Delicious and healthy wilted lettuce salad recipe

Welcome to my Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad recipe – a classic Southern dish that is easy to make and packed with flavor. This recipe has been passed down through generations of Southern cooks, and I’m excited to share it with you.

If you’ve never had a wilted lettuce salad before, you’re in for a treat. This salad is made with a hot bacon dressing that is poured over fresh lettuce leaves, causing them to slightly wilt and become coated with the delicious dressing.

The combination of smoky bacon, tangy vinegar, and fresh lettuce is irresistible. In fact, this salad is so popular in the South that it’s often served as a side dish at barbecues, potlucks, and family gatherings.

But don’t let its popularity fool you – this wilted lettuce salad is quick and easy enough to make on a weeknight. You only need a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen.

So why not give this classic Southern dish a try? It’s sure to become a new favorite in your recipe arsenal.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad
Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad

Are you tired of eating regular salads that fail to excite your taste buds? If so, you need to try out this incredible Southern-Style Wilted Lettuce Salad! As a chef who specializes in Southern-style cuisine, let me tell you that this salad is a game-changer. Here’s why I know you’ll love this recipe:

Firstly, the combination of hot bacon dressing and the wilted lettuce creates a mouth-watering flavor that you will not forget. This classic wilted lettuce salad recipe uses bacon grease, apple cider vinegar, and sugar vinegar as the key dressing ingredients, which offer the perfect balance of savory and sweet. When you toss in the warm bacon bits and green onions chopped finely, it elevates everything to another level.

Secondly, fresh lettuce is an essential ingredient when it comes to any salad. This recipe exclusively uses leaf lettuce, which can keep its texture even after being wilted. Unlike iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce that goes soggy in hot dressing, leaf lettuce retains its crispiness and remains refreshing. It’s perfect for summertime or for any meal where you want to get some greens in without feeling like you’re eating dry lettuce.

Finally, this dish is incredibly versatile. Although we’ll provide the classic version here, you can substitute other greens if desired, such as kale or spinach. You could also experiment adding fruit or nuts like walnuts or sliced apples on top for added texture! Plus it complements any main dish. Be it with ribs or fried chicken—the possibilities are endless.

In summary, this Southern-style Wilted Lettuce Salad is delicious and easy to make. You’ll be able to enjoy both the healthy benefits and scrumptious flavors without feeling guilty afterward. The hot bacon dressing combined with crisp leaf lettuce offers a unique combination of textures and palatable flavors that all your guests will appreciate. If you haven’t already tried it before, then now is the time to give it a try!

Ingredient List

 A southern salad packed with the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors.
A southern salad packed with the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors.

Before heading to the kitchen, make sure you have all the ingredients for this Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad. You can’t go wrong with leaf lettuce as the base of your salad. This type of lettuce has a delicate texture and a mild flavor that pairs well with the hot bacon dressing. However, if you prefer a firmer crunch, iceberg lettuce works just as well.

Here are the other ingredients you will need:

  • 7 cups of lettuce leaves (either leaf or iceberg, or a mixture of both)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the hot bacon dressing:

  • ½ cup of bacon grease (reserved from cooking the bacon)
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

The Recipe How-To

 Fresh, crisp lettuce and bacon bits combined for a tantalizing, light summer meal.
Fresh, crisp lettuce and bacon bits combined for a tantalizing, light summer meal.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time for the fun part! Let’s get cooking.

Step 1: Cook The Bacon

Start by cooking bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon drippings in the skillet.

Step 2: Prepare The Lettuce

While the bacon is cooking, rinse and dry lettuce leaves thoroughly. I recommend using either Iceberg or Leaf lettuce, as they both have a great crunch and hold up well under the hot dressing. Once you’ve washed and dried the lettuce, chop it into bite-size pieces and place them in a large bowl.

Step 3: Create The Dressing

To make the dressing, add apple cider vinegar, sugar, and chopped green onions to the bacon drippings. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. You should end up with about 1/4 cup of dressing.

