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This 7 Layer Salad recipe is a classic that will be the hit of your next potluck, BBQ, or summer party! Lettuce is layered with fresh veggies like bell peppers, celery, and green onions and finished with cheese, salty bacon, green peas, and ranch dressing. Plus, you can make this layered salad up to a day in advance!

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layered salad in a clear bowl showing lettuce and dressing and meat and cheese
Table of Contents
  1. Classic 7 Layered Salad Recipe
  2. What’s in Layered Pea Salad?
  3. How to make 7 Layered Salad
  4. Expert Tip
  5. 7 Layer Salad Variations
  6. Other Favorite Potluck Salads
  7. 7 Layer Salad Recipe Recipe

Classic 7 Layered Salad Recipe

There’s a reason 7 layer salad is a classic – the combination of flavors, and crunchy textures are always a crowd pleaser! If you’ve never tried it, I think you’ll love it. No church potluck, family gathering, or BBQ is complete without this crisp, cool, layered lettuce salad.

There are a lot of variations for this layered salad with peas, but they all have one thing in common – they have seven distinct layers and some kind of creamy dressing. This kind of salad is often centerstage at gatherings – it’s pretty and delicious!

Maybe you’ve seen Pioneer Woman seven-layer salad recipe with eggs or other versions with all kinds of different salad ingredients? From Betty Crocker to Paula Deen, everyone seems to have their spin on this retro salad. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Close to the original southern version with most of the standard ingredients. The only difference is I don’t add eggs and tomatoes, but it’s just as delicious!
  • This is a favorite salad of mine because it’s an easy recipe that is layered instead of tossed. It makes a great make-ahead delicious side dish because the dressing is on top of the salad, so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy on the bottom.
  • Of course, you’re welcome to add ingredients based on your personal preference.
  • It’s great for special occasions, holiday meals, or anytime you need a salad for large gatherings – this classic recipe is always a family favorite during the summer months.
overhead shot of the ingredients separated with words over the ingredients saying what they are

What’s in Layered Pea Salad?

Peas: You can use thawed frozen green peas or fresh green peas

Bacon: Cook it until it’s crisp.

Lettuce: Shredded or chopped romaine lettuce or swap iceberg

Green layers: Chopped celery, green onion, and green peppers

Dressing: Plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, Ranch Dressing Mix

Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese is the best!

overhead shot of meat and cheese on top of the salad in a clear bowl

How to make 7 Layered Salad

Cook the peas following the package instructions. Drain them and allow them to cool.

  1. Cook the bacon until it’s crispy. Drain it on a plate lined with paper towels and then crumble it into small pieces.
  2. Place the chopped lettuce in a clear glass bowl or large trifle bowl. Layer the celery, green onion, and green bell peppers, and finish the layers with the cooled peas.
  3. Combine the yogurt, sour cream, and ranch seasoning in a small bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients and then spread the mixture over the top of the peas. Top the salad dressing with the crumbled bacon and shredded cheese.
  4. Cover the layered pea salad with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. 
  5. You can make it up to a day in advance, so it’s easy to serve the next day – just set it out with a serving spoon with a long handle so everyone can get a big scoop.
some salad sitting on a white plate with a silver fork

Expert Tip

I highly recommend serving it in a big glass dish or a trifle dish so you can see all the colorful layers.

7 Layer Salad Variations

Different traditional 7 layer salads usually don’t stray far from the original, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your twist on it. It always starts with lettuce, but the rest of the ingredients can easily be switched. As long as it has seven layers, you’re good! Here are some variations you might like to try:

  • Lettuce: Instead of romaine, use your favorite leafy greens. I don’t recommend anything too hearty like kale or chard, but crispy head lettuce like green leaf, baby spinach, spring greens, and iceberg lettuce are all good choices. You can also do a mix of greens.
  • Other veggies: Any kind of fresh bell peppers or red onions would be delicious. I’ve seen layered pea salad recipes with broccoli, cauliflower, and English cucumber, too! 
  • Cheese: Swap the sharp cheddar cheese with your favorite shredded cheese like Monterey jack, pepper jack, American cheese, blue cheese, Parmesan cheese, or Swiss cheese.
  • Dressing: Instead of yogurt or sour cream, use the same amount of mayonnaise. You can use Miracle Whip, too, but the dressing will be a lot sweeter. You can also use another kind of creamy dressing if you prefer.
  • More ideas: Try a layer of black beans or water chestnuts in this salad. You can also sprinkle some chopped fresh herbs over the top.
  • Mini 7 layer salad: For a fun twist, instead of layering the salad in a large bowl, portion out mini salads in dishes or large cups for individual servings.

Other Favorite Potluck Salads

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layered salad in a clear bowl showing lettuce and dressing and meat and cheese

7 Layer Salad Recipe

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7 Layer Salad is a multi-layered pea salad. Great for groups!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 8
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 10 ounces frozen peas
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1 head romaine lettuce shredded or chopped small
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 packet ranch dressing
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Cook peas according to package direction and drain well. Set aside to cool.
  • Cook bacon until crispy, drain and crumble. Set aside.
  • Add the lettuce to a large glass bowl. Layer celery, green onion, and green pepper. Add the cooled peas.
  • Stir together yogurt and sour cream, add ranch dressing packet and stir to combine. Spread yogurt mixture over the top of the peas to the edges of the bowl. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and cheese.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. May be prepared 24 hours ahead of serving time.

Recipe Notes

  • You can substitute mayonnaise for the yogurt or sour cream, if you prefer.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 996IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword 30 minute meal, salad
layered salad in a clear bowl showing lettuce and dressing and meat and cheese with words on the photo

7 Layer Salad is a layered pea salad with 7 layers of amazing flavor – bacon and cheese and a creamy dressing. This is the perfect salad recipe for potlucks!

Dorothy Kern

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