Simple Broccoli Salad is tasty and hearty topped with a delicious homemade dressing. It’s perfect for BBQs and get-togethers.
This summery salad is a classic side dish – especially for any summer BBQ. I can never decide between taking this version, Broccoli Cauliflower Salad, or Broccoli Strawberry Salad to potlucks, because all are equally delicious!
Broccoli + Bacon = DELISH
We have enjoyed broccoli bacon salad for as long as I can remember. I think we first had it at 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 broccoli salad is my all-time favorite. It comes from my sister-in-law (on the hubby’s side).
As 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.
With summer get-togethers and BBQs every week, you need a good salad recipe on hand, and this one is a winner!
How to Make Broccoli Salad
This simple recipe of broccoli salad is quick, easy, and SO tasty.
DRESSING. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar and mix well.
COMBINE. Add broccoli and Craisins and stir to coat.
CHILL + SERVE. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Before serving, stir in sunflower seeds and crisp bacon.
Customize this best broccoli salad recipe by either swapping or adding ingredients. Here are some ideas for ways to tailor this recipe:
- Swap out the sunflower seeds for pine nuts, chopped pecans, cashews, or almonds.
- Add cubed or shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
- Use raisins or fresh red grapes instead of dried cranberries.
- Add other fruits and veggies: cauliflower florets, chopped kale, shredded carrots, chopped celery, apple chunks, or chopped red onion.
- Use lemon juice in place of the vinegar.
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, add 1-2 tablespoons of Creole or other coarse-grain mustard (2 tablespoons is strong, so for a more mild flavor, stick with 1 tablespoon).
- Make it a little bit “healthier” by using miracle whip (dairy-free), or plain greek yogurt (less fat), but it will change the flavor slightly.
- Use honey or an alternative sweetener in place of the sugar.
Prepare the broccoli. Buy a bag of broccoli florets or cut your own. Wash the broccoli under running water and then pat dry. Remove the leaves, if any.
Use a paring knife to cut the crown from the larger stalk. Finally, cut each floret off the crown, leaving about an inch of the stem. If the florets are larger, cut them in half. Do not cook the broccoli, it’s used raw!
Vinegar. I usually use white wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar works great too!
Making Ahead and Serving
Make ahead of time. Broccoli salad can be prepared a day ahead of time without losing its texture. Leave out the bacon and nuts until ready to serve or they might get a little soggy.
If preparing it 2-3 days in advance, combine all of the salad ingredients and leave the dressing out until ready to serve. Once the dressing has been added to the broccoli salad with bacon, it will only last 1-2 more days in the fridge.
Serving outdoors. Since this broccoli salad recipe contains mayo I recommend adding ice to a bowl and then nestling the bowl of broccoli salad inside. The ice will help in keeping the salad cool.
Still be cautious about leaving it out for longer than a couple of hours, or less if the temperature is on the higher side.
For this salad I feel like fresh is best to maintain the right crunch, but if you’re in a pinch and only have frozen that will work just fine, but you may want to blanch the frozen broccoli first.
This salad is the perfect compliment to you summer barbecue so we love serving it alongside Hamburgers, Dr. Pepper Ribs, and Baked Beans.
For more salad recipes, try:
- Summer Corn Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Quick Caprese Salad
- Easy Coleslaw
- Broccoli Strawberry Salad
- Pea Salad
Broccoli Salad Recipe
- 1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 7 cups chopped broccoli florets
- ½ cup Craisins
- ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
- 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar and mix well.
- Add broccoli and Craisins and stir to coat.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Before serving, stir in sunflower seeds and bacon.
I Am Making for a party and Want to omit the bacon. Should i add some salt or other spice so not bland? I maDe this past weekend with bacon and cheddar. I didnt care For cheddar and my husband DOesnt care for bacon. Othe it iS delicious!!
You could leave it totally or add whatever you like. You can’t really mess it up, which makes it the best recipe!
We THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THIS SALAD. EXCELLENT FLAVOR AND EASY TO MAKE AND STORE!
Happy you did! Thank you so much!
Made this salad for our Easter lunch. It was easy and very tasty. Will definitely make it again!
I don’t know why I thought I didn’t like broccoli salad?
Loved the broccoli salad! I followed the recipe except that I used regular mayo and it was SO good! Guests also enjoyed it. I will make this again for sure.
Yay!! This is one of our favorite salads too. So happy to hear it was enjoyed!
Have made many a brocolli salad but this is my favorite
I’m so glad it’s your favorite too! Thanks for trying it!
My favorite broc salad!
Yay! So happy to hear that!
OVER THE TOP DELICIOUS!
Thank you for this recipe! It is absolutely delicious and has become a family favorite! I have made this recipe 3 times within the past 2 weeks! It is a keeper for sure! It is easy to make and loved by all!
Oh thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad that you all enjoy the salad!
I have never left a review before, but this was so delicious I had to and I mean, really, really good. It could have been all we ate for dinner.
Oh thank you so much for your kind words. This makes me so happy to hear! I’m glad that you all enjoyed the salad.
This salad was a big hit at my bbq! Thanks a lot.
You’re welcome!! So happy to hear that!
I made this broccoli salad the other day when I had friends over for lunch. They absolutely loved it as did I. This will definitely be going into my all time favorite recipe book.
Oh that makes me so happy to hear! I’m so glad you loved the salad!
My family loves this salad!! We eat it all year round. My kids love anything with bacon in it!!!
My whole family loves this, even the grandkids and their families. Thank you so much!
You’re welcome! So happy to hear it’s a hit with the family!
LOVED THIS!! The (salted) sunflower seeds make it for me…. I cooked the broccoli for a few mins to soften it up.. personal preference
Thanks for sharing what you did. I’m so glad you loved the salad!!
Our go to salad!
I made this yesterday for a weekend barbecue at my nieces. This was the first time I made this. Everyone raved about it. It was delicious. It was so easy to make also. I did not have regular vinegar but I had red wine vinegar so I substituted. I will definitely make it again. Thank you for a wonderful recipe and will definitely try some of the other ones
This has been my favorite. I already maked this twice this week!
I need to make this broccoli salad to feed 125 people. How much of the ingredients will I need? Will be using raisins instead of craisins.
Hi Ronda. There is a setting on the recipe card where you can adjust the serving size and the ingredient amount will adjust too. Hopefully that can help you determine how much to make for 125 people.
Absolutely my favorite salad. This recipe hits the nail on the head! Try it, you’ll make it again soon.
Oh that makes us so happy to hear! Thank you!
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