A smiling woman in a teal shirt and gray striped apron holds a tall mason jar. The jar is filled with layered salad ingredients, including dressing, tomatoes, peppers,and lettuce. The jar has a white lid.

When I first discovered mason jar salads about 10 years ago, it created a huge shift in my eating habits. Before learning how to meal prep salads, eating a salad for lunch always seemed like such a hassle! It took forever to get everything cut up and ready to go. I really enjoyed eating salad for lunch, but not as much as I loathed the inconvenience of it all.

Then enter salads in a jar—pre-made, perfectly fresh salads just sitting in the fridge waiting to be enjoyed. I was sold! And I haven’t looked back. I’ve been making mason jar salads weekly for almost a decade, and it’s my single biggest trick to getting on the healthy eating bandwagon. If you make nourishing food the easiest choice, it’s going to be what you choose. And my goodness, are mason jar salads easy!

Three tall mason jars sit side-by-side in front of a white wall. Jars are layered with salad ingredients.

Hold up, but how do you keep the salad from getting soggy and the lettuce from going limp?

This is the very first question I get from mason jar salad skeptics—doesn’t the lettuce go limp? Doesn’t it get all soggy? Nope, nope, and nope! If you stack the jar in the proper order (more on that in a sec), you’ll have lettuce on day seven that is just as crisp and fresh as the day you packed it. I promise!

How do you pack a mason jar salad so it doesn’t get soggy?

The key to a good salad in a jar staying fresh all week long is the packing order. All you have to remember is one thing—keep the wet ingredients away from the greens. This means that things like salad dressing, chopped tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, etc. go to the bottom of the jar and greens go at the very top of the jar, with a buffer of other ingredients in the middle. That way, if you keep the jar upright, everything stays in its place. Not a soggy leaf of lettuce in sight!

Tall mason jars are layered with different salads. Jar in front includes mandarin oranges, sprouts, and lettuces.

What’s the best size jar to use for mason jar salads?

All size jars work for salads in a jar, so it’s more a question of what size salad you want in the end. I do recommend going with wide-mouth jars, just because they are easier to pack, but regular-mouth jars work as well. Here’s a quick guide to mason jar salad sizes:

  • Jelly Jar (8 ounces)—This is usually too small to pack a mason jar salad in, but I have occasionally packed one for my young child in this size. For slightly more space, a 12-ounce jelly jar is also a good kid-size salad.
  • Pint (16 ounces)—This is a good size for a side salad. I like to use this size when I’m combining a salad with a soup in a jar for lunch. These can also be used for a light lunch or a snack.
  • Pint and a Half (24 ounces)—These are my FAVORITE size jars for mason jar salads! They are big enough to be a full meal, but not so huge that you need to dump it into a mixing bowl to eat it. In fact, this jar is my favorite of all the canning jars because it’s one of the most flexible—I use it for everything from freezing bone broth to canning tomatoes.
  • Quart (32 ounces)—If you’re a super veggie-lover, a quart size is a good option for a dinner-sized salad for one, or a lunch-sized salad for two. It also works as a side salad for 3-4.
  • Half-Gallon (64 ounces)—This big, bad mamma jamma is a good size for pitch-ins, potlucks, or big families. I sometimes will make ahead a nice salad for a potluck and stash it in one of these in the fridge so it’s ready to go when I am.
A hand holds a tall mason jar with a white lid. Jar is layered with salad ingredients, including dressing, chickpeas, vegetables, seeds, and lettuce.

Do you have to use a canning jar or can you use something else?

Canning jars work well because they don’t absorb smells and flavors like plastic, they last forever, and they are tall and skinny—the key to making sure your salad doesn’t go limp. If you want to use upcycled glass or plastic jars (like from pasta sauce), you absolutely can—just as long as it has a lid that seals well and is tall and skinny, you can use it!

I do not recommend meal prepping salads into wide containers where the dressing has a higher chance of coming in contact with the greens. The key here is to get as much separation as possible between the dressing and the greens, and the way to do that is through a tall, narrow vessel.

