This Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing recipe features fresh spinach and a flavorful tangy hot bacon dressing. Add in some thinly sliced onions and a few hard-boiled eggs to round it out for a tasty light supper, or a fresh side dish. And while this salad is good to eat all year round, it’s especially good for a spring tonic after a long and dreary winter, or in the fall when the spinach from the garden is sweet and tender. (And if you love fresh salads, check out my recipe for Cherry Pecan Broccoli Salad.)
Spinach salad with hot bacon dressing is a classic American salad that’s hearty and satisfying. The crisp spinach leaves are tossed in a warm, creamy dressing made with bacon fat, vinegar, and sugar (or substitute honey or maple syrup). The dressing is also thickened with a small amount of flour, which gives it a smooth and rich consistency. The result is a sweet, salty, sweet, tart, and smoky dressing that hits all of the flavor notes.
And if you’re unfamiliar with a hot dressing on a salad, this may sound like a very strange kind of salad indeed. But let me tell you, it’s really very delicious (I mean, it does have bacon in it after all!) And though the hot dressing is actually intended to wilt the greens a bit, if you prefer your greens more on the crisp side, just allow the dressing to cool a bit first and serve it just slightly warm.
A word about the History of Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing…
This salad most likely originated with German immigrants to the U.S. in the 1800s. I’ve seen very similar recipes for this type of salad in both Amish and southern Appalachian cooking (where dandelion greens are often used instead of spinach). As far as recipes go, the first known recipe for Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing appeared in 1896 in The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer. If you love old cookbooks like I do, I recommend picking up a copy.
- When cooking the bacon, cook it as crisp as you like, then quickly remove it from the heat before you get a lot of burned, blackened bits in your skillet (because you don’t want burned bacon bits in your dressing.) If you really want a nice clear dressing, you can strain the rendered fat through a sieve lined with a coffee filter (but seriously, I would only do this step if I’m expecting company for dinner or preparing this dressing for a holiday.)
- This is a traditional sweet and sour dressing that does use quite a bit of sugar. If you are limiting your sugar, just use the sugar substitute of your choice. You can use a natural sugar like honey or maple syrup, but just know that it will change the flavor of the dressing. And if you prefer a less sweet dressing, simply cut back the amount of sugar to suit your taste.
- This dressing uses eggs as an ingredient in the dressing, so when you add the dressing mixture to the hot bacon drippings in the skillet, make sure to whisk constantly, or you may end up with a few scrambled egg bits. (But if you do happen to end up with a few scrambled egg bits in your dressing, don’t even worry about it – it will still be delicious and no one will even notice!)
- If you like your spinach greens wilted, immediately mix the hot dressing into the greens (this is how I like it). If you prefer your greens more on the crisp side, allow the dressing to cool until it is just a little warm, and serve it on the side of the salad.
If you try this recipe for Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing, I hope you love it. And follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post.
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