classic-cobb-salad Recipes

classic cobb salad

When I am considering recipes I might share with you all, there are a lot of foods that I arbitrarily rule out. Sandwiches? Nope! With rare exception, who needs a recipe for slapping things between two pieces of bread? Fruit salad? Oof! No! Again, unless you’re doing something fancyfancy to it, I’m pretty sure people can find their own path to chopped fruit in a bowl. So when I got to thinking about making an old-school Cobb salad a couple months ago, I quickly rejected it because given the Cobb salad’s ubiquity on lunch menus everywhere, who doesn’t know how to make it?

this salad needs bacon

As it turns out, someone does not. Last month, at a restaurant in New Jersey, both my mother and I ordered Cobb salads, my mother the “small” version, along with a cup of soup, and myself, the regular one, with no soup. When the waiter brought out a bowl that was a third the size of the table, I groaned and tried to shuffle objects around on a table to accommodate it. “What is up with these ridiculous portion sizes?” I complained, as usual. Oh, little did I know, people! Little did I know, because the waiter next brought out a bowl I can barely describe. Imagine the bowl you would take down to make a salad for 12 people, or a vessel large enough for this guy to take a nap in, or this bowl, with a diameter so staggering that it would only fit if partially hanging off the table. This was my entrée Cobb salad.

And within those acres of iceberg, not a speck of bacon was to be found.

i love iceberg lettuceromainecubed chicken breastavocado

So let’s talk about Cobb salad, the original, old-school way, the way I really wished it would have been — with bacon. Like any food with a long past, there are dueling versions of how it came into existence. What most agree on is that The Cobb Salad was invented at The Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood in 1937, and it had some connection with The Brown Derby’s owner, Robert Cobb. Whether Cobb, on a hungry prowl, pulled this and that from the fridge and swiped bacon from a line cook to satisfy his cravings, as Arthur Schwartz insists, or whether a chef at the restaurant created this salad to cheer Mr. Cobb up when he returned to work, hungry and irritable, after a dentist appointment, as his widow says it came to be, will likely never be known. What few disagree on is the ingredient list: a mix of iceberg, romaine and watercress heaped with avocado, blue cheese, chicken, chives, hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes.

And bacon. Look, I’m almost over it, okay?

avocado, bacon and blue cheese
egg, chicken

One year ago: Cinnamon Swirl Buns (and a pregnancy announcement!)
Two years ago: Caramelized Shallots
Three years ago: The Tart Marg

Classic Cobb Salad
Adapted, barely, from Saveur

Serves 4 to 6

Dressing (Heads up: I found I only needed half of this)
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (we used a Stilton)
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled*, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Make the dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Purée the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Make the salad: On a (very) large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces along with the watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives. Alternatively, toss everything together in a bowl.

Do ahead: Salad dressing keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. Individual ingredients (except the avocado, which is too prone to browning) can be prepped and chopped, and kept in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad. However, no doubt due to sturdiness of 2/3 of the lettuces, I found that the entire assembled salad kept surprisingly well wrapped in plastic in the fridge for a few hours.

* To peel a tomato: Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Slide the skins right off, starting at the X. Completely befuddled by the need for this step? Skip it.

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217 comments on classic cobb salad

  1. it’s funny you posted. I’ve been craving salad all day today, and I’m not the type crave salad. I finally put together a salad similar to yours but without the bacon (not crazy about bacon *gasp*) and avocados (i abhor the green stuff). Your salad looks so perfect. I love how you sectioned it off the way it should be.

  2. Denise Rivers

    AWESOME!!! I love cobb salad but never make it for myself. This is lunch tomorrow and have 2 beautiful poached chicken breasts dying to be used in this!

  3. Di

    I love Cobb salad too – and never thought a recipe would be necessary, but I’m always on the prowl for a good salad dressing. Yum!

    As an aside – can you recommend any cheese that could substitute for the bleu? I’m highly allergic. Usually I swap in a good feta (I’m partial to Bulgarian fetas) or such to get the same stinky cheese profile.

    Thanks – your boy is almost as cute as mine!

  4. M. Peterson

    Mmmm – looks delicious! I just ordered one yesterday at a local cafe and had to explain what’s included, but it was totally worth it!

  5. Mels

    I am a huge fan of cobb salad!! Always want to reduplicate a GREAT version at home, which as you said, is apparently really hard to come by. There’s a place near where we live that has really good cobb salad, with (gasp!) small pieces of spicy chicken breast. I love the dish except it is such a HUGE salad that their serving size must weight at least 1lb! Looking forward to making your version at home where we can eat (relatively) normal portions. Or at least make the above for 3 instead of 1..lol ;)

  6. Who doesn’t know how to make Cobb Salad? Me (or at least I didn’t until I read this recipe) and probably pretty much anyone else who grew up in New Zealand. Its not a salad you find here, but man it looks good – perfect for lunch. Thanks!

  7. Mels

    Oops – sorry thought it was shocking they put chicken breast in until I realized you do too. Clearly I don’t know what true Cobb salad is after all!

  8. Sylvia

    I get so excited whenever I visit the site and you’ve posted something new and gorgeously photographed :) Now I’m hungry again…

  9. Rachel

    Its not a salad you find in Australia either – had never heard of it until I read your post. Is it traditional to serve it in stripes, rather than all mixed up?

  10. Renee

    So, I thought that Cobb salads were the best thing ever…but the hospital I work at now has a Cobb salad *sandwich*. All the right fixings, plus this cranberry butter to substitute for the dressing. Odd, I know (and I usually hate sandwiches), but it’s fabulous! And now I can make the real thing at home….

  11. Now this is the way to make a Cobb salad! There’s nothing more annoying (well, at least in the salad world) than being served a salad that is very heavy lettuce and light on everything else.

