Hot bacon dressing is made from rendered bacon fat, sugar, and vinegar. It’s a little sweet, a little salty, and totally addictive over a bed of hearty greens.

Hot bacon dressing being poured over spinach.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Hot Bacon Dressing Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for hot bacon dressing in various bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Olive oil: If you don’t render enough fat from your bacon, just add olive oil until you reach ¼ cup.
  • Red onion: Minced shallot works too.
  • Sugar: This dressing is sweet. If you don’t like overly sweet dressings, feel free to start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and increase as you see fit.
  • Vinegar: I always use white vinegar, but cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar are also good.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a plate with paper towels to drain (do not discard bacon fat).
Bacon cooking in a black skillet.
  1. Pour the fat into a liquid measuring cup. If you have more than ¼ cup fat, discard the extra or save it for another batch. Or, add olive oil to hit the ¼ cup. Add the bacon fat back to the skillet and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the chopped red onion, sugar, and vinegar.
Red onion cooking in a black skillet.
  1. Cook until the onion is soft and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper).
Hot bacon dressing in a black skillet.
  1. When you’re ready to toss the salad, pour the warm vinaigrette over the greens and sprinkle with the cooked bacon. Or, stir the cooked bacon into the vinaigrette and toss with your salad greens.
Hot bacon dressing being poured on to a bowl of spinach.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 2 ½ cups of dressing (approximately 1 ½ cups vinaigrette + 1 cup chopped bacon).
  • Make ahead: The bacon can be fried up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate the bacon and rendered fat separately. Reheat the bacon grease in a skillet and proceed with the recipe. The bacon can be reheated in the microwave or oven (or bring to room temperature and serve).
  • Serving: This recipe makes enough dressing for 1 pound (or more) baby spinach, romaine lettuce, or other greens. If you use less than ½ cup sugar, you’ll have less dressing. Hot bacon dressing is also delicious over shredded Brussels sprouts, blanched green beans, boiled potatoes, and wilted Spinach Salad (below).
Hot bacon dressing on spinach salad with hard-boiled eggs.

More tasty salads

Hot bacon dressing being poured over spinach.

Hot Bacon Dressing

Hot bacon dressing is made from rendered bacon fat, sugar, and vinegar. It's a little sweet, a little salty, and totally addictive over a bed of hearty greens.
4.95 from 18 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 10 servings (¼ cup each)
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 257

Ingredients 

  • 16 ounces bacon finely chopped
  • Olive oil as needed (see note 1)
  • 1/2 medium red onion minced (1 cup, see note 2)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or less to taste (see note 3)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (see note 4)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Pour rendered bacon fat into a measuring cup. Pour off all but ¼ cup, or add olive oil to reach ¼ cup. Return fat to skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add onion, sugar, and vinegar. Cook until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper).
  • To serve, either toss the vinaigrette with greens and sprinkle with bacon, or stir the bacon into the dressing and toss with the salad. Both ways are tasty!

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Olive oil: If you don’t render enough fat from your bacon, just add olive oil until you reach ¼ cup.
  2. Red onion: Minced shallot works too.
  3. Sugar: This dressing is sweet. If you don’t like overly sweet dressings, feel free to start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and increase as you see fit.
  4. Vinegar: I always use white vinegar, but cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar are also good.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 2 ½ cups of dressing (approximately 1 ½ cups vinaigrette + 1 cup chopped bacon).
  6. Make ahead: The bacon can be fried up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate the bacon and rendered fat separately. Reheat the bacon grease in a skillet and proceed with the recipe. The bacon can be reheated in the microwave or oven (or bring to room temperature and serve).
  7. Serving: This recipe makes enough dressing for 1 pound (or more) baby spinach, romaine lettuce, or other greens. If you use less than ½ cup sugar, you’ll have less dressing. Hot bacon dressing is also delicious over shredded Brussels sprouts, blanched green beans, boiled potatoes, and wilted Spinach Salad.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 16gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 779mgPotassium: 237mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. I thought your process was very good. Here is what I like to add: 1 t celery seed, 1 t (heaping) of Durkee’s Famous Sauce, 2 raw egg yolks, 2 T flour, 1/2 t chopped garlic that was baked in olive oil, some water (1/2) cup to thin out the sauce. And one whole shallot minced and sautéed in the bacon grease. It saves in the fridge for about 4 days. I have made this for years and my mother before me, that is a total of 132 years!4 stars

  2. On the bacon dressing:
    My grandmother’s recipe calls for an egg yolk being put into the bacon grease after pan has cooled down. It really enriches the dressing.

  3. excellent recipe. had not made hot bacon dressing before but this was better than any I’ve ever had at
    a restaurant5 stars

  4. Made this and we all LOVED it! It’s easy and reheated it the next 2 days and it was equally delicious then too!5 stars

    1. Hi Donna, I’m so happy to hear that! I just LOVE THIS. It’s one of my favorites, so simple and easy and the most delicious thing. Awesome about the reheating, too. Thanks for your feedback! -Meggan

    1. Hi Fran, I’m SO sorry about that. I’ve been testing and working on this recipe in the last few days and started updating it, but I clearly got distracted and didn’t finish. It’s 1 red onion, minced, but I’ve also increased the amount of bacon to a pound, and this makes enough for a pound of salad greens. So it looks like I updated the sugar and vinegar, but not the bacon or the onion. I’ll fix the recipe! So sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. -Meggan

    1. Hi Ellen, you can use 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice as a substitute. Another substitute is white wine, but for that you would want to double it, so 1/2 cup of white wine for this recipe. -Meggan

  5. Just like my Czech grandma used to make! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! This has become my Husband’s favorite salad. In fact, it was one of the first things I made him when we started dating. Talk about memories! Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Hi Lori, no. The grease IS the dressing. You basically take out the bacon bits and use the fat from the bacon to mix with the sugar and the vinegar. Does that make sense? I hope that helps. Just let me know if you have more questions!

    1. Hi Amy, I’d say 3 to 4 days in the fridge is fine. Just reheat it. It should still taste great! Thanks.

  6. I never would have thought of freezing bacon! That is such an amazing tip and you’ve totally changed my world! I also need to try this dressing! Thanks Meggan!

    1. I must have hit upon the one thing you DON’T know… heh heh! :) This dressing is straight out of Wisconsin, you’ll have to give it a try! #Sconnies

  7. Easy to be on the same page as u when it comes to basic foods. I am between your parents and grandparents and grew up on a farm in coal, timber, farm and Amish country in S/W PA. Now they know how to cook, as you well know, and it’s still all organic with a flavor that has to be experienced to be appreciated. YUM!!!!5 stars

  8. Bless you girl. I remember my grandmother gathering fresh dandelion greens or endive then pouring a similar hot mix over them. There was no such thing as too much of it.  Time to fry up some bacon and indulge myself.  Hers was a slightly soured, white gravy made with the bacon and the grease – extra of which she always kept in a small lidded crock on the stove.  Thanks for the flashback. 5 stars

    1. Thanks for being on the same page as me, as always. :) The dandelion greens and endive sound just magical with this.

  9. I must confess it is my favorite dressing as well as all my grandkids( and now Calvin, too.) Whenever I have the kids over, I usually say if I’m making a salad they usually ask for bacon dressing. My Mother made it & many of my Aunts. It’s been a family favorite for generations.5 stars

    1. Like you said Grandma, it will be a favorite of the next generation too! Calvin can’t get enough of it! Thank you so much for leaving a comment here, too, it’s always great to hear from the original chef! At least the original chef that made it for me. :)