What’s the best lid for a mason jar salad?

Any well-fitting lid will work to keep your salad fresh, but I really like the plastic storage caps for mason jars from Ball Canning. They are great because they don’t rust, are easy to clean, and are a single piece—no searching for both a lid and a ring to close your jar.

Three tall mason jars are layered with salad ingredients. A hand places a white lid on the middle jar.

How long do mason jar salads last in the fridge?

What ingredients you use in your salad will impact how long it can last in the fridge, but I will say a salad made of just dressing and veggies will easily last 7-10 days in the fridge. Yes, really! Toward the end of that time, your lettuce might start to look “rusty” (it’s actually not rust, it’s called “russet browning,” and it’s caused by exposure to ethylene gas—and it’s completely safe to eat), but other than that, it’ll be good to go!

When animal-based products like meat and cheese are added to the mix, you’re looking at closer to 3-5 days in the fridge.

When you use sliced fruit in your jar, you’ll get the least amount of prep-ahead time out of it—I wouldn’t prep a fruit-containing salad more than three days in advance.

Ten tall mason jars are layered with salad ingredients.

Are there any ingredients that don’t work well in mason jar salads?

Almost anything that you would put in a fresh salad can go into your meal prepped salads, with one exception: I recommend skipping foods that oxidize if you want the longest-lasting jar. Foods like avocado, apple, and pear are great additions to salads,but even when treated with Fruit Fresh, they’ll only last a day or two in a jar salad. Which is fine if you’re just prepping for tomorrow’s lunch, but not if you’re trying to get through a full week. I tend to add those ingredients just before serving.

This sounds great, but how do you actually eat a mason jar salad?

My preferred method is to dump it and enjoy! Some people try to shake the salad and then eat it in the canning jar. But because I pack the ingredients in so tight, I don’t really get good distribution if I do that, and so I always carry a salad bowl with me. When I was working in an office, I kept a bowl for my mason jar salads right in my desk! When lunch was over, I’d just rinse it out in the office kitchen and pack it away in my desk drawer for the next day.

A hand pours a salad from a jar into a teal bowl. The bowl sits on a white and brown plaid dishtowel. A fork with a teal handle sits to the side of the bowl.

My protips for making fresh, crisp, healthy mason jar salads that’ll last all week in the fridge:

I’m the self-proclaimed world’s foremost expert in mason jar salads (ha!), and here’s what I’ve learned over my literal thousands of jar-packing experiences:

  • Liquid ingredients on the bottom, greens on the top. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be able to “go rogue” and experiment with crafting your own mason jar salad creations!
  • Really jam-pack the jars full. Not only does this give you the most veggies for your space, but it also helps keep things from shifting and moving around (which is particularly helpful if you are packing a jar in a lunchbox and it happens to tip over on its side). I shove so many greens in that I have to hold them down with one hand while I place the lid on with the other. It should be like a lettuce jack-in-the-box when you open that jar!
  • Use the fridge time to your advantage by marinating foods in the dressing. Cooked grains, tofu, chicken, beans—they all will soak up some of the flavor of the dressing.
  • Keep your jar upright. This is not the time to let your lunch roll around on the floor of your car (anyone else? just me?). Keep that jar upright so the dressing stays at the bottom.
  • Label, label, label your jars! If you get into making salads in a jar, you’ll want to really keep track of what’s in your salads and when they were made. My best trick for labeling mason jar salads (and any food stored in glass) is to write on the glass with a Sharpie. When it’s time to clean the jar, a quick swipe of a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol takes the writing off the jar.
Smiling woman in teal shirt and gray apron uses a permanent marker to write on a jar filled with salad ingredients.

Ready for some mason jar salad recipes?

At the bottom of this article, you’ll find a basic formula for making salads in a jar that you can follow to craft your own fun salads, but if you’re looking for some salad inspiration, boy do we have you covered! Here are all of our home kitchen tested salad in a jar recipes:

Tall mason jars are layered with different salads. Jar in front includes mandarin oranges, sprouts, and lettuces.

