classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

If you’re old enough, you’ve probably had this salad, Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing, at least if you live in the States. It was everywhere in the late ’70s and early ’80s and was served for decades. And then it disappeared. Fell out of grace.

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing


I’ve noticed lately, Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing is making a bit of a comeback. And like most comebacks, there are changes. I loved the salad just as it was, so I went and dragged my old recipe box out so I could find my original recipe – from 1978. Yep. 40 years ago! That makes Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing vintage, and me? Well, I’m an antique!

About Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing:

If you’ve never had Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing, it has roots stretching back to Germany (it’s what my Grandma & Mom would have called “wilted” salad, although this one isn’t really wilted at all) and other Eastern European countries with the tangy, sweet bacon vinaigrette. That Warm Bacon Vinaigrette is just luscious and coats the spinach so beautifully. The spinach, in turn, is strong enough to stand up to the bold bacon flavor and to the warmth of dressing without actually wilting. It turns out spinach and bacon are a great flavor combo.

The salad reads like a meal. The spinach gets tossed with the vinaigrette then put down as the first layer. Then it’s topped with all the goodies. There’s plenty of protein & so much more flavor with the hard-boiled eggs and the extra sprinkle of bacon. Mushrooms come into play next, preferably plain old button mushrooms along with a little red onion for just a bit of a bite. That’s it, the whole recipe in a nutshell. Just as it was given to me years decades ago, with no “newfangled” ingredients.

There’s no special vinegar like balsamic, definitely no Dijon mustard, no poached or soft boiled eggs, no portabellas or other fancy mushrooms. Just plain old, honest ingredients. And this is exactly how I like mine, but if you want to gussy up or update in your own way, feel free. No judgment, here. Well, not much anyway, lol!


classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

Making Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing:

The salad is deceptively simple for such a gorgeous salad. The vinaigrette is made right in the skillet the bacon is cooked in and if you take a minute to cut up the bacon before you cook it, it cooks in minutes. I like to keep my bacon in the freezer because I don’t tend to eat a lot of bacon and it’s a great way to keep a bit on hand for recipes. Just take it out before you start the hard boiled eggs and it will be soft enough to slice through and still frozen enough to slice through easily. About a half inch slice through the package (1/16th of the package) equals about one slice of bacon.

As for your hard-boiled eggs, you can use the Best Basic Boiled Method, the Easy Peel Steam Method or make your Hard-boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot. I highly recommend either of the last two methods for easy peeling eggs, but it’s your call. And as long as you’re making a few, you might as well make more for snacking or my Best Egg Salad Sandwiches. Just sayin’.

Alton Brown did a few experiments on mushrooms – and he says its ok to rinse your mushrooms. If you’re more comfortable just brushing the dirt off, that’s up to you, too. The only ingredients we haven’t covered is the red onion. I love the sharp bite, but if you find it strong, soak the slices in cold water for 10 minutes or so. It really tames them down.

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

Saving Money on Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing:

The spinach is so much cheaper than it used to be, but it’s even cheaper in the bundle instead of by the bag. It kind of defies reason – the bags look so much larger but they’re filled with loose, not bundled spinach. If you’re determined to buy spinach in a bag check Costco or Aldi.

The priciest item is the bacon and you’re going to find the best prices around any holiday and especially any holiday where brunch is usually served. Stock up at a low and stick it in your freezer where it keeps beautifully for months and takes up little room. It’s best to not be too particular about brand names when looking for sales – you never know what will pop up at a great price. Eggs, too, are a great holiday item and they can be found at an excellent price, too, at Aldi (for smaller packages) or Costco (in larger ones.) Eggs keep for weeks in the fridge past their “buy by” date.

Look for mushrooms on sale, too, especially around holidays when they’re usually half off – they don’t keep long, but if you want to keep them a bit fresher, turn the package upside down and poke a few holes in the bottom. That’s going to keep them out of the condensation that they’re most likely sitting in and make them last a smidge longer.

