Favorite Broccoli Salad

This Sunny Broccoli Salad is a simple, tasty and hearty broccoli salad served with bacon, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and mixed with a delicious, homemade mayonnaise-vinegar based dressing that is perfect for BBQs and get togethers.

Broccoli Salad Recipe

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

We have enjoyed Broccoli Salad for as long as I can remember. I think we first had it a BBQ restaurant years ago and have tried numerous recipes since then. I’ve posted a few broccoli salads here on the site (Strawberry Broccoli Salad and this Broccoli Slaw), and both are delicious, but this one is my all-time favorite recipe for Broccoli Salad. It comes from my sister-in-law (on the hubby’s side).


As I had mentioned, we have tried lots of versions of this recipe, but today’s version has all the ingredients that I love. The combination of broccoli, sunflower seeds, bacon, and craisins is absolutely amazing. Since I first tried this recipe, we have made it a few more times and even my family agreed it was their new favorite.

Chopped Broccoli

How to Make Broccoli Salad

We love that this recipe takes just about 10-15 minutes to make. The ingredients needed include:

  • mayonnaise (reduced-fat mayonnaise, or salad dressing)
  • craisins
  • sugar
  • vinegar
  • fresh broccoli florets, chopped
  • shelled sunflower seeds
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled

Broccoli Salad Dressing

This super simple dressing is just the right amount of creamy without being too heavy. It consists of only three ingredients: mayo, vinegar, and sugar. For a punch of flavor, you can add 1-2 TB of Creole or other coarse grain mustard (2 TB is strong, so if you’re looking for a more mild flavor, stick with 1 TB).

If you’re not a huge fan of mayo-based dressings or want to make it a little bit “healthier”, you can use miracle whip (dairy free), or plain greek yogurt (less fat), but it will change the flavor slightly. You can always use honey or an alternative sweetener in place of the sugar. 

Once your dressing is made, just add the remaining ingredients (except the sunflower seeds and bacon) and mix until combined. Chill the salad and right before serving, add the sunflower seeds and bacon crumbles. SO EASY – and SO DELICIOUS!

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Tips for the best broccoli salad:

Ingredients to add: There are so many ways you can customize this recipe by either swapping or adding ingredients. Here are some ideas for ways you can tailor this recipe for your crowd.

  • Swap out the sunflower seeds for pine nuts, chopped pecans, cashews, or almonds.
  • Add cubed or shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Use raisins or fresh red grapes instead of craisins.
  • Add other fruits and veggies like cauliflower florets, chopped kale, shredded carrots, chopped celery, apple chunks, chopped red onion, etc.

Can you prepare broccoli salad ahead of time? Broccoli salad can be prepared a day ahead of time without losing its texture. Just be sure to leave out the bacon and nuts until you’re ready to serve or they might get a little soggy.

If you need to prepare it 2-3 days in advance, combine all of the salad ingredients and leave the dressing out until you’re ready to serve. Once the dressing has been added to the salad, it will only last 1-2 more days in the fridge.

Do you have to cook the broccoli for broccoli salad? Nope! That’s the beauty of this salad—you just have to throw all the ingredients together, no cooking required (except for the bacon!). Don’t let the raw greens scare you away! The raw broccoli is what adds the deliciously fresh crunch to this salad.

What type of vinegar do you use? I usually use white distilled vinegar, but apple cider or red wine vinegar work great too!

With summer get togethers and BBQs every week, you better believe we will be making this salad more often, and I hope you guys enjoy it just as much as we did!

For more salad recipes, check out:

Broccoli Bacon Salad Video:


Broccoli Salad Recipe

4.96 from 24 votes

This Sunny Broccoli Salad is a simple, tasty and hearty broccoli salad served with bacon, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and mixed with a delicious, homemade mayonnaise-vinegar based dressing that is perfect for BBQs and get togethers.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 245 kcal
Author Kristyn Merkley


  • 1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 7 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled


  1. In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, craisins, sugar, and vinegar. Add broccoli and stir to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. Before serving, stir in sunflower seeds and bacon. ENJOY!

Sunny Broccoli Salad - A simple, tasty and hearty broccoli salad served with bacon, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and mixed with a delicious, homemade mayonnaise-vinegar based dressing that is perfect for BBQs and get togethers.

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Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative – from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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  1. I also get asked to bring this salad all the, but I substitute red grapes for cruising, also add some purple onion..

  2. I make this salad but all green onion, chopped celery, and cashews. The cashew really make it. You should try it. The celery gives it a little more crunch.

  3. Great recipe ….big hit 4th picnic…I cut back to 2 tbls sugar and used 1/2 cherry craisins and 1/2 cranberry ….

  4. Just wanted to say Thanks for the broccoli salad recipe. I found it a week ago and have made it three times!!!!!Love the easy prep! Have cooked for 50 years and am tired of chopping!Thanks so much for an easy and delicious recipe! Ten stars!!!

  5. Are salted sunflower seeds okay? I don’t want it to be too salty with the bacon and sunflower seeds, but it’s all I have!!

    1. I’m going to make it for Thanksgiving also, and am wondering if people have tried different vinegars? Like Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar? I’m guessing you just use white vinegar?

  6. Happy Memorial Day! I LOVE this salad!!!!!
    Have made at least 20 times and it is always gobbled up even by non broccoli lovers! One of the few salads I put bacon in. I feel it makes the dish. Thanks for a great salad that doesn’t make me chop a dozen items! Very easy!

  7. Thank you for posting a broccoli salad recipe that’s not weird. Why does everyone put cheese in it? Or mustard? Blech. This is to the point and delicious. I use pine nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and add red onion to mine. This is the best summer salad, and EVERYONE asks me to bring it to BBQs.

  8. I love this broccoli salad recipe! So many of these similar recipes call for a much higher sugar usage and I love that yours is only 3T. Also, I substitute lemon juice instead of the entire amount of vinegar that you call for. I do a splash of white vinegar and just under 2T for my lemon juice ! I can’t wait to follow you on Pinterest!

  9. Hello! Im planning to make this salad for anget together this weekend. Quick question, did you Cook the bacon for this salad or do you think it would be ok to use the precooked bacon bought feom the store?

  10. Broccoli salad is a favorite in our home. Its usually A dish we serve in the summertime but actually good anytime of the year. Its one of those diShes that you can add oR take away ingredients.

  11. I’m always LOoking for Keto friendly food for my husband. I used a sugar SUBSTITUTE and used full fat Mayo. He loved it and so did I. the combination of all the ingredients was so good. Thanks!