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Wilted Lettuce Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

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    This classic recipe for wilted lettuce with bacon is the perfect way to eat leaf lettuce from the garden. The warm bacon dressing is a little sweet, tangy and savory all at once. It’s the perfect mix.

small plate piled high with wilted lettuce salad with big chunks of bacon and hard boiled egg mixed in.

       Have you ever had a wilted lettuce salad? It was always one of my favorite salads growing up, but I got out of the habit of making them.

When MiMi gave me a bunch of fresh leaf lettuce from the garden I knew I had to dig out the recipe and bring it back. It has always been a favorite of mine and I could easily make a meal of it.

       There is just something about the slightly sweet and really simple salad that draws me in. Of course the bacon doesn’t hurt!

     It always feels a little strange pouring the warm dressing over the salad. Wilting leaves is usually the enemy of salads, not the intent, but whoever came up with this one knew what they were doing!

leaf lettuce in salad spinner.

     I can’t help but wonder if the first version of this salad was a mistake though. A hurried cook realized they ran out of oil and used hot bacon grease perhaps?

Then after a bite they were hooked?! Who knows? No matter the origin, it’s a tasty creation.

    My husband was quite pleased with it as well. He isn’t a huge salad fan and normally only eats them loaded with toppings.

But this simple salad won him over despite himself. Every time I make it, he is surprised how much he likes it.

       I think most recipes have you include the onions raw. I am not a huge fan of raw onions, so I like to cook them until they are just translucent in the bacon grease and just stir them in as part of the dressing. It takes the edge off of them and makes them more enjoyable for me.

     Luckily I just got a bunch more fresh lettuce from our CSA box, so there is more wilted lettuce in our future. That is the beauty of this time of year, there is plenty of delicious fresh produce.

Bowl of lettuce topped with hard boiled eggs and warm bacon dressing ready to be tossed.

Did you come here looking for ways to revive wilted lettuce?

Obviously you see by now, this recipe uses a hot bacon dressing to slightly wilt greens. The result is delicious.

The wilting action is part of what earned this salad nicknames such as killed lettuce or kilt lettuce salad. The hot bacon kills the crisp crunch of fresh lettuce.

You can use that same dressing on slightly wilted greens if you would like. Or, to try to revive wimpy greens, you can try soaking them in ice water for fifteen or twenty minutes.

If your lettuce is slimy, go ahead and toss it. It isn’t worth wasting more ingredients on greens that are already too far gone.

Plate of wilted lettuce salad in front of large bowl of salad.

More great side salad recipes

Some of our other favorite simple side salads using fresh garden produce are caprese quinoa salad and creamy dill cucumber salad. What are your favorite fresh garden sides?

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 8 Servings

Wilted Lettuce Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

serving of wilted lettuce salad with bacon and hard boiled eggs.

This vintage recipe for wilted lettuce with bacon is the perfect way to eat leaf lettuce from the garden. The warm bacon dressing is a little sweet, tangy and savory all at once. It’s the perfect mix!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 6 slices bacon
  • 8 cups leaf lettuce
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2-3 hard boiled eggs


  1. Thoroughly wash and dry lettuce, the place in a serving bowl.
  2. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to cool on paper towels, but leave bacon grease in the pan.
  3. Thinly slice onion and cook in bacon grease over low heat until it begins to soften.
  4. Carefully stir in the vinegar, salt and sugar. Add ketchup if you’d like (we like it both ways!)
  5. Chop bacon and hard boiled eggs and place in serving bowl with lettuce. Pour warm bacon dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 344mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

 This classic recipe for wilted lettuce with bacon is the perfect way to eat leaf lettuce from the garden. The warm bacon dressing is a little sweet, tangy and savory all at once. It’s the perfect mix.

This recipe was originally shared on Cooking With Carlee in 2018.

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Andrea Nine

Friday 11th of June 2021

My mom used to make a wilted lettuce salad with lettuce straight from our garden. Now I want one as it’s been years. Oh gotta have the bacon. So yummy. Have a great weekend.


Friday 11th of June 2021

It makes that freshly picked leaf lettuce so good, doesn't it?!


Sunday 7th of October 2018

YOu seriously know the way to my heart!!! Thanks for sharing on our pork recipe link up!


Monday 8th of October 2018

It is definitely a classic for a reason!


Sunday 5th of August 2018

I can't eat alot of green vegetables, due to digestive issues, but I LOVE this one! I haven't made it in forever! I must do this soon! Thanks for sharing it at our Celebrate 365 Farmers Market Recipe Inspirations


Monday 6th of August 2018

It is one of my favorites too! I only think to make it a few times a year, but then I always wonder why I don't do it more!


Wednesday 13th of June 2018

Yummy! These is a restaurant in Des Moines that makes a delicious warm bacon salad and now I can make it at home!


Thursday 14th of June 2018

Yay! I hope you like it as much!


Tuesday 12th of June 2018

I have never had wilted lettuce salad on purpose - haha! I guess that I am going to have to break down and try this as you make it sound so good. I think that your theory that the first person who made this salad may have made it by mistake may be correct - it makes you wonder doesn't it?


Thursday 14th of June 2018

It almost had to be a mistake, but a delicious one! you'll have to let me know what you think when you try it!

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