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Seven Layer Salad (Make Ahead!)

This seven layer salad is a staple at all our family holiday dinners like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. It also shows up at potlucks and barbecues throughout the year. It’s so good, so easy, and it’s a make ahead salad so its a total time saver for when your hosting dinner.

The layered salad idea isn’t a new one. Its a side dish that has been to every kind of potluck you can think of from funerals, baby showers and backyard barbecues. Many families have their own version of how they make this favorite and this is ours. 🙂 

We always make this recipe with turkey dinner and often when we do a ham and scalloped potatoes dinner. We are sure it will become your favorite salad too. Trust us and give it a go!

What You Need

  • a glass bowl to make the salad in so you can see all the layers
  • long serving tools (spoons or forks)
  • a pot for making the hard boiled eggs

What makes the layers in layered salad?

Our version tends to lean toward traditional, but its “always” done this way because its so damn good.

  • 1st layer (on the bottom): crispy romaine lettuce
  • 2nd layer: buttery hard boiled eggs
  • 3rd layer: sweet little peas
  • 4th layer: then a layer of dressing
  • 5th layer: my favorite Gruyere cheese (of you can use what you like)
  • 6th layer: crispy bits of smoky bacon
  • 7th layer: fresh chives.

Then when you take a portion and put it on your plate, it all gets mixed together and the combination of flavors is outstanding. It’s quite a pretty salad too and the dressing couldn’t be easier.

Layer Tip: If you want to add onions, you would add them before the hard boiled eggs or the peas.

Layer Options

Don’t think that you have to stick to the layers that we always have in our salad. Feel free to experiment a bit if you like to suit your own tastes.  Some options for layers are:

  • iceberg lettuce
  • tomatoes,
  • red onions,
  • avocado,
  • peppers,
  • mushrooms,
  • carrots,
  • celery…
  • ground beef or turkey
  • add chopped ham instead of bacon

The list could go on, but you get the drift.  You can also change up the cheese if you like.  Gruyere is my personal favorite, which you know if you read this blog often, but you could go with cheddar,  monterey jack, emmental, or anything else that you can easily grate.

Can You Make It Ahead of Time?

Yes!  One thing we love about this salad is that you can make it ahead of time and throw it in the fridge. It won’t get soggy or wilted since the dressing is separated from the greens.

This makes it an idea salad for any dinner party you are hosting. Anything you can do ahead of time is golden!

We don’t recommend making it more than 1 day ahead of time though. Any longer and things wont taste as fresh.

How Long Will It Last?

As long as you don’t mix the layers, a layered salad will last up to 24 hour and still be super crisp and perfect. There’s a good chance it will last a little longer, but its best within 24 hours.

How To Serve This Salad

Don’t mix it up. This is one salad that you don’t toss! You just serve it with two spoons and tell people to dig down to the bottom to get a little bit of all the layers. Then it will mix on their plate!

Since the layers don’t get mixed, this salad makes pretty good leftovers too! I personally love this salad the next day too!

I wouldn’t be surprised if this salad, or some variation of it, becomes a staple at your family dinners too.  Enjoy!

Best Dish for Serving

You want a glass bowl preferably with straight or semi-straight sides. These are great:

Other Salads You Might Like

If you’ve tried this layered salad then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it turned out in the comments below.  We love hearing from you!

We love to see your creations!  Tag @Cookswithcocktails if you post a picture of this recipe on INSTAGRAM

Seven Layer Salad

This seven layer salad is a staple at all our holiday family dinners. It's so good, so easy, and you can make it ahead of time so its great for saving time or when you are asked to "bring a dish".
4.50 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: layered salad, seven layer salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 hours
chill in the fridge: 4 hours
Servings: 10
Calories: 297kcal
Author: Julie & Debbie


  • 5 cups romaine lettuce hearts washed and chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs sliced
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
  • 5-6 slices cooked bacon diced, cooked and fat drained
  • 3-4 tbsp chives or green onions


  • Get out a large glass bowl. Its best if the sides are at least 6 inches high.
  • Place the chopped romaine in the bowl first.
  • Slice up the hard boiled eggs in rounds and arrange them on top of the romaine in a layer.
  • Sprinkle the peas on top of the eggs.
  • Place dollops of the mayonnaise around the salad on top of the peas and then spread it to cover the whole top of the pea layer.
  • Sprinkle the salad with the cheese, bacon and chives or green onions.
  • Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

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