This Seven Layer Salad recipe features a myriad of color and flavors. It's a potluck classic that spans generations and gets better and better every time it's made. It's not only delicious but adds color and visual interest to the table, too.
Easy Seven Layer Salad Recipe
I'm certain you've heard the old adage that we eat with our eyes first. It's completely true, the more attractive and eye catching a dish is, the more people are enticed to try it. I suppose that fact has influenced my love of savory and sweet recipes to make using my trifle bowls. Savory layer salads like my Chicken Bacon Ranch Layer Salad and BLT Penne Pasta Layer Salad are examples of some of my favorites. Not only are they scrumptious but, they also add an element of height to the table that makes them so attractive to include on the menu.
How to Make a Seven Layer Salad
While this is called Seven Layer Salad I've added a couple of extra layers to the mix for my layer salad. It's not only ingredients that we love to eat, but I wanted to show the flexibility you have and the ability to personalize the the layers. The flavors meld together beautifully and it's bound to become a family favorite. When making this kind of layer salad there are a few things to remember:
- What's in a seven layer salad? It's a salad made famous at potlucks that combines layers of lettuce, onion, boiled eggs, tomatoes, bacon and shredded cheese with peas drizzled with a homemade dressing. You'll note, I added black olives and red bell peppers.
- Which lettuce is best for layer salads? It's best to use a hearty lettuce so it maintains its integrity. Green leaf lettuce, romaine or iceberg works best. This is the one salad that doesn't do well with a gourmet Spring mix.
- The dressing can be made in advance and kept chilled until you're ready to assemble.
- What's the easiest way to prep the bacon? Instead of frying the bacon, I bake it while I prepare the rest of the ingredients to save time. See how to make bacon in the oven here.
- Can I make this salad in advance? Classic Seven Layer Salad is intended to be chilled overnight. If you plan on having it for dinner, it's perfectly fine to assemble it earlier in the day then cover with plastic wrap and pop it into the refrigerator to chill.
- Can I thin the dressing? You can thin the dressing but please note, it's designed to be a bit thicker so as not to cause the salad ingredients to become soggy. If you're concerned, you may opt to pour half on top, then save the rest for serving on the side for those who may want a bit more dressing for their salad.
- When creating the layers, have fun and add other fresh vegetables that you like. Switch out the bell peppers for chopped poblano or jalapenos to add a little kick. You can also add a layer of sliced mushrooms in place of the olives, if you prefer. No matter how many layers it ends up having, I still call it Seven Layer Salad. After all, who's counting, anyway.
More Eye Catching Layer Salads
I have trifle bowls in a plethora of sizes specifically for dessert trifles and layer salads. Some of my visitors tell me they use my Layered Southwestern Cornbread Salad as a dip with tortilla chips. How fun! A couple of other recipes to add to your layer salad menu is this Layered Greek Salad and Layered Taco Salad perfect for your next potluck party.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Seven Layer Salad
- 8 large eggs boiled and quartered
- 12 oz bacon cooked and crumbled
- 10 cups roughly chopped green leaf lettuce
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 12 oz frozen petite peas thawed
- 1 4 oz can sliced black olives drained
- 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 8 oz block colby-jack or sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 ½ cups real mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 tsp lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 green onion thinly sliced
- Place eggs in a large pot in a single layer. Fill with enough water to cover tops by one inch. Heat to boiling, then remove from heat and cover. Let stand 12 minutes.
- Drain and rinse under cool water until cool enough to handle. Peel cooked eggs and cut into wedges or chop. Set aside.
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp then move to paper towels to drain and cool.
- To make dressing: In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, cider vinegar, sugar, garlic salt, lemon pepper and onion powder until fully combined.
- To assemble salad: In a large trifle or salad bowl begin with a bottom layer using ½ total amount shredded lettuce, then onion, cherry tomatoes, and eggs. Drizzle with about ½ of dressing.
- Next, begin layering again, with remaining ½ lettuce, then olives, peas and bell pepper. Spread remaining dressing evenly on top.
- Finish by sprinkling with shredded cheese and bacon. Garnish with green onion, if desired.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 8 hours or overnight.