How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

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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!

5 from 4 votes

How to Make Mason Jar Salads

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!
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

  • 3 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar dressing
  • ¼ cup chopped cucumbers
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • cup air fryer chicken, chopped
  • 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

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mason jar salads
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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65 Comments

  1. I’ve seen something like this on pinterest but I’ve never tried it!! I’m using some Ball jars to take soup leftovers to work, haha. The salad idea is genius though! I can’t believe the lettuce doesn’t get soggy!

  2. What a great idea! I love prepping my salads ahead of time but never added the dressing to avoid soggy greens…putting the dressing at the bottom is such a totally obvious solution but somehow it never occured to me?

  3. Love this idea! I need to buy some jars to I can do this to take my lunches when the school year starts up again!

  4. This is a great idea! I’ve seen this in magazines before but you make it sound so easy and it would be perfect for work! I’m sick of carrying around these huge containers around. I’ll have to try this method out. And I kind of like the idea of the vegetables “marinating” in the dressing! Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day!!

    (i just thought of how tasty a strawberry & spinach salad would be- perfect for the jar!)

    1. I would love to have the recipe for the strawberry and spinach salad. Caould you share that with us?

      1. I made the following salad from Allrecipes.com. It was delicious.
        Strawberry Feta Salad

        INGREDIENTS:
        1/2 cup slivered almonds
        1 clove garlic, minced
        1/2 teaspoon honey
        1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
        2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
        1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
        1 tablespoon brown sugar
        1/2 cup vegetable oil
        1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn
        1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
        1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
        DIRECTIONS:
        You have scaled this recipe’s ingredients to yield a new amount (5). The directions below still refer to the original recipe yield (10).
        1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
        2. In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.
        3. In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with the dressing mixture, and toss to serve.

  5. I really love this idea. I struggle with what to pack for a day at the office. I often end up eating a bunch of snacks instead of full meals when I’m working all day. I am going to look into making something like this in the future. By the way, your pictures look great!

  6. I’ve been seeing these all over! Such a great idea! & that dressing sounds amazing!!

  7. I have been seeing these lately and wondering exactly how to do it. I hate when the lettuce is wilted. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. That is clever – Wilted lettuce is gross but this seems to solve that problem!

  9. This is the first time I have seen this, but you should have seen my facial expression when I first started reading! What a great idea, I can’t wait to try it…my tupperware salad containers are such a drag

  10. What a great idea … thanks for sharing, and I know what I’m doing for lunch tomorrow!

  11. What a fab idea and they look so tasty. Will look for jars this weekend. Just wondered how long salad will last in them as they are ideal for work lunches. Thank you for sharing.

  12. A great idea, my husband and I have a salad with lunch and a salad with supper and occassionally as supper. I will be making these tonight! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Thanks for sharing a great idea! I can’t wait to try this when I start school this fall!

    By the way I made your overnight oats recipe (oats and almond milk) and I LOVED it! I prefer this one over the one with yogurt and chia. I also made your Berry Hot flax cereal yesterday morning…it was delicious!

    Hope you have a great day 🙂

  14. This was totally on my to-do list when I went through my salad craze last week but I forgot! Have no fear, there will be plenty more salads to try this out next week! 😉

  15. I am officially in love with your blog! This is such a great idea. I am always trying to find ways to jazz up my salads. Not only does this give me options, but it is also a great way to transport my lunch! Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to check out the rest of your blog now!

  16. I really like your idea that you put the salad onto jar . I am always looking for a different idea since I love eating salad but more on from the restaurant. I wanted to try salad on my own and when I saw your article, I was impressed and probably tomorrow, I will do this for my lunch and dinner.

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    Cooking Recipes for One

  17. Yum!! I love those salads although I haven’t tried preparing them ahead of time. That’s awesome.

  18. Thank you so much for the inspiration! The middle shelf of our fridge now has salad in a jar at all times. So quick and easy and prepared a week in advance.

  19. There’s no way to transport these without the dressing sogging up the salad. Instead, carry TWO jars, one with the salad, and a smaller one with the dressing!

  20. We have tried this using all the same ingredients, putting the tom, cukes, etc on the bottom, then the lettuce but we don’t add any dressing. We did this for a sewing group and just brought different dressings for the people to add their favorite and then top with croutons. A great idea serve with a fresh roll, garlic bread, etc.
    We did not use vacuum jars, saved large jars that we had it and worked fine.

  21. Hi nice idea – would you get any different results if you prepared them the same way in advance in a Tupperware bowls?

    1. Hey Matthew. It might work, but not as well because if you added the dressing to the bottom of a tupperware bowl, most of the lettuce would touch it and wilt. The reason mason jars work so well is they give the height to keep the dressing separate. Also, salad ingredients stay fresher in glass jars.

  22. 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. 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. 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.

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

  24. 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. 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!