Classic Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

close up of classic cobb salad with crispy panko chicken and buttermilk ranch dressing
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One bite of this super-loaded, buttermilk dressing-drizzled homemade Cobb salad and you’ll be asking yourself “What even is a Cobb salad? Have I even ever HAD a Cobb salad before this one?!”

This Cobb Salad Goes to Eleven.

Crispy, panko-crusted chicken, crumbled bacon, creamy avocado, perfect six-minute eggs and sharp blue cheese lay together atop a bed of crunchy romaine and then—because you’re JUST THAT GOOD—you pour homemade buttermilk dressing over the whole beautiful mess. And that’s the moment, the day, the hour that you’ll never forget—the one when your family began to beg to have salad for dinner.

classic cobb salad with crispy breaded chicken on a round platter

Who Invented the Cobb Salad?

Cobb salad origin stories abound, but we can say with relative certainty that this classic American composed salad was first eaten at L.A.’s infamous (and now defunct) Brown Derby restaurant in the late 1930s. Named for the Derby’s owner, Robert H. Cobb, the salad was supposedly created one night when he (or perhaps the chef—tellings vary!) stumbled into the kitchen late one night and made a meal out of leftovers he found in the fridge. And hence, the Cobb salad was born.

ingredients for classic cobb salad laid out on a blue surface

What’s in a Cobb Salad?

So, what exactly were these leftovers and why is the salad they made so very, very good? Here’s what goes into our classic Cobb salad recipe:

  • Chicken. Our Cobb salad recipe features crispy, panko-crusted chicken. Because crispy and fried is always better than not crispy and not fried.
  • Avocado. I mean, this salad was born in California. Of course it has avocado.
  • Bacon! You can pan-fry it or bake it in the oven, just be sure it’s nice and crisp.   
  • Blue cheese crumbles. Roquefort is the classic blue cheese for Cobb salad—we love its rich tangy punch and perfect crumble.
  • Hard-boiled egg. We like ours with a nice jammy yolk. You can see our instructions for how to make perfect six-minute eggs here.
  • Dressing. Here’s where our Cobb salad recipe differs from the classic—and is (dare we say?) better! Instead of the classic Brown Derby dressing (a super tangy, Worcestershire-y vinaigrette) we think the best dressing for Cobb salad is a creamy, herby, homemade buttermilk ranch. Recipe here!
  • Romaine! Not only is it one of the healthiest lettuces out there (totally counteracts all the bacon and cheese, right?) it’s sturdy enough to hold up against ALL of the Cobb salad ingredients that we pile onto it.
close up of classic cobb salad with crispy panko chicken and buttermilk ranch dressing

How Do You Make a Cobb Salad?

Composed salads like this sound like such a fancy, restaurant-y thing but really all you do is assemble a bunch of ingredients on a plate and serve. Here’s how to make our best ever, perfect Cobb salad:

  1. Fry the chicken. This is the most work our Cobb salad recipe requires of you. Well, frying the chicken and then managing to not eat all of it before you have a chance to assemble the salad.
  2. Boil eggs. As we mentioned above, this takes six minutes. Do it while you fry the chicken! Maybe the bacon’s in the oven during all of this stove top excitement, too. You brilliant multi-tasker, you.
  3. Chop, dice, slice. The avocado, the bacon, the egg, scallions, cherry tomatoes, romaine, all of it.
  4. Assemble on a big platter! In whatever arrangement makes it look pretty to you! Or don’t. You can also just dig right in, or lay out the various toppings and let everyone assemble their own version of the Cobb salad.

Panko-Fried, Crispy Chicken=Cobb Salad Perfection.

Most classic Cobb salad recipes call for simply broiled or grilled chicken breasts, but we’re taking this Cobb salad to the nth degree by serving it with panko-crusted, crispy fried chicken instead. You can certainly use some leftover grilled or poached chicken breast if that’s what you have on hand—after all, this salad was created as a way to gobble up leftovers! But, if you’ve got a few extra minutes, our crispy chicken Cobb upgrade is SO worth it.

crispy panko chicken in a black skillet of sizzling oil

Tools You’ll Need:

Salad Season at Last!

Other main-dish salads we’ll be living on this summer:

Classic cobb salad with crispy panko chicken and buttermilk ranch dressing

Was It the Best Cobb Salad Ever?

Or what? Tell us how your Cobb salad turned out, we really want to know! Snap a photo, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Classic Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
8 pieces bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
4 six-minute eggs
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup green onions, minced
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch

Crispy Panko Chicken

1.5 lbs chicken cutlets, or breast cut in half lengthwise
1 cup flour
1 cup panko
2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 inch canola oil in a large skillet

Method

  1. Lightly salt chicken. In one shallow bowl place the flour, in a second bowl the beaten egg and in a third the panko. Working with one piece at a time, dredge chicken in the beaten eggs shaking off excess egg before dipping in the flour and then finally dipping it into the panko. ** Set aside on a plate and continue steps with remaining chicken.
  2. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches set the chicken in the oil. (Oil should sizzle when the chicken hits the pan.) Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes before flipping. Cook for 2-3 minutes on other side or until chicken is cooked through. If chicken is browning too quickly reduce heat. Remove from heat and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. In a large bowl (or platter?) arrange romaine lettuce, cut up bacon, eggs cut in half, cherry tomatoes, avocado, green onions, blue cheese and panko chicken cut into strips. Serve with The Modern Proper homemade buttermilk ranch. Enjoy!
  4. **Use your hands to press the panko to the chicken breast for an evenly crispy crust.