How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

Here’s the best way to make mason jar salads. They’re quick and easy and perfect for meal prep. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your lettuce getting soggy or bringing a separate container for dressing!

I’ve already shared multiple mason jar salad recipes on the blog like this chicken avocado club salad and this beet power salad, but I wanted to share an actual ‘how to’ resource for building salads in a jar! They’re so fun to make and great for taking on the go. Any salad can be prepped in a mason jar – have fun with creating your own but use this guide to make sure you keep your salad nice and fresh!

Two mason jar salads side by side, a hand is removing the lid of one jar.

Why You’ll Love Mason Jar Salads

  • They’re perfect for meal prep! Prep a big batch of salad over the weekend, store them in five separate mason jars and you’ll have a salad for each day of the week!
  • They’re perfect for a convenient, grab-and-go meal option.
  • The flavor combos are endless so you’ll never get bored!
cropped-salad-jar-group-stacked-jars.jpg

What Are Mason Jar Salads?

Mason jar salads are exactly how they sound a salad in a mason jar! They are great for meal prepping and make for an awesome portable lunch or dinner option throughout the week. They can be customized to your liking, but they usually consist of four main ingredients: leafy greens, vegetables, protein and a dressing. Other additions can include grains, seeds, nuts, fruit, cheese, etc.

The main component of a mason jar salad is layering the ingredients vertically in a certain order so they don’t get soggy. The dressing goes at the bottom, followed by crunchy vegetables, protein, softer veggies, grains, cheese, nuts and lettuce at the top.

Collage of 9 photos showing mason jars being layered with salad ingredients.

How to Make The Perfect Mason Jar Salad

  1. Start by putting 2 Tablespoons of dressing into the bottom of the jar.
  2. Add items that will respond well to marinating in the dressing:
    • cucumbers
    • squash
    • mushrooms
    • carrots
    • beets
    • onions
    • celery
    • cabbage
  3. Add your protein:
    • chicken breast
    • chickpeas
    • black beans
    • tofu
    • tempeh
    • canned tuna
    • shrimp
    • hard boiled eggs
  4. Add remaining veggies:
    • cherry tomatoes
    • red bell pepper
    • broccoli
    • broccoli slaw
  5. Add grains:
    • quinoa
    • farro
    • rice
    • pasta
  6. Add remaining ingredients:
    • cheese (feta cheese, cheddar cheese, fresh mozzarella, etc.)
    • nuts
    • fruit
    • avocado sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
  7. Add greens:
    • spring mix
    • romaine lettuce
    • baby spinach
    • kale
Mason jar salad served in a bowl.

Pro Tips

  • The dressing goes at the bottom of the jar. Make sure you add your dressing to the bottom of the jar first! The ingredients you add next will be touching/soaking in the dressing so they should be hearty veggies that will do well marinating so they don’t get soggy.
  • Use wide-mouth jars. It’s much easier to get the ingredients in and out of the jars with a wide mouth. I like the wide-mouth quart Ball jars for meal-sized salads, but the wide-mouth pint jars work for smaller side salads.
  • Go for pre-cooked and pre-chopped for a shortcut. If you’re looking to save some time when prepping these salads, you can easily grab store-bought dressing, pre-chopped veggies, pre-cooked grains and rotisserie chicken (if using chicken) at the store. Then all you have to do is layer your ingredients in the mason jars and store. Easy peasy!
  • Leave a little room at the top. You want to leave a little room at the top of the jar so you can shake it up right before serving. It helps make sure all parts of the salad have some dressing.
  • Have fun! Feel free to experiment with different dressings, veggies, protein, and toppings!
  • Pour the salad into a bowl to eat. You can totally eat the salad out of the jar, but they are a little deep for forks so I like pouring the salad into a bowl.
  • Store these salads upright in the fridge. If they’re stored on their side or tipped over, the dressing will leak up to the top and may cause your greens to get soggy.
Topping mason jars with salad greens.

How to Meal Prep

The reason why I love mason jar salads so much is because they are the perfect meal prep recipe. The two versions I’m sharing below make 1 serving, but you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe so you can make multiple jars to have on hand for lunches or dinners throughout the week.

