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Broccoli Salad with Homemade Dressing

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Broccoli Salad with Homemade Dressing is easy to make, perfect for a crowd, and delicious as leftovers. Use real bacon, and char the broccoli for even more flavor. Make this salad a few hours ahead for a dish that everyone will love

This post and recipe card were updated May 19, 2019
finished Broccoli Salad in a white bowl with a green napkin on the side

I was a very picky vegetable eater as a child. Anything I loved, I would eat nonstop. But if I didn’t like something, I refused to eat it…even if I had never tried it before.

Broccoli was a vegetable I loved, but with a catch…I would only eat the stalks. So my parents ate the flowers and I devoured the stalks. I don’t recall exactly when it changed, but now I only buy broccoli crowns, and just eat the florets.

Two years ago I needed a “broccoli salad type thing” to take to Thanksgiving dinner. I had never made anything like that before, and my normal potluck go-to dish is Baked Homemade Mac and Cheese. But I was up for the challenge, did some research and created Broccoli Salad with Homemade Dressing

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It’s a great dish for a crowd, and perfect no matter the occasion or time of year
  • You can change up the ingredients to fit your tastes
  • It’s SO GOOD as leftovers
overhead shot of finished broccoli salad in a white bowl with a green napkin on the side
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PERFECT BROCCOLI SALAD
  • Broccoli –  I always use fresh broccoli. If you use frozen, thaw the broccoli completely and let it dry.
  • Real Bacon – don’t skimp and use bacon bits. Use real bacon, and own it!
  • Cranberries – I use Dried Cranberries
  • Nuts/Seeds – I use Sunflower Seeds, but pecans, almonds or walnuts are good substitutes
  • Cheese – I use a sharp Cheddar cheese and shred the cheese thick so it stands up to the other salad ingredients
  • Red onion – I add onion to almost everything. But if you don’t care for onion, then omit it
overhead shot of salad ingredients on a white plate: broccoli, red onion, sesame seeds, cheese, bacon, dried cranberries
EASY STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare homemade dressing, and set aside in the fridge to rest

Prepare broccoli

  • Rinse and drain broccoli florets, and place on a clean dish towel for 10 minutes to dry.
  • Spread broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet and char it under the broiler for 10 minutes
  • Transfer broccoli to a large bowl, and put the bowl into the fridge to cool
overhead shot of broccoli on baking sheet, after being charred under broiler

Prepare bacon

  • Dice bacon into bite-sized pieces
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet, until done
  • Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain
overhead shot of bacon cooking in skillet

Final prep

  • Add bacon, cranberries, cheese, and onion to bowl with broccoli, and toss together
  • Add the homemade dressing
  • Don’t overdress the saladI only add about 1/2 of the dressing and keep the rest on the side so guests can add more if they want.
overhead shot of finished broccoli salad in a white bowl
HOMEMADE DRESSING FOR BROCCOLI SALAD

There are lots of dressings for different versions of Broccoli Salad, and some are very similar to ranch. Since I live in Oklahoma where ranch is practically its own food group, I played with some options and came up with a fabulous take

  • Mayonnaise – I used real, full-fat Mayonnaise the first time, and I haven’t looked back. But you could certainly lighten it up with reduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise or Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. Do not use an imitation mayo, because it changes the flavor of the dressing
  • Light Sour Cream – I can’t taste a difference between light and regular, so I use light to save the calories
  • Greek Yogurt – I really like the tang of the yogurt, and it’s another way to lighten up the dressing
  • Red Wine Vinegar – I’ve tried both the red wine and white wine vinegar, and I prefer the subtle bite of Red Wine Vinegar
  • Sugar, Salt, and Pepper – the sugar balances the vinegar
SERVING, STORAGE AND LEFTOVER TIPS FOR BROCCOLI SALAD

If you’re serving Broccoli Salad outside in the heat, keep it on ice! Fill a larger bowl with ice, and place the bowl of broccoli salad into the larger bowl

Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, your Broccoli Salad will last up to one week.

cropped shot of finished broccoli salad in a white bowl
SERVE BROCCOLI SALAD WITH HOMEMADE DRESSING WITH:
MORE SIDE DISHES, PERFECT FOR ENTERTAINING
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Broccoli Salad - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Broccoli Salad with Homemade Dressing

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Broccoli Salad with Homemade Dressing is easy to make, perfect for a crowd, and delicious as leftovers. Use real bacon, and char the broccoli for even more flavor. Make this salad a few hours ahead for a dish that everyone will love

Ingredients

SALAD

  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, thick shredded

DRESSING

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (full fat or Avocado oil mayo)
  • 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons light sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (broiler)
  2. Combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, sour cream, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Set aside in fridge
  3. Rinse and drain broccoli florets. Lay out in single layer on a clean dish towel for 10 minutes
  4. Transfer broccoli to a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes. Transfer broccoli to a large bowl, and put into fridge to cool
  5. In large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until it reaches desired doneness. Transfer to paper towels to drain
  6. Add cranberries, sunflower seeds, bacon and cheese to broccoli, and toss together
  7. Add dressing 2 Tablespoons at a time, and mix well each time. The recipe makes a generous amount of dressing. It's always better to UNDER dress the salad, and allow people to add more dressing if they want.

Notes

Make the dressing first, and let it rest in the fridge so the flavors develop

I use fresh broccoli. If you use frozen, thaw the broccoli completely. Either way, allow broccoli to dry before putting it in the oven

Don’t overdress the salad! I only add about 1/2 of the dressing and keep the rest on the side so guests can add more if they want. 

If you’re serving Broccoli Salad outside in the heat, keep it on ice! Fill a larger bowl with ice, and place the bowl of broccoli salad into the larger bowl

Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, your Broccoli Salad will last up to one week. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402Saturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 465mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 11g
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