Basic Mason Jar Salad Recipe

Yield: 1 24-ounce jar
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Prep your salads ahead of time with magical Mason Jar Salads! Have a crisp, fresh salad ready to go anytime with our easy method for meal prepping salads.


  • 1 wide-mouth pint and a half jar
  • 3 tablespoons salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup protein (cooked chicken, cubed tofu, beans, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped veggies (peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup nuts or seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, etc.)
  • 1-2 cups chopped romaine


  1. Layer the salad ingredients in the order listed into the jar, packing in as much romaine as you need to create a tight pack. Cover the jar, and place it in the fridge for up to a week.
  2. To eat, dump the entire contents of the jar into a bowl, toss, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 24 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 606Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 602mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 8gSugar: 6gProtein: 48g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. What size mason jar do you use. I know I have options, but what would be your standard go to jar. Thank you.

    1. I normally use a wide-mouth pint—it’s big enough to be a decent-sized meal (especially if you add a protein and crackers on the side).

  2. I love this salad in a jar. I work at a House for women with challenges in their lives and while the rest of us are having the same salad at the lunch or dinner table. the ladies who have appointments or schooling or meetings can be enjoying what we are having. Healthy and fresh! Thank you.

  3. What is the proper way to cool cooked grains so as to make them stay good for an extended period of time? Also when you put beans in your salads how do you cook them (if using canned beans)? Or is it unnecessary to cook canned beans?

    1. The best way to cool cooked grains rapidly is to spread them into a shallow dish, and dip the bottom of the dish in ice water. It cools them fast without the heat from the grains warming up the fridge.

      And no need to cook beans from a can. 🙂

  4. You are officially my new favorite person. Seriously. My husband and I are engineering grad students, we just got married, and have a new house and a new puppy. I used to be religious about healthy eating, but needless to say we’ve kind of fallen, read, plummeted, off the wagon. Frozen, super processed foods, fast foods, pretty much garbage; that’s what we’ve been eating for months. To make matters worse, my husband has developed all sorts of food allergies, so every time I feel inspired to cook something healthy and delicious, he shoots it down because he’s allergic to something or other in it. I am so excited to try your food prep ideas, and get back on track with healthy eating. This way, I can prepare any number of things so that I can have whatever I want, and he can have something different that he’s not allergic to. I still have to figure out dinners, since we don’t get home from work until about 5pm every day, but this will be an excellent start. THANK YOU!

  5. When my father was in the hospital and my poor harried stepmother was dragging home every evening, I made up jarred main meal salads and left them in their refrigerator, along with jars of soup and a loaf of homemade bread. That was a great deal more appreciated than flowers for Dad or a heavy, goopy casserole for her would have been.

    Bonus: I made double batches of everything (except the bread) and we got to enjoy them too.

  6. Hello, I’m unable to pin from your site. I have tried multiple methods and also connected on Pinterest with no success. Cn you help? Thank you!

  7. I love your recipes for salad in a jar. These are great for on the go lifestyles that I am currently living in.

  8. Thank you for the post. I was trying to figure out what the heck this craze is all about. can’t wait to start making these for lunches next week.

    I think one thing that helps us to eat good healthy food is when it looks beautiful. In a jar, it looks lovely and you can’t wait to dig in.

    I also think this would be great for picnics. Instead of having to bring bowls, you could eat out of the jars.

  9. I wish there was a sealer top for the big 1 gallon glass jars that fruit salad, etc. come in. But then I’d need lids to fit them….

    But I do have the 1/2 gallon mason jars (actually Ball jars) and the sealer top for them. It appears I have the same vac sealer that you do, also. But mine is almost 3 years old.

    I got the game sealer one because we vac seal all the meat we butcher ourselves. I’ve not had a problem sealing fine stuff, so far. Just make real sure the seal on the lid is real clean.

    I did have trouble off and on with getting the regular size (smaller of the 2) to seal. But I read a hint some where that if you put an extra lid in, it would seal the lower one. And it does, real well.