This is no dainty salad! Cobb Salad is the perfect hearty and healthy meal, with crispy bacon, salty blue cheese crumbles, creamy avocado, juicy chicken breast, and a simple dressing to tie it all together. This is easily one of my all-time favorite salads.
Salad combinations are endless, but this has got to be one of the greatest salads of all time.
Cobb salad originates from southern California dating back to the 30s, and I think it definitely says something that it has stuck around so popularly since that time. I often see it on restaurant menus, and it’s one of my staples at home.
Since it has been around so long, there are tons of different versions, but this is the collection of ingredients that I like the best, and come back to again and again.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Hearty and filling – This is not a dainty side salad. While most salads only have enough heft to be served as a starter or side to a meal, this can be the whole main dish in and of itself. The same could be said for this Steak Salad.
Very nourishing meal – A plate of this hits all the different nutrient components. You get plenty of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins all in one bowl.
Most of it can be made ahead – You can make most of the various ingredients ahead of time so that all you have to do is mix it all together before serving.
Versatile – You can bring in a few seasonal ingredients here very nicely, like adding some leftover Roasted Butternut Squash in the fall.
With the right ingredients on hand, this can be made in less than 10 minutes.
Tips for Best Results
Make sure the lettuce is super dry – Nothing ruins a salad like watery greens. It dilutes the dressing and flavor, and also wilts the lettuce faster. Make sure to dry the romaine thoroughly, and even better, wash it ahead of time so it has plenty of time to dry.
Use the freshest ingredients possible – Produce loses its flavor as it ages, so be sure to use the freshest ingredients. It makes a big difference.
Make the chicken, egg, and bacon ahead of time – Salads like this taste better when they are cold. If possible, make and chill the chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and bacon ahead of time so they don’t warm up the greens.
Step by Step Overview:
A cobb salad is really just about prepping and assembling the ingredients, then bringing it all together right before serving. Let’s look at the parts.
Cook the bacon
The first thing I do is roast some bacon. I used to fry slices of bacon in a skillet, but I’ve become a convert for the oven method. It’s so much easier, and the bacon comes out just as crispy.
Here’s a post on How to Cook Bacon in the Oven.
When I make bacon, I usually cook the whole package and keep any leftover strips in a container in the fridge. Just re-warm in the oven or microwave when you want to eat it next.
Cook the eggs and chicken breast
In addition to the bacon, you need some chicken breast and hard boiled eggs.
I always have chicken breast on hand via my Crockpot Chicken Breast method, so I have protein available to add to salads like this. All you have have to do is place boneless, skinless chicken breasts into the bottom of a slow cooker and season with salt, herbs, spices, or whatever you’d like.
Then set it to low and let it cook gently for a few hours.
My Grilled Chicken Breast is also fantastic here, or you could purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
Here’s my tutorial for easy peel hard boiled eggs. In a nutshell, place eggs in boiling water for 13 minutes, then place in an ice bath for a minute to chill, and peel.
Whisk together the dressing
For the homemade cobb salad dressing, I place extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, fresh garlic, salt, and black pepper in a bowl:
The ingredients are quite simple for this red wine vinaigrette, but it goes nicely with the bold flavors that are already there in the salad, like the salty bacon and blue cheese crumbles.
If you want extra smoky bacon flavor, you can even use the rendered fat from cooking the bacon in place of the olive oil.
Whisk the dressing together until creamy and combined:
You may also prefer a homemade ranch dressing, a French dressing, or a creamy blue cheese dressing for extra blue cheese flavor.
Assemble the plate
Arrange some romaine lettuce on a flat plate or relatively low bowl, to start:
You may use other salad greens here if you prefer, but make sure they are crunchy crisp. Iceberg lettuce is a good alternative.
No matter what lettuce you use, make sure the lettuce is thoroughly dry.
Wet lettuce will dilute the dressing and make the salad much less enjoyable to eat. I usually spin it dry as well as I can using a salad spinner, then dry further with a kitchen towel, since spinning only does so much.
Then I like to pile all the ingredients on top of the lettuce in rows on a large platter, which looks really pretty:
This salad is all about the combo of ingredients if you ask me, and this presentation shows them off nicely. Layer on the juicy tomatoes, tender chicken breast, crisp bacon, hard-cooked eggs, one medium ripe avocado cut into chunks, and blue cheese crumbles.
I tend to keep the creamy dressing on the side, but you can also toss everything together if you prefer. Wait to add the dressing until the moment before serving, to keep the lettuce as fresh as possible.
I do not add onion to this salad, but you may certainly add some chopped red onion or thinly sliced green onions, if you prefer.
You may also use small cherry tomatoes instead of a large chopped tomato.
Most of it, yes. Like any other salad, do not toss the ingredients with dressing until right before serving. But many of the components can be made ahead of time, like the chicken breast, bacon, and eggs. The dressing can be mixed together ahead of time, and the tomatoes can be chopped ahead too.
I’ve tried, and the leftovers are not good, mostly because romaine that’s been dressed doesn’t keep well. If you used a sturdier green, like kale, leftovers would be okay for a day. Otherwise, I recommend keeping the ingredients separate.
Yes! It is low carb, gluten-free, and has quite an array of nutrients from all the different ingredients, plus lots of protein and healthy fats.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove minced or pressed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- 2 hard boiled eggs cut into quarters
- 6 strips bacon cooked and crumbled (here’s how to cook bacon in the oven)
- 1 haas avocado diced
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast diced
- 1 ripe tomato diced
- 2 oz blue cheese crumbled
- To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper, until combined.
- Place the romaine lettuce on a plate or low bowl, and arrange the remaining salad ingredients in rows on top of the lettuce.
- Pour the dressing over the salad right before serving, and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with new photos and writing May 2020. Originally posted May 2012.