layer Salad recipe never goes out of style. Its popularity hasn’t waned since Betty Crocker’s recipe was all the rage. Seven Layer Salads are perfect for entertaining. It’s effortlessly made by layering simple ingredients, covering them in a thick dressing, and refrigerating overnight. An easy, yet beautiful side dish is ready to feed a crowd! It also goes great with your favorite dinner recipes, so don’t feel like you have to wait for a potluck or holiday to enjoy this dish!
7 LAYER SALAD
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You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t encountered a traditional Seven Layer Salad at a party, potluck, or funeral luncheon. It’s an American staple when any sort of crowd is gathered, right up there with fudgy brownies and jello salad.
This recipe stands the test of time because no one can resist it! Ultra creamy dressing mixed with fresh greens, veggies, eggs, and salty bacon makes everyone from kids to adults come back for more.
Why This 7 Layer Salad Recipe is the Best
Some 7 Layer Salad recipes just don’t hit the mark. Vegetables can be wilted and soggy upon serving or the dressing is bland and forgettable.
This recipe uses salt to pull moisture out of the lettuce so it stays crisp, even after sitting overnight. Also, the vegetables used will not turn to mush, and maintain their crunch even when there are leftovers!
7 Layer Salad Dressing
Although the dressing uses five simple ingredients, it doesn’t lack in flavor. Hot sauce gives a tangy kick, without an overwhelming spice. My preferred brand is Frank’s Red Hot because it has a mellow heat that won’t overwhelm. Adding a touch of sugar balances out the creamy mayonnaise and vinegar.
If you have a favorite dressing feel free to swap out for ranch, blue cheese, or whatever creamy dressing you love. But I highly recommend trying my homemade dressing. It’s kind of amazing.
What goes into a 7 Layer Salad?
- red onion
- hard boiled eggs
- red bell pepper
- for garnish – bacon & cheddar cheese
Sometimes I switch things up and swap in one of the following veggies or even add an extra layer.
- green pepper
- sugar snap peas
- green onions
How to Make 7 Layer Salad
- Rinse and dry lettuce. Place half the lettuce in the bottom of a trifle bowl or other large, clear serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt
- Top with layers of onion, hard boiled eggs, peas, bell pepper, and cucumber. Top with reserved lettuce.
- Mix dressing ingredients and spread over top of the salad in a thick layer.
- Top dressing with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
- Refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
How to Prevent 7 Layer Salad From Getting Soggy
First, dry the lettuce thoroughly and remove excess moisture. The best way to do this is by using a salad spinner and then laying the lettuce on a dish towel to soak up any remaining water.
Next, use veggies that maintain crispness, even after a day or two. Although some recipes use chopped tomatoes and mushrooms, I don’t recommend this because they contain too much moisture. If you’d like to add tomatoes use uncut grape tomatoes.
Lastly, when serving the salad it’s not necessary to toss the dressing with the lettuce and veggies. The dressing, veggies, and lettuce all come together perfectly when scooped out with a large spoon. Plus this ensures any leftovers stay just as crisp and delicious!
More tasty, make-ahead salads perfect for parties and potlucks!
- Ambrosia Salad
- Grape Salad
- Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Frog Eye Salad
- Creamy Bacon Pea Salad
- More side dish recipes…
Tools used to make this 7 Layer Salad recipe
Large Skillet: This skillet is my go-to kitchen tool. It’s large circumference and high sides make it perfect for cooking anything from one pan meals to soups and sauces.
Trifle Bowl: This bowl is my favorite way to show off layered recipes. From desserts to salads it’s always beautiful on our table!
Mixing Bowl: These mixing bowls are perfect for mixing and serving. I love the varied sizes so I always have to right size bowl for all my mixing needs.
Whisk: This is my favorite set of whisks. There’s a size for every job and the thicker handles give me a good grip.
- 1 head iceberg lettuce cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
- 6 hard-boiled eggs peeled
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 cucumber halved, seeded, and chopped
- 10 slices bacon cooked until crisp and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot is preferred)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Wash the chopped lettuce and thoroughly dry. Running through a salad spinner and then laying on a dish towel to soak up excess water is recommended. Meanwhile, soak red onion in a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to mellow flavor. Drain and pat dry.
- Layer half the lettuce on the bottom of a trifle bowl or glass bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Layer red onion on top.
- Slice 3 eggs and place, standing up, around the edge of the bowl, sitting on top of the onion. Chop the remaining eggs and sprinkle on top of onion. Alternatively, chop all the eggs and layer on top.
- Layer frozen peas, bell pepper, and cucumber on top. Add remaining lettuce to bowl and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Mix together all the dressing ingredients and spread on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. (see note) It isn't necessary to toss the salad before serving. The dressing will be scooped up with the other ingredients.
Great recipe but I found that the dressing was runny and ran over the salad instead of sitting on top so so didn’t use all of it.
I’d give this zero stars if I could. This was the worst recipe of 7 layer salad I have ever made.
I’m so disappointed because I had craved a 7 layer salad all day, and instead of my normal crowd pleasing go to recipe, I decided to give your recipe a go because of the beautiful pictures. Big mistake.
After spending all the time getting the vegetables chopped and prepared, I rinsed the lettuce, dried it on a towel, allowed it to sit and airdry on the towel for about 20 minutes while I prepared all the other ingredients. I then put the lettuce in my trifle dish and sprinkled with salt. To my horror, the lettuce almost instantly wilted into a soggy mess! The salt turned my lettuce to mush within a minute. I couldn’t even finish the salad because the lettuce was so mushy, I had to throw it completely out. I ended up having to leave the house and buy another head of lettuce. What a waste of time, food, money, and energy. I went ahead and did what I should have done in the first place and prepared my tried and true recipe for 7 layer salad. WARNING: DO NOT USE THE SALT IN THIS RECIPE!!!!