An easy recipe for an All-American Cobb Salad. It’s a kitchen-sink-type meal, full of chopped chicken, bacon, blue cheese, hard-boiled egg, and avocado…all beautifully lined up on a bed of lettuce, with Green Goddess Dressing on standby.
Leftover Rotisserie Chicken is perfect in this recipe (or you can quickly poach some). For more light lunches, try my chicken lettuce cups, cauliflower tabbouleh, or my favorite Chinese chicken salad. See all my homemade salad dressing recipes here.
I love Cobb Salads because you can chop all the ingredients in advance and assemble the whole salad when you need it. It travels well, and you can drizzle the dressing over everything just seconds before you spear your first chunk of roasted chicken.
There are those out there who make Cobb Salad in a jar, but that’s just for a pretty photo. Cobb Salad is a type of “composed” salad, where everything isn’t tossed together in dressing, it’s placed carefully on a plate for maximum visual enjoyment.
Therefore, this salad is best when every last avocado, tomato, and bacon bit is accessible—so use a big platter for best results!
Thinking about making a big Cobb Salad for a lunch buffet? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
History of Cobb Salad:
Legend has it that Cobb Salad was born out of necessity—a late night meal concocted for restauranteur Robert Howard Cobb, who was hungry after a night running the Hollywood Brown Derby in the 1930s. As with any famous recipe, Cobb Salad’s origin is debated.
What’s not debated, however, is how good it is. Colorful, fresh, and filling, Cobb Salad is the kind of meal you look forward to, mid-day all they to late at night.
Cobb Salad ingredients:
Traditional Cobb salads feature at least the following ingredients, with a few extra ingredients listed below.
- Chicken. Grilled chicken, roasted chicken, or poached chicken.
- Eggs. Hard-boiled and peeled
- Romaine lettuce. Any leafy green works.
- Tomatoes. Grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or chopped heirlooms all work fine.
- Blue cheese. Crumbly Roquefort, Stilton, or Maytag are all delicious choices.
- Chives. For a little oniony kick.
- Belgian endive.
- Hearts of palm. Old fashioned, yes. Delicious, yes, indeed!
- Iceberg lettuce. No judgment here.
- Shrimp. Chilled baby shrimp make a fantastic addition.
- Ham. Cubed ham (or turkey) works just as well as chicken.
How to make Cobb Salad:
The Prep: You roast the chicken, cook the bacon, and hard boil the eggs. This can all be done the day (or two) before, if you haven’t already done it.
- First, chop the ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Keep them separate until you’re ready to compose the salad.
- Then find a pretty platter and lay down a base of chopped lettuce. All you have to do then is artfully arrange the ingredients in generous rows across the bed of lettuce.
- Serve the dressing on the side.
How to make Green Goddess Salad Dressing:
There’s a complete breakdown of how to make this fabulous dressing here, with all the common substitutions and some extra hints, too.
Ideally, you need a food processor, blender, or high-powered blender for this creamy herb and garlic dressing.
- First, process the garlic by itself. I coarsely chop the garlic first so you don't end up with big chunks of raw garlic.
- Then add the anchovies and green herbs. Pulse the mixture until everything is finely chopped.
- Next, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process until well- mixed and smooth.
- Before you transfer it to a jar, give it a taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Best dressing for a Cobb Salad:
Traditionally, Cobb Salad uses a French dressing, but this herby, garlicky Green Goddess Dressing knocks it out of the park. You should try it.
If not, you can use any dressing you want to make a healthy Cobb Salad or an indulgent one. Here are some ideas.
- Lemon Vinaigrette, for a light, tart dressing you’ll just love.
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, for all the cilantro lovers in the world.
- My favorite Red Wine Vinaigrette because it's always tasty.
- Homemade balsamic vinaigrette and plain yogurt, for a creamy, healthy vinaigrette.
- Maytag blue cheese dressing, because iceberg wedges shouldn’t have all the fun.
Cobb Salad vs Chef Salad..what’s the difference?
Both are similar, hearty salads that use cold meats and eggs. Both the Chef salad and Cobb Salad are low carb salads, because they contain no croutons or bread.
Here’s how they differ.
- Chef salads usually use cubed cheddar or Swiss cheeses, whereas Cobb Salad calls for blue cheese some sort.
- Chef salads are usually dressed in a ranch or creamy blue cheese dressing. The original Cobb Salad dressing recipe was a Homemade French Dressing.
- Cobb Salads have tomatoes and avocados. Chef salads use ham and turkey.
How to make Cobb Salad vegetarian:
- Marinated or pressed tofu or tempeh might make an excellent stand-in for grilled chicken.
- Impossible bacon? Is that a thing yet? It should be.
- Dress the salad in a vegetarian version of Green Goddess Dressing, without the anchovies.
Cobb Salad Recipe
For the Green Goddess dressing:
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 3 anchovy fillets oil or salt-packed, rinsed
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley stems removed
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chervil (see notes)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 large lemon zested
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 head romaine lettuce leaves separated and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 3 large eggs hardboiled, peeled, and diced
- 8 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 4 cups cooked chicken
- 2 avocados pitted and diced
- 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbled
To make the dressing:
- In a food processor or blender, add garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Add anchovies, parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil. Pulse until finely chopped.
- Add mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until serving time.
To make the salad:
- On a large platter or in a shallow bowl, make a bed of lettuce. Working with one ingredient at a time, arrange in rows the chicken, blue cheese, egg, tomatoes, bacon, and avocado. Sprinkle with chives and serve with Green Goddess Dressing.