This easy broccoli salad is an old family recipe, loaded with bacon and cheese, and tossed in a creamy dressing. My grandma always makes it for Easter, but it’s a huge favorite all year long!
We’ve been over my aversion to vegetables many, many times. I force them down because I know they’re good for me, but I was totally the kid who wouldn’t eat broccoli at the dinner table unless it was drowning in Cheez Whiz. I KNOW. So bad.
However, there was always ONE other guaranteed way to get me to eat broccoli from the time I was very little… this broccoli salad. My grandma has been making this for holidays and family get-togethers for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been addicted to it for just as long. It certainly doesn’t hurt that there is bacon and cheese involved (does it ever hurt?), and I always beg for leftovers when this is around.
Such a classic recipe and one of my all-time favorites!
The Best Broccoli Salad!
What Do You Put in Broccoli Salad?
The most awesome thing about broccoli salad is that you can totally customize it however you’d like! I feel like bacon and cheese are non-negotiables because, well… bacon and cheese.
My grandma has always only made it with chopped bacon, cubed cheese, and diced onion, but I’ve come across tons of other broccoli salad recipes that include some delicious additions:
Shredded cheddar instead of cubed
What Dressing Goes on Broccoli Salad?
My grandma’s dressing is a standard mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar dressing, which is just the right amount of creamy, sweet, and tangy for me. I generally shy away from really mayo-heavy salads like potato salad and macaroni salad, but this dressing is perfect. All of the ingredients are evenly coated, but it’s not overpowering in the least.
That being said, this salad would lend itself to some modifications if you’d like to try something different…
Make it healthier by substituting Greek yogurt for some of the mayonnaise and a little honey for the sugar.
Use a honey mustard vinaigrette to avoid mayonnaise completely if you’re not a fan.
Make a sour cream or buttermilk-based dressing with seasonings based on your personal preferences.
This broccoli salad has always been an Easter staple for our family, so it always screams spring holiday for me, but we make it and enjoy it year round here.
While you can serve this immediately after making it, I think it’s best when you cover it and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. The flavors mesh together and the dressing gets absorbed a bit, making it just perfect. And leftovers the next day are even better!
If your family makes broccoli salad, I’d love to hear what your favorite add-ins are!
In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, bacon, cheese and onion.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir together until everything is evenly coated.
The broccoli salad can be served immediately, but tastes even better if you cover and refrigerate it for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
You should get about 7 cups of broccoli florets from the heads of broccoli, roughly 28 ounces.
A great shortcut is using bagged, prepped florets. I still need to cut up some of the larger ones, but it's a big time saver!
You can use a yellow or red onion, whatever your preference.
There are so many variations to broccoli salad, so feel free to add other ingredients based on your personal preferences: dried cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped pecans, etc.