Classic wedge salad recipe using iceberg lettuce topped with a tangy blue cheese dressing, smokey bacon, diced red onion, tomato, and chives. A popular appetizer or entree salad that can be easily made at home.
A classic iceberg wedge salad is fancy with a presentation that wows. The recipe has just a few basic ingredients, so it’s important to prepare them just right. The key element is the creamy blue cheese dressing where the acidity balances the flavors of the crumbled bacon.
The velvety dressing texture ensures that each leaf of iceberg lettuce gets properly coated. Dicing the tomatoes and onions into small uniform pieces ensures they’ll stick to the chunks of layered greens. Tangy, crunchy, creamy and savory flavors are all delivered is this satisfying fork and knife salad.
How to make a wedge salad
- Cook the bacon by roasting in the oven or on the stovetop until crispy.
- Chop the bacon into smaller pieces once cooled.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients; sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, blue cheese, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Cut the iceberg lettuce into quarters, wash and dry the sections.
- Divide the wedge of iceberg lettuce among four plates.
- Spoon dressing over each wedge.
- Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, onions, and chives.
The best way to make bacon
Roast the bacon in the oven for evenly cooked and crisp strips. Make a large batch so you can use it for other recipes like cobb salad or chicken carbonara pasta. The bacon can also be sizzled on the stovetop if you’re making a small batch. Make sure to start cooking in a cold pan so that the pork doesn’t burn. Don’t rush it, low and slow.
Cutting the lettuce
Iceberg is a type of lettuce that has tightly balled leaves that are layered around each other. The compact greens and tender core make for clean-cut sections. Cut the lettuce head in half, from the top down to the stem. From there, cut the halves into quarters making sure the core stays intact. This helps to keep the wedge stacked together.
Washing the lettuce
Once the head of iceberg lettuce is cut into fourths, simply rinse under a light stream of cool water. Shake the excess water off the leaves and dry the outside with a paper towel. I like to store the wedges loosely covered in the refrigerator so it’s extra cool and crisp when ready to serve.
Blue cheese dressing
One of the most crave-able elements in this salad is the creamy blue cheese dressing. It’s a tangy combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, blue cheese crumbles, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This recipe makes a generous 1-cup of dressing. If you have any leftover, use it to dip some vegetables or buffalo wings.
Traditional toppings include ripe diced tomatoes, red onions, chopped bacon, chives, and more cheese. Diced grilled chicken, avocado, cucumber, or other types of cheese like goat cheese, feta, or Parmesan are nice additions. Make sure to add some freshly ground black pepper for a spicy punch of flavor right before serving.
More classic salad recipes
Keeping lettuce fresh after cutting
Once the lettuce is cut the exposed cell walls of the plant will begin to express moisture and turn brown over time. The browning is due to oxidation when exposed to air, and excess moisture speeds up color change and wilting. Be sure to cover or wrap in a paper towel, then place it on a plate covered with plastic wrap, or inside an airtight container, or resealable plastic bag. Eat within a few days.
Classic Wedge Salad
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into quarters
- ½ cup (65 g) diced red onion, ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup (78 g) diced tomato, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon (3 g) chopped chives
- ¼ cup (30 g) blue cheese, crumbled
- Position the oven rack in the center. Preheat to 375°F (191°C).
- Line a large sheet tray with foil and place bacon on the pan making sure not to overlap.
- Roast the bacon for 15 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and use tongs to flip over.
- Bake until bacon is fully cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined sheet tray to absorb the excess grease. Once cool, chop into small pieces.
- In a medium bowl whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, whole milk, blue cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Break up the blue cheese crumbles as needed, the dressing will be smooth with some chunkier pieces.
- Cut a head of iceberg lettuce through the core. Cut the halves down the center, there should be four wedges. Remove any outer leaves that are browned or falling off.
- Gently rinse the lettuce wedges under cool water for a few seconds. Carefully shake off the excess water and dry with paper towels.
- For super cool and crisp wedges, refrigerate before serving.
- Divide the wedges amongst serving plates. Drizzle with blue cheese dressing then top with bacon, red onion, tomatoes, chives, crumbled blue cheese and black pepper.
- For stovetop bacon: Add bacon strips to a cold pan. Turn heat to medium-low and cook until it starts to curl and turn deep red in color, about 12 minutes. Flip about every 4 minutes.
- Blue cheese dressing yield: 1 cup