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How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

Having a mason jar salad in the fridge is a great way to grab a meal on the run. In fact, you can meal prep a week’s worth of jar salads to save time in the morning when you’re in a hurry.

3 mason jars filled with salad

I like to shop for sales in the produce section of my grocery store before I plan my salads. That way, I feel that I’m getting the best value for a nutritious lunch. Once you try a healthy mason jar salad, you’ll be hooked!

Jar Salad Recipes

Mason jars are a super easy, inexpensive tool to save time. You can adapt any of your favorite salad recipes to include in this healthy prep. Almost any salad ingredients work with this method.

mason jar with 2-piece lid

You can use ready-made salad dressing or make your own. This time, I used bottled dressing. However, I actually prefer either this homemade buttermilk ranch or this old-school thousand island dressing.

Another delicious salad dressing to try is this chunky blue cheese dressing from Julia’s Simply Southern. It’s always tempting to add to much of this one because it’s so rich and delicious!

Mason Jar Salad Ingredients

As I mentioned, you can include most of your favorite salad ingredients. I like to add a variety of vegetables and some sort of protein.

Here are the ingredients I used to make these jar salads:

  • Artisan lettuce
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Black olives (whole or sliced
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Fresh broccoli florets
  • Cilantro
  • Cooked chicken
  • Salad dressing (any kind is good)

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

Since I was making mason jar salads to eat several days in a row, I decided to use a variety of salad dressings. 

ranch dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, and chipotle ranch dressing

Other Ingredients to Try

There are so many other ingredients you can add or swap out for some of the above.

Some of the salad ingredients I’ve used:

  • Celery
  • Fresh zucchini
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Fresh basil
  • Any leafy greens
  • Snow peas
  • Celery
  • Raw carrots
  • Raw sprouts
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Goat cheese crumbles

Protein alternatives to try:

  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Beef tips
  • Shredded pork
  • Tofu

Don’t be afraid to add something you like in your salads. It’s fun to be adventurous in the kitchen, and you’ll have a better idea of what to add next time.

Also, consider using leftover protein from dinner the night before. That’s like having a free ingredient, so you’re saving even more money.

How to Make Your Jar Salad

The key to making jar salads is to layer them so they travel well. I’ve learned from experience to put ingredients that don’t get soggy in the dressing on the bottom.

This salad recipe is more of how to assemble or meal prep a jar salad. I highly recommend using at least 16 ounce mason jars for this salad. You’ll be amazed by how quickly these mason jars will fill up.

This is a great way to enjoy clean eating. Healthy meal plans require advance preparation, but it’s not difficult if you follow some of these prep and cooking tips.

When you put the ingredients in the jar, you need to be careful in how you layer them. I used to put the salad dressing in its own container and add it when I was ready to eat. 

You can do that, or you can be extremely judicious in how you layer the ingredients. I’ve found that to be easier, and the salad is as good.

The first thing I put in the jar is the dressing. I use between 1 and 2 tablespoons of dressing.

salad dressing in a jar

Next, I put the hard vegetables or the ones with skin on them to hold everything else above the dressing. You don’t have to layer them, but I do.

This time, I started by putting the chickpeas in the jar. It looks like they’re swimming in the salad dressing.

chickpeas in salad dressing

Next, add the olives. You can use either whole or sliced olives.

olives and chickpeas in salad dressing

After the olives, I added some tomatoes.

If you slice them in half, you might want to add them a little later to make sure they don’t drain into the dressing.

tomatoes added to the other ingredients

Drop in some broccoli florets.

You can chop them even smaller if you prefer.

broccoli florets

Then, I add the softer vegetables or anything that might absorb the dressing. 

This is when I added the cilantro

cilantro added to the mason jar

Next comes the meat or other main protein.

Since I also added chickpeas which have protein, I didn’t use much chicken.

chicken added to the vegetables in the mason jar salad

If you want to add another vegetable, you can do it at any time.

I’d forgotten to include the cucumbers, so I dropped them in over the chicken.

cucumber slices on top of the chicken

Finally, fill the jar with the greens.

