Classic Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe

5 from 111 votes
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Everyone needs to know how to put together a classic bacon broccoli salad. It’s so easy to whip up and tends to be a hit with most people! This recipe can be made all year round and it’s the perfect option for potlucks!

Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe in a green Jadeite bowl with a spoon
Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe

Once upon a time I worked in downtown Calgary at an oil and gas company. There was a woman that I worked with named Mary that was famous for her broccoli salad that she would bring to staff potluck suppers. To sum Mary up, she was a wonderful woman from Newfoundland who could cook like a boss, was hilarious beyond measure and her favourite saying was “Lord Lamp-lighting Jesus”  when she was worked up about something. And her broccoli salad was the BEST I have ever tasted. Plus, we all know that any recipe that kicks off with “bacon” is going to go down pretty well, just like my Classic Caesar Salad.

Also once upon a time, I could actually eat broccoli. Oh, to be in my early 20’s again when I had a cast iron stomach. Now I can’t eat broccoli, but I DO have Mary’s recipe and technique for making the best broccoli salad ever.

Cut everything as small as you can. Tiny tiny TINY little broccoli trees. Mary said she would take her cutting board to the living room on a TV tray and watch the tube as she chopped and chopped and chopped to make a massive salad to feed the whole office. While you don’t have to watch TV or make a quadruple batch, if you make sure that the ingredients in this are small, you’ll understand how the way they blend together makes this an amazing broccoli salad!

chopped broccoli on a wooden cutting board

Ingredients in Broccoli Salad

  • Broccoli – florets, chopped very small
  • Red onion – finely diced
  • Raisins – I use dark Thompson raisins
  • Sunflower seeds– salted and hulled
  • Bacon – cooked and then crumbled into small pieces
  • Mayonnaise – you can use low fat but the texture of the dressing will change slightly
  • White sugar –  use Splenda or your favorite no sugar sweetener to make it low carb
  • White vinegar – you can also try using cider vinegar for a unique taste

How to make Broccoli Salad

  • Place all of the salad ingredients into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad ingredients.
  • Cover the bowl and let the salad chill – Mary would let it chill overnight and then bring it to the potluck and it was spectacular!
  • Serve cold.

close up Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe in a green Jadeite bowl with a spoon

Try a different salad dressing

If you fancy spicing up your dressing, try it Jamie Oliver style! Start by peeling some ginger and grating it into a bowl, then stir in some sesame oil, along with olive oil, soy cause, and lime juice. Then add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar before whisking the dressing together. Easy!

How healthy is broccoli salad?

To make this healthy simply use LOW FAT mayo and watch the sugar! You can use as little as you want to make the dressing to your taste! Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and this is the perfect example! The classic bacon broccoli salad is super healthy and completely customizable depending on your tastes. Why not add some grapes or cranberries too for an added boost of flavour? 

close up Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe in a green Jadeite bowl with a spoon
What should you serve broccoli salad with?

This salad is perfect on its own for a light lunch but it can also be a great accompaniment to some simple Porterhouse Steak or roast chicken. Maybe you could even try ham hocks? There really is no limit to the combinations available here! Oh, how about egg drop soup for a soup and salad combo that is seriously awesome?

I’d love to hear what you like to serve alongside your broccoli salad, so don’t forget to share it in the comments to give us all some extra inspiration! I’m super excited to see what you come up with!

More salad recipes for you to try

Hope you love it! I have such fond food memories of this salad, I’m so sad that I can’t eat broccoli anymore. The family taste tested this over Christmas and it was deemed fantastic, so let me know what you think!



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This bacon broccoli salad is a classic! The secret that makes this the best broccoli salad ever is to chop the ingredients very small, then let the salad sit overnight for max flavor! #broccoli #salad #bacon

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Classic Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe

This bacon broccoli salad is a classic! The secret that makes this the best broccoli salad ever is to chop the ingredients very small, then let the salad sit overnight for max flavor! 
5 from 111 votes
Prep Time
25 minutes
Total Time
25 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


Broccoli Salad

  • 8 cups broccoli florets, chopped very small
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup salted sunflower seeds, hulled
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and then crumbled into small pieces

Sweet Mayonnaise Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4-1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons white vinegar


  • Place all of the salad ingredients into a medium sized bowl.
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad ingredients.
  • Cover the bowl and let the salad chill - Mary would let it chill overnight and then bring it to the potluck and it was spectacular! 
  • Serve cold.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 783kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 68g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 713mg, Potassium: 595mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 815IU, Vitamin C: 110.9mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 1.5mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Bacon Broccoli Salad Vintage recipe

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Heather says

    Question- would it taste ok without the onions? I have a bunch of family that will not eat it with the onions. Should I add a little onion powder?

