Make this fabulous broccoli salad! There’s tons going on: bacon, cheese, fruit, seeds, and sweet red onion, all tossed in a creamy dressing.

Broccoli salad in a white serving bowl with handles.

I discovered broccoli salad in my adulthood. It was never really on our family table when I was a child.

But our local grocery store is family-owned and operated and they have a magnificent prepared foods section where this dish features prominently.

It’s a true classic!

So one day something possessed me to give it a try, and I haven’t looked back since!

It quickly became an absolute favorite. How could it not?

There’s so much going on! Broccoli forms the base but there’s such a diverse cast of characters besides.

You get cheese, bacon, dried fruit, crunchy seeds, and a little bit of sweet red onion for bite. And it’s all tossed together in the loveliest tangy, creamy dressing.

So I’ve recreated the traditional broccoli salad recipe for you and I’m sharing it today. It’s great for this time of year as a side dish, but I’ve been known to indulge in it all on its own as a meal!

Cold salads like this can be your salvation when the temperature soars. Be sure to have a look at all my fabulous salad recipes, including this Greek pasta salad, this spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, and my favorite chicken salad with grapes.

Broccoli salad recipe, made and presented on a white surface with wooden utensils in the background.

Table of Contents

Jump to Recipe

What is broccoli salad?

This recipe is a real classic. I believe it came out of the Amish community, but don’t quote me on that. But it does make sense since I live in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country.

It consists of raw broccoli (sometimes cauliflower too), shredded cheese, crispy bacon, dried fruit (usually golden raisins but they are so polarizing I’ve used cranberries instead), crunchy sunflower seed kernels, and a little bit of finely minced sweet red onion, all tossed together in a creamy dressing that’s tangy and a little bit sweet.

I believe this broccoli cauliflower salad is meant to be served as a side dish, at room temperature or cold.

Why this is the best broccoli salad recipe

  1. Tastes amazing: The combination of textures and flavors all come together to create something truly special.
  2. Few ingredients: Everything is easy to source from your regular grocery store, and you may already nave most of it on hand.
  3. Easy to make: You basically just throw everything in a bowl and toss it together! That’s all there is to it.
  4. Refreshing: It can be served at room temperature or cold, so it’s really nice on a warm day.

What does this recipe for broccoli salad taste like?

I think the dressing is probably the first thing you notice when you take a taste. It’s creamy and a little sweet, with a nice vinegary tang that really keeps you going back for more!

It coats the broccoli in the most delicious way, and softens it up quite a bit as it sits. So even though there’s no cooking involved, the broccoli does become more tender and pleasant to eat than if it were completely raw.

The add-ins really contribute so much too. The combination of smoky bacon, creamy cheese, dried cranberries, and crunchy sunflower seeds give this salad tons of interest. And that little bit of red onion is so key!


Ingredients for making broccoli salad, with text labels.

Mayonnaise: This is what gives creaminess to the dressing. Use any kind you like, even a vegan mayo will work.

Vinegar: I like white wine vinegar here. It’s sharp but not too harsh.

Sugar: Or honey! Just to give a little sweetness to the dressing.

Seasonings: Kosher salt and ground black pepper keep this broccoli salad in the savory category.

Broccoli: I just buy a bag of fresh broccoli florets. Easy-peasy!

Bacon: A handful or so of cooked, crumbled bacon bring a smoky flavor that’s just out of this world!

Cheese: My favorite is shredded sharp cheddar cheese. For what you see here I used white cheddar.

Dried fruit: My grocery store makes this with golden raisins which I love, but I always get negative feedback any time I post anything with raisins, so I’m subbing in dried cranberries. They’re every bit as delish but I think most people generally seem to like them more.

Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seed kernels add a nutty crunch.

Onion: Brings a pop of sweetness and a little heat.

Special equipment

How to make broccoli salad with bacon

This easy broccoli salad recipe comes together in just 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Make the dressing

Place the mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper together in the bottom of the bowl.

Ingredients for broccoli salad dressing in a large glass bowl.

Then just whisk everything together until smooth.

Step 2: Add the salad ingredients

Throw in the broccoli florets, cheese, bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and onion.

Ingredients for broccoli salad in a large glass bowl.

Step 3: Toss

Now just toss everything together to get the dressing all over every bit. So good!

Tossing broccoli salad together to coat in dressing.

How to serve broccoli bacon salad

This dish can be enjoyed as part of a brunch, for lunch, a snack, or dinner.

You can have it at room temperature or chilled.

Eat it all on its own or as a side dish!

Expert tips

Broccoli cauliflower salad: To make a cauliflower broccoli salad, just swap half the broccoli for raw cauliflower florets!

Chop the onion finely: Nobody wants to bite down on a big hunk of raw onion! Be sure to mince the onion very finely so you don’t make anyone’s eyes water!

Recipe for broccoli salad prepared and presented with a black and white striped cloth.

Frequently asked questions

Can you make broccoli salad ahead of time?


As it sits, the dressing softens everything up so it becomes a little more tender.

And the flavors meld and marry, so you get the goodness of all the ingredients together in every delicious bite!

How long does broccoli salad last?

It’s fine to keep this dish out at room temperature for an hour or so on your buffet, but any longer than that and it should probably go into the fridge.

Pop any leftovers into an airtight container and they should last chilled for close to a week.

I probably wouldn’t advise freezing this dish.

What is the serving size?

One batch serves 4 as a side dish.

The nutritional info below is for 1/4th of the whole recipe.

Taking up a forkful of broccoli salad with bacon.

A few more of my best warm weather recipes

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Broccoli salad in a white serving bowl with handles.
5 stars (1 rating)

Broccoli Salad

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Make this fabulous broccoli salad! There's tons going on: bacon, cheese, fruit, seeds, and sweet red onion, all tossed in a creamy dressing.


  • 2/3 cup (149.33 g) mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (340.2 g) broccoli florets, fresh (a combination of broccoli and cauliflower can be used)
  • 6 slices (132 g) bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled
  • 1/3 cup (37.33 g) shredded cheese, I prefer sharp cheddar
  • 1/3 cup (40.4 g) dried cranberries, or golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup (44.67 g) sunflower seed kernels
  • 1/4 (27.5 g) red onion, medium, finely minced


  • Place the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  • Add the broccoli, bacon, cheese, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and onion, and toss to coat.
Serving: 0.25batch, Calories: 572kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 49g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 690mg, Potassium: 440mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 636IU, Vitamin C: 77mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.


  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.

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