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Wilted Lettuce Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

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    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!

close up of leaf lettuce salad with warm bacon dressing and hard boiled eggs

       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.

       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 hit bacon grease perhaps?

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

big bowl of leaf lettuce topped with chopped bacon

    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.

sliced onions cooking in bacon grease

       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!

lettuce with bits of bacon and hard boiled eggs waiting for dressing

     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?

leaf lettuce salad, warm bacon dressing, wilted lettuce
Yield: 8 Servings
Wilted Lettuce Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

Wilted Lettuce Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

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 MCook time: 15 MTotal time: 20 M


  • 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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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!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Saturday 9th of June 2018

I first heard of this a couple years ago and forgot about it. I really need to try this!


Thursday 14th of June 2018

I hope you love it, it's one of my favorites!