  12. Katie M.

    Yes, bacon is vital to many dishes, especially if it involves something healthy. :-) On the boneless skinless chicken breast- I’m not a huge fan either, but try throwing a couple in your slow cooker with some kind of sauce. It will be the same texture as other meat you’ve cooked, so, moist and delicious.

  13. Jenn

    Just wanted to say thanks Deb. I was introduced you your blog a few months ago and have become a big fan. The food is fantastic but your humor helps me get through my frustrating job, so thanks and keep up the great work! Also, your son is such a cutie.

  14. lacrema

    Oh my lord, Deb, thank you for posting a recipe I can make and eat while on the South Beach diet! I haven’t baked a thing for the last two weeks and am almost going insane…and let me tell you, the baked items coming out of the SK are enough to put me over the edge. That cheesecake made me die a thousand deaths. One HUGE Cobb salad for lunch tomorrow might cheer me up slightly.

  15. Well, you may think that everyone knows how to make Covv salad. But I can assure you, it’s not know here in Australia. Some things that are as common as sliced bread to you are wild new territories for us – and I’m sure vice versa! So please keeping posting your take on things – no matter how common you think it might be.

  16. Well, you may think that everyone knows how to make Cobb salad. But I can assure you, it’s not known here in Australia. Some things that are as common as sliced bread to you are wild new territories for us – and I’m sure vice versa! So please keeping posting your take on things – no matter how common you think it might be.

  17. Unfortunately many restaurants cannot make simple, basic recipes properly… In NYC Schiller’s Liquor Bar has a great cobb salad, the chicken is shredded, and the bacon, egg and blue cheese are crumbled small so it makes a perfect airy salad mix. Recommended!

  18. Susan

    I’ve always confused Cobb Salad with Chef’s Salad. They’re pretty similar, except the Chef’s Salad, I think, has ham instead of bacon with turkey or chicken and two types of cheese; swiss and cheddar..I think. I quit ordering the ‘Chef’ eons ago, when they only used iceberg lettus and the tomatos were always terrible, and they switched to using lunch meat instead of real meat. Plus, they were so enormous, I could never finish them. They didn’t even have the half portion back when I quit them. I’m also so picky about the dressing. Even if they have one I like, I have to get it on the side so they don’t drown the salad and they no longer offer vinegar and oil, except at salad bars. I just make my own salads at home now and never order them out anymore. Being picky can be such a drag. Love the Stilton on your Cobb.

  19. Oooh bacon makes me melt.

    Maybe you can answer this: I never understood why they always arranged Cobb salad in the rows of ingredients. No other salad comes like that, so why does this?? Is it the sheer proportion of ingredients/toppings on the lettuce, or a tradition that started at the dish’s conception?? Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, I’m just confused about the presentation.

  20. Of COURSE Cobb Salad has bacon. Key ingredient, for crying in a pail (as my grandmother used to say). Yours looks delish, and your pictures of the fresh chopped ingredients are divine.

  21. You know what? Before I read this, although I had heard of a cobb salad, I had no idea what went into it (like Rachel, I’m an Aussie). And it looks so good! Thanks Deb!

    1. deb

      Oh man! I feel totally insensitive about the fact that of course the surprising sum of you who reside outside the U.S. don’t find the Cobb ubiquitous. I know you’re out there! I honestly thought that its popularity transcended the U.S. borders, like mac-and-cheese or fast food hamburgers.

      Jerermy — It’s more of a decorative thing, I figured. I just liked the way it looked, so you can really see what’s in there.

  22. Agree with the Anitpodeans – I have actually heard of Cobb salad but I always though it was something to do with Cobb loaf, hehe. Looks pretty good except for the chicken breast ;P

  23. I LOVE Cobb salad! I think it is great to serve for showers, luncheons (um, not that I really even have luncheons) and summer dinners. It does take a lot of prep work, but then there is really no stress when company arrives. I love making in advance. Honestly, the dressing is probably is “the icing on top” in my opinion. Glad to see you’re using the classic dressing recipe. I would eat most anything drizzled with it. Guess, I really don’t have much to add, just wanted to sing the praises of the Cobb salad with you :)

  24. berit

    Whenever you think something is too standard, you might want to consider that not all of your readers are US-Americans. I for one, have never heard of Cobb salad, so thank you for the recipe!

  25. Monique

    Thank you, THANK YOU for bringing up the bacon thing… Whats up with restaurants who serve up a huge dish with no bacon? I share your pain.

  26. Tamsin

    Looks very tasty, this week saw my packed lunch transition from soup to salad (spring has definitely sprung in south-west England). I might give this a go soon. I made the jam tart last night ready for dinner with my mum tonight, used apricot jam with a splash of brandy – only 10hrs to go until dessert!

    P.S. Jacob is so handsome, is it wrong that I think aviators would suit him?

  27. Lise

    I adore your site. Thank you for all the hard work you put into it ! You do this and a beautiful baby, too. You’re amazing.

    Just my opinion about the origins of the Cobb salad. I’m going with the wife. She’s the one who gives credit to the chef, no one would do that if it weren’t true.

  28. I agree with you that it is very hard to find a decent Cobb Salad in a restaurant. It is best left made as home (as are so many other dishes!). Yours looks delicious!

  29. Mark

    So many times I’m soooo disappointed when I order a Cobb Salad and instead of a nicely laid out classic Cobb I get a tossed salad and they forget the egg or bacon. Thanks for showing everyone what a real Cobb Salad is supposed to look like.

  30. I’ve actually stopped ordering Cobb salads altogether, due to a few bad experiences in restaurants (and the one time I ordered one from room service… I don’t even want to go there. I’ll just say that I used to think “too much bacon” was an oxymoron, but they showed me otherwise. Quite frightening). So, time for me to recreate this classic at home!

