This classic Cobb salad recipe doesn’t use any fancy ingredients, but the combination is unbeatable in flavor. If you prep hard-boiled eggs and cook the chicken in advance, it comes together very quickly for a fast lunch or weeknight dinner.
I wasn’t always on board with Cobb salads, much preferring sweeter combos over savory. (Give me apples, dried cherries and sweet potatoes on my salad all day!) But, Tommy always orders a Cobb salad when we hit a salad place… and I end up eating about half of it. Cobb salads don’t have very complicated ingredients and if you do a little prep at the beginning of the week, they’re so easy to throw together all week!
How to Make the Ultimate Classic Cobb Salad
A traditional Cobb salad includes crisp salad greens, tomato, crispy bacon, hard boiled eggs, chicken, avocado, chives and blue cheese. You’ll also see I took a few liberties in this recipe and you can easily tweak it to your liking too!
This recipe serves two, so if you need to feed more people, just double (or triple) all of the ingredients! If you love leftovers as I do, double the recipe anyways so you have some left for the next day’s lunch. Just make sure to leave the dressing off so it doesn’t get all soggy and gross. And if you’re extra hungry, add an extra egg!
4-5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 grilled chicken breasts
2-4 pieces thick bacon lardons, cooked until crisp. Regular bacon works too!
Cheese of choice (blue cheese, feta, or goat cheddar are great options!)
Favorite dressing + salt & pepper to serve
Assuming you’ve already prepped the hard-boiled eggs, cooked the bacon, and grilled the chicken – you can jump right to step 1 below. (If you haven’t, see notes below on how to prep those!)
Just assemble all the ingredients in two serving bowls. And for what it’s worth, I MUCH prefer a large, shallow serving bowl for salads. It’s so much easier to chop everything up vs. when it’s stacked in a deep bowl. If you’re not worried about presentation, there’s nothing better an a mixing bowl salad with TONS of room to toss and dress it up. I’ll eat it straight out of the bowl.
I like to pile the toppings on top of the lettuce, grouped in sections (eggs on one side, tomatoes on another, avocado and chicken in the middle, etc.) to make a composed salad. But you could evenly spread everything over the romaine too. I don’t know why I like it grouped together, but I do. We eat first with our eyes, right?
Drizzle dressing of choice or olive oil over the top and dig in with a fork and knife. Cutting it all up helps spread the dressing.
I buy the 5 pack of romaine hearts from Costco and use one heart for this recipe. They’re so easy to chop into strips and then wash in a salad spinner. After spinning, I make sure they’re extra dry by patting them with paper towels but a kitchen towel works well, too.
Carrots aren’t exactly traditional in a Cobb salad but I like the crunch and color! I either use a butcher knife to chop thin slices or use a vegetable peeler to create long thin strips of carrots. If you have a mandolin, that’d work great too. And while I do have a mandolin, I’m terrified of it. So… I never use it. Plus, the vegetable peeler is so quick to pull out of the drawer!
I often buy a slab of thick bacon at the farmer’s market. And I also LOVE the bacon lardon style in this. In fact, it was super cheap! But if you use regular bacon, I’d recommend upping the number of slices.
If you want a vegetarian-friendly salad – just don’t put in the chicken, eggs, and bacon! But, then it’s not really a cobb salad, but hey, you do you!
Dressing + Seasoning
I like an herb vinaigrette, white balsamic vinaigrette or honey mustard on this cobb salad. Ranch is also a great dressing option. I’d also probably avoid something too sweet, like a poppy seed dressing! In addition, I like to season it with salt, pepper and chives or green onions after I drizzle on some dressing.
My preference is feta, goat’s cheddar, or blue cheese. But, really, can you go wrong with any cheese? Well, maybe. I don’t think parmesan would be best in this!
After you bring water to a boil, pop your eggs in and reduce to medium heat and let them cooked for 7-8 minutes. Then, submerge them in ice water immediately so they stop cooking. I find this time range creates my favorite type of hard-boiled egg – you know, not too dry but not too runny.
Another cooking option: Place eggs in a pan, cover with water, bring to a boil over high heat and then turn off the stove once the water boils. Set a timer for 10 minutes, leaving the eggs in the hot water. After 10 minutes, remove the eggs from the water then submerge them in ice water. I do this in the summer since I don’t want the gas stove on for long – it’s took hot!!
If you need to grill the chicken, you can follow the instructions on this recipe. You can also use the white BBQ recipe or just season the chicken with salt and pepper.
We always cook our bacon in the microwave using this little tray!
I’ll leave you with a fun fact about this recipe:
The cobb salad is said to have been invented in 1937 at the Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant when the chef, Cobb, took a bunch of leftover ingredients and made a quick salad to scarf down at the end of a long shift. Thank you, Mr. Cobb. Thank you.
The more you know….
- 4–5 cups chopped romaine
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced (I like using a vegetable peeler to create long thin strips!)
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced (white part + a little of the green part)
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
- 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 2 grilled chicken breasts
- 2–4 pieces thick bacon lardons, cooked until crisp
- Cheese (blue cheese, feta, or goat cheddar are great!)
- Favorite dressing + salt & pepper to serve – Ranch or this vinaigrette is my favorite
- Assemble it in two bowls, dividing the ingredients evenly. I put the romaine in first and then group the toppings in sections (eggs on one side, tomatoes on another, etc.), but you could evenly spread everything over the romaine too. I don’t know why I like it grouped together, but I do.
- Drizzle dressing over the top and dig in with a fork and knife. Cutting it all up helps spread the dressing.
- I buy the 5 pack of romaine hearts from Costco and use one heart for this. They’re super easy to chop into strips and then wash in a salad spinner.
- I use a vegetable peeler to create thin slices of carrots. If you have a mandolin, that’d work great too. I’m too uncoordinated and fear I’d lose a fingertip if I bought one.
- I bought a slab of thick bacon at the farmer’s market, and I LOVE the bacon lardon style in this. Plus, it was super cheap! If you use regular bacon, I’d recommend upping the # of slices.
This recipe was originally shared in 2016! I’ve since tweaked the recipe just a little and given the photos a major upgrade! Enjoy these old school photos! 🙂
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