The Best Broccoli Salad Recipe: A Delicious and Healthy Side Dish

Broccoli salad is a delicious and healthy side dish that can be enjoyed all year round. It’s a great way to add some green vegetables to your meal and get some extra nutrients. However, not all broccoli salads are created equal. Some are too bland, while others are too heavy on the dressing. That’s why finding the best broccoli salad recipe is essential.

Fresh broccoli, crispy bacon, and tangy dressing in a large bowl. Sunlight streams through a window, casting a warm glow on the ingredients

One of the best broccoli salad recipes out there is a classic version that includes bacon, cheddar cheese, and a sweet and tangy dressing. The combination of crispy bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and crunchy broccoli florets creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The dressing, made with mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar, adds a sweet and tangy note that complements the other ingredients perfectly. This salad is not only delicious but also easy to make and can be prepared in advance, making it an excellent option for potlucks or family gatherings.

Essential Ingredients

A colorful bowl with fresh broccoli, crispy bacon, chopped red onion, and sunflower seeds, all tossed in a creamy dressing

When it comes to making the best broccoli salad, there are a few essential ingredients that cannot be left out. These ingredients are what give the salad its unique flavor and texture. Here are the key ingredients that you will need to make the perfect broccoli salad:

Fresh Broccoli

The star of any broccoli salad is, of course, the broccoli. It is important to use fresh broccoli that is crisp and bright green in color. The best way to prepare the broccoli is to chop it into small bite-sized pieces. This will make it easier to eat and will also allow the flavors of the other ingredients to blend in well.

Bacon Bits

Adding bacon bits to the salad gives it a delicious smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the broccoli. You can either use store-bought bacon bits or cook your own bacon and chop it into small pieces. Adding bacon bits will make the salad more filling and satisfying.


Cheese is another essential ingredient that adds creaminess and richness to the salad. Cheddar cheese is the most commonly used cheese in broccoli salads, but you can also use other types of cheese such as feta or blue cheese. It is best to use shredded cheese so that it blends in well with the other ingredients.


Onions provide a sharp and tangy flavor that complements the sweetness of the other ingredients. You can use either red onions or green onions in your broccoli salad. It is best to chop the onions into small pieces so that they do not overpower the other flavors.


The dressing is what brings all the ingredients together and gives the salad its unique flavor. The most common dressing used in broccoli salads is a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing. However, you can also use a vinaigrette dressing or a honey mustard dressing. It is important to choose a dressing that complements the other flavors in the salad.

By using these essential ingredients, you can create a delicious broccoli salad that is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

Step-by-Step Preparation

Fresh broccoli, chopped red onion, crispy bacon, and sunflower seeds are tossed in a tangy dressing in a large bowl

Preparing the best broccoli salad requires a few simple steps that anyone can follow. Here are the steps to follow to make the perfect broccoli salad:

Chopping the Broccoli

The first step in preparing the best broccoli salad is to chop the broccoli into small florets. It is important to remove any tough stems and leaves before chopping the broccoli. Once the broccoli is chopped, it should be blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until it is tender but still crisp. After blanching, the broccoli should be immediately plunged into ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve its bright green color.

Cooking the Bacon

The next step is to cook the bacon until it is crispy. This can be done in a skillet on the stovetop or in the oven. Once the bacon is cooked, it should be drained on paper towels and then chopped into small pieces.

Mixing the Salad

To make the dressing, mix together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the blanched broccoli, chopped bacon, diced red onion, and raisins. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss until everything is well coated.

Refrigerating the Salad

The final step is to refrigerate the broccoli salad for at least an hour before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the broccoli to absorb the dressing. Before serving, give the salad a quick stir and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

By following these simple steps, anyone can make the best broccoli salad that is sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Serving Suggestions

A vibrant bowl of broccoli salad with colorful ingredients, like cranberries and sunflower seeds, topped with a tangy dressing


To add some extra flavor and texture to the best broccoli salad, consider adding some garnishes. Chopped nuts, such as almonds or pecans, can add a nice crunch to the salad. Crumbled bacon or diced avocado can also be great additions. For a pop of color, sprinkle some pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries on top.


The best broccoli salad can be served as a side dish or a main course. If serving as a side dish, it pairs well with grilled chicken, steak, or fish. For a vegetarian option, serve it with grilled portobello mushrooms. If serving as a main course, consider adding some protein, such as grilled chicken or shrimp, to make it a more filling meal.

To complete the meal, serve the best broccoli salad with some crusty bread or rolls. A glass of white wine or iced tea can also be a refreshing accompaniment.

The Ultimate Broccoli Salad

Recipe by Sarah JenCourse: SaladsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Discover the epitome of a classic Broccoli Salad, a beloved recipe featuring a zesty dressing that’s universally adored. Packed with an explosion of flavors and varied textures, this simple yet sensational salad is your go-to choice for gatherings, picnics, and potlucks. Quick and easy to prepare, it’s a crowd-pleaser that never disappoints.


  • SALAD:
  • 6 cups of small raw broccoli florets (from about 2 large heads of broccoli with stalks discarded)

  • 1 ½ cups red seedless grapes, halved

  • 1 cup celery, diced small

  • ¾ cup cooked bacon, diced small

  • ¾ cup sunflower seeds (salted)

  • ¾ cup raisins

  • 3 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (light)

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or as desired for consistency)

  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)


  • Instructions:
  • Assembling the Salad:
  • In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, grapes, celery, bacon, sunflower seeds, raisins, and green onions. Set aside.
  • Preparing the Dressing:
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, celery seed, and black pepper until well combined.
  • Adjust the consistency by adding additional apple cider vinegar if needed, ensuring the dressing is pourable but still thick.
  • Combining Salad and Dressing:
  • Pour the dressing evenly over the salad and toss to combine thoroughly.
  • The salad can be served immediately, but for enhanced flavors, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours before serving.
  • Nutrition:
  • Serving: 1, Calories: 396kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g,Cholesterol: 26mg, Sodium: 1058mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 19g


  • Tip: Save time by using precooked bacon and microwave it for about 1 minute to cook.