  31. Looks delicious! Thanks for trying to set the world straight. I’m saddened by how often two of my favorite *easy* and popular diner-y dishes- this and the Reuben- are messed up. If you have another one you want to tackle, I encourage the Reuben! ;) But in all seriousness, this is great, so thank you!

    Now I want this for breakfast. Eggs and bacon are in it, that makes it breakfast, right?

  32. I do love a nice Cobb salad. I love the rows of delicious ingredients. I made a vegetarian version substituting garbonzo beans for chicken and dried cranberries for the bacon. It’s also a lower calories and fat while adding more fiber.

  33. deb, this looks sublime. I have been in southeast asia for the past few weeks, and as a tourist, was instructed that it was best to stay away from salads and uncooked leafy greens. I did not realize how much I would miss salad. This makes me so excited to make a ridiculously huge salad for lunch, probably leaning more towards the size of the one you despised from the restaurant :-)

  34. Jessi

    Deb, another Thank You for a fresh and tasteFULL post! I so appreciate your pallet and all the incredible effort you go to to share such lovely and inspiring posts. I could keep gushing but you might begin questioning my sincerity. A perfect, hearty April Salad! Cheers to you for all you do to make this a happier world!! -Jessi in Florida

  35. Ellen

    i just need need to bookmark your entire site.

    you even having me craving cobb salad. not sure that was possible! now i know what to do with the skinless chicken breasts that someone-who-isn’t-me brought home from the grocery store a month ago and expected me to cook. needless to say, they’ve been languishing in the freezer. i think this will be their future! thanks for the reminder.

  36. Jangann

    Calories. Tons and tons and tons of Calories. In a Salad.

    Delicious, just don’t fool yourself that this is healthy in any way.

  37. RetroChani

    Glad you posted this because, as an Aussie in the UK, I’ve never heard of a Cobb salad or come across it – in either country. So this opens up a world of new possibilities!! :)

  38. April

    I’ve given up on Cobb Salad in restaurants. Last time I tried, there was no avocado. I’m STILL not over that one. Thanks for sharing this; I’m going to give a try soon.

  39. Cobb salad without bacon? The horror! I love Cobb salad. When done correctly. I’ve had many of them with a sea of iceberg. Blech. This looks gorgeous – you have impressive knife skills.

    1. deb

      Jangann — Like my BFF (okay, he doesn’t know it yet) Sam Sifton talks about today, not everyone deludes themselves into thinking that just because something is in a salad format, it is “healthy”. Some people just eat salads because they like them.

      Then again — not to split hairs because discussions of “healthy” versus “not healthy”, given the zillion definitions of both out there, make me want to make a break for it — I’m not sure that skinless chicken chicken breast, avocado, eggs and tomatoes are something to frown about, even if coupled with bacon (serving size: one strip per person) and blue cheese (serving size: 1/3 ounce per person).

  40. Kris

    Being a vegetarian, I always order the Cobb without chicken or bacon… I know, it’s not a true Cobb, but still delicious! The last place I ordered it replaced the avocado with guacamole. NOT the same thing at all. It was goopy, slimy, and gross! I’ll have to use this recipe to help me recover.

  41. HOLY MOLY! I can’t wait to make this. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cobb salad, though I’ve seen them a bunch – I’m American. Your photos always make everything look drool-worthy. . . yum!

  42. Katiepie

    The Cook’s Illustrated version of this is one of my staples. It is a great summer dinner meal and when I make it in the nice weather I grill the chicken. It’s also nice to segregate the ingredients because then my vegetarian daughter can easily avoid the meat.

  43. Olivia

    I hear what you are saying about sandwiches, Deb, but I have enjoyed many sandwich recipes to help get me out of my rut and to enjoy a combination I never would’ve thought of…don’t deprive of us of any particularly good sandwiches you know of (though I see how they may be perceived as un-blog-worthy)!

    ps. I love your blog and have enjoyed many of your recipes, vanilla roasted pears just this past Monday.

  44. I LOVE cobb salad!! I’m so glad you posted this recipe. It’s probably one of my favorite things. And since it’s salad I feel justified eating ridiculous amounts of it. =)

    Two quick things – first time commenter – but I’ve been following your site forever. I love your vivid pictures, everything always looks so tasty.

    Second – I just read the ‘Comment Guidelines’ and I can’t believe people try to give you parenting advice!! Ridiculous. And way out of place.

    Keep the recipes coming!!

  45. I am picky in the same way about what I share on my blog. There are plenty of tasty little things I throw together but they definitely don’t require a recipe! I’m sorry you had a bad cobb salad experience. But hopefully now, everyone will know how to make a better cobb salad!

  46. I love the Cobb salad, sadly at the cafeteria of the hospital I work at they offer it as a ready to go salad; as you said a Cobb salad just isn’t without the bacon and the avocado, well neither of these two are on the salad and I was so disappointed when I thought they were finally going to have better things on the menu besides cheeseburgers, fries and other fatty, greasy entrees.

  47. I think salads are a perfectly acceptable thing to put on a recipe blog because it is soooo easy to fall into the rug of just throwing some lettuce into a bowl with a couple of cherry tomatoes and some dressing. Boorriing! Posts like this remind us of what a salad SHOULD be like – diverse, delicious and anything but boring!

    @Foy Update – I love your idea to sub garbanzo beans and cranberries for the meat. I love cobb salads, but I’m not a huge fan of meat in my salad, so that is an excellent solution (plus I adore dried cranberries).

    Healthy or non-healthy? Just remember, “healthy” and “low-calorie” are not the same thing. This salad is VERY healthy – the ingredients are all good for you, including healthy fats. It’s just not terribly low calorie with the dressing + avocados + meats + eggs + cheese.

