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Layer upon layer of fresh veggies and lettuce, topped with cheddar cheese and pan-fried bacon crumbles — this Easy 7-Layer Salad is to die for! Dressed in creamy homemade dressing, does it get any better?

a serving of a tossed 7 layer salad on a plate with a gold fork.

This Classic Seven-Layer Salad recipe is made in layers of crisp and fresh ingredients with dressing poured all over the top. Then, it is placed in the refrigerator to allow the layers to soak up the dressing flavors.

The next day, the layered salad is tossed just before serving, which keeps the ingredients crisp and fresh.

Feel free to get creative with the layers as long as you are sure to include green peas, cheese, and bacon — those are a must with the tangy sweet dressing!

Often, I mix it up with whatever veggies I have in my refrigerator crisper. Bell peppers, celery, green onions, or carrots may be substituted or added.

Many 7-layer salad recipes also include a layer of chopped hard-boiled eggs.

If this recipe has you craving more hearty, delicious salad recipes, check out some of my other incredibly fresh and tasty salads, like this sweet Strawberry Salad or my irresistible BRAVO Copycat Grilled Salmon Salad.

ingredients for 7 layer salad on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for this Layered Salad Recipe

Salad Layers

  • Iceberg lettuce —  Choose a fresh and crisp head of iceberg lettuce to create the base of the salad. If you prefer, you may use romaine or a combination of all your favorite salad leaves.
  • Bell pepper —  I suggest using yellow or green bell peppers for a nice balance of bitter and sweet. However, the color you choose won’t make or break the recipe. So, if you’d rather use what you have on hand or your personal favorite, go for it!
  • Red onion —  Thinly sliced red onions add a pop of color to this salad and a subtle kick of spice. If necessary or preferred, you can use chopped green onions as a substitute.
  • Grape tomatoes —  Grape tomatoes are perfect for bringing in that classic tomato flavor. You may also use sweet cherry tomatoes.
  • Green peas —  Thawing frozen green peas adds sugary sweetness to the recipe. If you’d rather use fresh peas or canned peas (but I wouldn’t), expect the taste and texture to differ.
  • Cheddar cheese —  Cheddar cheese is perhaps the most delicious cheese to pair with salty bacon. However, you could swap the cheddar for parmesan, jack, Swiss, mozzarella, or any of your favorite cheeses to sprinkle on salads.
  • Bacon — What’s the secret to elevating this recipe above other bland salads? Freshly fried and crispy bacon crumbles!

Homemade Dressing

  • Mayonnaise —  Classic mayonnaise is the base for most homemade cream dressing recipes. It adds a tasty flavor and gives the dressing a thicker consistency. You can use Miracle Whip as well.
  • Sour cream —  Sour cream brings tangy notes and a fluffier texture to this creamy dressing. Plain Greek yogurt can be used in its place or use all mayo, if preferred.
  • Sugar —  Just a bit of granulated sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness to enhance the dominant acidic and creamy flavors.
  • Apple cider vinegar —  Apple cider vinegar is a unique ingredient to add to a homemade creamy dressing. I love how it brings a tangy and sweet taste that melds all the other flavors together.

Equipment needed

  • Large Glass Salad Bowl or Trifle Dish — You want the salad’s colorful layers to shine through!

How to make Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Dressing

This Salad recipe made in a glass dish with layers of flavor makes a beautiful showing on the table or buffet. And you can toss it right in front of your guests!

layering ingredients in a glass trifle bowl for 7 layer salad.

STEP 1 | Chop the lettuce

Before you begin, remember to take out the frozen peas to thaw. It’s also helpful to slice and dice the vegetables initially, so the preparation runs smoother.

And finally, cook and chop the bacon pieces. That way, they have time to cool before sprinkling on top. Now, let’s get to it!

Choose your favorite large glass salad bowl. Or, for a picture-perfect presentation, use a trifle dish to hold this easy 7-layered salad.

Then, coarsely chop the fresh lettuce into relatively large chunks and place them at the bottom of the dish.

STEP 2 | Add the veggies

Next, layer the diced bell pepper, thinly sliced red onion, and halved grape tomatoes each in its own layer. Sprinkle the green peas over the top evenly.

STEP 3 | Make the dressing

Time to create the tangy and creamy Dressing! In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, and apple cider vinegar.

