Best Broccoli Salad Recipe – This crunchy, cold broccoli salad is filled with crispy bacon, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries. A sweet and tangy easy homemade dressing finishes it off just perfectly!
I don’t often claim that a recipe is the “best ever”, so you better pay attention when I do! 😉 This Broccoli Salad really is the best recipe I have ever tried. And I’ve tried a lot.
The broccoli salad dressing recipe only calls for three ingredients, but it is so flavorful! I don’t like it swimming in sauce, so I use a full pound of broccoli. You can adjust it to your taste by using less broccoli so you have more of the creamy dressing in each bite.
Do you steam broccoli for broccoli salad?
Some recipes call for blanching the broccoli, but really it is a personal preference. If you do want your broccoli to have less of a raw flavor, you can blanch it first.
To blanch broccoli: Use a mesh or metal strainer and carefully lower the chopped broccoli into rolling boiling water. Leave it only for 60-90 seconds, then remove it and immediately dump it into ice water to stop the cooking process.
How do you make broccoli salad from scratch?
- broccoli – I use raw broccoli, but you can blanch it if you prefer.
- green onions – We like the mild flavor of green onions, but you can substitute red onion if desired. White and yellow onions are not recommended.
- Craisins – These chewy sweet dried cranberries really do add great flavor! You can substitute golden raisins or even regular raisins if you like.
- celery – Adds fresh flavor and tasty crunch.
- bacon – You can cook and crumble your own bacon, but sometimes I use the Hormel bacon bits to save time. I like to crisp them up in a skillet or the microwave before adding them to the salad.
- sunflower seeds – I recommend using roasted, salted sunflower seeds for best flavor.
- mayonnaise – Full fat gives the best flavor, but you can use light mayo to make the salad lower in fat. Never use Miracle Whip “salad dressing”.
- granulated sugar – It may sound strange to add sugar to broccoli, but trust me, this salad is incredible! We like the dressing pretty sweet, but you can use less if you prefer.
- apple cider vinegar – I’ve tried different varieties of vinegar, but always come back to apple cider. We think it tastes the best!
- PREP BACON – Dice and cook your bacon until it is very crispy. If you are using bacon bits, it’s still a good idea to crisp them up a bit. Set the bacon aside to cool.
- WHISK – Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till smooth. Set aside.
- CHOP – Rinse and chop the broccoli, green onions, and celery.
- STIR – In a large bowl, stir together all of the salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over the top, then stir till all the broccoli is well coated.
- SERVE – You can either let the salad chill for a few minutes or a couple of hours, or serve it immediately. Some people like it better the next day, but I prefer to eat it when it is freshly made.
How do you cut broccoli florets for broccoli salad?
For salads, it’s best to remove the larger tough broccoli stems and just use the top broccoli florets. For easiest eating, cut the pieces about an inch in size. Much larger and they are hard to fit in your mouth, much smaller and they fall apart.
- Instead of green onions, use about 1/4 cup of diced red onions.
- Use half cauliflower and half broccoli.
- Replace the craisins with golden raisins, or even regular raisins.
- In place of the sunflower seeds, use pepitas, or sliced toasted almonds.
- Add some shredded or cubed cheddar cheese, or another type of cheese.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS BROCCOLI AND BACON SALAD
- Meatballs in BBQ Sauce
- Bacon Cheeseburger Pie
- Chicken Curry Wraps
- Best Grilled Pork Chops
- Homemade Pigs in a Blanket
- Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
MORE WAYS TO ENJOY BROCCOLI:
BROCCOLI BACON SALAD RECIPE
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 pound broccoli florets, chopped in bite sized pieces
- 4 green onions, sliced (or 1/4 of a red onion)
- 1 cup Craisins
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk till smooth. Set aside.
- Place the chopped broccoli, onions, Craisins, and celery in a large bowl. Stir in the sauce. Chill for 10-30 minutes. (Or up to 2 hours.)
- Stir in the bacon and sunflower seeds right before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1393mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 19gProtein: 16g