The perfect Spinach Salad has tender spinach leaves gently wilted with warm bacon dressing. A few pieces of hard-boiled egg complete this simple, satisfying side dish.

Spinach salad with bacon dressing on a white plate.

This was always my favorite salad that my grandma made for me when I was growing up. What’s not to love about salad dressing made from bacon fat?

It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, smoky and bright. And it’s the perfect way to use up one of those giant bags of baby spinach in your veggie drawer.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Spinach salad with bacon dressing ingredients 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.
  • Spinach: Flat-leaf spinach is the best for salads and is usually sold in bunches or pre-washed in bags (often labeled “baby spinach”). Curly-leaf spinach, sold in crinkly bags, is tough, fibrous, and better for cooking than eating raw.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until the crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Bacon cooking in a black skillet.
  1. Pour the bacon fat into a liquid measuring cup. You need ¼ cup rendered bacon fat. If you have more than that, you can discard the extra. If you don’t have enough, top it off with olive oil until you hit the ¼ cup mark. Pour the fat back into the skillet and heat over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the red onion, vinegar, and sugar.
Red onion cooking in a black skillet.
  1. Cook the dressing until the onion softens, about 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Hot bacon dressing in a black skillet.
  1. In a large bowl, add the spinach. Pour the warm bacon dressing over the spinach and toss well to combine. The spinach will become super glossy and rich-looking.
Hot bacon dressing being poured on to a bowl of spinach.
  1. Once the spinach is tossed, you can divide the salad up into portions for a plated salad and add the crisp bacon and egg slices to each. Or, you can serve it on a giant platter.
Spinach salad with bacon dressing on white plates.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Cleaning your spinach: Wash small amounts of greens in a bowl, swishing around to loosen any dirt. Spin dry in a salad spinner or lay on a clean kitchen towel. Roll up the kitchen towel and store in the refrigerator to keep your greens fresh.
  • Croutons: Make your own croutons out of leftover bread.
  • Extra vegetables: Add thinly sliced raw mushrooms or red onion slices (soak in ice water if they seem angry).
  • Nuts: Toasted sunflower seeds or walnuts would both taste good with this salad.

Suppers for your salad

Spinach salad with bacon dressing on a white plate.

Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing

The perfect Spinach Salad has tender spinach leaves gently wilted with warm bacon dressing. A few pieces of hard-boiled egg complete this simple, satisfying side dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 373

Ingredients 

For the bacon dressing:

  • 1 pound bacon finely chopped
  • olive oil as needed (see note 1)
  • 1 red onion minced (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

For the salad:

  • 1 pound baby spinach (see note 5)
  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs peeled and quartered

Instructions 

To make the bacon dressing:

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • 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, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Cook until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

To make the salad:

  • In a very large bowl, add spinach. Immediately pour over warm bacon dressing and toss to wilt. Portion the salad onto individual plates if desired and garnish with bacon and eggs.

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. Spinach: Flat-leaf spinach is the best for salads and is usually sold in bunches or pre-washed in bags (often labeled “baby spinach”). Curly-leaf spinach, sold in crinkly bags, is tough, fibrous, and better for cooking than eating raw.
  6. Cleaning your spinach: Wash small amounts of greens in a bowl, swishing around to loosen any dirt. Spin dry in a salad spinner or lay on a clean kitchen towel. Roll up the kitchen towel and store in the refrigerator to keep your greens fresh.
  7. Croutons: Make your own croutons out of leftover bread.
  8. Extra vegetables: Add thinly sliced raw mushrooms or red onion slices (soak in ice water if they seem angry).
  9. Nuts: Toasted sunflower seeds or walnuts would both taste good with this salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 24gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 1055mgPotassium: 657mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 5473IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 3mg
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