  48. Seeing this, I can remember why Cobb Salads were once a restaurant staple – this looks go good and clean and healthy. I love the photos and am excited to put this together for my husband (who doesn’t seem to acknowledge that a salad can be a whole meal). Thanks!

  49. I’ve never had Cobb salad, I just might have to try it after you have made it look so appealing! Of course everything you make looks appealing!

  50. Janet in Maine

    You didn’t say whether you mentioned to your server the missing bacon. I would have had to mention it…but that’s just me. Maybe it was forgotten but if it wasn’t I would have at least had to inform them that a “true” Cobb salad should contain it. (Years ago I was having my favorite salad at a restaurant and realized the salad dressing tasted wrong. I mentioned it to the server who thought I was nuts but went back to the kitchen. She came back and told me they had left out the vinegar by accident. It was a poppy seed dressing and they made a wonderful version so I really noticed it.)

    Cobb Salad is a classic and should NEVER be tampered with. The presentation of it is just as important as the correct ingredients. The only way to improve this salad is to use the best quality ingredients you can get. Like home grown pork and home grown chicken which I am lucky enough to have access to along with our very own eggs. Just wish they could get avocados to grow in Maine. Hmm. Maybe with global warming we will be able to.

  51. Zoë

    This looks soooo yummy. Now I want salad for lunch instead of the leftover pasta I brought. I have two questions though. 1. You give instructions for how to peel tomatoes, but is it silly I don’t know how to seed tomatoes? Please explain. 2. I love the look of the presentation, but how do you serve the salad so that everyone gets a bit of everything? Especially from a flat platter. Thanks!

  52. MJ

    Any recipe that uses bacon, blue cheese and/or avocado is on my Top 10.

    You are right – some places CANNOT get this salad right. Though, if a place on a coast wants to add a line of fresh crab meat, who am I to complain?

  53. I am so too lazy for this recipe. I just cant marry the idea in my head of hard boiling eggs, cooking chicken breast, and making bacon, and that’s all before the salad prep begins. Then again, if I had made chicken earlier in the week, this would be a good summer way to use up leftovers. In general though, I think I’ll leave this to the restaurants.

  54. Lori

    Ooo… this sounds perfect. We’re having unusually high temps in Chicago right now, and this sounds great for supper tonight! I always keep HB eggs around and I’ll just throw the chicken on the grill, and there will be no hot oven in my kitchen tonight! Plus, with my 1-year-old, I’m always cutting things up anyway, now I’ll just make that part of my dinner prep!
    Woo Hoo!

  55. I object to the sandwich statement! There are tons of interesting sandwiches that I bet you could come up with that no one has thought of before. If anyone could come up with a really crazy, oddball, delicious sandwich on an off-the-beaten-path bread I think it would be you :)

  56. What I love about this post is the reminder of a wonderful dish that I love that I haven’t made for years! I make a lot of salads but can not remember the last time I bought iceburg lettuce…this would be a good reason – that and the avocado that is now perfectly ripe on my window sill.

    The only caveat I would add is that I don’t skin tomatoes; ever. Sure looks pretty in your picture, but not enough difference in my mouth for the extra step!

  57. This has nothing to do with Cobb salad but I can’t believe that it has been a year since you announced your pregnancy with the cinnamon rolls recipe. Time flies!

  58. I love Cobb salad but most places can’t seem to make it correctly. Some members of my family think that salad is not an appropriate dinner so I will be making this the next time I am home alone.

  59. We must all be on the same brain wave (or have leftover Easter eggs to get rid of). I made this for my husband’ b-day dinner with his family this past Sunday. [along with some Baked Potato Soup]. Chicken breasts are not my favorite part of the chicken, but I poached them in chicken stock and they turned out quite nice! I used Roquefort instead of Blue Cheese because the recipe I found called for it (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/cobb_salad/) and it was very good. Many of the guests had never had Cobb Salad before and kept asking why it was called Cobb Salad. I was glad I had done my research. I also did not skin the tomatoes, but no one complained. Thanks for sharing!

  60. Kate

    Part of the mythology of the Cobb Salad that I always liked was that it was chopped so fine so movie stars could eat it without smudging their makeup. Perhaps it was just a bonus benefit. At any rate, I always hate it when restaurants bring out a Cobb and all the pieces are big. Yours looks perfect.

  61. Marie M.C.

    Dilemma. Whether to serve a Cobb salad on a platter looking lovely . . . or, serve it tossed? Actually I want it both ways. When I toss a salad I do it the Julia Child way. A large fork and spoon and scoop under and over. Tongs don’t work for me. Deb, what do you do? Let your guests help themselves and let them toss it individually? Or do you take it back to the kitchen counter, chunk it in a huge bowl and toss and serve? Help!

    1. deb

      Marie — I think I served this, but only because I let the ingredients go all the way to the edge of the platter and you literally couldn’t remove a chicken cube without stuff falling off.

      Nolita — The original recipe actually suggests Roquefort but I respectfully disagreed. I think a firmer blue cheese is in order, so it crumbles. Roquefort is almost too prosh!

      Zoe — I’m really not sure of the “proper” way to seed tomatoes; I just scoop them out with my finger or a spoon. I just spooned a little bit of everything onto plates. Had the platter been bigger (it was the biggest I own) I would have tossed everything together first.

  62. Love the colors of this salad. Cheerful and appetizing.I had no idea what a Cobb salad was (not an American here) but I’ve certainly heard of it. A bit fussy though, I don’t know if I want to put that much effort and time to make a salad. Especially on a busy working day. On a weekend perhaps ;)
    Magda

  63. you are so right – there are many ways to do a cobb salad wrong, and assuredly omitting bacon is one of them. i had the biggest cobb salad on earth at a rib joint here in chicago (yeah…. i know ….. i didn’t order the ribs at a RIB joint) and i just happen to have a picture of it; it looks a little like yours! and fortunately, loaded with pig :).

