That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar - the classic, retro picnic salad you can meal prep

Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar

Home » 160+ Side Dishes » Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar

These tasty, beautiful Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar are an updated Meal Prep version of a popular retro salad from my childhood. The classic 7-layer salad is made in a large glass bowl to showcase each and every layer, but these mini versions are perfectly proportioned for one serving!

These Meal Prep Salads have the advantage of being portable, making them perfect to take to work! One for today, then another for the next day if you don’t want to share!

Two Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar, one with the lid off

Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar

I loved the original version of the 7-layer salad that debuted sometime in the 1950s if I were to hazard a guess. The salad’s history has been traced back to the south where it was referred to as a 7-layer pea salad because of the requisite layer of vibrant green peas.

The hubby is always excited when this delicious combination is on the menu; I’m pretty sure the bacon seals the deal. This “salad” is nowhere near health food, but worth a splurge every now and then.

Preferably served in a glass bowl to showcase each separate layer, this 7 Layer Salad Recipe was de rigeur in the 1970’s when I was growing up. I’ve brought a modern, meal prep version to the table today by making a couple of individual servings in mason jars to have ready for lunches or a dinner side.

Overhead view of 2 Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar

How to Make 7 Layer Salads

I started with lettuce, then salad dressing, tomatoes, peas, red onion, cheese and finally bacon. Optional ingredients include hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, mushrooms and I’ve even added diced artichoke hearts. Whatever your heart desires.

I add the lettuce before the dressing, so you don’t lose one drop of the creamy topping. To serve, just flip out the contents of the jar onto your plate and dig in!

Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar removed to a white salad plate

Meal Prep Dinners

Here are a few more “Meal Prep” dinner ideas that you may want to add to your menu. My 7-Layer Salads in a Jar along with a few other easy entrees will help lighten the load at the end of a busy day!

For another fun, mini salad, check out these Mediterranean Endive Boats!


Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar - Meal Prep salad for lunch or dinner!

The Recipe: 7-Layer Salads in a Jar

The retro 7-layer salad made in single serving mason jars!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 2



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used Morton's Nature's Seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan


  • 1-2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion (I soak in ice water while prepping ingredients to remove some of the bite)
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


Whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste and add more sugar or seasoning salt if needed.

Divide ingredients between 2 mason jars (about 2 cup capacity), starting with lettuce, then 2-3 tablespoons salad dressing, tomatoes, peas, onion, cheese and finally the bacon.

Feel free to add other favorite ingredients or add more or less of each to your tastes.


Save leftover dressing for a wedge salad or a simple green salad.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 935Total Fat: 78gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 47gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 1498mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 15gProtein: 34g


Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

15 comments on “Make Ahead 7-Layer Salads in a Jar”

  1. Such a smart lunch idea, love the layers!

  2. Sounds like a great way to take salad for lunch!

  3. I love salads in a jar, but this one, with bacon…so yummy!

  4. Mason jar salads are the best! I need to try your combination of flavors!

  5. Somehow I’ve never heard of a 7-layer salad! And I think I’ve been completely deprived because it sounds delicious–and I love the idea of prepping it in jars! Food in jars tastes better than food in a bowl 🙂

  6. That does it! I will have to try jar salads now. These look fabulous!

  7. Salad season is just around the corner. I love that you made the dressing too for these lovely layers!

  8. What a great idea! I just made a big 7 layer like salad and had to eat the whole thing for a few days because my husband and son do not like salads like I do. Anyway, next time I’m doing this. I have thing about eating out of cups and jars. I just love to do it so this is perfect!

  9. Your salad dressing sounds like a winner Liz! The jars look pretty too:@)

  10. Delicious and good for you! I am drooling over those crispy bacon bites 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.