Skip to Content

Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad

Delicious in an unforgettable way, made with fresh crisp buttery lettuce and home spun bacon grease is simply the best summer salad you’ll ever try! 

overhead shot of southern wilted lettuce salad in gray bowl with blue napkin

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Cheap
  • Uses ingredients you already have at home. 

Here’s How It’s Done

STEP 1. 

Fry up 4 slices of bacon in the frying pan. Reserve the grease. This is my new Mealthy Frying Pan, do you like it? 

four slices of bacon frying in a frying pan with spatula

STEP 2. 

Tear up your lettuce, cut onions and add tomato (or whatever you plan to add) to your salad bowls. 

hand tearing up lettuce into a bowl on wooden table

STEP 3. 

To the warm bacon grease, add vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Whisk together and heat over medium heat until well mixed and hot. 

hand whisking bacon grease with other dressing ingredients in frying pan

STEP 4. 

Pour this hot bacon grease mixture over the prepared salad. The lettuce will take on a wilted appearance. (Thus, wilted lettuce salad). Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher or sea salt and serve immediately. 

pouring the bacon vinegrette over the wilted lettuce salad

Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad

Wilted Lettuce Salad is a summer favorite ‘round here, made by combining simple salad ingredients like lettuce, onion and tomato and then drizzling the salad with hot bacon grease dressing made with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Serve Wilted Lettuce Salad immediately.

What Do I Serve With Wilted Lettuce Salad? 

Wilted Salad (or Kilt Salad, as it is also called) is WONDERFUL served as a MAIN dish or besides any typical Sunday afternoon dinners.

We love it beside a classic meatloaf or fried chicken! Try it as a side with potato salad. Of course, the old favorites like corn on the cob work too.

Always serve a Sweet Tea with your Southern Wilted Salad, nothing is more southern than that! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s). 

Why is it called Wilted Lettuce? 

When you drizzle the hot bacon grease dressing on top, you’ll find that the lettuce begins to wilt. Believe it or not, this is the beauty of the whole thing! 

What Other Names Does It Go By? 

This salad is called by other names, depending on what part of the South you are in! I’ve heard it called “Killed Lettuce” and “Kilt Lettuce Salad”. Occasionally, I’ve heard “Hot Lettuce Salad”.

This is NOT to be confused with actual wilted lettuce which is too old to enjoy. 

What Kind Of Lettuce Should I Use? 

Leafy and fresh Butter Lettuce is BEST but you can’t always find that. If you can’t find that then go for a fresh Romaine.

What Salad Toppings Should I Use with My Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad? 

Simple is best. Go with onions (for sure), that is a must. Then you might also add radishes, tomatoes or some carrots. Don’t go overboard.

How Long Does Wilted Lettuce Salad Keep? 

You’ll want to serve it immediately and it is best eaten immediately. It doesn’t keep, so only fix as much as you plan to eat right away. 

How Can I Store My Southern Wilted Lettuce? 

You can’t store it. The lettuce becomes too wilted to be appetizing and the bacon vinaigrette will also congeal and not be appetizing either. Eat what you prepare immediately. 

Can I Make My Wilted Lettuce Salad the Day Before? 

Nope. It doesn’t save at all.  

What YOU CAN DO is make the lettuce salad with the onion, radishes and carrots the day before, make the dressing and keep is separate and then reheat the dressing and whisk it well. 

Once you pour the dressing on the salad, it needs to be served immediately and eaten while the dressing is still warm. 

If you are concerned about food supply safety, particularly lettuce, check out this article by the NRDC on lettuce safety.

Where Can I Get One of Those Frying Pans? 