  64. lesliepie

    Ok, YUM! I can’t wait for tomato season so I can make such a salad! And somehow I linked to your adaptation of Ina Garten’s steak sandwiches (now I’m not sure how I did that…?) and THAT is for dinner tonight. This pregnant belly wants MEAT!!!!!! I love your site and check it daily. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.

    PS – your baby is seriously one of the cutest I have ever seen. Looking at his sweet face reminds me of why I am having #3! (that and I’m outta my mind).

  65. Ada

    Yeah, I’m Canadian and the first time I’d ever heard of Cobb salad was when watching Julie & Julia last year, and I had no idea what it actually contained till today. But, it looks yummy! I wonder what else you think is ubiquitous outside of the US but actually isn’t… I was surprised to find out that butter tarts, date squares, and nanaimo bars are all Canadian, and generally not much of a big deal elsewhere!

  66. I will have to keep this in mind for when I am cooking for friends. As a vegetarian, I’m highly unlikely to make this (and I, too, dislike the green mayo), but I have a lot of friends who would love this for a party.

  67. Kim

    I have to disagree with the sandwich statement and I think Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft cookbook does a good job of making the point. Lots of techniques to be learned in crafting a delicious sarnie!

    1. deb

      Kim — I agree that ‘wichcraft raises the bar. In fact, one of the two sandwich recipes I have on the site is inspired by his chickpea sandwich.

      Colleen — Just window light, nothing fancy. But thank you.

      Shiro — I always order it with a creamy dressing. For me, chunky salads do well with creamy dressings. However, with the kinds of uber-fresh ingredients (uh, except the tomatoes) you can get at home, the lighter vinaigrette is also nice.

      As for “good” Cobb salads — The best one I’ve had of late, you know, besides this one, was at Le Pain Quotidien. It was so good, and not over-the-top. Well, except the price. ;)

  68. Shiro

    Hi Deb, first-time poster, long-time reader.
    Cobb salad is one salad that is rather dear to my heart, so I’m quite pleased to see you address the fouls that so-called professionals often commit when making this glorious dish.

    I’m really quite interested in the dressing you’ve made for this, as I’ve seen it with blue-cheese dressings (heavy, and far too blue-cheesy for my taste) and also with ranch, which actually works in the most AMAZING way. Ranch somehow compliments every ingredient in a cobb, so I would VERY much recommend trying it sometime.

    Also, halved cherry tomatoes can be an excellent alternative to the peeled, seeded and diced ones.

  69. jackie

    I’ve only ever eaten a ‘proper’ cobb salad on a trip to New York. I still dream about it – it was fantastic. It’s not something we seem to do very well in the UK (definately not in Glasgow). I’ll be making this as casting my mind back to my trip to New York – Thanks Deb :-)

  70. Megan

    Deb – I love that you leave it to us to figure out how to make sandwiches and fruit salads. Why do cookbooks devote entire chapters to these items? I’m not sure, but glad things are different here.

  71. Hi Deb
    I truly love your work with Smitten Kitchen.
    Could you post your version of nicoise salad sometime? And by the way your Jacob is less than 24 hours younger than my grandson Micah. What cuties!

  72. Have you ever had Martha Stewart’s Southwestern Cobb Salad? I tried to google it and find the recipe so I could share but couldn’t find it. It is seriously wonderful with black beans and avocado, corn and red pepper. All topped with Green Goddess dressing. It’s been a hit every time I’ve ever served it. Silence falls round the table while everybody eats. Sure sign of a winning recipe, huh? Be glad to share the recipe if you’d like:)

  73. Carolyn

    Mmm. I’ve been craving a Cobb salad like the one I had a year ago, in fact, the only one I’ve ever had, which was made with smoked, pulled pork – the specialty of the barbeque restaurant that served it. It was delicious.

  74. Cobb salad is one of my favorite things but I’ve rarely had one in a restaurant that was put together well. Nor have I been able to satisfactorily toss one together at home. Thanks to this recipe, I no longer think that’ll be a problem.

    By the way, I wish your photographs weren’t so damned nice to look at. I come here and I wind up wanting to lick or chew on my computer screen!

  75. Your cobb salad looks scrumptious and the presentation and photography make it even more so! Guess what’s on the “menu” at our house this weekend? You guessed it! Thanks for the article and the recipe!
    ~MaggieB

  76. I, for one am pleased that you bothered with Cobb salad as we’ve never heard of it over here in Oz!
    I love any meal that comes all in one dish and a tasty dressing with some bacon and cheese is one sure way to get the kids to eat their greens without complaining!!!
    Thanks.

  77. Laura

    Cobb salads are a favorite and I’ve been making a few variations at home lately – but I’m wondering if you (or anyone) has any tips for cooking bacon just right? Thanks!

  78. Tonia

    Laura- always start your bacon in a cold pan: put pan on stove, put bacon in (snuggle the pieces up next to eachother), then turn your burner on to about med-high heat. When bacon starts to sizzle and shrink turn heat down to medium; turn bacon over (I usually use a pair of tongs) when bacon has almost shrunk by about 1/3 and finish cooking to done (I like my pretty crisp). Also, I usually use my heavy cast-iron pan, it holds the heat most even.

  79. Rachael

    This looks absolutely fabulous and seems like an easy cobb recipe to try. I have been craving bacon since I have been pregnant and just looking at the photos makes my mouth water. Alas, I will have to try it in a few months when I can eat yummy blue/soft cheeses and cold meat again! Bummer! However, keep up the good work, I have loved so many of the recipes lately!

