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Broccoli Salad

This fresh Broccoli Salad recipe is a super simple side dish you can make year-round. In it, crisp fresh broccoli florets are combined with tangy red onion, crumbled bacon, toasted pecans and shredded cheddar cheese all dressed with a creamy homemade dressing. It’s so popular, that here in my neck of the woods that it’s available prepared in every grocery store deli case. Add this recipe to your side dish menu for picnics, the holidays or weekday meals with the family.

Broccoli Salad

Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe

Easy refrigerator salads like this Broccoli Salad have always been a favorite of mine to make. They can be prepared in advance and kept chilled in the fridge for a quick side dish to go with an entrée. I’ve taken a bit of liberty with this salad, as classic broccoli salad recipe would usually include raisins and some sort of nuts or toasted sesame seeds. Since I cook according to my family’s taste, it gives me full creative control to adjust to our taste and I opt for toasted pecans.

Broccoli Salad

How to Make the Best Broccoli Salad Recipe

This Broccoli Salad with bacon is one of those deli salads that are commonly found all throughout the South. As with any recipe, cook’s often remake salad recipes to include the little ingredient twists that they know their family will enjoy. That’s precisely reflected in this recipe with just a couple of ingredients switches. This is one of those easy salad recipes that comes together in a snap and the sweet and tangy dressing adds just the right touch.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make this easy recipe for Broccoli Salad: Fresh broccoli florets, cooked bacon, onion, dried cranberries or raisins, toasted pecans or walnuts, diced red bell pepper, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: Sharp knife and cutting board, cheese grater, measuring cups and spoons, large spoon for stirring, large bowl, whisk.
  • To make the dressing for broccoli salad this is what you do: In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder and black pepper.
  • Is it necessary to blanch the broccoli for this salad? A through cleaning is all you need to do to make this broccoli salad. I’ve never found it necessary to blanch it prior to assembling with the remaining ingredients.
  • You can make this broccoli salad with raisins or broccoli salad with cranberries. You can also make broccoli salad with sunflower seeds. Either way it’s delicious!
  • Please note: You have to use fresh broccoli florets and not frozen broccoli for this easy broccoli salad recipe.
  • You can use classic raisins or golden raisins in this recipe.
  • You may enjoy adding sliced cherry tomatoes which is a fantastic Summer version when fresh produce is in abundance.
  • To make broccoli salad low carb use full fat mayonnaise, perhaps less cheddar cheese and onion and omit the raisins or dried cranberries and use an alternate sweetener for the dressing in place of white sugar.
  • My version of broccoli salad includes toasted pecans and dried cranberries, although each can be switched out with alternatives, if you prefer. Some broccoli salads call for sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds and raisins or golden raisins in place of dried cranberries. Make it your own.
  • You could also switch out the pecans for sliced almonds or chopped walnuts. Regardless, take the time to toast the nuts or seeds for added flavor.
  • You can also use a different flavor of shredded cheese such as a mild or medium cheddar or colby jack cheese in the same amount called for in the recipe.
  • Store broccoli salad in an airtight container chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Broccoli Salad

More Southern Salad Recipes to Make

I’d be hard pressed to think of a meal that wouldn’t suit a salad of some kind on the menu as a side dish. More easy salad recipes you may like to try:

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fresh Broccoli Salad
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5 from 1 vote

Broccoli Salad

Prep Time20 minutes
Chill time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli-salad
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 436kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnut pieces [or 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds]
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets stems trimmed and florets separated
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 small red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins [optional]
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper or one 2 oz jar of pimentos, drained
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped green onions or 1 Tbsp snipped chives
  • Dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  • To Toast the Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread chopped pecans on a sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 6-8 minutes until fragrant, set aside to cool.
  • Clean the broccoli and separate the florets into bite-size pieces, removing most of the stem.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, granulated sugar,apple cider vinegar, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder and black pepper.
  • To the bowl add broccoli florets, shredded cheddar cheese, red onion, bacon, raisins (or cranberries), toasted pecans, red bell pepper and green onions. Gently toss to evenly coat with the dressing reserving a small amount of bacon and pecans for garnishing.
  • Chill for at least 4-6 hours before serving. Mix well, pour into a serving dish and garnish with reserved bacon and pecans.
  • Store broccoli salad chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 436kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 683mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 640IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


  1. 5 stars
    Recipe looks scrumptious. Any chance of posting some low sodium or salt free recipes. I usually omit the salt & use either fresh ingredients or no salt added ingredients. I also use spices & herbs. A posting on how to decrease sodium in recipes or a sodium free spice/herb mix recipe would really be helpful. Any heart healthy recipes would be great. I love your recipes. I live in NC too & as a retired nurse know about the incidence of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, & Type 2 diabetes. Thanks Melissa!!!

    1. Hi Mary Kay! What you’re doing is essentially the best way. Adjust the sodium in any recipe you use to suit your personal needs. Thanks so much for visiting!

  2. Boy oh boy Melissa. I have been looking through these salad recipes and I am practically drooling on myself. They all look so good, that I can’t decide where to start. Thank you very much. Take care.

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