How to Make the Perfect Southern 7 Layer Salad from Scratch

Are you looking for a dish that combines fresh veggies, cheese, and a creamy mayo-based dressing? Look no further than this Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe!

This classic Southern dish is a stunner that not only comes with traditional presentation but also tastes great too. Made with chopped iceberg lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, green peas, red onion, cheese, crispy bacon bits, and a homemade dressing cheddar cheese, this salad is the perfect way to showcase your love for Southern-style cuisine.

Whether you are hosting a backyard BBQ or having a family get-together, this salad will certainly impress any crowd. It offers not only the perfect balance of fresh vegetables and savory flavors but also has an amazing texture with its layering of ingredients.

So go ahead and try out this Southern 7 Layer Salad at home – I guarantee it will become one of your favorite go-to salad recipes!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern 7 Layer Salad
Southern 7 Layer Salad

Are you tired of the same old boring salads? Do you want to impress your guests with a stunning and delicious dish? Look no further than the Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe! This classic southern dish is sure to wow your taste buds with each layer of flavor.

What makes this recipe so special? Let me break it down for you. First, the layers of crisp iceberg lettuce, juicy grape tomatoes, and savory bacon bits create a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Second, hard-boiled eggs, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced onions add a rich and creamy element to the dish that will make your taste buds sing. And let’s not forget about the sweet peas that bring a pop of color and a hint of sweetness to every bite.

But what really makes this stunner stand out is its presentation. Traditional 7 layer salads are made in a trifle bowl or similar glass container, allowing each vibrant layer to be seen by all. The colorful layers stacked high in a clear bowl make for a true showstopper on any table.

This recipe truly showcases the best of southern cooking – hearty, flavorful, and visually stunning. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile – substitute vegetables or dressings to fit your own taste preferences or dietary needs.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or looking for a salad to enjoy all week long, this Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe is sure to delight!

Ingredient List

 A perfect Southern twist on the classic layered salad
A perfect Southern twist on the classic layered salad

Before we jump in, let’s take a look at all the ingredients needed for this delicious southern 7 layer salad recipe:

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled (or you can use bacon bits)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt or Miracle Whip)
  • 1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix (optional)
  • ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Make sure to have all these ingredients on hand before starting the recipe so you can just focus on making a classic southern seven layer salad that every hostess needs in their repertoire.

The Recipe How-To

 Watch those vibrant layers come together
Watch those vibrant layers come together

Now comes the fun part, let’s make this Southern 7 Layer Salad. This salad is a classic Southern dish that every hostess needs in their go-to recipe box.


Here’s what you need:

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup bacon bits
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Assemble Layers

In trifle bowl or any large clear bowl with straight sides, you can easily see the gorgeous layers of this beauty, start layering ingredients in this order:

  1. Iceberg Lettuce: Spread the lettuce evenly over the bottom of the bowl. This layer will act as the foundation of the salad.
  2. Red Onion: Sprinkle some chopped red onion over the top of the lettuce layer.
  3. Frozen Green Peas: Layer vegetables like green peas or diced carrot over red onion.
  4. Hard Boiled Eggs: Add a layer of chopped boiled eggs on top, helping to balance out sweetness with a bit of savory flavor.
  5. Crisp Bacon Bits: Scatter some crisp bacon bits pieces throughout for extra crunch and heavenly smokiness.
  6. Cheese: Followed by creamy shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. Grape Tomatoes: Decoratively crown the cheese with freshly halved grape tomatoes.


To dress this lovely, whisk together these ingredients:
– 2 cups mayonnaise
– 2 tbsp sour cream or greek yogurt
– 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Pour dressing over salad and smooth it out to coat each ingredient entirely.

Chill Time

Now that your seven layers are assembled and dressed to impress, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight so that flavors meld together.


This salad is perfection all in one bite. Top with extra cheese, bacon bits, green onions, or parsley to add a pop of contrasting color for stunner comes presentation. It reminds me of a vegetable lasagna, where each layer has its flavor and melds perfectly into the next one.

Substitutions and Variations

 The ultimate summer salad that can feed a crowd
The ultimate summer salad that can feed a crowd

Just like any other recipe, you can always add your own twist to make it uniquely yours. The Southern 7 Layer Salad recipe is no exception. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try:

– Protein: Substitute bacon bits with crumbled sausage or diced ham for a more savory taste.

