Wilted Lettuce Salad in a bowl with a fork

Wilted Lettuce Salad

By Rachel Tiemeyer
March 16, 2021

Ever heard of hot lettuce or wilted lettuce? Seriously, it’s awesome! This simple wilted lettuce recipe and our homemade dressing makes for a quick, healthy, and simply GOOD addition to your favorite meal.

Wilted Lettuce Salad with dressing being poured on top

Several years ago, a friend from church sent my husband home with two bags of fresh garden lettuce and a recipe called “Wilted Lettuce Salad (so simple, so good).”  We didn’t realize until later that night what a gift this was!

Hands holding lettuce salad greens

How to Make Wilted Lettuce

This is one of THE simplest salad recipes around. And you likely have all the dressing ingredients in your pantry.

1. Rinse and dry your lettuce.

Our lettuce-grower friend’s instructions, which I’ve heard numerous times on Food Network, said to rinse the greens under cold water and then dry them in a salad spinner.  This method makes for a crisp, rather than wet and limp, salad.

lettuce in salad spinner

2. Tear Lettuce

Then, either cut up or tear up the lettuce, if needed.  A chef will probably tell you to tear it by hand to avoid bruising. Baby lettuce may not need any tearing up at all, but the idea is to make the lettuce bite-sized.

Wilted Lettuce Salad in a bowl with dressing nearby

3. Make the Dressing

Next, you’ll mix up a simple dressing that only requires four ingredients: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt, and sugar. Or, if you’re someone who saves bacon drippings, I’m telling you right now–this is the time to use it! Swap out the olive oil for the bacon drippings. Place the dressing ingredients in a glass mason jar or glass dressing container. Microwave until it’s boiling (maybe 30 seconds).

This simple salad and its homemade dressing makes for a simple, delicious addition to your favorite meal.

4. Toss Lettuce with the Dressing

Dump the hot dressing on the greens and toss. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Wilted Lettuce Salad with dressing being poured on top

Is Hot Lettuce Any Good?

“Hot lettuce?” you cry! Friends, I’m here to tell you that this is a thing and this is a very good thing. The hot lettuce wilts down a little and absorbs all the flavor of the hot dressing. The resulting sweetness and tanginess of the salad makes it go down like a spoonful of sugar. 🙂

Wilted Lettuce Salad in a bowl with a fork

If you want to get a little fancier, add some freshly grated Parmesan and/or some feta or blue cheese crumbles, thinly sliced or diced apples, and toasted pecans to take this wilted lettuce salad over the top. Doesn’t that sound amazing??

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Wilted Lettuce Salad in a bowl with a fork

Wilted Lettuce Salad (AKA Hot Lettuce)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 4 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 34 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Hot lettuce is amazing! This simple wilted lettuce salad and its homemade dressing makes for a delicious addition to your favorite meal.


Ingredients

  • About 46 cups of lettuce (tender, fresh garden lettuce is the best!)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or bacon drippings)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse and dry the salad in a salad spinner. (Or rinse in a colander and let dry on a towel on the counter.) Tear into bite-sized pieces into a large serving bowl.
  2. Combine oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe glass jar or bowl.
  3. Microwave for about 30 seconds, or until boiling.
  4. Immediately pour hot dressing over the large bowl of salad. Toss and taste. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Serving suggestion ideas: Add freshly grated Parmesan, feta or Gorgonzola crumbles, thinly sliced or diced apples, and toasted pecans.

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6 replies
  1. shammer says:

    Wilted lettuce was always a summer favorite on the farm. I absolutely loved it; however, ours was made with hot bacon grease (our salad had crumbled bacon bits also). Poured it over garden lettuce with chopped green onions and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Yum!

    Reply
  2. beth says:

    I grew up on this salad as a kid! Our garden produced so much lettuce I think we had it just about every single night. I didn’t like it as a kid (so picky!), but love it now as an adult. Great recipe to share!

    Reply