How to Make Hot Bacon Dressing for Smoky Salad Success

Top your salad or veggies with a sweet, smoky warm bacon dressing that adds tons of flavor.

Updated January 10, 2024
Salad with bacon dressing

Bacon makes salads infinitely more interesting (heck — it makes almost any food more interesting). And when a salad dressing is all about bacon? Count us in!

Hot bacon salad dressing is especially popular in the South over dishes with names like wilted lettuce and wilted green beans. The dressing lends a smoky, sweet-and-salty flavor to any dish, and it's perfect when used to dress a spinach, hard-cooked egg, onion, and mushroom salad.

Hot Bacon Salad Dressing Recipe

Serve this salad dressing warm. It won't keep in the fridge and doesn't chill well. But boy does it turn workaday veggies into something special.  Toss this with about a pound of veggies (spinach is a winner) to make six salads. 


  • 6 slices diced bacon, raw
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • Variable amount avocado oil (see recipe directions)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from pan, drain on paper towels, and reserve, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  2. Add the chopped onion to bacon fat in the skillet and cook for several minutes, until the onion is translucent and soft. Remove the onion from pan, drain on paper towels and reserve, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  3. Pour the bacon fat from the skillet into a heatproof measuring cup. Add enough neutral oil to equal ½ cup.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of cold water until blended. Transfer to the measuring cup with bacon the fat and oil and whisk together. Set aside.
  5. In the same skillet the bacon was fried in, whisk together the vinegar, ½ cup water, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the cornstarch-fat mixture, reduce heat to low, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the reserved bacon and onion and warm throughout. Remove from the heat and serve while warm either drizzled over a salad, lettuce, or vegetables.

Related: How to Cook Bacon to Perfect Crisp Doneness Every Time

Wilted Spinach Salad Recipe

This classic salad recipe starts with baby spinach and is rounded out by hard-cooked eggs and red onion. Mushrooms are an optional addition. It's a luncheon meal in itself but, adding diced cooked shrimp, chicken, pork, turkey or beef makes it a filling dinner offering. It makes six servings.


  • 8 to 10 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, dried, woody stems removed
  • 1 small julienned red onion
  • 6 cremini mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed and sliced (optional)
  • 1 recipe Hot Bacon Salad Dressing (see above)
  • 6 hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters
  • 3 strips of bacon, fried crisp and cut in half


  1. Place the spinach in a salad bowl. Add onion and mushrooms, if using, and toss lightly.
  2. Add hot dressing and toss again lightly but thoroughly so all the ingredients are covered.
  3. Divide among 6 salad plates. Garnish with 4 hard-cooked egg quarters per plate and 1 half-strip cooked bacon. Serve immediately.

Hot Bacon Dressing Has Legs

Don't count hot bacon dressing out as a salad topping when it comes to foods other than spinach, lettuce, and green beans. You can use it to dress hot German potato salad, smothered cabbage, and freshly boiled dumplings, too.

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How to Make Hot Bacon Dressing for Smoky Salad Success