A Spicy Perspective

Retro Cornbread Salad

Retro Cornbread Salad Recipe – This classic southern salad is layered with cornbread, beans, cheese, bacon, and a tangy lemon-ranch dressing. It’s a delicious side dish to share at family dinners and potlucks!

layered cornbread salad in a glass trifle

Who doesn’t love to see an old-school layer salad on the dinner table?

There is something so enticing about seeing lovely individual sections all stacked together to make one fantastic dish. And bonus points if it’s presented in a glass trifle so that all of the layers really stand out!

Like many of our fabulous retro dishes, this classic layered Cornbread Salad recipe is an oldie but a goodie. It gained popularity in the south before becoming a potluck staple across the country. It’s not hard to see why everyone fell in love with this one!

overhead view of layered cornbread salad topped with beans, ranch dressing, bacon and scallions

The Best Cornbread Salad Recipe

You might be thinking, wait – cornbread in a salad?

Yep! And we’re not just talking about a few croutons here…

This vintage southern Cornbread Salad is super satisfying, with a hearty layer of thick cornbread as the foundation. It’s then loaded with layers of colorful veggies, beans, cheese, a creamy and zesty lemon-ranch dressing, and, of course, crispy bacon.

Most of the elements to prepare this dish are made ahead or come packaged ready to go, so there’s not any actual cooking necessary. Prep time is a quick 20 minutes, and then you’re ready to serve and enjoy.

Don’t be surprised when everyone asks you to bring this amazingly flavorful layered salad to all your gatherings!

two spoons scooping salad with cubes of corn bread, veggies, cheese, and ranch dressing

Ingredients You Need

For the Lemon-Ranch Dressing you need:

  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Ranch dip mix

To make this Retro Cornbread Salad recipe you need:

  • Cubed cornbread
  • Baby spinach
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Scallions
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell pepper
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Canned pinto beans
  • Canned sweet corn
chopped tomatoes, peppers, scallions on a cutting board

How to Make Lemon-Ranch Dressing from Scratch

Once you give this familiar yet wonderfully unique ranch dressing with lemon a try, I promise you’ll be whipping up a batch for nearly all of your salads!

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and ranch dip mix. Stir until smooth. That’s it!

You can top the salad right away, or cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use. Sealed in an airtight container the dressing will keep well for up to 3 or 4 days.

homemade creamy lemon-ranch dressing in a large glass mixing cup

How to Make Classic Southern Cornbread Salad

Next, prep the salad ingredients: Chop up the cornbread, scallions, tomatoes, bell pepper, and cooked bacon. Shred the cheese, and drain the beans and corn. Keep all ingredients separated. 

Set out a large glass salad bowl. This salad looks really nice in a bowl that has straight sides, like a trifle dish.

Place the cornbread cubes in an even layer across the bottom of the bowl.

glass container with a layer of cubed cornbread

Then layer on the spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers…

adding spinach, tomatoes, and peppers to the dish

Next layer on the corn and scallions…

adding corn and scallions to the glass dish

Then add shredded cheese…

Get the Complete (Printable) Retro Cornbread Salad Recipe Below. Enjoy!

adding a layer of shredded cheddar cheese to the salad

And then the beans, dressing, and bacon. I like to make it super pretty by creating layers of rings on the top with the dressing, like in the photo below.

side view of cornbread salad with layers of goodies all topped with dressing and bacon

Lastly, garnish the Cornbread Salad with a few extra scallions on top.

adding chopped scallions to the top of the salad

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

view of complete layered southern retro cornbread salad with two large spoons

Retro Cornbread Salad Recipe Variations

There are lots of ways to give this classic salad a personal spin!

You can easily take this southern Cornbread Salad recipe into the southwest territory by adding and/or swapping out any of these few key ingredients:

  • Add jalapenos for a kick of heat.
  • Sub shredded cheddar with shredded pepper jack cheese.
  • Swap pinto beans with black beans.
  • Use lime juice instead of lemon juice
  • Add chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish
overhead view cornbread salad loaded with layers of veggies, cheese, beans, dressing, bacon and chopped scallions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cornbread Salad gluten-free?

That depends on the cornbread used to make the base of the salad. Cornmeal itself has no gluten, but is typically combined with flour to make cornbread. So just use your favorite gluten-free mix to make this a GF-friendly side dish!

How do I make this a vegetarian or vegan layered salad?

To prepare this retro recipe for vegetarians simply omit the chopped bacon. For a vegan dish, omit the bacon (or use your fave plant-based bacon alternative) and swap the shredded cheese with vegan chedd’r. Make the lemon-ranch dressing with your preferred dairy-free sour cream and mayo replacements.

What dishes go well with Cornbread Salad?

This salad is absolutely perfect to pair with other classic southern foods. Bring it to a potluck, picnic, or serve for dinner alongside Slow Cooker Pulled Pork sandwiches, baked ham, Texas-style brisket, or any of your favorite comfort dishes.

How long does homemade Cornbread Salad keep well?

This layered salad tastes best when served shortly after being made. You can keep it covered in the fridge for a couple of hours. However, if you plan to wait any longer than that you should leave the dressing and bacon off when preparing the dish, and wait until just before serving to add these ingredients.

serving scoopfuls of retro corn bread salad with lemon ranch dressing

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5 from 4 votes
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Retro Cornbread Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
A classic southern recipe for delicious Cornbread Salad, layered with cornbread, beans, cheese, bacon, and a tangy lemon-ranch dressing!
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

For the Dressing –

For the Layer Salad –

  • 5 cups cubed cornbread from an 8 inch pan
  • 2 cups baby spinach packed
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups chopped scallions
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped tomatoes 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper any color
  • 1 cup cooked crumbled bacon
  • 16 ounce can pinto beans drained
  • 15 ounce can sweet corn drained

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and ranch dip mix. Stir until smooth and set aside.
  • Chop the cornbread, scallions, tomatoes, bell pepper, and bacon. Shred the cheese, and drain the beans and corn. Keep all ingredients separated.
  • Set out a large glass salad bowl. (This salad looks really nice in a bowl that has straight sides, like a trifle dish.)
  • Place the cornbread cubes in an even layer across the bottom of the bowl. Then layer in the spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, scallions, cheese, beans, dressing, and bacon. Garnish with a few extra scallions on top.
  • Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Notes

Possible add-ins or swaps: pickled jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, black beans, cilantro, lime juice in the dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups, Calories: 515kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 862mg, Potassium: 377mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 1125IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 249mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Dressing, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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5 comments on “Retro Cornbread Salad”

  1. I’ve never seen this salad before, love cornbread but eat it rarely – what a wonderful excuse to have some now though and the pintos and spinach are nice healthy ingredients to help feel a little less guilty, for me at least, eating cornbread, so thank you

  2. This was a new recipe for me. Love it! Very easy. I really like all the fresh ingredients. 

  3. Wow! I had never thought of this combination, but it works! Thanks for the easy recipe!

  4. Amazing!! Love all the ingredients together!! Who knew cornbread would be great in a salad!

  5. What a blast from the past! This recipe reminds me of my sisters famous recipe back in the day!