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This vibrant Fresh Broccoli Salad recipe consists of a tangy creamy dressing, crisp bacon, chewy raisins, crunchy almonds, and flavorful red onions. YUM! Follow the recipe as-is or make the recipe with my recommended substitutions for variation!

This is the perfect recipe to bring to a summer potluck and even makes a great side dish during holiday dinners. Other favorite potluck recipes include my Texas Caviar recipe, my Three Bean Salad, German Potato Salad, and Classic Macaroni Salad.

broccoli bacon salad
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Why this recipe works:

  • Different than other recipes. Many broccoli raisin salad recipes call for raw broccoli. This recipe has you blanch the broccoli which maintains the fantastic crunch of raw broccoli while improving the flavor and creating a vibrant green color. Additionally, the red onions are tamed by soaking in water. You’ll find a few other reasons why this recipe is better than all the others!
  • Perfect for potlucks. Although this recipe makes a fantastic side dish, especially at holiday dinners or backyard BBQs, broccoli crunch salad is one of the best potluck recipes because everyone loves it.
  • This salad has it all. Healthy vegetables, chewy sweet raisins, almonds for crunch, and a creamy broccoli salad dressing that pulls it all together.
cold broccoli salad

Ingredients needed:

I put a lot of thought into making this the best broccoli salad recipe out there. It was important to strike the right balance with flavor, texture, quantity, and nutrition.

For the cold broccoli salad:

  • Fresh broccoli – you can buy a bag of broccoli crowns or buy a couple heads of broccoli and break the crowns off yourself
  • Bacon – Any time a recipe uses chopped bacon, I prefer to use bacon ends and pieces because it’s less expensive than sliced bacon.
  • Red onion – Slice them real thin and soak them in water to make the flavor a bit more mild.
  • Raisins – Make sure they’re fresh so they provide the ultimate chew.
  • Sliced almonds – I recommend blanched slivered almonds.

For the broccoli salad dressing:

  • Mayonnaise – Even better when you use your own homemade mayonnaise
  • Sour cream – Instead of just using mayo like other recipes, I like to cut it with some sour cream. It provides a great tang and makes it even creamier.
  • Sugar – a little bit of sweet balances everything out
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – this adds just the right kind of tart.
broccoli raisin salad

How to make this recipe:

Full ingredient list and detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.

  1. Cook the bacon. Dice the uncooked bacon into small pieces and then cook in a large pan on the stove. When done, remove crisp bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Soak the red onion in cold water. This step is optional but recommended. It makes the onion slightly more mild while still delivering that fantastic flavor.
  3. Blanch the broccoli. This step is also optional but highly recommended. This will make the fresh broccoli super vibrant green and will also make it easier to eat.
  4. Combine ingredients. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing to the salad ingredients and toss them all together until combined.

Recipe tips for best results:

  • Broccoli: Using frozen broccoli is not recommended with this salad. The quickest and easiest method is to buy a bag of pre-cut pre-washed broccoli crowns. If using a head of broccoli, cut the crowns off in bite sided pieces.
  • Make ahead directions: This broccoli bacon salad recipe can be made ahead by preparing the salad and the dressing separately and then waiting to combine until you’re ready to serve.
  • Storage: This salad is best if consumed immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator, however the broccoli will likely get soft once combined with the dressing.
  • Substitutions:
    • Nuts: Slivered blanched almonds recommended, but I found that shelled raw pistachios added amazing flavor and crunch. You could also use walnuts, pecans, or cashews. I would recommend raw nuts over roasted.
    • Fruit: When making broccoli salad, raisins are most often used, however you can use other kinds of dried fruit such as cranberries (Craisins). You could also use fresh fruit such as apple or pear.
    • Red onion: I think thinly sliced red onion provides the best flavor, especially after it has been tamed by soaking in cold water, but you could substitute with shallots, scallions, or sweet Vidalia onion.
broccoli bacon salad recipe

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Fresh Broccoli Salad

Prep20 minutes
Cook1 minute
Servings 12 people
Fresh Broccoli Salad has so much flavor because of it's tangy creamy dressing, crisp bacon, chewy raisins, crunch almonds, and flavorful onions. YUM!

Video

Ingredients 

Salad:

  • 1/2 pound bacon chopped into very small pieces (about 3/4 cup cooked)
  • 2 heads fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces with stems discarded (I had about 10 cups)
  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup raisins I used half raisins, half dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds I used half almonds, half pistachios

Dressing:

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Instructions 

  • Place bacon pieces in a heavy bottom skillet or dutch oven and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon starts to brown and the oil starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium. Continue to lower heat and stir bacon until all of the fat has rendered and it is fully cooked. Drain and set aside.
    This wonderfully delicious package of apple wood smoked bacon ends and pieces is exactly the same product as sliced bacon, but it is much cheaper and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
  • Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Boil a large pot of water and cook the broccoli for about 30 seconds and immediately transfer to the ice water. Drain and set aside.
  • Cut the onion into very thin slices. This step is optional but encouraged: soak onion in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. This will make it less intense but still give you that great onion flavor.
    red onions soaking in bowl of water
  • To prepare salad, combine blanced broccoli with cooked bacon, raisins, almonds, and onions.
    broccoli crunch salad ingredients in bowl
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar and vinegar together until smooth.
  • Add the dressing to the salad. Toss to combine.

Notes

  • Broccoli: Using frozen broccoli is not recommended with this salad. The quickest and easiest method is to buy a bag of pre-cut pre-washed broccoli crowns. If using a head of broccoli, cut the crowns off in bite sided pieces.
  • Make ahead directions: This broccoli bacon salad recipe can be made ahead by preparing the salad and the dressing separately and then waiting to combine until you’re ready to serve.
  • Storage: This salad is best if consumed immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator, however the broccoli will likely get soft once combined with the dressing.
  • Substitutions:
    • Nuts: Slivered blanched almonds recommended, but I found that shelled raw pistachios added amazing flavor and crunch. You could also use walnuts, pecans, or cashews. I would recommend raw nuts over roasted.
    • Fruit: When making broccoli salad, raisins are most often used, however you can use other kinds of dried fruit such as cranberries (Craisins). You could also use fresh fruit such as apple or pear.
    • Red onion: I think thinly sliced red onion provides the best flavor, especially after it has been tamed by soaking in cold water, but you could substitute with shallots, scallions, or sweet Vidalia onion.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 254mg, Potassium: 509mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 675IU, Vitamin C: 91.2mg, Calcium: 82mg, Iron: 1.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated with helpful information and recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you're in the right place! Stick around... I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is one of my very favorite salads! I like your tips and changes. Very good point on soaking the onion in water. I will try to lighten this up using low fat mayonnaise and sour cream. This salad is also good with sunflower seeds and Craisins in place of the raisins.

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipes. I don’t like almonds and use sunflower seeds instead. They really add a nice flavor and compliment the other ingredients nicely.

  3. Girl this salad sounds so yum and looks super vibrant at the same time! I love my greens so much and you have such wonderful broccoli recipes on the blog, headed to the next one!