Step 4: Wilt The Lettuce

Pour the hot dressing over the lettuce, using tongs or two spoons to toss until it’s evenly coated. Make sure that all the leaves are coated with the dressing so that they wilt evenly.

Step 5: Add The Bacon

Next, crumble up the cooked bacon and sprinkle it over the top of the salad. This is where all that hard work really pays off!

Step 6: Serve And Enjoy!

Now that you’ve made this delicious southern-style wilted lettuce salad, you can serve it immediately while it’s still warm or let it cool off to room temperature before serving. Add some extra chopped green onions for garnish if desired, and voila! You’ve got yourself an absolutely irresistible dish that everyone is going to love.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and found it helpful. Don’t forget to check out the variations section for some fun twists on this classic salad!

Substitutions and Variations

 Beautifully seasoned, tangy dressing, adding the perfect amount of umami to the salad.
Beautifully seasoned, tangy dressing, adding the perfect amount of umami to the salad.

One of the beauties of Southern-style cooking is its adaptability. This recipe for Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad Recipe can be customized to suit your preferences and what’s available in your fridge. Here are some substitutions and variations to keep in mind:

– Greens: Instead of leaf or iceberg lettuce, try using romaine lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale or a combination of greens.

– Dressing: Swap out the bacon dressing for a vinaigrette or creamy dressing. You could add Dijon mustard, honey or herbs to make it more interesting.

– Toppings: Feel free to experiment with toppings such as roasted nuts, crumbled cheese (such as feta), sliced pear or apple, cherry tomatoes, boiled eggs, croutons or avocado.

– Bacon: For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use olive oil or butter to saute the onions instead.

– Flavor additions: You can mix up the flavor profile by adding chopped garlic, dried herbs (such as basil or oregano), chili flakes or even pomegranate arils for a pop of color.

– Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is traditionally used in this recipe but you could try red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar for something different.

These substitutions and variations can help you create new versions of this classic Southern dish with endless possibilities!

Serving and Pairing

 A true southern-style side dish that's perfect to add a southern touch to any meal.
A true southern-style side dish that’s perfect to add a southern touch to any meal.

The Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad is a great accompaniment to any meal. It works well as a side dish, or you can turn it into a full meal by adding some grilled chicken or shrimp on top.

When it comes to pairing this salad, I like to keep things simple. It’s best served with lighter meals such as grilled fish, roasted vegetables or a nice steak. The smokiness of the bacon pairs perfectly with something with a bit of char or grill marks.

For drinks, I would recommend sticking with some sweet tea or a nice crisp beer like a pale ale. Something refreshing yet not overpowering is the way to go.

Because the salad boasts an interesting and unique flavor profile, it’s best to keep the sides relatively simple. Some grilled corn on the cob, baked sweet potatoes or even some potato wedges would be the perfect complement to this salad.

Try serving this salad at your next dinner party and watch as your guests ooh and ah over its Southern charm!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This recipe is a must-try for anyone who likes to explore southern cuisine.
This recipe is a must-try for anyone who likes to explore southern cuisine.

As with many salads, this Southern-style wilted lettuce salad is best served fresh. However, if you are planning to make it ahead of time, you can prepare the ingredients separately and combine them just before serving.

If you do need to make the salad ahead of time, keep the bacon and dressing in separate containers until you’re ready to serve. Likewise, if using iceberg lettuce, make sure to remove and discard any brown or slimy leaves before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store leaf lettuce in a sealed bag or container with a damp paper towel.

When it comes to reheating, be careful not to fully cook or wilt the lettuce. Simply warm the dressing over low heat and gently toss with the cold lettuce just before serving. If needed, lightly reheat cooked bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp again.

Although this salad is best eaten fresh, if stored properly it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days without losing too much of its flavor or texture. Just keep in mind that the bacon may lose some of its crispness when stored.

Overall, this Southern-style wilted lettuce salad is a great option for those looking for something easy to make ahead of time but still packed with flavor.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A salad perfect for a potluck or BBQ, that will leave your guests wanting more.
A salad perfect for a potluck or BBQ, that will leave your guests wanting more.