– Cheese: Use your favorite cheese, such as feta, blue cheese or Monterey Jack, in place of the cheddar cheese.

– Dressing: Try using ranch, Greek yogurt or miracle whip instead of mayonnaise-based dressing. For a tangy flavor, add sour cream to the dressing.

– Eggs: Instead of using hard-boiled eggs, try using poached eggs or scrambled eggs.

– Vegetables: You can mix and match vegetables to create a vegetable salad that you love. Add diced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers or corn to the salad for extra crunch and color.

– Greens: Swap iceberg lettuce with romaine lettuce or mixed greens for a different flavor profile.

– Layers: While the traditional Southern 7 Layer Salad has specific layers, feel free to customize your own version! You can add more layers of veggies or cheese if you like.

Remember that the classic Southern 7 Layer Salad recipe is just a guide – feel free to experiment and make it uniquely yours!

Serving and Pairing

 Dig into seven layers of pure crunch and flavor
Dig into seven layers of pure crunch and flavor

When it comes to serving this Southern 7 Layer Salad, it’s all about the presentation. What really sets this stunner apart is how it comes together in layers, which makes for a show-stopping display at any gathering. The presentation of this salad is traditional to the classic 7 layer salad but with a unique twist that showcases every layer of flavors.

Serve this Southern Seven Layer Salad as a side dish or a main course, depending on your preference. You could also use it as a refreshing, midday snack or appetizer. Pair it with anything from grilled chicken or pork chops to a light vegetable soup for a complete and satisfying meal.

Because it’s such an eye-catching dish, the best way to serve this salad is in a clear glass trifle bowl. This way, you can show off the layers and colors of each ingredient, making mouths water and eyes widen. Guests will remember not only how good this salad tastes but also how beautiful it looked when they enjoyed it.

In terms of pairing options, consider offering some crunchy garlic bread on the side for an extra burst of flavor and texture. You could also pair this salad with some light white wine or iced tea to balance out the creaminess of the mayo-based dressing.

No matter how you serve and pair this Southern 7 Layer Salad, you’re sure to impress your guests with its deliciousness and visual appeal.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A feast for both the eyes and the taste buds
A feast for both the eyes and the taste buds

When it comes to making the Southern 7 layer salad, there are a few things you can do in advance to make life a little easier. For starters, you can cook the bacon and boil the eggs ahead of time. Store them separately in airtight containers until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

You can also prepare the dressing up to three days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. If you prefer a tangier dressing, try mixing sour cream or Greek yogurt with mayonnaise and add parmesan cheese for an extra kick.

If you’re looking to make the Southern 7 layer salad a day ahead, consider using a trifle bowl instead of a standard salad bowl. The layers will look beautiful and be easy to see through the clear glass construction. Be sure to keep the salad refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

When storing leftover salad in the fridge, transfer any unused portions into an airtight container immediately after serving. This will help keep it fresh for up to three days. You may want to reserve some of the dressing and add it before serving since the vegetables may release water and dilute the flavors.

Reheating this salad can be tricky since lettuce doesn’t hold up well under heat. We recommend eating any leftovers chilled or at room temperature for best results.

With these make-ahead, storing and reheating tips, your Southern 7 layer salad will stay fresh, delicious and easy-to-make every time!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A colorful and refreshing party in a bowl
A colorful and refreshing party in a bowl

When it comes to making a perfect Southern Seven Layer Salad, there are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years to ensure that it’s a hit every time. One of the most important things is to use fresh ingredients. Choose crispy iceberg lettuce, firm and ripe grape tomatoes, and onions that are not too strong. In addition, using quality bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese will take your salad to the next level.

Another tip is to ensure that each layer is evenly distributed. Take your time when layering and spreading each ingredient so that every forkful contains all seven layers. And when it comes to the dressing, use just enough mayo-based dressing to coat everything, but not so much that it becomes soupy.

To make the salad more visually appealing, try adding some green peas on top for a pop of color. You could also garnish with additional crumbled bacon or chopped green onions for a tasty finishing touch.

