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Wilted Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing Will be a Family Favorite

We typically think of salad as being built with cool, crisp romaine lettuce or other greens with some kind of olive oil based dressing. But if you grew up in the South, especially in Appalachia, you've probably had wilted lettuce salad with warm bacon dressing. The leaf lettuce is gently wilted by the heat from the bacon drippings, crumbled bacon adds some texture and the tangy salad dressing adds just the right bite. With almost no prep time, this recipe is going to become your family's favorite salad.

To make this wilted lettuce salad recipe as an easy side dish for family dinner, start by cooking four slices bacon over medium heat until they are extra crispy. When the bacon is done, remove bacon slices from the pan and set them onto paper towels to drain. While the bacon is cooking, toss the lettuce with sliced green onions in a large bowl. When the bacon is cool, crumble it over the salad. The next step is to make the the bacon dressing.

While the pan you cooked the bacon in is still warm, add the sugar, salt, black pepper, and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to the warm bacon grease. Add the ingredients gently so that you don't create grease splatters. Whisk everything until the sugar dissolves; if you need to turn the heat back on, keep it on low. Pour the sizzling bacon dressing over the salad and quickly toss to evenly wilt.

If you want a little extra protein, you can add chopped hard boiled eggs to the salad. You can always add sliced radishes, too. And it's always a good idea to serve cornbread on the side. Serve the wilted lettuce salad with hot bacon dressing while still warm and enjoy!

This recipe was originally published on Aug 21, 2019.

Wilted Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

This classic Southern salad is served warm with a hot dressing made with the fresh bacon drippings, slightly wilting the greens and leaving lots of flavor.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 head lettuce, torn (That should get you about 6 to 8 cups)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar (Add more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Cook the bacon until extra crispy, then set aside to cool and drain.
  • Toss the lettuce with the green onions in a large mixing bowl. Crumble the bacon over the salad.
  • Add the sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar to the warm bacon grease. Be careful to avoid splatters. Whisk until the sugar dissolves, turning on the heat as needed to help the process along.
  • Pour the sizzling dressing over the salad and quickly toss to evenly wilt. Serve warm.


There are as many versions of this salad as there are families in the South. Some popular variations call for a diced boiled egg or two, or a handful of sliced radishes.
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Calories: 44kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 3gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 132mgPotassium: 136mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 450IUVitamin C: 4.1mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.4mg