Broccoli Salad

Published Date: May 5, 2023

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Overhead photo of a bowl of broccoli salad.

Broccoli Salad is a delicious side dish that’s made with broccoli, salty bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and a homemade dressing! You will love this easy and flavorful dish that’s the perfect contribution to potlucks and cookouts!

Overhead photo of a bowl of broccoli salad.

Get ready for BBQ season with this quick and delicious Broccoli Salad! Wondering what you’ll bring to all those cookouts, graduation parties, and family reunions that are starting to fill up your calendar? Me too.

As much as I love a good Italian Pasta Salad, it’s often a repeat side dish at gatherings since it’s everyone’s go-to! So, bringing this Broccoli Salad seems like the obvious choice, and trust me, pasta salad lovers will even be asking you for this recipe!

It’s easier to make than pasta salad (no cooking noodles!), is ready in just 25 minutes, and is packed with a sweet yet crisp flavor using minimal ingredients!

Quick And Easy Broccoli Salad

Taste: This salad has a range of dynamic flavor that all works together to make it the best broccoli salad recipe out there! The homemade dressing packs in a sweet yet tangy flavor that combines with earthy broccoli and salty bacon bits!

Texture: Broccoli Salad brings a delicious and satisfying crunch to your plate! The fresh, crisp texture and flavor make it the ultimate summertime side dish!

A wooden spoon scooping broccoli salad out of a bowl.

Broccoli Salad Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Bacon
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Red Onions
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper

The 5 ingredients needed for the broccoli salad dressing are likely to be pantry staples that you already have in your kitchen. Which makes this recipe even more convenient!

Though you may need to run out to grab fresh heads of broccoli! As you’re shopping for them, be sure to choose broccoli heads that are firm and dark or bright green.

Steer away from heads of broccoli that are yellow or have soft stems, as these won’t deliver the crisp, crunchy texture that we want in this side dish.

Should I Blanch Broccoli When Making Broccoli Salad?

I do not find it necessary to blanch the broccoli when making this recipe. However, if you prefer to blanch your broccoli before making this salad feel free to!

Just be sure to really get the broccoli nice and dry after the process. If not, the excess water that remains on the broccoli will eventually change its texture as well as thin the dressing out.

Ingredients to make Broccoli Salad on a marble table.

How To Make Broccoli Salad Recipe Step-By-Step

Step 1: In a small bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, granulated sugar, mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper. Whisk them together thoroughly and then place the dressing in the refrigerator.

Ingredients to make dressing for broccoli salad in a bowl.

Step 2: Cook the bacon in a skillet or frying pan until it becomes crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Chopped bacon being cooked in a skillet.

Step 3: In a large bowl, combine the bacon bits, broccoli, cranberries, red onion, and sunflower seeds. Add in the chilled dressing and toss to evenly coat the salad.

A bowl filled with ingredients to mix together for broccoli salad.

Step 4: Add in the chilled dressing and toss to evenly coat the salad.

Dressing in a bowl filled with ingredients to make broccoli salad.

How To Serve Broccoli Salad

For the best taste and texture, serve this after it has chilled in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This will give the flavors some time to meld together deliciously!

Make This Salad Ahead Of Time

Get a head start in prepping for those BBQs and potlucks by making this side dish ahead of time. For peak taste and texture, this Broccoli Salad could be made 1 day ahead of time.

How To Store Broccoli Salad

Store Broccoli Salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy for 4 to 5 days. After a few days, the texture of this salad will change as the broccoli softens a bit from resting in the dressing.

Overhead photo of a bowl of broccoli salad with salad spoons.

Broccoli Salad Substitutions And Variations

  • Bacon – To save time, you can skip cooking strips of bacon and instead use REAL bacon bits.
  • Cheese – If cheese in your broccoli salad sounds good, feel free to mix in shredded sharp cheddar cheese!
  • Cranberries – Dried cranberries can be swapped out for raisins.
  • Red Onion – Green onions, shallots, or chopped scallions can replace the red onion in this recipe.
  • Sunflower Seeds – Instead of sunflower seeds, try this salad with chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds.

What Do You Serve With Broccoli Salad?

This delicious side dish can be served with just about anything on any occasion! We love enjoying ours with a protein such as grilled pork tenderloin, chicken, or a nice juicy steak!

Close up of broccoli salad.

Broccoli Salad FAQs

How Can I Make Healthy Broccoli Salad Without Mayo?

For a healthier broccoli salad, you can choose an olive oil-based mayonnaise or even swap mayo out entirely for plain Greek yogurt.

Can Broccoli Salad Be Made With Frozen Broccoli?

I don’t suggest making this Broccoli Salad Recipe with frozen broccoli. Once thawed, frozen broccoli becomes too soft and slightly mushy.
For this salad, we want fresh, crisp heads of broccoli to give this side dish its deliciously crunchy texture.

How Long Can Salad Sit Out Before It Goes Bad?

Since this recipe has a mayo-based dressing, I’d suggest letting it sit out for no more than 2 hours before transferring it back to the fridge to chill.

A bowl of broccoli salad with salad spoons.
A wooden spoon scooping broccoli salad out of a bowl.

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad is a delicious side dish that's made with broccoli, salty bacon, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and a homemade dressing! You will love this easy and flavorful dish that's the perfect contribution to potlucks and cookouts!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 269kcal



  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 4 strips bacon chopped
  • 8 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • cup red onion diced
  • cup sunflower seeds or chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds


  • To make the dressing, whisk together 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper in a small bowl. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the salad.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chopped 4 strips bacon until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked bacon, 8 cups broccoli florets (chopped), ½ cup dried cranberries⅓ cup red onion (diced), and ⅓ cup sunflower seeds to a large mixing bowl and mix together.
  • Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  • Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Then, serve cold and enjoy!


  • If you really like bacon, add an extra 2 strips.


Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 284mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 474IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

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Gabby Hubbell Family Busy Family Recipes Author

From one busy family to another, I see you.

Hi, I’m Gabby! From crockpots to one-pot recipes, we’re eager to make dinner time a breeze for you and your family. Follow along for recipes even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy time and time again!
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