Cobb Salad is one of those quintessential salads that graces nearly every menu in the United States. It is a standard salad made from the same ingredients with little variation, although some like my Pesto Cobb.
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Cobb Salad Ingredients
Some salad will have a few variations with the type of protein or seasonal produce, but in general, they stay the same.
- Lettuce– most will use a crispy and fresh Romaine lettuce, but you can sub this out for any type of lettuce you prefer. Bibb, butter, spring mix, spinach and even massaged kale are all good options.
- Chicken– make it vegetarian or include chicken or another protein like shrimp, salmon or even steak slices. Scroll on down for fast and easy ways to get cooked chicken.
- Tomatoes- I like cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) because they are bite-sized, usually pretty sweet and not so juicy that they wet up the whole salad. You can chop up a beefsteak or use green and yellow heirloom for variation. Sun dried tomatoes are also a good addition.
- Hard Boiled Eggs– one of the traditional elements that makes it a Cobb salad. Make your own eggs on the stovetop, Instant Pot, Air Fryer or just buy them precooked at the store to save time.
- Red Onion– red onion makes it pretty, but scallions (green onions) or shallots are other good options.
- Avocados– another classic element, I don’t suggest leaving these out.
- Crispy Bacon– Bacon makes everything better and adds chewy texture and also salt to the mix. Make yours in the oven or even the Air Fryer!
- Blue Cheese Crumbles- if you find blue cheese offense, feta is an excellent substitution. Goat cheese, mozzarella and roquefort cheese are other options.
- Chopped Chives or flat leaf parsley (Italian Parsley) for garnish- these are totally optional, but give your salad that extra pizazz.
Use salt and pepper to season like you would any other fabulous salad recipe.
You can also consider arranging the ingredients in a more artistic form instead of straight lines, like the classic.
Cobb Salad Dressing
Again, this salad is really traditional and the dressing, a vinaigrette, is also pretty standard and basic. The ingredients include:
- Red Wine Vinegar- or a good, quality balsamic vinegar if you want something more robust.
- Dijon mustard– this serves for flavor, but also an emulsifier that will help the oil and vinegar stick together without separating immediately.
- Garlic– I like to grate my garlic so there aren’t any large chunks and so it evenly distributes through the dressing. I highly suggest using a fresh garlic clove instead of jarred minced garlic- it is more sweet than garlicky.
- Dried Oregano– You can also use fresh. Use about 2 teaspoons of fresh, minced oregano leaves or even stems.
- Olive Oil– Use a good quality olive oil for dressings like this since they are so flavor forward.
To add your own spin to your cobb salad, fresh or dried herbs work well, smoked paprika and a pinch of blackened seasoning are also good options. Feel free to use other traditional salad dressings too like Blue Cheese or Ranch. Add tortilla strips and Chipotle Ranch for a whole new salad!
Cooked Chicken- 3 Ways
There are many ways to get to the end result of cooked chicken. You can used leftovers from the night before. This recipe is very forgiving, so even if you only have 1 chicken breast, use it and just add a bit more veggies or hard boiled eggs. You can also add more if you need extra protein or have a big appetite.
Rotisserie Chicken– One of my favorite time saving hacks: store bought chicken. It is juicy, pre seasoned and most importantly, COOKED! And cheap- usually cheaper than buying a whole raw chicken or even a pack of chicken breasts.
Bake Your Own- Boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs are the best cuts for this purpose. Simply heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the chicken in a baking dish with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick they are). Remove from liquid and chop.
Instant Pot/Slow Cooker– Cooking chicken in a pressure cooker or slow cooker is a snap. Place in the pot with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. For pressure cooker, set to manual high pressure for 7 minutes then use quick release. For slow cooker, set to high for 2 hours. Remove and either chop or use 2 forks to pull apart.
History of Cobb
What is a cobb salad? Remember this acronym: EAT COBB. Memorize that and you will never again forget the elements in a classic Cobb salad.
Egg, Avocado, Tomato, Chicken, Onion, Bacon, Blue Cheese. The Cobb salad originated in Los Angeles at the restaurant The Hollywood Brown Derby. A California classic.
The salad is actually named after the owner of that restaurant, Richard Howard Cobb. The restaurant was known for its contemporary American cuisine.
However, the legend goes that Mr. Cobb hadn’t eaten and it was late at the restaurant. He threw together a mish-mash of things and a cook gave him some bacon and there you go.
Back then, French dressing was king and a Cobb salad was a particular set of components. Nowadays, the Cobb salad has many variations.
Make Ahead & Storage
You can make both the salad and the dressing ahead of time, up to 12 hours, in advance, but do not actually dress the salad until you are ready to serve it.
Dressed greens start to get mushy and lose their crunch. Since the dressing is an emulsion, it will likely need to be shaken well or blended to recombine. If chilled, it might also harden a bit (as olive oil does) when cold. Let come to room temperature for about 15 minutes.
While salad is best eaten fresh, you can cover and chill for up to 1 day.
More Top Rated Salads:
- Green Curry Steak Salad
- Crispy Chipotle Salmon Salad
- Almond Cranberry Salad
- Spicy Chicken Salad
- Beet Salad
- 6-8 cups lettuce
- 2-3 chicken breasts , cooked and sliced
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes , sliced in half or quarters
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1 small red onion , sliced thinly
- 1-2 large avocados , sliced & peeled
- 3-4 slices bacon , cooked and crumbled
- 3 ounces blue cheese crumbles
- Chives or parsley for garnish , optional
- Cut lettuce and add layer to large platter (if serving family style) or in four smaller bowls.
- Slice cooked chicken and arrange on top of lettuce.
- Add crumbled bacon and then tomatoes, onion and avocado.
- Top with blue cheese crumbles and sliced hard boiled eggs.
- Serve immediately with dressing.
Cobb Salad Dressing:
- Combine red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, grated garlic and dried oregano in a small food processor or bowl and whisk or mix to combine. In a slow and steady stream, add olive oil and blend until emulsified. This can also be done in a mini food processor.
- Set aside until ready to use. It may need to be whisked or shaken to combine. This can be made ahead.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know in the comments or ratings.