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The Best Classic Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe

If you need the perfect dish to take to family gatherings, church potluck or barbecue this is the one! This yummy easy side dish is so fast and easy, but is a real crowd pleaser every time!

The Best Classic Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe

As a gal who grew up in the 1980s, I have eaten my fair share of 7 Layered Salad over the years! This was one of my Grandma's go tos when she had all the Grandkids over during the summer!

What You'll Need

Here's the basic rundown of the salad ingredients:

  • The Greens: 2 cups of chopped lettuce (I stick with basic iceberg for this one)
  • The Reds: 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • The Dressing: 1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman's all the way), 1 tbsp sugar
  • The Extras: 1 cup frozen green peas (thawed), 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 6 boiled eggs, 1 cup bacon bits or crispy bacon (you can mix and match if you are missing anything!)
The Best Classic Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe

Equipment: This dish is no-fuss! Grab a sharp knife, cutting board, a medium pot for eggs, and a nice 8-cup glass bowl, large glass bowl or trifle bowl to show off all those layers.

Let's Get Cooking (Kind Of)

  1. Prep work: Chop your lettuce and halve the little tomatoes.
  2. Hard-boiled eggs: While those are ready to go, get those eggs boiling. 10 minutes on the stove, another 10 covered off the heat, then a cold-water rinse for perfect results. Peel and slice those eggs when they're cooled.
  3. Start the layers! Put the lettuce down first, then sprinkle the tomatoes on top.
  4. Time for the homemade dressing: Mix that mayo and sugar and spread it generously over the tomatoes.
  5. More, more, more: Sprinkle those peas on next, followed by a nice cheesy blanket. Then, arrange those sliced or quartered eggs to make a pretty pattern. Finally, the crowning glory – bacon bits!

The Hardest Part: Waiting

Pop your masterpiece into the fridge covered in plastic wrap and let it chill for at least 3 hours. This lets the flavors blend and makes sure it's nice and cool.

Yield: 8

Classic 7 Layer Salad

The Best Classic Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe

Expand your salad repertoire with exciting 7 layered salad recipes – they're easy to assemble and always a crowd-pleaser.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes


  • 2 cups lettuce, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (tastes best with frozen instead of canned)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 boiled eggs, sliced or cut into eighths
  • 1 cup bacon bits


  1. Chop the lettuce and tomatoes.
  2. Add the eggs to a boiling pot of water, and boil for 10 minutes, then cover, remove from heat, and allow to set for 10 minutes. 
  3. Rinse eggs in cold water, until slightly cooled, and then peel. Cut eggs into slices or eighths.
  4. Add the lettuce in the first layer, then the tomatoes on top of the lettuce.
  5. Mix the mayonnaise and sugar in a small bowl, and spread that over the tomatoes for the third layer.
  6. Sprinkle the peas for the fourth layer.
  7. Top the peas with the cheese for the fifth layer.
  8. Arrange the eggs for the 6th layer, then top with bacon bits for the final layer.


Storage: refrigerate

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 165mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 14g

Make It Your Own!

The beauty of a 7 layer salad is how easy it is to customize! Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

  • The Creamy Twist: Swap some of the mayonnaise for sour cream or Greek yogurt for a tangier flavor. You could even replace all of the mayo with these alternatives, just keep in mind you might need to adjust the sugar slightly.
  • Onion-y Goodness: If your family loves diced red onion or chopped green onions, swap them in for a layer or go rogue and add an 8th layer!
  • Lettuce Upgrade: Instead of iceberg, try chopped romaine lettuce for a bit more texture and flavor. (a spring mix is not hearty enough to stand up to this salad)
  • Cheese Please: Get fancy with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese for a salty, savory kick.
  • Sweet or Savory: Trade the mayo for Miracle Whip for a slightly sweeter flavor profile.
  • Veggie Burst: Add a layer of diced red bell pepper or crisp sliced radishes.
  • Zesty Finish: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dusting of paprika over the dressing layer can add a lovely zing. Or, go wild with fresh herbs like dill for a summery feel.

Classic 7 Layer Salad Wrapup

I love watching everyone's faces when I bring out this giant, colorful salad in all different layers. It's guaranteed to bring smiles – and requests for seconds!

The layers of veggies give you satisfying bites of everything, the slight sweetness of the dressing is super addictive, and the bacon adds the perfect savory, smoky crunch.

Let me know if you try my version of this classic, and if you add your own creative twist!

Here are some more of my best salads:

The Best Classic Southern 7 Layer Salad Recipe
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