Southern Wilted Lettuce With Hot Bacon Dressing Recipe

Wilted lettuce with hot bacon dressing

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 17 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 2 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
32 Calories
1g Fat
4g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 32
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 102mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 2g
Calcium 22mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This wilted lettuce is also known as "killed lettuce" or "kilt" lettuce. The lettuce softens under the hot, tangy dressing. You might have fond memories of this famous Southern salad. And what better way to use fresh-from-the-garden spring lettuce and green onions.

A hot dressing made with bacon drippings wilts the lettuce and give the salad its fabulous flavor. The sugar gives the salad a sweet and sour taste, but it may be omitted or reduced if you like a less sweet dressing. Double the bacon drippings and vinegar for a saucier salad.

Fry (or bake) 4 to 5 strips of bacon before you begin; drain and crumble the bacon and use it as a garnish. Enjoy this salad with freshly baked cornbread or cornbread muffins.


  • 8 cups shredded lettuce such as iceburg or Romaine
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 5 strips bacon
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons melted bacon drippings
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for wilted lettuce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Combine the shredded lettuce and chopped green onion in a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Combine shredded lettuce and seasons
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. In a cast iron or other fry pan, cook bacon over medium high heat until desired doneness.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, and reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Combine the bacon drippings, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and heat to boiling point.

    Bacon grease
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Pour over the shredded lettuce mixture. Toss to mix. Top with crumbled bacon. Serve at once.

    Wilted lettuce and bacon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the lettuce with spinach.
  • Add crumbled bacon to the salad or bits of diced browned ham.
  • Omit the sugar for a less sweet dressing.
  • Add a garnish of sliced hard-boiled eggs to the salad.
  • Thinly slice fresh spring radishes and add to the salad.
  • Replace the green onions with about 3 tablespoons of chopped sweet onions.