  80. Suzan

    The story of the origins is similar to the one about the caesar salad. Restauranteur in Acapulco (I think) didn’t get shipments of much of anything. He went into the kitchen and used what he had: a case of romaine, anchovies, stale bread, eggs, oil and vinegar.

  81. Oh, well your timing is just PERFECT!!! I just started a salad challenge on my blog to get people to eat more veggies and make more creative salads. What is better than a classic cobb salad? Seriously! Nothing!

  82. So glad you posted this — I’ve been looking for a good version to make at home. After being out of the country for a year, Cobb Salad was one of the first things I had on a recent trip home. And I tell you, if it had shown up without a speck of bacon in it, there would have been trouble! :-)

  83. Anna

    Thanks for confirming something I’ve long suspected.

    Most of the so-called Cobb salads I’ve seen are, in fact, not the real deal. Watercress? Where I live? Not likely, more’s the pity.

  84. The addition of Worcestershire sauce in the dressing has me very intrigued. Now if only I didn’t live with such a salad-hater. Does your husband like salads? Is this something you taught him?

  85. Cobb salad has great memories for me – well, kind of. I was in active labor with my first son at home, but was in denial about it, so I asked my mother-in-law to bring by a Cobb salad for me for dinner. I kept on sitting there talking with my husband and throwing down the fork every few minutes as I doubled over in pain. Finally, he convinced me to call the hospital. Lots of pain, but somehow the salad still tasted great! :)

  86. NicM

    Oh this looks so beautiful and delicious! I’m definitely trying this out with some of the fabulous bacon at my local farmer’s market.

  87. Valerie

    Oh, yeah!!! I sent the link home to my hubby and this is what we had for dinner last night!! I had a roasted chicken in the fridge and used that. Extra Easter eggs and used them up. A couple of ripe avos sitting on the counter, done. Homemade bacon needing a good crisping, check. A quick trip to the store for the greens and tomatoes and we were in like Flynn!! One slight change was that he didn’t get watercress, but spinach instead. I think it was a perfectly acceptable substitute! Thanks for the inspiration and deliciously beautiful dinner!

  88. I like the way you arrange it in rows – I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done that way. And I much prefer this ratio of lettuce to all the good stuff! Your description of the restaurant version sounds absolutely horrible!

  89. Kristi

    Gorgeous photos!!! Love all those beautiful chopped up ingredients! I don’t really like Cobb salad but now I just might try it :)

  90. I love salad and yours is gorgeous. Please rethink your ideas about easy to cook things like sandwiches and such. The average cook would be surprised at the fact that a very large number of people cannot put two slices of bread together to make a great sandwich. I am not surprised anymore at what my students are not exposed to. I will do the simplest of things in my classroom and they think that I should be on the Food Network. LOL With your ability you could really show people how to make something plain spectacular. And those that can make a sandwich are always looking for new ideas.

  91. I was meeting a new friend for lunch- she was English- and ordered a Cobb salad, and she gave me one of those sizing-up “oh are you one of those lettuce leaf nibbling girls” looks and I was able to assure her that due to the heavy emphasis on blue cheese, eggs, avocado and bacon, my zaftig frame was in no danger of wasting away during my salad lunch. Yours looks very appropriately proportioned, in my ever so humble opinion.

  92. Dena

    This was exactly what I’ve been wanting– I’m in my 1st trimester and have not been able to look, even, at anything that’s not plain pasta. It was The Most Exciting thing to have a meal that had greens! and protein! and Good Fats! even if I did have to skip the blue cheese. Thanks for posting something that looks so beautiful (and tastes so great).

  93. Hayley

    I am making this tomarrow for my luncheon/tea party… I had been searching for a light springtime recipe and when I looked in on the smittenkitchen there it was! I actually had no idea what a true cobb salad should be, here in washington state they put corn in them and other strange things. Thanks for the recipe, and your salad is chopped much prettier than the one in the savour link ;)

  94. Karen

    I never knew that Cobb salad had avocado in it. I grew up in the Midwest, and my mom would order Cobb salad all the time (at place like Bob Evans), and i never saw any avocado at all. In fact, my dad was so anti-avocado we were never even allowed to have guacamole at Mexican restaurants.

    I’m sure the anti-avocado Cobb salad school of thought was born in the Midwest back when avocadoes were unavailable in that area (but plentiful in California!)

  95. Erin

    Thanks so much for this! It’s not that I don’t know how to make a Cobb Salad, rather it isn’t something that ever occurred to me to make at home. Why is that I wonder? Anyway, not that the idea has been planted, what a great Spring dinner. The pictures are beautiful too!

  96. Elizabeth

    This has nothing to do with Cobb salad, but I just read an article in the Times about cilantro hatred and, of course, the first person I thought of was you. You and Julia Child are in the same club! The anti-cilantro club. That’s good company.

  97. Thanks for sharing this! I agree with you that sometimes restaurants make the mistake of messing with a good thing. A cobb salad is a good thing. No need to deviate from the basics! Also, I want to add that I am a fellow cilantro-hater! I will pick it out of nearly any food (except salsa cause that’s a pain).

  98. Estee

    This recipe looks really good, next time I get lucky and find a not so hard avocado I’m gonna try it.

    I have to say, I’m new to English written food blogs and it’s the third time I see a recipe that includes kosher salt and bacon at the same dish. It puzzled me, a lot. Because first, I live in Israel and salt is kosher, period, so how would I know what kind of a salt to use? and second, because kosher and bacon doesn’t really go together.
    So I had to check and thanks to wikipedia the mystery was solved :)
    Makes sense now. LOL

  99. Jasmin

    Deb, you’re killing me here. I *love* cobb salad but as I’m pregnant I’m not supposed to eat blue cheese as I’m sure you recall from your pregnancy. A cobb salad would not be a cobb salad without the blue cheese though, it’s essential and this recipe had me craving it like mad. After your glorious pictures and such I talked myself into just a little then nearly died of guilt and fear of listeria! haha, I’m sure I’m fine as is the little girl but for the love of all things holy woman, quit with the amazing pictures of things I love and am forbidden. Okay, it’s not your fault at all, and after all that guilt I’m sure it won’t happen again. Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait until I can enjoy it guilt-free!

