Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 15 min.


6 servings

Updated: Jan. 09, 2024
When we were kids, my sister and I would prepare the freshly picked lettuce for this wilted lettuce salad recipe, rinsing it several times and carefully drying it. As we did so, we quibbled about the portions we'd each have. Somehow, it seems she always managed to get more! We still can't get enough of this salad. —Doris Natvig, Jesup, Iowa
Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 4 bacon strips, cut up
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 to 10 cups torn leaf lettuce
  • 1 hard-boiled large egg, chopped


  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain.
  2. To the hot drippings, add the vinegar, water, onions, sugar, salt and pepper, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Place lettuce in a salad bowl; immediately pour dressing over and toss lightly. Top with egg and bacon. Serve immediately.
Wilted Spinach Salad: Substitute torn fresh spinach for the lettuce. Yield: 6 servings.

Wilted Lettuce Salad Tips

What does wilted lettuce mean?

When it comes to salad, wilted lettuce refers to a recipe that uses dressing made with hot bacon drippings. The warm dressing relaxes the lettuce, creating a comforting dish that’s reminiscent of Authentic German Potato Salad. (You can even add potatoes to your wilted lettuce salad to get more of that effect.)

How do I make vegetarian wilted lettuce salad?

To make a vegetarian wilted lettuce salad, skip the bacon and make a warm vinaigrette using olive or vegetable oil. Add the vinegar, onions, sugar, salt and pepper to the oil, and heat it at a medium temperature until the sugar dissolves. To get a smoky flavor, add some liquid smoke.

What else can I add to wilted lettuce salad?

In addition to potatoes, consider adding radishes, tomatoes or leeks—whatever you have on hand. You can also experiment with different types of salad greens, such as spinach, endive or arugula. Some people prefer this salad with a creamy dressing, like the one in this Old-Fashioned Wilted Lettuce recipe, which uses milk. Research contributed by Teddy Nykiel, Taste of Home Associate Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 118 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 227mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.