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing


Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: German


  • 48 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces + 3 tablespoons drippings, reserved
  • three tablespoons minced white or yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 6 oz (about 8 cups) baby spinach
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 8 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in halves or quartered


Feel free to add as much or as little of the bacon, eggs, spinach & onion. While you’re at it, feel free to tinker with the dressing, too, adding more or less sugar, salt, pepper.

Add bacon to cold skillet and turn to medium heat. Cook, stirring often until done to desired taste. Remove bacon and set aside. Remove all but three tablespoons of the drippings. If there aren’t three tablespoons, add a bit of vegetable oil. Place the bacon in a medium nonstick skillet and fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook for a minute or two until softened. Remove from heat and add the vinegar, sugar, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk vigorously,

Add spinach to a large bowl and toss with a little of the warm dressing. Divide into serving bowls, garnish with egg, mushrooms, onion and reserved bacon. Pass the remaining vinaigrette.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Bacon, Eggs, Family Recipe, German, hard-boiled eggs, Main dish salad, mushrooms, Red onion, Salad, Salad Dressings, Spinach, Spinach Salad

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Slice through bacon while frozen, then return to freezer.


I’ll be sharing this lovely salad at Fiesta Friday #244, co-hosted this week by Judi @ and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes

This is the one. The absolute Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing just as it's always been! And it's just as good as you remember. #SpinachSalad #ClassicSpinachSalad #SpinachSaladBaconDressing

34 thoughts on “Classic Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

  1. This will sound like a silly question but here goes……Does the bacon grease congeal as it cools? You know, does it turn solid and white on the salad or does being mixed with the vinegar keep this from happening?

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi, that’s not odd! And I’ve never seen it congeal in the salad, maybe because it’s kind of dispersed but if you just put it in a jar it will separate into layers and would probably congeal. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you. Our son is coming from Texas for Christmas and he loves raw spinach. I though this would go well with a pork tenderloin and scalloped potatoes. Not traditional but who said we have to be traditional every year? BTW, he is 50 but you know moms, gotta cook special for our sons.

        • FrugalHausfrau

          I know exactly what you mean! 🙂 That sounds like a wonderful dinner! BTW, if you don’t already have a fave scalloped potato recipe, the Ruth Chris Potatoes on my site are awesome!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I’m so glad you liked it, Kim!! And thanks for taking the time to stop back and give a shout out!


  2. I’m probably more antique than you. My mother made this so many times during the summer months it was almost a dinner staple. We had no air conditioning and salads were light, easy, and refreshing. Thanks for this recipe.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Oh gosh, yes, do i ever remember the no air conditioning days!!! A salad like this would be perfect on any hot day, and the bacon, I think carries it into fall, too!

  3. This is one of my favorite kinds of salads! The warm bacon dressing goes so good with the spinach and other ingredients! Your salad looks super good!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Nancy! I actually want it again, but I have another use for the rest of my mushrooms and bacon. Maybe I’ll just have to go back to the store.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks, Julie! I bet you had this a few times in the past, too! I can’t remember enjoying a salad as much for quite a while! Must be the bacon, lol!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Antonia! I’m not sure why it fell so hard out of fashion; maybe because it was just a bit overdone…so many restaurants served it. 🙂

  4. Wow, this brought back memories. I used to go to Marie Calender’s in SLC, and order what they called a wilted salad. I don’t remember the ingredients, but the wilting aspect was wonderful, and helped me get started eating salads. Fabulous!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      My Grandma used to make wilted salad and I think she liked to use butter lettuce. Mom made it once and never again! She was in one of her diet modes, I think! But that’s when I fell in love with wilted salad.

  5. Ron

    I had totally not thought of that salad for years and you’re right it was the rage in the 70’s and likely 80’s. It was often eaten at business lunches by those trying to watch their waist line. I’m going to put on my Jerry Garcia t-shirt (if it still fits) and get way into this salad.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      LOL Ron! I think I wore Levi 501’s, rolled up and hiking boots a lot and for “good” I seem to remember having a bunch of those Indian type print and batik skirts!!

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