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30-Minutes 7-Layer Salad

This easy 7 layer salad is a classic potluck and entertaining favorite made even better with all the best layers! With lettuce, peas, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped eggs, and lots of bacon, cheese, and a heavenly creamy dressing, your guests will be fighting over the last of this make-ahead layered salad side!

What Makes This Recipe So Good

This classic recipe is the perfect summer salad. Fresh produce topped with a creamy, tangy dressing and crisp, savory bacon. YUM.
It’s super easy to make, and it’s pretty to look at! Absolutely the go-to salad when you want a side that’s tasty and also aesthetically pleasing. Bring this one along when you want to wow a group without a ton of effort.
It’s an easy recipe to personalize. You can adjust the quantities on the ingredients below or swap something out entirely, replacing it with your favorites. Want to make a 7 layer salad that the vegans in your group will love, too? No problem! Swap out the cheddar cheese for vegan cheese, leave out the eggs, and use plant-based bacon bits or pieces. McCormick Bac’n Pieces are vegan! You can also just sub the dressing with the vegan dressing of your choice.
You could make this the night before your event! Yup, 7 layer salad is a pretty good make-ahead option. Just make sure to cover it with plastic wrap and seal it tightly. The tomatoes could make the other ingredients wet if they sit too long, so if you’re making this more than 12 hours in advance, you might leave them out, adding them to the top just before serving. I’d also recommend leaving the bacon off until just before serving, so it stays crispy.

Chef’s Tips

Depending on the size of your bowl, you may not use the entire amount of each ingredient in this recipe. Adjust the quantities as needed!
The bowl you use for your 7 layer salad will really make a difference! The easiest bowls to work with are ones that have flat bottoms and straight, tall sides – like a trifle bowl! That’s just an example, if you don’t have a trifle bowl, any bowl that matches the description will work. It doesn’t have to be a glass dish either, but glass will show off the layers of your salad!
If you’re not using pre-cooked bacon or bacon pieces on top of your 7 layer salad, there are quite a few methods you can use to cook yours! Bacon in the air fryer is super easy and pretty much hands-off, but you could also opt for this oven-baked method!
For perfect hard-boiled eggs every single time, try my air fryer or Instant Pot methods, or use my easy stovetop method!
The dressing for your 7 layer salad doesn’t have to be chilled, but if you’ve got the time, I recommend it! Chilling the dressing for at least 30 minutes gives the flavors time to develop, making it a little tangier than if you mix it up immediately before you construct your salad.

Ingredients

1 pound bacon
(1) large head iceberg lettuce (totally rinsed, dried, and chopped)
(1) red onion, chopped
(1) (10 oz) package frozen green peas, thawed
(10 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped cauliflower
(1 ¼) cups mayonnaise
2 tbsp white sugar
⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese

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Directions:

Add bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Crumble and set aside

Place the chopped lettuce in a large flat bowl, layer with onion, peas, shredded cheese, cauliflower, and bacon on top.

Prepare your dressing by whisking the mayonnaise, sugar, and Parmesan cheese together. Drizzle over salad, refrigerate until chilled.

Notes:
Unfortunately, freezing a layered salad (or any salad recipe) is not a good idea. Frozen vegetables are mushy, and after you thaw it, the mayonnaise split and separate.

The perfect time to make overnight layered salad is the night before or at most four hours. Any sooner and the dressing will make the salad a little soggy. Make sure to carefully arrange it, scoop the dressing over the rim, cover it with plastic wrap or in a jar with a tightly sealed lid, and keep it cold until ready to serve.

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