My choice this time was artisan lettuce because it has a lot of color. And color makes me happy.

salads in 3 mason jars

Important Tips to Remember

Although I’m showing what I put in my jar salad, you can add the ingredients you your personal favorite salad. The key is to know how to layer it—like what order to add the salad ingredients.

And only use ingredients that can last in a cool environment for as long as they need to before you eat them.

When I tried adding broiled fish, it didn’t hold up as well. It was okay, but I don’t add that one that any more. You might like it, though. If you’re super adventurous and love fish, give it a try.

How to Eat a Mason Jar Salad

When lunch time rolls around, you’re probably excited about the salad that’s waiting for you. But don’t open the jar right away.

The first thing you need to do is make sure the top is on tight. Then turn the jar upside down and shake it to distribute the dressing. 

upside down mason jar salad

Since the jar is clear, you can see when everything has a coating of salad dressing. Now it’s ready to open.

There have been times when I eat the salad right out of the jar. But I prefer to pour it into a bowl because it’s much easier to eat that way. And you can scoop whatever is left of the dressing layer from the bottom of the jar.

pouring the salad out of the mason jar, into a bowl

How Long Do Jar Salads Last?

Most of the time my jar salads will last up to a week because I’m careful about what ingredients to add. I try to use vegetables that stay good for at least 5 to 7 days.

It also depends on the conditions. If you store these jar salads in the refrigerator, they’ll last longer than if they’re sitting out. When you pack a jar salad in your lunch, put it in a cooler bag with an ice pack to keep it fresh until you’re ready to enjoy it.

mason jar salad in a bowl

More Salad Recipes

My family loves a variety of salads, some that are complete meals and others as side dishes. You can even turn some of these into jar recipes.

Here are some of our favorite salads:

Catalina Taco Salad – You’ll love the blend of Tex Mex flavors in this salad!

Salmon Macaroni Salad – This cold seafood pasta salad is good for you in so many ways! 

Southern Egg Salad – Enjoy this on a bed of lettuce or between two slices of bread!

Mama’s Potato Salad – My mother’s potato salad was always a hit at family reunions and potluck dinners!

Watermelon Cucumber Salad – This is one of the most refreshing salads you’ll ever eat!

Greek Olive and Feta Salad – This tangy salad will brighten up any meal! Or add some protein, and it becomes a meal!

jars and a bowl of salad

Give It a Try!

If you’re looking for more lunch ideas, give this mason jar salad idea a try! It’s quick, easy, delicious, nutritious, and fun! In fact, if you work in an office, you just might start a trend with your coworkers!

You can add your favorite crackers or bread to make the meal more filling. Or you can use bigger mason jars to make more salad!

Yield: 1 salad

Mason Jar Salad

salad in 3 mason jars

Mason jar salads are quick easy,, delicious, nutritious, and fun to make and eat!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1/4 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 5 black olives
  • 4 tiny tomatoes (grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes)
  • 5 broccoli florets
  • 3 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1/4 cup cut cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup lettuce (romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, or your favorite artisan lettuce)
  • 1/4 cup cooked chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salad dressing (more if you prefer)


  1. Start with a clean 16 ounce mason jar with a lid.
  2. Put the salad dressing in the bottom of the jar.
  3. Now layer the remaining ingredients, starting with the ones that won’t become soggy with the dressing. I began with chickpeas, black olives, and tomatoes.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables, in this case the broccoli, cilantro, and cucumbers.
  5. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  6. Fill the jar with the lettuce. You might have to pack it down, but that’s okay.
  7. Put the lid on the jar and stick it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy it!


Transport this salad in a cooler or insulated lunch bag. Keep it as cool as possible, until you are ready to enjoy it.

Before you open the jar, turn it upside down and shake it to distribute the salad dressing. Of course, before you do this, you’ll want to make sure the lid is on tight.

You can either eat it directly out of the jar or pour it into a bowl. Enjoy!1

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 345Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 36mgSodium 355mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 12gSugar 17gProtein 18g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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