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 happened to the salad shown in the first image with the tofu and tahini dressing? I’ve been craving it so bad but can’t find it. Thanks!

  2. Hi,
    Would plastic jars be suitable to use instead of mason jars. Also can avocadoes be used in the salad?

    1. Hi Celia! You can use plastic if that’s what you have on hand. The only reason we recommend glass over plastic is because we like to make these ahead, and glass doesn’t stain or absorb odors the way plastic does. But if you want to use upcycled plastic jars, you definitely can. As long as it has a lid that seals well and is tall and skinny, you’ll be good to go!

      Avocados are one of our favorite salad additions, but we usually add them right before serving. That’s because even when treated with Fruit-Fresh, it will only last a day or two. Since we like to prep our salads in a jar for the week, we leave them out. But if you’re only prepping ahead the night before, you can definitely add them!

    1. Hi Ashley! Shredded cheese is fine if you’re careful where you layer it. You’ll want to keep it away from anything too wet—so above the dressing and below the lettuce! Also, keep in mind that your jars won’t last as long in the fridge. You’re looking at 3-5 days tops when you have cheese in there. I hope this helps! =)

    1. Hi Kerry! Everything you need is right here in the post! We go into what ingredients work best and in what order, plus give you lots of recipes for our favorite salad combos. Let us know how you like them! =)

  3. I think it’s funny you went on a rant on IG about people infringing on your name and it came off like they were dumb not to look it up. Ummmm didn’t you have to change your whole site’s name because you had done the same. Holy judgemental.

    1. Legally, I can’t disclose what happened with our trademark dispute, except to tell you it was a very different situation from the one I was speaking about on Instagram. We never want to be a source of negativity in your life—so, please feel free to unfollow and unsubscribe if we aren’t making your life better. Best of luck!

  4. I like your avocado vinaigrette. I added 4 tablespoons of Minced garlic and 4 tablespoons on Italian seasoning

  5. Do you seal the top of the jar on any way? In other words do you have the top hot when you put it on, does it matter? Want to try this but see nothing about sealing.

    1. Nope! These aren’t meant for preserving, but are just a convenient way to pack everything up for a lunch or picnic.

  6. Mason Jar Salads changed my life. Seriously. For years I’d make a nice salad and the next day it was half-wilted, making the other nice additions yukky. So I just didn’t make salads often for years. I found other ways to enjoy my veggies.
    But now!
    Once a week I put Handmaid’s Tale on my tablet, set up my assembly line of jars and ingredients, and get cracking! My partner and I now eat salads every day! My grandkids eat mini-salads out of mini-jars, that they help Grandma fill each week! Unbelievable. I’ve stuck to the basics so kudos for showing me some variations!