This colorful broccoli salad gets its flavor from creamy mayonnaise, salty bacon, tangy vinegar and sweet raisins. It’s easy, fresh, and always a crowd pleaser!
Classic Broccoli Bacon Salad
I love a good potluck or get-togethers where everyone brings a dish to share.
There’s always a recipe that someone is known for. You know the one—when you are getting together it’s the recipe that everyone requests from you. Or that you always ask one of your friends to bring to dinner.
This broccoli salad is one of those. My next-door neighbor was known for her delicious broccoli salad, and it was her most requested recipe twenty years ago. I know I was a big fan!
When I moved away, she wrote out the recipe and gave it to me to take with me to Texas. I love this recipe and I love the friend who gave it to me. Recipes shared are a way to keep the memories alive!
This creamy broccoli salad is loaded with delicious mix-ins: crispy bacon, sweet raisins, crunchy nuts, and a tangy dressing. The dressing is my favorite part and what totally makes this recipe. Every bite is packed with flavor!
Another great thing about this bacon broccoli salad is that it pairs well with just about anything! It’s the perfect side dish for all occasions!
There are a lot of ways to make a broccoli salad, but this is the classic recipe! There’s a reason that it’s always a favorite and the recipe has been passed among friends to share!
Related: Love Bacon? Try our Creamy Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad and our Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad too!
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The Salad Ingredients
- 1 pound of bacon fried crisply and crumbled
- 1 pound broccoli florets (about 3-4 broccoli crowns, stalks removed)
- ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup honey roasted soy nuts, roasted sunflower seeds, or chopped toasted almonds
Broccoli Salad Dressing
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons red vinegar
Kitchen Supplies Used
A Few Notes about the Ingredients:
- Soy nuts: The original recipe calls for honey roasted soy nuts. I checked three stores and didn’t see these. Amazon does carry roasted soybeans/nuts though. If you’re working with what you already have in the pantry or can’t find soy nuts, a half cup sunflower seeds or chopped almonds will work just fine.
- Onion: I prefer red onion for this salad, but a sweet yellow onion would work fine.
- Vinegar: We always use red wine vinegar, but I have seen white vinegar and apple cider vinegar used as well. If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, you could use one of those in a pinch.
- Cheese: This original recipe does not contain cheese, but you can add if you like. Grated cheddar cheese taste fabulous on top of this dish, as it perfectly compliments the sweetness.
- Sugar Substitutes: The traditional recipe calls for sugar, but you can swap with another sweetener. More on this below.
Can You Make Broccoli Salad Sugar Free?
The original recipe calls for regular white granulated sugar. This sweetness is an integral part of the recipe, so I don’t recommend omitting the sugar.
If you’re watching your sugar intake, what you can do instead is substitute the white sugar with a sugar substitute or keto-friendly sweetener.
In fact, this is what I do nowadays when I prepare this recipe! I’m not a huge fan of artificial sweeteners, but I find that stevia blends very well in this dish. It is not overly sweet, and it doesn’t create an aftertaste.
Stevia doesn’t work on a 1:1 ratio with sugar, so I simply added a few packets of Stevia as I mixed the salad, until I had the sweetness I like.
If you’re looking to make this a low carb dish, you may want to omit the raisins as well.
Can You Use Miracle Whip Instead of Mayonnaise?
I’ve always made my broccoli salad with real mayo. In fact, I just prefer real mayonnaise in general.
While you could use Miracle Whip salad dressing instead of mayonnaise, it’s not my preference it because it may alter the flavors a bit. Though if you are a Miracle Whip fan, then you might like that taste! It really comes down to preference. But traditionally, mayonnaise is what is used.
If using pre-cooked bacon, skip to the next section. Pre-cooked bacon is definitely a time-saver, but I love the taste of freshly baked and crispy bacon, so I usually make my own.
1. Cook the Bacon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place bacon slices on the baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until crispy.
When bacon is done, remove from oven. Carefully put bacon on paper towels to cool.
2. Prep Your Veggies
While the bacon is baking, chop your broccoli, onion, and celery and add to a large mixing bowl.
TIP: If your broccoli florets are not pre-washed and packages, be sure to thoroughly wash, rinse, and drain the broccoli before using.
Add ½ cup of roasted nuts and ½ cup of dried cranberries or raisins.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.
3. Assemble the Salad
Chop cooked, cooled bacon into small pieces and add to the large bowl containing your vegetable ingredients.
Fold dressing into the salad and stir to coat. Feel free to add salt and black pepper to taste (though this is optional).
Cover container and refrigerate until time to serve.
How Long Does Broccoli Salad Last in the Fridge?
Because it contains mayonnaise, broccoli salad leftovers need to be kept refrigerated. It is ok to leave it out on a serving table for an hour or two, but after that you’ll want to move it to the fridge.
I have seen some recipes that recommend storing the dressing and broccoli salad separately. However, I love how the flavors meld together after you mix the dressing and salad, so I go ahead and do that. This is a great recipe to make a day ahead, by the way!
Keep the broccoli salad stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will prevent it from drying out or absorbing other flavors in the fridge. It should stay good this way for up to 5 days.
Broccoli Bacon Salad Recipe (Printable Copy)
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- large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
- mixing spoon
- serving bowl
- Cutting board
- Baking pan
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 1 pound bacon cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or soy nuts or chopped toasted almonds
Broccoli Salad Dressing
- 3/4 cup mayonaise
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 TB red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Lay slices of bacon on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
- Allow bacon to cool on a plate lined with paper towels.
- While the bacon is baking, chop your broccoli, onion, and celery and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add ½ cup of roasted nuts and ½ cup of dried cranberries or raisins.
- Whisk the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together in a separate small bowl.
- When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and add to the salad.
- Fold dressing into the salad.
- Put the salad in a covered container and refrigerate until time to serve.
Options for Broccoli SaladSoy nuts: The original recipe calls for honey roasted soy nuts. I checked three stores and didn’t see these. Amazon does carry roasted soybeans/nuts though. However, roasted sunflower seeds or toasted almonds (chopped) can work as well. Onion: I prefer red onion for this salad, but a sweet yellow onion would work fine. Sugar substitute: The recipe calls for sugar. I used a few packets of stevia to taste. I’m not a big fan of artificial sweeteners but the stevia worked well. It wasn’t overly sweet, and it didn’t have an aftertaste.
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