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Seven Layer Salad

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Seven layer salad, also known as overnight salad, is a creamy and delicious make ahead salad that is hard to beat. It is perfect for potlucks, parties and more. Plus you can customize it with your favorite salad ingredients.

Glass bowl filled with seven layer salad made of lettuce, peas, onion, cauliflower, bacon, eggs, dressing and cheese.

This layered salad is not only ok to make ahead, it is better if you do. It has all of the good stuff plus a slightly sweet, creamy dressing.

This classic salad has withstood the test of time for good reason, it is delicious! It is great as a side dish, but it is good enough that sometimes I make a whole meal of it.

Seven layer salad has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. It is one of those dishes that I make a beeline for if I see it at a potluck.

Bowl of salad with creamy dressing and lots of toppings next to trifle bowl with remaining seven layer salad inside.

So, I thought I should share our recipe with you. Just layer up your favorite greens with some tasty salad toppings.

Then spread a sweetened mayonnaise mixture over the top and finish with cheese. Wrap it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 4-24 hours and magic will be made!

Tips and Tricks

You can use either a trifle bowl or a similarly sized glass bowl or a 9×13-inch dish for this recipe. They all work great. It is just easier to see the layers in a trifle bowl.

This salad is traditionally made with iceberg lettuce, but you can use your favorite kind. Chopped romaine would also work.

Seven layer salad topped with creamy dressing and freshly shredded cheddar cheese, ready to be served.

For the salad in these pictures, I used fresh leaf lettuce from the garden. Use whatever lettuce you like best for salads.

You can eat the salad right away, but if you let it chill in the refrigerator for a while the sugar gets absorbed into the dressing more. So it has a smoother mouthfeel.

Once you toss the salad, the lettuce will start to wilt. So, if you don’t think you will eat it all in one sitting, serve it without tossing it.

However, if it is tossed and you have leftover, just cover it and put it in the fridge. It will still be tasty for the next day or two, just add a little more fresh lettuce to perk it up a bit.

Substitution Ideas

As with most recipes, the way it is written in the card is our favorite way to enjoy it. But, there are so many fabulous ways to make it your own.

Mix and match what is in the recipe card with some of these ideas to make your perfect salad. Maybe you just change a few things out and keep it seven layers, or add more and make it a 10 or 12 layer salad. It’s up to you!

  • chopped celery
  • cucumber
  • carrots
  • Parmesan cheese
  • cubed ham
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes
  • bell pepper
  • spinach

More Great Salad Recipes

If you like layered salads, you can try making a layered fruit salad. It has lots of fresh fruit with a pudding and pineapple layer on top that acts as a dressing.

Frito salad is another potluck favorite. It is another recipe that was a hit when I was a kid and is still fabulous today.

Check out my full collection of salad recipes for more tasty inspiration. There are plenty of green salads like this one and fun potato and pasta salads too.

Glass trifle bowl filled with a big layer of lettuce topped with peas, cauliflower, onion, eggs, bacon, and a creamy dressing making a seven layer salad.

Seven Layer Salad

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Seven layer salad, also known as overnight salad, is a creamy and delicious make ahead salad that is hard to beat. It is perfect for potlucks, parties and more. Plus you can customize it with your favorite salad ingredients.
5 from 2 ratings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 6-8 cups chopped lettuce gently packed
  • 12 ounces frozen peas thawed
  • ¼ cup red onion finely diced
  • 2 cups cauliflower chopped
  • 1 pound bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 6 hard boiled eggs diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Spread the lettuce in the bottom of a trifle bowl or 9×13-inch pan.
    6-8 cups chopped lettuce
  • Evenly distribute the salad toppings over the lettuce.
    12 ounces frozen peas, ¼ cup red onion, 2 cups cauliflower, 1 pound bacon, 6 hard boiled eggs
  • Stir together the mayonnaise and sugar. Spread over the top of the salad.
    1 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Sprinkle cheese over the dressing. Cover and refrigerate 4-24 hours.
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Serve as is or toss before serving if desired.


Use your favorite lettuce. Iceberg is traditional, but romaine and leaf lettuce are also great. So is a spring mix or spinach. 


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 12gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 540mgPotassium: 219mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 635IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 98mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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5 from 2 votes
Recipe Rating


Thursday 6th of June 2024

Seven Layers salad is always a favorite and hit.


Wednesday 5th of June 2024

I made this a few weeks ago and just can’t quit. Of course I used honey instead of sugar and homemade mayo because that’s my favorite. I’m so glad you reminded me of this. It’s my new favorite salad


Wednesday 5th of June 2024

I definitely need to start making it more frequently. It is so good!

Sunday 26th of May 2024

What a great recipe!