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The Wedge Salad is an American restaurant favorite that’s easy to make at home, and just as delicious. With its crunchy iceberg lettuce, crispy bacon, and that quintessential creamy-tangy blue cheese dressing, it’s a dish that never goes out of style. I love how quickly it comes together, whether I’m making it for a quiet dinner or serving a crowd.

Wedge Salad served on white plates with knife and fork.

If you grew up in the United States and this Wedge Salad makes you feel nostalgic, it should. It’s been on restaurant menus here since 1916. But why leave it to restaurants when you can make it at home in 15 minutes flat if you have cooked bacon, and less than 30 minutes if you don’t. Guests coming? What a fun way to begin a meal. Who doesn’t want to slice into their own big wedge of lettuce, scooping up tangy blue cheese crumbles and salty bits of bacon? And if you want to embellish these salads, halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion are tasty additions.

Ingredients for Wedge Salad

  • Iceberg Lettuce: Look for a head that’s heavy for its size with crisp, tightly packed leaves. A little browning on the very outside is okay (you can remove those outer leaves), but the inside should be pale and crisp.
  • Bacon: I prefer thick-cut bacon for this salad. It gives you nice, meaty bites that stand up to the other flavors. You want it to be crispy enough to crumble, but not so crispy that it loses its flavor. 
  • Blue Cheese: Splurge on a good quality blue cheese here. I like one that’s creamy but still crumbles nicely. Gorgonzola or Roquefort are great choices, but use your favorite!
  • Sour Cream: Full-fat is the way to go for the dressing. It gives you that rich, creamy texture that makes the wedge salad so indulgent.
  • Garlic: One small, fresh clove is all you need. Look for firm bulbs without any green sprouts – those can be bitter.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Always use fresh for this. Those little plastic lemons just don’t cut it. A bright yellow, slightly soft lemon will give you the most juice.
  • Chives: Fresh chives add such a nice, mild oniony flavor. Look for bright green, perky-looking bunches. 
  • Milk: We’re just using this to thin the dressing, so whatever you have in the fridge is fine. I usually use 2%, but whole milk will make it a bit richer.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper are my go-to’s. They just taste better than the pre-ground stuff, and you can control the grind size. (For topping this salad, I like coarsely ground pepper.)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (optional): If you’re adding these, look for ones that are bright in color and firm to the touch. The really ripe ones can make your salad watery.
  • Red Onion (optional): A firm, heavy onion with dry, crackly outer skin is what you want. 

Preparing Your Lettuce

Here’s how to wash and prepare your iceberg lettuce for the perfect wedge:

  1. Remove any brown or wilted leaves from the outside of the head.
  2. Cut it into 4 equal wedges top to bottom with the core intact.
  3. Rinse each wedge in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Carefully cut out core with a paring knife.
  5. Place on a serving plate, cut side up.

(See recipe video and step-by-step photos below.)

Wedge Salads served on white plates photographed from above.

How to Eat a Wedge Salad

I think the Wedge Salad is a steakhouse favorite not only because it pairs beautifully with a steak, but because you need a steak knife to eat it! I like to start at the pointed end of the wedge and cut one bite at a time with a knife and fork, making sure to get some blue cheese and bacon on every bite.

The Magic of Bacon

A little bit of bacon (or pork belly!) goes a long way in recipes. It’s amazing how a tiny bit can transform salads, soups, pasta, and even a simple Breakfast Frittata. We buy bacon locally, and I don’t want to admit what we pay per pound. But it’s worth it to me, knowing that the pigs are raised ethically and with care. Because of the expense (and because it’s probably not healthy to gorge ourselves on bacon), I use it sparingly.

For this recipe, cook your bacon until crispy, then crumble it. If you’ve never tried baking bacon in the oven, give it a shot – it’s less messy and cooks more evenly than on the stovetop. Simply arrange the slices on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup) and cook at 400°F for 15-25 minutes, depending on your desired crispness.

Make-Ahead Tips

Pressed for time? Parts of this salad can be prepared in advance:

  • Dressing: Make up to two days ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stir before using.
  • Bacon: Cook and crumble in advance.
    • Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
    • Freezer: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to serve, just assemble the salads with your prepped ingredients. This make-ahead approach is perfect for busy weeknights when you want something delicious but don’t have time to start from scratch.

Customizing Your Salad

The classic Wedge Salad is delicious, but don’t hesitate to make it your own. Try these variations:

  • Mediterranean twist: Add diced cucumber and kalamata olives.
  • Extra crunch: Sprinkle with toasted walnuts or pecans.
  • Vegetarian version: Replace bacon with roasted chickpeas or sunflower seeds.

The key to improvising is maintaining the wedge’s signature crunch and creamy dressing while exploring new flavor combinations.

