Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad

July 27, 2015
Got a crowd to feed for a summer {or any time} get-together?  Look no further than this Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad as your go-to dish.  With it's make-ahead convenience, ample size, and fantastic flavors, it's perfect for backyard barbecues, potlucks, or the random Sunday get-together.

Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad

I don't know about you, but I'm a total sucker for a beautiful make-ahead layered picnic salad.  You know, the ones layered with iceberg lettuce, peas, and all kinds of other goodies, slathered with a thick layer of creamy dressing all over the top, and then allowed to stand for several hours or overnight to let the flavors meld?

I think it's so fun {& tasty} to break through those layers at serving time!

I was first introduced to these layered beauties by a friend who brought a meal while I was recovering from surgery a few years back.  One of the dishes she brought was a make-ahead layered picnic salad.  And I immediately  fell in love.

I mean, who wouldn't?  That salad was packed with so many delicious things.

Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad Ingredients

The layers were simply gorgeous.

Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad

And there's just something magical about how delicious the creamy top layer of dressing is, and how beautifully it combines with and flavors the vegetable layers once you dig into it with a serving spoon.

Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad Dressing

I was hooked.  And have been a make-ahead layered picnic salad fan ever since.

Now, this version isn't the exact version my friend was so kind to spoil me with.  No, this version is a bit spicier ... getting a great zing in the dressing from a bit of Frank's cayenne pepper sauce ... and includes a layer of blue cheese crumbles.

And my oh my, is it ever good!

I highly recommend when you've got a crowd to feed ... for fabulous flavor, make-ahead convenience, and a stunningly beautiful dish to serve up ... look to Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad as your go-to dish.

Trust me, you and your taste buds will be glad you did.

Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad

Make-Ahead Layered Picnic Salad
Source:  Adapted from The Best of America's Test Kitchen, 2009
(Printable recipe)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped {about 8 c.}
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 (12 oz.) package frozen peas, thawed {about 1 1/2 c.}
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, halved, seeded, & thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles {about 1 c.}
  • 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. Frank's Red Hot sauce
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  1. Place half of the lettuce in a large glass serving bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Layer remaining salad ingredients over lettuce in this order: onion, eggs, peas, celery, bell pepper, and cucumber. Add remaining lettuce and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle top with bacon and blue cheese crumbles.
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl; stirring until well mixed. Spread over top of the salad.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours.

Please enjoy these other picnic-perfect salads from The Kitchen is My Playground ...


  1. Love, love this salad. I had forgotten about it. I use cheddar cheese instead of the blue cheese, and then I add dry Ranch dressing to the mayo on top. Yummy!

    1. Oooooh, that does sound yummy with the Ranch. I'm a big fan of this picnic salad, too!

  2. Your Picnic Salad would just be awesome, I am so happy to have the recipe. We always enjoy your post at Full Plate Thursday and thanks so much for sharing them with us. Hope you have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. Oh my and Yes Please! Your salad is gorgeous...your photos very inviting. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Potluck? Did I miss seeing a link back to the party? Sure do love this! =)


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