This simple Broccoli Salad recipe with fresh broccoli, onions, bacon, and craisins has a creamy broccoli salad dressing. Enjoy it year-round!
A broccoli salad is a must-have dish for every occasion, from a summer barbecue to a holiday dinner! It goes well with so many main dishes, and there are never any leftovers.
Table of contents
Broccoli Salad Ingredients
Here are the basic ingredients needed to make this broccoli salad recipe. This salad is easily customizable so feel free to add or subtract ingredients as you see fit! Be sure to check the recipe card for the ingredient measurements.
- Broccoli: You’ll need about five cups of broccoli florets to make one batch of this broccoli salad.
- Craisins: We used dried cranberries (aka Craisins) in this salad because of the flavor and pop of color they provide. Raisins are another popular choice.
- Onion: This recipe calls for red onion, but you can use any onions you want. Or, if you prefer, you can substitute the chopped onion with one teaspoon of onion powder added to the dressing.
- Mayonnaise: The mayonnaise is the base of the dressing. We used full-fat mayo for this recipe, but you can choose a light mayo or substitute part of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, but keep in mind that any substitutions may change the flavor and texture of the dressing.
- Sugar: The granulated sugar brings a little sweetness to the salad to balance out the other flavors.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: A little apple cider vinegar adds tartness to the dressing and helps thin out the mayonnaise.
- Salt/Pepper: We added salt and pepper to the dressing for extra flavor.
- Bacon: The bacon brings so much flavor to this salad! I highly recommend using bacon you’ve fried rather than store-bought bacon bits. We love cooking our baking in the oven while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Sunflower Seeds: Roasted, salted sunflower seeds add flavor and crunch to the salad. Other popular choices include toasted pecans, sliced almonds, and chopped walnuts.
How To Make Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad is easy to make, and the best part is that you can prepare it ahead of time!
- Broccoli Salad Dressing: Make the dressing by mixing together the mayonnaise, granulated sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Salad: Put the broccoli, onions, and craisins in a bowl and stir in the dressing. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- Serving: Remove the salad from the fridge and stir in the bacon bits and sunflower seeds before serving.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
To make a broccoli cauliflower salad, simply replace half of the broccoli with cauliflower! All of the other ingredients and instructions remain the same. It’s a delicious variation of this simple recipe.
Broccoli Pasta Salad
You can also add cooked pasta to make a broccoli pasta salad. Replace about half of the broccoli florets with cooked pasta such as rotini. Pasta tends to soak up the dressing, so you may want to stir the pasta in closer to serving time or make additional dressing to add later.
Make Ahead and Leftovers
Make Ahead: If you make this salad ahead of time, keep the bacon bits and sunflower seeds in a separate container. Then, add them before serving the salad so that they are crunchy.
Leftovers: Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make it ahead of time. Wait to add the bacon bits and sunflower seeds until serving time so that they stay crunchy.
The dressing is the key to the best-tasting broccoli salad. Allow the salad coated with the dressing to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Another option is to briefly blanch and then immediately cool the broccoli in ice water to help reduce the bitterness.
Serve with grilled meats such as burgers, chicken, steak, and hot dogs. It is also popular as a holiday side dish alongside turkey or ham. It can also be served as a side for sandwiches, sloppy joes, and subs.
Want more salad recipes? Try these next:
Our Cobb Salad recipe includes deiced chicken, hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits, tomatoes, sliced avocado, cheese, homemade croutons, and ranch dressing!
Every summer celebration includes a Macaroni Salad! We love that it can be prepared ahead of time.
An easy Tomato Cucumber Salad is a quick summer salad that you can make with fresh veggies.
This Corn Salad recipe is made with fresh sweet corn, diced bell peppers, and ripe tomatoes!
- 5 cups broccoli florets
- ¾ cup craisins dried cranberries
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- ¾ cup bacon bits about ½ pound cooked and crumbled
- ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds
Broccoli Salad Dressing
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Place the broccoli in a bowl and add the craisins and chopped onion.
- To make the dressing, mix together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
- Stir in crumbled bacon and sunflower seeds before serving.
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