When it comes to making the perfect Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind. These tips will help you make a salad that is full of flavor and has the perfect wilted texture. Here are some tips for perfect results:

1. Choose the Right Greens: While iceberg lettuce is a classic choice for wilted lettuce salad, using a combination of different greens can give your salad more depth of flavor. Try mixing iceberg lettuce with leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce for a delicious combination.

2. Use High-Quality Bacon: The bacon is the star of this recipe, and using low-quality bacon can lead to a lackluster salad. Look for high-quality, thick-cut bacon that will crisp up nicely in the skillet.

3. Don’t Skimp on the Dressing: The hot bacon dressing is what makes this salad so delicious, so don’t skimp on it! Make sure to use all of the dressing ingredients listed in the recipe and adjust the amount of sugar and vinegar to your taste.

4. Time Your Salad Just Right: To get the perfect wilted texture, it’s important to time your salad just right. Add the hot dressing to the lettuce immediately after removing it from the heat, and toss gently until all of the leaves are coated.

5. Serve Immediately: This salad is best served immediately after tossing with the dressing. If you need to store leftovers, do so without dressing and add the dressing just before serving.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to make a perfectly wilted Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad every time!


Now, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about this Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad recipe. Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned chef, these answers will provide valuable insight and help you achieve the perfect results every time. So, grab yourself a hot bacon dressing and let’s dive in!

What can I do with wilted lettuce?

Before using any produce, make sure to remove any parts that are wilted or not needed. Cut them away with a sharp knife to ensure the best quality in your dishes. Next, submerge the remaining produce in a bucket or large bowl of ice water. This will help to crisp it up and enhance the flavor. Once you have soaked it for a few minutes, take it out and pat it dry with a clean towel. Now, you’re ready to use it just as you normally would in your recipes.

Is wilted lettuce good for you?

If your lettuce hasn’t started to rot yet, then there’s a chance you can still use it. A helpful trick to consider is to soak it in ice water for up to 30 minutes, as this may revive its crunchiness.

What is the best solution for wilted lettuce leaves?

When lettuce begins to droop, it’s mainly because it’s dehydrated. The solution to rescuing it is to restore the moisture it has lost. To achieve this, you can effortlessly rejuvenate the wilted greens by soaking it in ice-cold water for 30 minutes.

How to make limp romaine lettuce crisp?

Before using your greens for cooking, it is important to prepare them properly. Start by filling a bowl or a salad spinner with cold water. You can use ice water, but cold tap water is also effective. Then, immerse your wilted greens into the cold water and let them soak for roughly 30 minutes until they regain their firm texture.

Bottom Line


To wrap up this article, I urge you to give this Southern-style wilted lettuce salad a try. It’s a classic dish that’s full of flavor and has been enjoyed for generations in the South. The combination of crispy bacon, hot bacon dressing, and tender, slightly-wilted lettuce is simply irresistible.

And if you are not convinced yet, let me remind you that this recipe is extremely flexible – you can use different types of lettuce or even add other ingredients to make it your own. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time for a stress-free meal prep.

In conclusion, trust me when I say that once you try this Southern-style wilted lettuce salad, you won’t look back. Your taste buds will be thanking you for introducing them to such a unique and delicious recipe. So what are you waiting for? Head to the kitchen and start cooking!

Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad

Southern Style Wilted Lettuce Salad Recipe

Lots of wilted lettuce salads in the zaar, but none the way I love it!!
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer/Side dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 23.1 kcal


  • 1 bunch leaf lettuce, washed and torn
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped, green and white
  • 3 -4 slices pork fatback


  • Fry fatback in a large skillet.
  • Drain fatback on paper towels and reserve for eating!
  • Cut heat off of skillet, but while still warm, add lettuce and onions until wilted.
  • Serve with salt, pepper and vinegar as desired.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 80gCalories: 23.1kcalCarbohydrates: 4.7gProtein: 1.8gFat: 0.2gSodium: 30mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 1.4g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Spring, Vegetable
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