This post was originally published at Yellow Bliss Road where I am a contributor.
When it comes to potlucks and cookouts, nothing beats a 7 Layer Salad Recipe for the perfect side dish! Make this salad ahead of time and watch everyone devour it!
I love getting together with family and friends during the summer months. While it’s freaking hot in Arizona, we still get everyone together at least a few times each month. Air conditioning and pools get us through. With a plethora of July birthdays in our family, I’ve become an expert at easy recipes that can be made in big or small batches to take and share with everyone.
This 7 layer salad recipe is potluck perfection! All you have to do is chop veggies and eggs, shred some cheese, and whisk up the dressing. You can totally do all those things!
When we’re hosting everyone at our house, there’s no need to drive myself crazy trying to make something SUPER fancy to eat. Lord knows I don’t need to spend an entire afternoon coking away and making the house hot. That’s why I love this 7 layered salad so much.
You need to make it ahead of time. Okay, “need” might be a strong word. But this seven layer salad with peas definitely gets better when you let it sit for at least 6 hours before serving.
No rushing around last minute, and plenty of time to get myself ready before company arrives. I’m the worst at leaving myself time to change when I’m hosting people AND making the food.
What is 7 Layer Salad?
Exactly what it sounds like! It’s a salad comprised of 6 different ingredients plus a dressing on top.
You can leave your salad like this or garnish the top with cheese and bacon like I did.
Cheese and bacon are ALWAYS a good idea!
Ingredients for 7 Layer Salad
- Iceberg lettuce
- Red onion
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Shredded carrots
- Red bell pepper
Seven Layer Salad Dressing
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce (I like Cholula for this recipe!)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper
A traditional seven layer salad has peas in it. I used them for this recipe to keep it more like the original 7 layer salad my grandma used to make.
Normally, I change out the peas for diced avocado.
There are some easy substitutions you can make for any ingredient you don’t care for. It’s all about alternating colors and keeping the layers interesting.
Other salad ingredient ideas:
Instead of peas for the green layer, try cucumber, avocado, celery, or broccoli.
In place of eggs, try cauliflower or yellow bell pepper
Swap red bell pepper for cherry tomatoes
How to Make Seven Layer Salad
- Start by placing half of the lettuce in the bottom of a trifle bowl. If you don’t have a trifle bowl, and large glass bowl or even a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish will work. Sprinkle some salt over the lettuce. Then add red onions all over the lettuce.
- For the eggs layer, you’re going to slice the hard-boiled eggs. I usually get about 3 slices per egg. You want to see the yolk and white. Be sure to save the ends or any funky pieces. You’re going to use them. Place the slices around the edge of the bowl pressing slightly to stick them to the glass. Chop up any remaining eggs and sprinkle them over the onion.
- Next, add a layer of peas, then carrots, and then bell peppers. Top it all off with the rest of the lettuce. I like to gently push down on the salad a bit to make some room for the dressing.
How to Make 7 Layer Salad Dressing
- Time to make the dressing. Whisk together the mayo, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Pour all of the dressing over the salad and spread it out over the lettuce. This seals the top of the salad.
- Totally optional, but completely delicious, top the dressing with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon for garnish. (Yes, you’ll have a 9 layer salad now.)
- After that, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Unwrap and serve cold with salad servers.
You want to get all the way down to the bottom and get a bit of everything for your plate when serving.
How to Keep 7 Layer Salad from Getting Soggy
It’s all about the layers! Having the lettuce at the bottom of the bowl keeps the dressing from making is soggy.
Yes, I know I have lettuce at the top too, but that’s to help the dressing form its seal. If you’re going to let the salad sit for a good while before serving, put all the lettuce on the bottom. The hearty vegetables at the top won’t get soggy.
Can 7 Layer Salad be made a day ahead?
Yes! This salad will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving. The dressing acts as a seal for the salad.
I usually make up my salad the night before I need it or the morning before an evening party.
How long does Seven Layer Salad last?
Once you serve the salad, the dressing gets mixed in and the lettuce may start to wilt. I recommend eating any leftovers on the same day.
But you can totally try for a second-day serving. I’m just picky about my salad’s crispness level.
These sides are potluck friendly and always get rave reviews!!
- Chipotle Chicken Pasta Salad
- Fresh Vegetable Salad
- Loaded Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
- Bourbon-Bacon Slaw
- Strawberry Caprese Salad
- More side dishes
7 Layer Salad Recipe
- Place half of the lettuce in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Top lettuce with red onion. (The trick for this salad is to see everything, so make sure your layers go all the way to the sides of your bowl.)
- Slice the eggs, so both the white and yolk show. (Save the ends.) Place egg slices around the side of the bowl, pressing into the side a bit so it'll stick. Chopp any remaining eggs, slices, and ends. Sprinkle all over the salad.
- Top eggs with peas, then carrots, and then bell pepper.
- Add the remaining lettuce on top, being sure it spreads all the way to the side of the bowl. Use your hands to gently press down a little.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, hot sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and spread it into an even layer.
- Top the dressing with cheese and then bacon, for garnish.
- Cover the salad in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours.
- Uncover and serve cold.