The frying pan you see in the video and the photos is a Mealthy Frying Pan. The good folks at Mealthy sent me one to try and I LOVE it! They are NOT paying me to say that! I’ll be adding this pan to my Resources Page soon, so please keep your eyes peeled there for more information! 

side view of gray bowl of greens, onion, tomato and bacon with dressing on brown tableTips and Tricks for Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad

  • Use the freshest lettuce that you can find. Butter lettuce is the best option, but if that isn’t available, use a fresh, crisp romaine. You want to wilt the lettuce with the bacon vinaigrette so don’t start with a wilted lettuce. 
  • You’ll want to use simple ingredients in this salad, nothing fancy. All you really need is lettuce and onion but you can also add radishes, tomato or carrot for color.
  • Bacon grease is an essential component of the dressing, don’t skimp by trying to use olive oil or vegetable oil, it won’t taste the same. The bacon grease adds smokiness, salt and a heap of flavor, it’s more than just the oil/grease. 
  • After you have whisked the bacon grease, you are going to want to taste it before applying it to the salad. You should get a sweetness, acid, smoky and salty flavor. If you are lacking any of those components, you’ll want to adjust the ingredients. Do so by tiny increments because you will only have a set amount of bacon grease.
  • When drizzling over the lettuce, use care. The grease is hot and it only takes a tiny bit to dress and entire salad. 
  • We find that this salad works best if it is already portioned out into bowls rather than trying to do a large family style salad bowl to serve from. 

 

If You Enjoyed This Recipe, You Might Also Enjoy….

Zesty Cucumber Tomato Salad

Southern Cornbread Salad

Summer Cherry Tomato Salad

Would You Help Me With Something, Please?

Take a minute to share this recipe with a friend. The world can be a hard place sometimes and sending someone an email or telling them about a recipe you enjoy might boost their day. I appreciate it so much! 

overhead shot of southern wilted lettuce salad in gray bowl with blue napkin

Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad

Delicious in an unforgettable way, made with fresh crisp buttery lettuce and homespun bacon grease is simply the best summer salad you’ll ever try!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: wilted lettuce salad, killed lettuce salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 119kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 4 Slices of bacon - crumbled.
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 head of butter lettuce - torn into into bite sized pieces
  • 2 green onions (whites and top- chopped small
  • Kosher or Sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Fry the bacon until crisp in a large frying pan. Remove to a paper towel to drain then crumble. Reserve the grease in the pan.
  • To the bacon grease and drippings, add vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Set stove top on medium. Whisk together while heating over medium heat until mixed well and hot.
  • Place the lettuce and onions into bowls. Top with the bacon crumbles.
  • When bacon grease mixture is heated through, pour over the lettuce and onions. Lettuce will wilt immediately. Sprinkle with a dash of kosher or sea salt. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the freshest lettuce that you can find.  Butter lettuce is the best option, but if that isn’t available, use a fresh, crisp romaine.  You want to wilt the lettuce with the bacon vinaigrette so don’t start with a wilted lettuce. 
  • You’ll want to use simple ingredients in this salad, nothing fancy.  All you really need is lettuce and onion but you can also add radishes, tomato or carrot for color.
  • Bacon grease is an essential component of the dressing, don’t skimp by trying to use olive oil or vegetable oil, it won’t taste the same. The bacon grease adds smokiness, salt and a heap of flavor, its more than just the oil/grease. 
  • After you have whisked the bacon grease, you are going to want to taste it before applying it to the salad. You should get a sweetness, acid, smoky and salty flavor.  If you are lacking any of those components, you’ll want to adjust the ingredients. Do so by tiny increments because you will only have a set amount of bacon grease.  
  • When drizzling over the lettuce, use care.  The grease is hot and it only takes a tiny bit to dress and entire salad. 
  • We find that this salad works best if it is already portioned out into bowls rather than trying to do a large family style salad bowl to serve from.
PRO TIP:  To save money, buy the "ends and pieces" box of bacon to use for this recipe.  Just use an approximate similar amount to 4 pieces of bacon.  Also, the thinner less expensive bacon works just fine in this recipe. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Southern Wilted Lettuce Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 161mg7%
Potassium 250mg7%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 736IU15%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A VERSE TO SHARE

In searching for a verse to share, I was thinking about how we often discard the old for the new without giving a whole lot of examination to the new. Then I came upon this…

1 Thessalonians 5:21

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good

 

Granola with nuts, dried cherries and chocolate chips in a small white bowl
Previous
Chocolate Cherry Granola
A photo of 4 slices of Texas Toast in a basket
Next
4 Ingredient Easy Texas Toast
Recipe Rating




Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 10th of September 2019

aggregate ratings test

15585

Want My 9 Secrets to Immediate Kitchen Confidence?