Typically if I’m planning to eat my salad within 1-3 days I’ll add the protein/cheese in the jar, but if I’m preparing salads for the week I’ll usually add my protein option (especially chicken or tuna) to the top of the jar the day of. I treat avocado the same way and prefer to add that right before serving to prevent browning. If I do add avocado slices to the jar in advance I like sprinkling them with lemon or lime juice to help prevent browning.

Pouring a mason jar salad into a serving bowl.

Storing and Serving

Storing: You can keep these salads in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy. Most salads will keep for about 5 days depending on what protein you’re using. I only prefer to go 1-3 days when I’m using something like grilled chicken, fish or steak. Just make sure to store your jars upright in the fridge, so the dressing doesn’t leak up to the lettuce, otherwise it might get soggy.

Serving: The fun part comes when you’re ready to eat because you get to shake the jar to distribute the dressing. I don’t know why, but this is my favorite part! Once shaken, remove the mason jar lid, pour the salad into a big plate or bowl and enjoy. If for some reason you find yourself without a serving dish you can eat the salad straight from the jar but unless you have an extra-long fork, it’s kind of difficult. I speak from experience, haha!

More Mason Jar Salad Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out more mason jar salad recipes as well as all of the salad recipes on EBF!

How to Make Mason Jar Salads

5 from 3 votes
Here's the best way to make mason jar salads. They're quick and easy and perfect for meal prep. Plus, you don't have to worry about your lettuce getting soggy or bringing a separate container for dressing!
Two jars containing beet power salad. The front jar does not have a lid.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

Jar 1

  • 3 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar dressing
  • ¼ cup chopped cucumbers
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • cup chickpeas
  • ¼ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup feta, or vegan feta cheese
  • 2-3 Tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 cups romaine lettuce

Jar 2

Instructions
 

  • Add 3 Tablespoons of dressing into a large, wide-mouth mason jar, then start layering ingredients in this order: cucumbers, carrots, chickpeas (or chicken), tomatoes, quinoa, feta, sunflower seeds and lettuce.
  • Place lid on jars and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
  • When ready to enjoy, shake jar and pour into a serving bowl.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 jar (jar 1) Calories: 532kcal Carbohydrates: 39g Protein: 18g Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 481mg Potassium: 728mg Fiber: 10g Sugar: 7g
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mason jar salads

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    65 comments
    1. Isabel
      August 30, 2022 AT 11:23 am

      5 stars
      I had no idea you could have the salads prepared in the fridge for so long! This post has changed my weekly salad intake! Thanks

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 31, 2022 AT 1:47 am

        Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear. Thanks for giving this recipe a try and for coming back to leave a comment + review. I so appreciate it!

    2. Patrice
      July 30, 2015 AT 9:43 am

      I love, love, love this post. Thank you for inspiring me to eat healthier lunches.

    3. Kelly
      January 29, 2015 AT 3:24 pm

      You wanted to add chicken, where would you put it?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 30, 2015 AT 10:34 am

        I’d add it right before the spring mix on top of all the veggies.

    4. Farmers Fridge
      May 8, 2014 AT 2:55 am

      Assemble this salad in your mason jar for a quick gra and go lunch option. I love it

    5. Liz
      February 18, 2014 AT 7:09 pm

      You don’t need to use a glass canning jar. I have done this many times using the Ziploc or rubbermaid containers. The dressing spreads on the bottom and the other vegetables keep the lettuce from touching the dressing. Easy to toss all ingredients and can eat from the same container.

      1. Tamara
        September 3, 2022 AT 3:09 am

        But you’re using Plastic. No good.

      2. Becky Bender
        August 27, 2022 AT 7:50 am

        I can’t have grains is there a replacement for them? I already put sunflower and pumpkin seeds in or more lettuce? At times u put black olives beets too.
        I’m on a certain balsamic dressing i make but it always gets so thick in like 4 days. I have to add more evoo. But it’s so good.

        I like to use bagged kale salad that has brocolli slaw mixed in would that be in step 2? then last step the spinach and romaine? I eat BIG salads for lunch all the time. Ty!

        1. Brittany Mullins
          August 29, 2022 AT 12:10 pm

          Hey Becky – You can customize these salads however you’d like! Feel free to skip the grains all together and you can definitely use bagged kale. I would add it at the very top like the romaine and other leafy greens.

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

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