Easy Entertaining Idea

For a fun, interactive dinner party, set up a “Wedge Salad Bar”:

  1. Prepare lettuce wedges in advance.
  2. Set out bowls of various toppings:
    • Crumbled bacon
    • Different types of blue cheese
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Red onions
    • Other favorite additions

This approach is a win all around. It gets people talking as they create their perfect wedge, takes some of the pressure off you as the host (always a good thing in my book), and makes sure everyone ends up with a salad they love.

How to Serve

Serve your Wedge Salad as a refreshing starter or make it the star of your meal. It’s great on its own, but also pairs beautifully with grilled meats. For a quick dinner, top it with some leftover chicken or quickly sautéed shrimp. And don’t forget a glass of iced tea, a crisp glass of white wine or even a cold beer to go with those rich blue cheese and bacon flavors. It’s a simple way to bring a touch of steakhouse elegance to your table, any night of the week.

How to Make Wedge Salad

Make Blue Cheese Dressing: Add sour cream, minced fresh garlic, blue cheese crumbles (reserving some for garnish) and lemon juice to a small bowl, mash together with a fork. Add chives to dressing and milk to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

From a head of iceberg lettuce, remove any wilted or brown leaves. Cut into 4 equal wedges from top to bottom, leaving core intact. Rinse wedges with water and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully cut core from each and place on separate salad plates.

showing 4 steps of washing iceberg lettuce wedges

Spoon desired amount of blue cheese dressing over each wedge. Sprinkle each wedge with 1/4 of the bacon crumbles and 1/4 of the remaining blue cheese. Serve.

classic wedge salad ready to serve

Recipe Video

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Classic Wedge Salad

5 from 10 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Calories: 271
Servings: 4 people
Iceberg lettuce is cold, crunchy, delicious, and fun to eat sliced in a big wedge then drizzled with blue cheese dressing and sprinkled with crumbled bacon.

Ingredients  

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 3 ounces blue cheese crumbled and divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • milk for thinning dressing
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled

Instructions 

For the Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing:

  • To make the dressing, add sour cream, garlic, two ounces of the blue cheese, and lemon juice to a small bowl. Use a fork to combine the ingredients, smashing the blue cheese crumbles against the side of the bowl to infuse the sour cream with flavor.
  • Add chives to dressing and stir to combine. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until the dressing reaches your desired consistency. Season dressing to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To Assemble Wedge Salad:

  • Remove any wilted or brown leaves from the head of lettuce. 
  • Cut the head in half starting from the top and slicing down through the core. Then cut each half in half again so that each wedge has 1/4 of the core. Rinse each wedge and pat dry with paper towels. Carefully cut core from each keeping wedge intact and place on separate salad plates.
  • Spoon desired amount of dressing over each wedge. Sprinkle each wedge with 1/4 of the bacon crumbles and 1/4 of the remaining blue cheese. Serve.

Notes

  1. Note that cook time doesn’t include bacon.
  2. If you’d like to cook your bacon in the oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set an oven proof rack on top. Arrange bacon slices on the rack, giving them a bit of space between. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or to your desired crispness. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 490mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1140IU | Vitamin C: 6.3mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 0.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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35 Comments

  1. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! There’s a reason why this salad is such a classic. I always order a wedge salad whenever I go to a steakhouse. In truth, I could make an entire meal out of this one. Well done!!

  2. Laura Brooks says:

    5 stars
    Easy to make a tastes delicious. I made it for my partner and 4 of our friends, nothing was left on anyones plate!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I love to hear that, Laura! Thank you for coming back to let me know.

  3. Cara Warner says:

    5 stars
    Hi Marissa,

    Let me start by saying that my favorite salad is a wedge salad, but I usually just get it when at restaurants (which I am usually eating out constantly for work).

    That said, with our current stay-at-home situation, I decided to try it “on my own”. Thank you for your perfect wedge salad guidance!!!

    1. I will no longer be buying store bought blue cheese dressing. THANK YOU! Yours was so delicious!!! I made extra and am now using it for veggie dip.

    2. Omg. The bacon. I used peppered bacon, but I opted for no parchment paper because I have a bacon griddle where the fat drips off during cooking. Crispy perfection.

    3. I also added some diced red and yellow cherry tomatoes as a garnish, which I thought added a nice little tang to the rest of the flavors.

    4. Fresh cracked pepper, and voila!

    All in all, your wedge salad stands up to ANY wedge I have ever had in a restaurant. Can’t wait to incorporate it into my next dinner party!!!

    Thanks again

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Wow, Cara! You made my day. Thank you for such a detailed comment on this salad – so happy that you are enjoying it and that you made it your own!