  2. Anna says

    Dang it, Mary, you and your little bitty broccoli trees! I can’t say I particularly enjoyed chopping all of that broccoli but my goodness this is a good salad; made it once and when no one could figure out why it was so much better than other broccoli salads I gave Mary and your oil and gas company parties the credit. It has been requested since that original time, also. Thank you!

  3. Bruce W. says

    Tried it, first time tonight. Followed the recipe, though I added about half again as much “dressing” as called for. It was delicious. I did have a little trouble tracking down sunflower seeds. Has anyone tried using chopped walnuts? That seems like it might be a good substitute.5 stars

  4. Diane says

    This recipe reminds me of my childhood. It’s delicious!

  5. Bev says

    We love this salad with our fresh garden broccoli each year. We always put in chopped cranberries and halved grapes! We found “Cotton Candy Grapes” this year and never thought we could improve the recipe! A must try! I found the grapes at Costco. They also add a little more sweetness so you can add less sugar to the dressing. Can’t beat this recipe!5 stars

  6. Sara says

    Made this before and love it. This time I put dried cranberries in instead of raisins. It’s a nice bright pop of color. Hopefully it still tastes good.

  7. Elizabeth Chambers says

    An easy and delicious recipe! My husband said I could make it any time (as in often 😆). I cut the recipe in half because it’s just my husband and I (my toddler wouldn’t eat it). I might have done a teeny bit less sugar than it called for. But again an easy and delicious recipe!5 stars

  8. Eric says

    Very versatile and forgiving recipe. I’ve made this many times, using whatever dried fruit and nuts I have on-hand and it always comes out great (my personal favorite is chopped apricots with pine nuts). I only use 1 Tbs of sugar whenever I make this salad.5 stars

  9. Ida Goad says

    I just made this broccoli salad, but i too added nuts instead of sunflower seeds, lots of raisins and cheddar cheese. Taste yummy. Next time i will do yogurt instead of mayo.5 stars

  10. Starr says

    I have substituted Greek yogurt for mayo, and used whatever nuts I have on hand. I also blanch the broccoli, but this recipe is always always delicious and satisfying. Thank you!

  11. Betty Mills says

    Love this broccoli salad recipe. Delicious. Thanks.

  12. Joanna says

    Looking for something different but was REALLY skeptical of this recipe because…. idk. I’m Puerto Rican and this combination of ingredients just was different but thats why I wanted to try it. I used pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower and dried cranberry instead of raisins because that’s what I had in my pantry. Wow! This was so good and a hit with my 2 year old. Delish! Like De-freakin-licious! Will be a staple in this house going forward.5 stars

  13. Jan says

    This salad was delicious! I made it for a July 4Th party and everybody raved about it. I’m making it again for another party this weekend! Thanks for sharing😊

  14. Sandra says

    Try kewpie Mayo, rice vinegar and sugar for dressing.

  15. Norma Schutt says

    OMG, this is great! I made it exactly as written and will not be changing a thing the next time I make it.5 stars

  16. Lynn y says

    I added celery and cucumber, subbed craisins for raisins and added sharp cheddar cheese. Delicious

  17. Micah says

    What type of mayonnaise do you use? Real mayo or miracle whip?

  18. Danielle says

    Easy classic recipe. I made this for my parents. My mom said it was the best she’s ever had! Including her own! That says a lot.5 stars

    • Jennifer says

      We make this a lot for our family gatherings. I too use dried cranberries instead of raisins. Delicious!5 stars

    • Lisa Gibbs says

      I made this delicious salad for a Christmas eve family gathering. I doubled the recipe, added cheddar cheese. In the dressing I used half plain Greek yogurt and half “lite” mayo, apple cider vinegar, and substituted Monkftuit zero-carb sugar to make this dish Keto and diabetic friendly

      Soooo delicious! Merry Christmas, everyone!5 stars

  19. Terry says

    Delicious fresh tasting salad! I used raw honey instead of sugar, and yellow onion [didn’t have red]-still delicious AND so easy to make ahead of time.
    I’ll be serving it with baked chicken. YUM!5 stars

    • Kathy Smith says

      Terry I just finished making your broccoli salad , and I have to tell you it is delicious. Thank you so much for caring enough to share this great recipe .

      Kathy5 stars

  20. Linda Swoveland says

    I have all of the ingredients to make this salad. A good friend recommended this recipe to me.
    I gave it a 5 star rating even though I haven’t made it yet…that’s going to happen today to serve for dinner tomorrow. The 5 star rating in advance is because I KNOW the hubs and I are going to love and devour it. I don’t like cooked broccoli but I love it raw.
    I can’t wait until tomorrow to enjoy this delicious salad. My mouth is watering right now! ?5 stars

  21. Penny says

    One of my family’s favorite recipes! Sometimes I substitute craisins for the raisins or I’ve also used golden raisins. We love pecans, so I usually use those instead of sunflower seeds. Thanks for sharing this tasty salad!5 stars

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