Dutch Lettuce

Dutch lettuce is not like a salad you'd find on either coast, or, for that matter, anywhere outside Midwest farmland, where it, and salads like it, are a staple. The common denominators of all Dutch lettuce are hard-cooked eggs, bacon, sweet-and-sour dressing and, of course, lettuce. At The Coffee Cup, on the town square of Sully, Iowa, its dressing sports a mustard twang, making it a good companion for pork tenderloin or baked ham. Our recipe, adapted from a mimeographed sheet we picked up at a church bake sale many years ago, is for a hot version of the dish, known in much of the Midwest as wilted salad.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 6 strips bacon cooked but not hardened, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 5 cups coarsely chopped lettuce (a crisp lettuce is preferred: iceberg or romaine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
  • Beat the egg yolk with the sugar and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, make a roux by melting the butter and thoroughly blending in the flour. Add the 2 tablespoons of water and turn up the heat to bring it to a low boil. Stir constantly! Pour just a bit of this into the egg yolk mixture, stirring vigorously, then add the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar and water, and finally add the bacon.
  • Spread 1/3 of the lettuce in a broad serving dish. Top it with half the chopped onion, then add half the hot dressing. Add another 1/3 of the lettuce and the other half of the chopped onion. Top with more hot dressing. Arrange the slices of hard cooked egg and remaining lettuce and top these with some of the remaining dressing (or all, if you like it really goopy).
  • Serves 4-6


What do you think of Dutch Lettuce?

5 Responses to “Dutch Lettuce”

Diane M. Smith

November 17th, 2022

Grew up eating this with holiday and Sunday dinners. Only difference is we use condensed milk in place of water. Creamy and delicious!


Barbara Pellet

January 24th, 2022

My Grandfather, Wm. Almekinder immigrated from Holland to Marion, NY in 1904….
My Grandmother learned to make Dutch Lettuce, Sugar Speck and other Dutch specialities…
My cousin would always tell my Grandmother to “leave the Dutch out of it” 😊

Thanks for the recipe (and memories)…it’s been almost 50 years since I’ve had Dutch Lettuce!


    Diana Van Hout

    March 28th, 2024

    I am from Palmyra New York… I am Dutch and Dutch lettuce is one of my favourite things to eat.


Pete freeman

January 10th, 2022

That was a staple on the school lunch menu! Marion, NY. Not from the Midwest. Most of Marion’s residents have Dutch ancestry. I love Dutch lettuce


    Beth Flick Pope

    October 2nd, 2022

    I went to high school in Marion N.Y. and learned to make Dutch Lettuce from a local Dutch family. 45 years later I still make it- a family favorite.


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