Cobb salad might have started with a handful of leftovers, but it has become a classic.
Cobb Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Salads don’t necessarily have a reputation for being filling and delicious, but the Cobb salad is different. It’s one of those favorite restaurant salads that hits on so many levels: flavorful toppings, crisp lettuce and sweet-and-tangy vinaigrette.
Once you master a few simple prep steps, you’ll find that you can make a yummy Cobb salad at home, too. The entire recipe—including the dressing—is surprisingly easy to make.

What is Cobb salad?

Cobb salad is a type of chopped salad. However, instead of tossing all the ingredients together, the salad is composed: Each topping is placed separately on the lettuce. Although the ingredients sometimes vary, a Cobb salad is usually made with lettuce, chicken, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese and a red wine vinaigrette.

The visual appeal is strong, but the flavors are what really set this salad apart. It’s smoky, savory, creamy, crunchy and salty, all at once.

Cobb Salad Ingredients

  • Greens: The lettuce base gets a burst of flavor and texture by using several types varieties—romaine, butter, Boston, frisee, endive or watercress—but you can use any type of lettuce you happen to have on hand. Just make sure to chop the lettuce into pieces that are small enough to fit on fork tines.
  • Toppings—and lots of them: The classic preparation includes chicken, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocado and blue cheese. It’s important to cook the chicken, bacon and eggs far enough in advance to let them cool, as hot toppings will cause the lettuce to wilt.


Step 1: Make the dressing

This vinaigrette couldn’t be easier to make. Combine all the ingredients (except the oils) in a blender or food processor. With the motor running, gradually add the canola and olive oils in a steady stream to create an emulsification. Store the dressing in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat. Give it a firm shake or whisk it before using it.

Editor’s Tip: The dressing can be made several days in advance. It’s good for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, so feel free to double the recipe if you want to have extra dressing on hand.

Step 2: Get choppin’

This is the only time-consuming part of this recipe, but it can be done in advance if you like. Store each chopped ingredient separately in airtight containers until you’re ready to compose the salad.

We’ll start with the greens: Wash and chop the romaine, endive and watercress. To keep lettuce from wilting, make sure the lettuce is spun as dry as possible. Then, chop the chicken, tomatoes, avocado and eggs into 1/2- to 1-inch, bite-sized pieces. For the cheese and bacon, you won’t need a knife at all; these ingredients should crumble in your hands.

Step 3: Compose and dress

Now comes the fun part! Toss the lettuces together and place them in a large bowl or on a platter. Arrange each of the remaining ingredients in a pattern over the lettuce. You can make a line of each ingredient, or you can place piles of each in colorful circles. Feel free to sprinkle everything randomly, and the salad will still taste great!

Finish the salad by topping it with the chives. When you’re ready to eat, drizzle 1 cup of the dressing over the salad, serving the remaining dressing on the side if you choose.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re making this salad in advance, assemble the salad without the dressing and avocado, adding these ingredients just before serving.

Can you make Cobb salad ahead?

Yes, but there’s a trick to it. Meal prep this salad by layering the ingredients as instructed in the directions, skipping the avocado (it becomes brown when exposed to oxygen). Then, cover it and store it in the refrigerator. If you spun the lettuce very dry, the salad can last in this state as long as five days. When you’re ready to eat, add the avocado and dressing.

Cobb Salad Tips

Why is it called ‘Cobb salad’?

Rumor has it that the salad was invented in the late 1930s at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. Owner Robert Cobb found himself hungry and surrounded by leftovers. He put a little of this and a little of that on a bed of lettuce. The resulting salad was so delicious, he shared it with his friend Sid Grauman. Grauman came back asking for the “Cobb salad,” and before long, it was a favorite among movie stars and celebrities.

It landed on the menu at the Brown Derby, where it was prepared tableside. Part of the appeal was the spectacle of seeing a salad come together right in front of your eyes. Today, the salad usually comes prearranged, displaying strips of ingredients that you mix together in your bowl.

How do you make a healthy Cobb salad?

Most of the ingredients in a standard Cobb salad are pretty healthy already. Chicken is a lean source of protein, hard-boiled eggs are filled with vital nutrients, avocados contain heart-healthy fats and tomatoes are a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. If you’re concerned with fat or sodium intake, skip the cheese and bacon and add in vegetables like cucumbers or bell peppers.

When it comes to the salad dressing, you can do a few things to lighten it up. To make a dressing that’s low-carb and keto-friendly, skip the sugar and Worcestershire sauce. You could also use 100% olive oil to adhere closer to the Mediterranean diet, although it will have a stronger flavor if you skip the canola oil.

How should you cook the chicken for Cobb salad?

You can use any method you like to cook the chicken. We like pan-roasted or grilled chicken breasts to ensure the chicken stays juicy as it cooks.

Watch how to Make Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad

Made on the fly by Hollywood restaurateur Bob Cobb in 1937, the Cobb salad is a world-famous American dish. Here's a fresh take, with all the original appeal and an extra special presentation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Cobb Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 40 min.


6 servings (1-1/4 cups dressing)


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • SALAD:
  • 6-1/2 cups torn romaine
  • 2-1/2 cups torn curly endive
  • 1 bunch watercress (4 ounces), trimmed, divided
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 3 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue or Roquefort cheese
  • 6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. In a blender, combine the first 8 ingredients. While processing, gradually add canola and olive oils in a steady stream.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the romaine, endive and half of the watercress; toss lightly. Transfer to a serving platter. Arrange the chicken, tomatoes, avocado, eggs, cheese and bacon over the greens; sprinkle with chives. Top with remaining watercress. Cover and chill until serving.
  3. To serve, drizzle 1 cup dressing over salad. Serve with remaining dressing if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 575 calories, 52g fat (8g saturated fat), 147mg cholesterol, 1171mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 5g fiber), 20g protein.