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Seven Layer Salad Recipe – An Easy To Prepare Picnic Side Dish

If it is too hot to cook or if you are looking for a classic side dish to serve at your next picnic, potluck or barbecue then this Seven Layer Salad is your answer!

A cool and crispy salad stacked with layers of your favorite ingredients and then topped with a sweet and tangy dressing.

It has become a crowd favorite recipe that is requested over and over again, especially in the summer months.

The only cooking required is to make hard boiled eggs and crisp up some bacon. And fortunately, you can do that ahead of time or buy them already cooked at the grocery store.

So next time you are looking for an easy to prepare picnic recipe, be sure to turn to this classic summertime side dish!

seven layer salad

Seven Layer Salad Recipe


Iceberg lettuce
Frozen peas
Hard boiled eggs
Red onions
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Granulated sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, optional


Before you begin making your seven layer salad you must first find a bowl that is big enough to hold all of the ingredients. This salad is rather large so you must have at least a 3.5 quart bowl or larger.

Although you could use a plastic or stainless steel bowl, ideally you will want to use a glass bowl. And if you have a trifle bowl that is even better.

The reason behind the glass bowl isn’t because it will effect the taste of the salad. It is simply because you want to see the beautiful layers from the outside of the dish.


Once you have determined which bowl to use begin to prepare the salad by washing and chopping the lettuce in bite size pieces. Then add it to the bottom of the bowl in an even layer.

lettuce and tomatoes
Once you have your lettuce placed in the bowl, add the tomatoes around the edges and then fill in the center.


Next core and slice the tomatoes into bite size strips. Place the cut tomatoes on top of the tomatoes, being sure to line the edge of bowl first. Then put the remaining tomatoes in the center of the bowl.


The third ingredient in a seven layer salad consists of frozen peas that have been thawed. Carefully arrange the peas on top of the tomatoes, filling the outer edge first.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Next comes the hard boiled eggs. If you have difficulty making hard boiled eggs that peel perfectly, be sure to read The Perfect Way To Boil An Egg, which also includes how long to boil farm fresh eggs.

However, if you have an Instant Pot, you can also make your hard boiled eggs with these instructions: Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs. They peel perfectly every time!

After your eggs are hard boiled, dice them into small pieces. To make easy work of this process, I pull out my egg slicer to do the job.

First I slice the egg in one direction. Then I rotate the egg and slice it in the other direction. In mere seconds your egg is diced perfectly!

Once the eggs are diced, arrange them on top of the pea layer. Again, be sure to stack the outer layer first before filling in the center of the bowl.

egg slicer
To make easy work of dicing your hard boiled eggs, consider an egg slicer.

Red Onions

The next layer consists of sliced red onions. Although you could use a white or yellow onion, the red onions provide a beautiful splash of color in the seven layer salad.

Simply cut the onion in half, and then place the onion cut side down. Then use a sharp knife to make slices that are in the shape of a half moon.


Place the onions on top of the hard boiled eggs. Next add 75% of cooked and diced bacon on top of the onions. The remaining bacon will be used for garnish on top.

seven layer salad dressing
Although the cayenne pepper is optional, it adds great flavor to your dressing and balances out the tangy and sweetness perfectly.


Now it is time to add the final layer, shredded cheese! Sprinkle the cheese around the top edge of the bowl and then add the remaining cheese in the center.

Now that you have assembled your seven layer salad it is time to make the dressing. In a medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar and a pinch of cayenne pepper (if using) and stir well.

Spread the mixture over the top of the salad “sealing” it all the way to the edge of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours and for up to two days. 

Before serving sprinkle the reserved bacon on top.

bacon as garnish
Right before serving, add the reserved bacon on top of the dressing.

Enjoy! Mary

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7 layer salad

Classic 7 Layer Salad

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This classic side dish has 7 layers of goodness ready to be enjoyed at any summertime picnic, party, potluck or barbecue!


  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce outer leaves and core removed
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced bite size pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 4 hard boiled eggs chopped
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices bacon cooked crisp and crumbled, divided
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, optional


  1. In a 3 1/2 quart glass bowl or trifle dish (make sure it’s at least that large), chop the lettuce in to bite size pieces and add it to the bottom of the bowl in an even layer. 
  2. In individual layers, add the tomatoes, peas, eggs, onions, 75% of the bacon and shredded cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar and a pinch of cayenne pepper (if using) and stir well. Spread the mixture over the top of the salad “sealing” it all the way to the edge of the bowl.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours and for up to two days. 
  5. Before serving sprinkle the remaining bacon on top.


Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

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