  100. amandapm

    I’m pretty much a minor social deviant – yes. But I actually LOVE getting giant-sized portions at restaurants. In fact, my contention with 99% of the restaurants in Manhattan is that the portions (and I mean of basic things – like pasta or lettuce or what have you, not lobster or truffles) are stupidly inadequate for the prices charged. This may be my New England values at play (two words: Durgin Park) or it may just be that I like my food best when seasoned with “lots!” Your Cobb salad platter looks amazing; I could eat the whole thing (if I actually ate bacon and egg, that is)!

  101. Hello! I’m SSSOOOOO thankful you’ve posted a (what sounds like) perfect cobb recipe!! I ate a cobb salad nearly twice a week whilst living in NYC and after moving back to TN, can find no one that makes it!
    Did you get that? The south doesn’t know about cobb salad–the shame!! And those fancy-schmancy restaurants that attempt, fail miserably.
    Thank you!!
    -K

  102. Nita

    Well, it’s true that most sandwiches don’t require explanation. But it seems like so many of your lovely recipes are inspired by trips to fabulous restaurants in your area. Please note that many of us are stuck in the suburbs (or worse yet, Ohio) and therefore do not have access to interesting and delightful combinations. Rather we are subject to the same tired sandwiches that frequent every chain restaurant menu and often are poorly prepared at that (like your original Cobb salad at the restaurant…)

    Oh yes, we could just attempt to be more inventive on our own, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some inspiration from a certain favorite food blogger! So please, if you see any interesting combinations, please pass the suggestions our way!

  103. Not only do I love Cobb salads, but there is a restaurant here that makes a Cobb sandwich with:
    smoked turkey, bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and garlic ranch dressing. On grilled sourdough. I love it, unabashedly. And I’ve had some chefs send out a sandwich the size of my head.

  104. I too have suffered the same fate as you at some horrible little restaurant in Sacramento, California. I went to this all American joint with my boyfriend in search of comfort food after a horrible night out and what we got was probably worse than our night out. My cobb salad was nothing more than a mixing bowl filled to the brim with iceberg, some chopped veg (obviously the kid who cut the veg had never used a knife before) and NO BACON. Oh and my boyfriend ordered breakfast which came out about 20 minutes after my head of lettuce. At least the whole situation helped us to forget our bad night.

    Your salad looks to die for!! I really want a Cobb now and I wish I still ate bacon, because this post really makes me miss it.

  105. Wowee Deb, what a revelation! I’m sure my hubby knows about this salad but I didn’t! And I love how you’ve put it together, its really a piece of edible art. Thanks for sharing :)

  106. Mmmm…cobb salad. All my favorite things, some of which not so good for me, but the fact that it is on a bed of lettuce always makes it feel healthy! Your photos make me want to whip one up right now, even though I am still full from dinner! I recently made a version of a cobb salad, but used leftover grilled sirloin in place of chicken and was surprised by how good it was. The combination of the blue cheese and steak was of course tasty, but the avocado, egg, bacon etc all helped to elevate what could have been boring (but expensive) leftovers. Thanks for sharing!

  107. claudia

    This looks phantastic. The colors are amazing. Deb, do you take your pictures always with available light? I started a food blog and I always have the time to prepare foods in the afternoon. So when they are done, there’s no available light anymore from my kitchen window. What do you do in that case? Do you use your flash or do you have any special lights to use? I would really appreciate any kind of hint on this one. Thank good the good days with more available light are coming.

    1. deb

      Claudia — Thank you. I only use available light and I just try to plan recipes accordingly. It’s much easier this time of year when there is adequate light at 6 p.m.. I almost never use my flash anymore. I don’t own professional lights.

  108. Karen

    Thanks to this post, I have had a version of Cobb salad for lunch two days running. I didn’t have any bacon, though, which shall be remedied today. It was still delicious.

  109. I LOVE Cobb salads. They’re one of those things I try to not order whenever I go out for lunch- so trick someone at the table they have to have it so I can have a bite or two (or three or…). Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  110. Hayley

    Recipe Review: I made this on saturday, my luncheon ladies loved it! I made the dressing the night before and really didn’t like the taste or texture, it turned into mayonaise in my blender!(was it supposed too?) But I remembered a cooks illustrated recipe for Cobb salad and searched it out in my archives, may/june 2003 issue. They have a updated dressing recipe that uses the usual ingredients only with less oil and only extra virgin and prepared mustard instead of powdered. I also did what they suggested and dressed the individual ingredients before laying them out on the platter, and it was easy for my guest to pick and chose what they wanted on their plates. Thanks Smitten Kitchen!

  111. Ann

    The Cobb is my absolute favorite salad, and I made this for guests last night. It was a huge, huge hit. I especially love that dressing. Thanks, Deb!

  112. Holly

    Back when I was a fun single girl…. I used to order in the Cobb Salad from Coconut Grill on the Upper Eastside in Manhattan. They could do a Cobb Salad up right — but they also included a row of roasted red peppers and a row of fresh corn off the cob. While not traditional, def tasty!

  113. Amber

    Thanks for this recipe – it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner, and nice enough to serve to guests. Funny how many lovely things restaurants have on the menu that we forget to make at home. So thank you.

