Make-Ahead Layered Salad {For a Crowd}

May 24, 2017
When feeding a crowd, we all love to have a few tricks up our sleeve to make preparation easier, right?  Make-Ahead Layered Salad is one of my favorite feed-a-crowd tricks! With make-ahead convenience and fabulous flavor, it's perfect for all those summer cookouts and get-togethers.

Make-Ahead Layered Salad {For a Crowd} ~ With make-ahead convenience and fabulous flavor, this is perfect for those summer cookouts & get-togethers.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, the unofficial start of summer is upon us!  And what comes along with summer?  Cookouts and tons of summer get-togethers, for sure.

Thinking back to my childhood, I have very fond memories of summer cookouts at our house.  And it seemed that our house was one of those houses that always unexpectedly picked up an extra friend or two for dinner.

But when we had these unexpected extra guests or hosted a family get-together, my Mom always made it look effortless to feed a crowd.  Looking back, I'm in awe of Mom's grace and ease with which she cooked for and fed a crowd.

Because for me?  Feeding a crowd is certainly not effortless!

Nope.  For me, cooking for and feeding a crowd is hard.

Which is why I'm always on the lookout for dishes that make feeding a crowd easier.  Like this Make-Ahead Layered Salad.  Not only is it super tasty, it's gorgeous, too.

When feeding a crowd, we all love to have a few tricks up our sleeve to make preparation easier, right?  Make-Ahead Layered Salad is one of my favorite feed-a-crowd tricks! With make-ahead convenience and fabulous flavor, it's perfect for all those summer cookouts and get-togethers.

So what makes this layered salad a perfect "trick" for feeding a feeding a crowd?

First, it makes a size-able salad so there will certainly be enough to go around.  Second, it can be prepared ahead of time ... as early as the morning before serving ... and refrigerated until serving time.  When feeding a crowd, you've just got to love make-ahead convenience, right?  Finally, it packs great flavor from a wonderful mix of ingredients and an herb-packed Ranch-type dressing.

Not to mention, this layered salad's beautiful, too.

To prepare it, simply layer chopped iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, chopped celery and red onion, and thawed frozen peas in a pretty glass trifle or serving bowl.  Then spread on a layer of homemade herb-packed dressing.

Dressing for Make-Ahead Layered Salad for a crowd.

Top the dressing layer with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese and crispy crumbled bacon.

Making Layered Salad for a crowd.

Then, without tossing everything together, cover and refrigerate the salad until serving time.  And you've got one tasty salad prepared with make-ahead convenience that's perfect for a cookout or get-together crowd.

Now, maybe Mom didn't actually have her feed-a-crowd act together as much as I perceived ... perhaps it was all a clever facade.  But she sure made it look easy!

As for me, I'll be relying on "tricks" like this Make-Ahead Layered Salad when it's my turn to feed a crowd.

Layered Salad is beautiful prepared in a glass serving or trifle bowl.
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Make-Ahead Layered Salad {For a Crowd}
(Printable recipe)
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1 T. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. chopped iceberg lettuce {about 1 small head ... or Romaine works too, if you'd prefer}
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 c. chopped red onion
  • 1 medium cucumber, unpeeled & thinly sliced
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 ½ c. (about 6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese {I shred my own because I think it has better flavor}
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled
  1. PREPARE THE DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, parsley, chives, dill weed, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  2. PREPARE THE SALAD: In a glass serving bowl, layer the lettuce, carrots, cucumber, onion, and peas. {Do not toss.}
  3. Pour dressing mixture evenly over the peas. Sprinkle cheese and then bacon on top.
  4. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  5. At serving time, serve as-is {leaving it layered} OR toss together just before serving, if desired.

Follow along with our deliciousness on Pinterest!
Visit Tracey ~ The Kitchen is My Playground's profile on Pinterest.
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This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.


  1. This is a great idea for the weekend BBQ's. I am always looking for easy recipes to make.

    1. I agree, Leslie! Don't you just love dishes that make our life a little easier? :-)

  2. Tracey, this salad looks fantastic and looks like it tastes fantastic too. I love all of the ingredients and that it can be made a little ahead of time. It's funny how you said that your mom made it look so easy to feed a crowd, but that you don't think it is so easy. I feel the same way. I wonder how my mom was so nonchalant about making sure that there was food for everyone when a crowd showed up. I'm pinning and sharing this salad. Thank you for sharing on the Pin Junkie Link Party.

  3. Love your layered salad. It makes a great presentation and very appealing for a party.

  4. This layred salad looks so delicious! I'm organizing a small family lunch on saturday, and I'm definitely making this salad. Just picke the first green peas, dill and carronts form my garden yesterday, amnd till the next weekend there will be even more freshe herbs and veggies :) Thank you for sharing this gorgeous recipe!
    Kate from Fast Landscape Gardening

  5. This is a delicious salad! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Hope you are having a great week and come back to see us real soon.
    Miz Helen

  6. Hi Tracey: Thanks SO MUCH for posting the recipe for Make Ahead Layered Salad. I've been looking for this recipe for quite some time, ever since I misplaced mine. Yours is the recipe which I remember from way back, so thanks again. Your other picnic salads also look and sound amazing.... so I'll try several of them. The Pea Salad will be next, followed by the Picnic Salad (among others).

  7. I'm always on the hunt for large yield recipes and I don't know why I've never made this. Pinned so I don't lose it. Thank you for sharing with us at Celebrate Your Story, and have a great weekend.

  8. My daddy loves this salad -- but, I've never made it! This reminds me of the Sunday afternoons spent at Piccadilly Cafeteria, where he would order it. Thanks for sharing! Happy Thursday!

  9. What a lovely and delicious looking salad!

  10. Gorgeous! Thanks so much for joining us on Friday Frenzy! P~


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