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Classic Bacon Broccoli Salad Recipe

5 from 143 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

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 who 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 20s 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 a fantastic 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, which 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 Jamie Oliver’s style! Start by peeling some ginger and grating it into a bowl. Then stir in some sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, 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

I hope you love it! I have such fond food memories of this salad that 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!

Love,

Karlynn

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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 143 votes
Prep Time
25 minutes
Total Time
25 minutes
Course
Salad
Cuisine
American
Servings
6
Calories
783
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
 

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

Instructions
 

  • 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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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

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

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Karen says

    I rated this a 5.
    I did make changes but if you don’t it still is so good.
    I added Hot Dave’s pickle juice1/8 cup. No sugar but instead maple syrup and a table heaping of Thousand Island dressing to the dressing.
    I also added cranberries and roasted chopped pecans and Gouda cheese diced small.
    Thanks for the all time vintage recipe for Broccoli Salad. Family loves it at every function I attend. God bless ya!5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      LOVE the changes, thanks for letting us know! It’s okay to change it up and give other people ideas for a delicious new twist!

  2. Eric says

    this was so good. We used dried cranberries rather than rasins. will make again.5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Yes, cranberries are so good in this as well!

  3. Carol Govier says

    This salad is awesome. Great for summer barbeques. Goes with hot dogs, burgers, heck it goes with everything.5 stars

  4. Sabrina says

    Made this with pecans (didn’t have sunflower seeds), honey instead of sugar (3-4 tbsp) and added some small-cubed cheddar cheese. It was soooo delicious.

  5. Sandra Prsa says

    thanks for the great recipe. made it for our First BBQ of the summer and it was a big hit! Followed the directions as instructed.

  6. Cassi Petersen says

    Refreshing summer (or anytime;)
    side! I skipped the sugar in the dressing, doesn’t seem to be missed flavor wise, used dried cranberries instead of raisins…and used bacon bits as I was short on time. Yummy 😋5 stars

  7. Bell says

    I wanted to make this salad while on the yatch. the only broccoli on board was frozen broccoli. there was some trail mix with cranberries and sunflower seeds. I had ranch dressing and string cheese and an onion. I diced up the string cheese, onion and broccoli and mixed it all together it was delicious!5 stars

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