  114. Hey there! I am an enormous fan of your incredible blog. Keep up the superlative work. This salad looks so good, I’m headed to straight to the grocery after work…I’ve got leftovers from a leg of lamb sitting in my fridge: contemplating substitution of the chicken! We’ll see how it turns out!

  115. I was in Chicago when I had my first (real) cobb salad. I was in a lounge at a hotel, my husband ordered calamari, and I ordered the salad thinking it would be suitable for one person. Both very nearly covered the table, and when the waiter brought both by said “he’s yo cabb salad” in a distinctly American voice. With a glass of Pinot Gris, it is one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. I’ve always tried to re-create that meal, and until now I’ve never been successful. Your cobb salad is as All-American as the one in Chicago.

  116. Also I noticed in your recipe you wrote: “1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes” but your picture indicates that you do your avocados like I do: cut in half, remove pit, score avocado, and then scoop out.

    ?? :)

    1. deb

      Hi Melissa — Indeed. I guess I hadn’t much considered that the order that one got to peeling, pitting and cubing really mattered… I thought everyone did it my way!

  117. No bacon in a Cobb? What is the world coming to?

    Seriously, nothing irks me more than when a restaurant makes a major change in a recipe, but doesn’t mention it. Like the time there was ham instead of corn beef in my Reuben…

  118. Maryellen

    Hi, there! I just love Cobb salads and happen to be heading to New Jersey tomorrow for the weekend. Can you tell me where you had this amazing salad (and if you’d recommend the restaurant)? It would be fun to try it for myself. Thanks for all the great food inspiration….

  119. Bacon really is the thing that makes a Cobb salad. Too bad that restuarant kind of missed the boat there. Yours of course looks like the best Cobb salad I have ever seen.

  120. You have a lovely blog here. More than a blog.
    I watched “Julie & Julia” recently and naturally was hoping to find “reine de saba” cake on smittenkitchen. May be We’ll all see a post soon(keeping my fingers crossed :))
    -Jayne

  121. Made it last night and it was so good I used the other half of the lettuce heads and made it again tonight! YUUUUUUUUUM! Big thumbs up from the whole family.Thank you for saving my kitchen sanity, Deb!

  122. Honestly, I’ve never had a cobb salad, and only recently saw one a menu. I’m on the east coast of Canada, maybe that helps. I like most of the ingredients,but the blue cheese is a real turn-off. Are there any substitutions?

  123. Nicole

    Finally someone that shares my disappointment with the restaurant world’s version of this salad! Sadly, the best Cobb Salad I’ve ever had is at the Brown Derby replica in Disney World, where the waiter gave us the brief history of the salad and then tossed it table side. This recipe is the first to ever come close to that salad. Delicious!

  124. Patryce

    I used to work at a Swensen’s in college, one summer behind the ice cream counter, the next cooking in the kitchen. We had Cobb salad on the menu, which IIRC, was very similar to this–made in a fairly deep bowl with stripes of the toppings across it. It’s definitely not a Cobb salad without the bacon or the blue cheese!

    But count me in as a sandwich fan too–the ones you have posted are great, and I’d love to see your take on a Reuben, perhaps with homemade Russian dressing, which we’ll be having Saturday for movie-night supper, or a Monte Cristo, which was also on the Swensen’s menu.

    And certainly not a sandwich, but a tasty snack my uncle used to make for us–thickly sliced baguette, (he buttered the bread, but that seems excessive, given what comes next) with a slice of brie on top, with sliced almonds on top of the cheese. The whole thing goes in the oven, or toaster oven, to melt the cheese and toast the bread and almonds. Mmm! He served this followed by homemade tuna salad in an avocado half. He also liked single-malt Scotch, but the brie toasts are much more to my liking.

  125. Finally! Oh thank you for this,
    Oddly – when you look up this recipe people just seems to want to do strange things to it.
    And on the matter of bacon being omitted @ restaurants – here in San Francisco (since this IS my default pick on almost 80% of menus that offer it), it seems that the ‘egg’ is the one that is left out the most. Sometimes I even have to ask for them to add it! And of course, they only can if they actually have eggs to make egg dishes with. :( Makes me sad when there’s no egg.

    So thank you again, *bookmark!*

  126. James-in-Ontario

    Yesterday I felt like having a Cobb salad and lucky me, found this website. I followed this classic recipe to a Tee except used regular blue cheese, was about 1/2 the price of Stilton, (wow that Stilton is expensive). It was simply the best salad i have ever tasted. Something magic occurs with the flavour this combination of food produces. I couldn’t stop eating it.
    NOTE: I presented elements in rows made on the individual plates, according to the photo. If you are thinking about having a Cobb salad, think no more, do it now, and follow this recipe to a Tee. (i made 1/2 the dressing, worked fine).

  127. Cheryl

    Thanks for all the info on avocados I am learning all about them. We have a new cafe’ and they use everything fresh and make everything special just for the diner. Well, their Riverside Salad is my favorite, grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, crumbled cheese (blue, feta and goat). avocado and tomato, spinach and iceberg.. and then everything is chopped up in pieces the size of postage stamps (lettuce is)… and I don’t put a dressing on it.. because all the flavors of the items.. who would want to cover it up… So, I love avocado in salads.

  128. Courtney

    Yes, I realize this post is 4 years old, but I figured I’d try anyway… What is the difference between this traditional cobb salad and a “california” cobb salad?

  129. Love using the dressing recipe as a base, but I think it needs a bit more pep from vinegar, maybe 1/4 C. red wine and 2 Tbs. balsamic? Next time I might zest a shallot into the mix, too. Love the addition of green onions, which I seem to always forget…

  130. Jill

    made this last night, delicious. love the dressing. your recipes never disappoint. if i’m not sure what to cook, i browse your site and always love what i cook. you have my favorite recipes!!