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Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette

Summer salads deserve a dressing as vibrant and exciting as the season itself. This Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette is here to liven up your greens with super-charged flavors – smoky bacon, sweet figs, tangy balsamic, and a touch of mustardy warmth. Drizzle it over your favorite salad greens, grilled vegetables, or even grilled chicken for a memorable summer meal.

Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette  in a skillet with a spoon, ready to serve.

There’s a lot to be said for homemade salad dressings. You know what’s in them (no weird preservatives). They’re fresh. And most of all, you get to create combinations of flavors that just aren’t available at the store.

Sometimes the most unlikely seeming flavors are a match made in heaven. Bacon, balsamic vinegar, figs, shallots: Smoky, tangy, sweet, pungent. They blend to form something far more deliciously greater than the sum of its parts.

This vinaigrette is perfect for summer salads in particular: It’s made for drizzling, not dousing. Salads always taste so much better when the produce is fresh and in-season, so they don’t need to be drowned in other flavors.

Main Ingredients, Prep Notes, and Substitutions

Bacon — Of course, bacon is the star of this dressing. Just one strip is all you need to create a rich and smoky vinaigrette, using both the meat and the rendered fat. And it’s also the reason the dressing is used warm, so that the drippings don’t solidify, and the warm temperature doesn’t mute the bacon as cold temps often do.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a rather sharp quality drop in bacon at the grocery store. Consistently way too fatty, brand after brand. If you have a top-notch source, this is a great use for it. Use the one strip out of the pack, and freeze the rest (separating each strip with wax or parchment paper). You won’t regret it.

Can you substitute turkey bacon? Yes, but with the caveat that turkey bacon is often not strongly flavored, and it might not shine through in the vinaigrette. It will also produce less fat, so be prepared to use more olive oil to compensate.

Balsamic Vinegar — Both sweet and tangy, balsamic vinegar is the perfect option here to add extra depth of flavor. If you must substitute, go with apple cider vinegar.

Fig Preserves — Used instead of sugar, fig preserves are sweet and fruity and add a unique flavor to the vinaigrette. Fig preserves are jarred and usually found in either the jams and jellies section of the grocery store, or sometimes in the specialty deli in larger stores like Kroger’s marketplace stores. Preserves are thicker than jams, but a fig jam will do in a pinch.

Shallots — Most sweet-leaning dressings benefit from the pungent punch of an onion of some type. Mild shallots work extremely well here, and their gentle flavor brings out the best of the other ingredients.

Dijon mustard — In dressings, mustard usually acts as an emulsifier, allowing oils and other liquids to blend smoothly together. Here, mustard’s strong flavor plays off of the other sweet ingredients to create a balanced flavor palate. Delicious!

How to Make Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette

Ready to make the recipe? Skip to the recipe card now to get the full ingredient list, quantities, prep/cooking times, and detailed instructions. Or, keep scrolling for a visual walk-through of making the vinaigrette.

Step 1: Cook the bacon

Overhead view of diced bacon cooking in a small skillet.

Dice the raw bacon into small pieces and then fry up in a skillet over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is brown and firm.

Step 2: Add the shallots

Overhead view of shallots cooking with the bacon in a skillet.

The bacon grease might be a little foamy — that’s okay. Remove the pan from the heat and move to another cool burner, or a protected surface. Add the shallots and saute until they’ve softened and look somewhat translucent.

If you’re using your nose to determine doneness, they’ll be fragrant, but the bacon aroma might drown them out!

Step 3: Stir in the oil

Adding extra virgin olive oil to the bacon shallot mixture in the skillet.

Pour in the oil and use a whisk or spatula to stir well with the bacon mixture. Let it warm through for a minute in the pan’s residual heat.

Step 4: Stir in the remaining ingredients

Duo photo collage whisking in the vinegar, mustard, and thyme.

Add the balsamic vinegar, fig preserves, mustard, and thyme leaves, and stir well. The dressing will not be emulsified. That’s okay. It’s part of the character of the vinaigrette.

Scoop up on a spoonful of the vinaigrette and taste. It should be bold, sweet and tangy, and warm but not hot. If it’s still hot, let it cool down a bit before spooning over your salad.

I do recommend spooning versus pouring, so that you can distribute the bacon bits evenly over your salad. Tilt the pan slightly to let the dressing pool, so you can spoon more up as you go.


This recipe makes one batch, enough for a large, family-sized salad. But if you have leftovers, transfer to a heat-resistant container (like a glass Mason jar), cover, and refrigerate.

The bacon and olive oil will solidify in the fridge. To quickly liquify, stand the jar in a bowl partially filled with hot (not boiling) water. Stir or shake the vinaigrette to remix.

 A glass jar half-filled with Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette.

I hope you’ll try this super flavorful Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette on your salads this summer. It goes perfectly with all kinds of tomato salads, including my Tomato Peach and Burrata Salad. Or branch out and try one of these options:

Serving Suggestions

  • Spoon over a cabbage-based salad, such as my Brussels Sprouts Salad.
  • Serve grilled chicken or grilled vegetables with a drizzle of this vinaigrette.
  • Mix into a stir fry with rice.
  • Use as a topping for cottage cheese on toast with a little chili crisp.
  • Drizzle over pasta, such as my Cold Spaghetti Salad.
Karen xo
Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette in a skillet with a spoon.
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Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette Recipe

This Warm Bacon Balsamic Fig Vinaigrette combines smoky bacon, sweet fig preserves, tangy balsamic vinegar, shallots, mustard, and olive oil for a unique and exciting flavor experience. The dressing is served warm to prevent the bacon fat from solidifying and to enhance the heady aroma of the bacon.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Condiments + Dressings + Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon balsamic fig vinaigrette, warm bacon dressing
Servings: 1 salad
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 slice thick cut bacon , diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fig preserves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves (the leaves from 3 or 4 stems)


  • Preheat a small skillet over medium until water droplets flicked on the surface sizzle away.
  • Add the bacon and sauté until the fat has rendered and the bacon pieces are browned and firm (5-8 minutes). Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes (the residual heat will cook them through).
  • Pour in the olive oil and whisk into the bacon mixture.
  • Add the vinegar, fig preserves, mustard, and thyme leaves and whisk until smooth.
  • Note that the vinaigrette will not be fully emulsified – this is okay. (But if it’s really bugging you, pour the vinaigrette into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously.)
  • Set the pan aside while you assemble your salad, or transfer the cooled dressing to a jar and refrigerate.
  • Spoon the dressing over your salad, taking care to distribute the bacon pieces as you go.


* Fig preserves are a thicker version of fig jam — although fig jam will work in a pinch — and are sometimes found in the speciality deli section of the big chain grocery stores, if not in the jams and jellies aisle.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
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