And that’s pretty much it! Just taste the dressing and season with salt and pepper to your liking, and you’re good to go.

7 layer salad in a trifle bowl topped with cheddar cheese and bacon

STEP 4 | Top it all off

This easy yet delicious layered salad is almost complete! Evenly spread the dressing over your salad. You want the homemade dressing to completely cover the top layer.

Next, sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese layer and top it off with the savory crumbled bacon.

tip

  • Ensure your frozen peas are entirely thawed before adding them to the salad. Icy peas are nowhere near as tasty as properly thawed ones. If you forget to thaw them in time, you can run the peas under cold water. Avoid putting them into the microwave for a quick result. This may cook the peas, which is not preferable.

STEP 5 | Chill

Finally, tightly cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill the ingredients overnight or for about 2 hours.

STEP 6 | Toss and serve!

When you’re ready to serve, gently toss the ingredients together with the dressing.

Oh, and you can sprinkle the layered salad with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired—I highly recommend it!

7 layer salad in a glass bowl sitting on a counter.

Frequently asked questions

Are there more ingredients you can add to this recipe to make it your own?

I don’t see why not! Other recipes include cauliflower, black olives, mushrooms, shaved carrots, celery, and loads of other tasty ingredients. I say, go for it! It’s a great salad to add personal touches to.

What proteins work well with this recipe?

Let’s be honest—you can hardly count bacon as a legitimate protein. So, if you want to make this salad a little heartier, you can add another meat, like:
-Freshly grilled chicken breasts
-Blackened chicken
-Thin and tender steak pieces
-Cubed ham
-Pulled pork
-Boiled eggs
-Shredded turkey

Can you make this seven-layer salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! This refreshing salad is excellent for making ahead of time. Whether it’s for a quick and easy dinner after a long day at the office or you’d like to have it ready to go for your short lunch break, I’ve got you covered!

Create the salad as directed in the recipe card. Then, before tossing it with the creamy dressing, store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two days!

salad tongs plating a serving of 7 layer salad onto a plate.

Serving suggestions

To put this recipe over the top, try adding crunchy fried onions or avocado slices!

Add some extra protein to make this refreshing salad a filling meal. It also makes for an incredible side salad to a delicious entree, like grilled pork chops with my quick and easy marinade or this tender and perfectly seasoned steakhouse-quality New York strip.

For a classic and comforting combination, pair this salad with a hot soup, like loaded potato soup, my easy crockpot broccoli cheddar soup, or this chicken Florentine soup with homemade parmesan croutons!

a serving of a tossed 7 layer salad on a plate with a gold fork.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

a serving of a tossed 7 layer salad on a plate with a gold fork.

Easy 7 Layer Salad

Layer upon layer of fresh veggies and lettuce, topped with cheddar cheese and pan-fried bacon crumbles—this Easy 7-Layer Salad is to die for! Dressed in creamy homemade dressing, does it get any better?
4.50 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Chill Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 233 kcal

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 1 medium yellow or green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen green peas thawed
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices bacon fried crisp and crumbled

Dressing

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Coarsely chop the lettuce and place in the bottom of a large glass salad bowl or trifle dish.
  • Next, layer the bell pepper, red onion, and grape tomatoes. Sprinkle the green peas evenly over the top.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Evenly spread the dressing over the salad, being sure to completely cover the top. Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese and top it off with the crumbled bacon.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
  • To serve, gently toss ingredients together and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

  • Ensure your frozen peas are entirely thawed before adding them to the salad. Icy peas are nowhere near as tasty as properly thawed ones. If you forget to thaw them in time, you can run the peas under cold water. Avoid putting them into the microwave for a quick result. This may cook the peas, which is not preferable.
  • This salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before being tossed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingsCalories: 233kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 10gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 755mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5g
Keyword iceberg lettuce, tossed salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Glad you had a great experience out and inspiration for this delicious layered salad recipe, Sheila! Would love this on my dinner plate!

  2. I love loaded salads like this, Sheila! It looks absolutely delicous! And that dressing…pure yumminess!

  3. This parmesan ranch dressing looks way too delicious! I’ve been on a salad kick lately and this is absolute perfection!

  4. 5 stars
    I just made the dressing and its so good. Hopefully after refrigerating overnight it will be even more delicious! Now to make the salad. Fingers crossed.

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