If you’re making the salad ahead of time, it’s best to assemble it without the dressing, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add dressing only when just before serving.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make this recipe your own by substituting or adding ingredients that you love. That’s what cooking is all about – creativity and experimentation! With these tips in mind, you’re sure to make a delicious Southern Seven Layer Salad that everyone will enjoy.


Now that you know how to make the classic Southern 7 Layer Salad recipe, you may still have some questions. Don’t worry! As a chef specializing in southern cuisine, I’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this salad that I’ll answer for you.

What is 7 layer salad made of?

If you’re looking to impress your guests with a salad that looks as good as it tastes, you should try the classic 7 layer salad. This salad features a range of colorful and delicious ingredients, including lettuce, peas, tomatoes, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs, and a flavorful dressing. What’s unique about this dish is that rather than being mixed together, each ingredient is layered one on top of the other to create a beautiful and eye-catching presentation.

What are the 7 types of salad?

Salads are a versatile dish that can be customized to suit any taste or preference. Green salads are a great starting point, with lettuce serving as the base. One well-known option is the classic Caesar salad, but the chef salad and Waldorf salad are equally delicious. For a heartier option that still incorporates a variety of fresh veggies, try coleslaw or pasta salad. Bound salads are also a great choice, as they are typically mixed with a cream-based dressing. No matter the type of salad, the possibilities are endless.

What is a seven layer salad from Publix?

For this recipe, we will be using a mix of romaine and iceberg lettuces, combined with flavorful additions like cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, hard-boiled eggs, sweet peas, and diced red onions. The salad will be dressed with a rich and creamy mayo-based dressing to bring out the flavors of all the ingredients.

Where did 7 layer salad come from?

The origins of this beloved seven-layer salad can be traced back to the South in the 1950s, where it was originally known as the seven-layer pea salad. Despite some adaptations over the years, the foundational structure of the salad has remained unchanged.

Bottom Line


As a Southern chef, I highly recommend this Southern 7 Layer Salad recipe to anyone who wants an impressive dish for any gathering. This classic salad has been a staple in every Southern hostess’s arsenal and for good reason. Not only is it packed with flavors and textures that complement each other, but it also comes with a stunning presentation that will amaze your guests.

Whether you choose the traditional 7 layer salad or a variation that suits your taste, this salad recipe will not disappoint. The layers of iceberg lettuce, bacon bits, hard-boiled eggs, peas, cheese, and onions provide a refreshing balance of crunchiness and creaminess that will keep you coming back for more.

With minimal prep work and some key substitutions, you can customize this salad to fit any occasion. Swap the mayo-based dressing with Greek yogurt or Miracle Whip for a healthier version. Experiment with different types of cheese, garnishes or toppings to suit your taste.

Once you try this delicious salad recipe, it will quickly become your go-to dish every time you need to impress your guests or feed a crowd. So go ahead and give it a try – I guarantee that it will be one of the best salads you have ever tasted!

Southern 7 Layer Salad

Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe

Got the recipe second hand. The original recipe came from Theresa D.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 108.9 kcal


  • carrots shreded - 8 carrot
  • iceberg lettuce, - 1 head shreded
  • peas - 1 small defrosted bag frozen peas
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits


  • Fill a large bowl with the shredded Ice Berg Lettuce (Do not substitute anything else, otherwise it will get mushy).
  • Layer the carrots on top of the lettuce.
  • Then layer in the defrosted peas.
  • Over the peas layer in the onions.
  • Then completely seal the whole salad with a thick whole egg mayonnaise. Mound the mayonnaise in the middle of the salad and spread to the outside of the bowl, like icing a cake. It is important to remember to completely seal the bowl with mayonnaise in order for the flavors to blend properly.
  • On top of the mayonnaise spread the shredded cheese around the outside of the bowl (in a ring).
  • Then spread the bacon bits around in the middle. Don't use real bacon because you need the strong flavor and crunch of the soy-based Bacon Bits.
  • Tightly seal with plastic wrap let it sit in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours before serving.
  • Leftover salad is great the next day.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 67gCalories: 108.9kcalCarbohydrates: 4.4gProtein: 6.4gFat: 7.3gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19.2mgSodium: 324.2mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Salad Dressings
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