Broccoli Salad is a quick salad full of fresh crisp broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and bacon bits. It’s all tossed in a really easy creamy homemade dressing.

Since it’s best made ahead of time (and everyone raves about this recipe), it’s a great potluck dish and a favorite addition to a holiday table.

broccoli salad in a bowl with dressing

What Makes This The Best Broccoli Salad

Simple. Delicious. Easy. The best broccoli salad recipe doesn’t need a lot of fancy ingredients.

  • It’s so incredibly easy to make!
  • The 3 ingredient dressing is super simple and extra creamy with a little tang. We love that it doesn’t have tons of sugar!
  • Since it’s best made ahead of time, it’s perfect for potlucks and bbq’s or even lunches throughout the week.
  • It is always a hit, we almost never have leftovers but if you do have leftovers, they last for about 5 days!

If you have extra veggies you need to use up, you can easily add them to this dish. Zucchini, cauliflower, celery, or peppers can make great additions!

ingredients for broccoli salad

Ingredients in Broccoli Salad

Fresh broccoli florets are the star of this dish. The broccoli doesn’t need to be cooked first. Just wash and drain well (a salad spinner can help ensure it’s dry).

Crispy bacon adds a salty smoky flavor. I use real bacon bits in this recipe to keep is simple but you can cut and crumble your own if you’d like.

Add ins include:

  • onions (red or green work well)
  • dried cranberries (add raisins if you’d like)
  • sunflower seeds. Swap out the seeds for any kind of chopped nuts like almonds or pecans.
Ingredients for Broccoli Salad in a clear bowl

How to Make Broccoli Salad

This is probably one of the easiest salads you will throw together, which is why it has become a favorite (plus it’s so yummy)!

  1. Wash the broccoli and dry it very well. Cut the florets (and the stem) into bite-sized pieces, this can be done up to 4 days ahead of time. If you’d like you can also add some broccoli slaw to the salad.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside per the recipe below.
  3. Place the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and toss with dressing. Remember to allow time for the recipe to chill in the fridge. This gives the broccoli a chance to soak in some of the dressing making it even better!

Broccoli Salad Dressing

We love this creamy broccoli salad dressing and it’s super simple to make in just 3 minutes.

  • Mayonnaise can be swapped for dressing (like Miracle Whip).
  • A sugar substitute of your choice will work well in this recipe.
  • If you’re looking for a premade dressing, try coleslaw dressing or creamy poppyseed dressing.
  • To make this broccoli salad recipe healthier, substitute half of the mayonnaise for plain Greek yogurt and skip the bacon bits.
Broccoli Salad in a bowl with wooden spoons

Tips for the Best Creamy Broccoli Salad

  • Wash your broccoli ahead of time if possible, this helps to ensure it drains well.
  • This gives the broccoli a chance to soak in some of the dressing, resulting in an even more flavorful salad!
  • Allow time for the recipe to chill in the fridge. This gives the broccoli a chance to soak in some of the dressing, resulting in an even more flavorful salad!

Make Ahead & Leftovers

Broccoli Salad can be made in advance and kept in the fridge (at least an hour but up to 24 hours) until you’re ready to serve. If you’d like to make further ahead, keep the dressing separate and toss a few hours before serving.

Leftovers will last about 4-5 days in the fridge.

More Easy Salads We Love

Did you enjoy this Broccoli Salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

broccoli salad in a bowl with dressing
4.99 from 1231 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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The Best Broccoli Salad

A fresh crisp broccoli salad is tossed in a simple & creamy homemade dressing.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
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  • 8 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
  • cup red onion diced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup bacon bits


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and bacon bits. Pour the prepared dressing over and mix well.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.



Broccoli Salad can be made ahead & kept in the fridge (at least an hour but up to 24 hours) until ready to serve. 
Leftovers will last about 4-5 days in the fridge.
Dry broccoli very well so moisture doesn’t water down the dressing. Broccoli does not need to be cooked for this recipe.
Reserve some crisp bacon for garnish if desired and add just before serving.
Store-bought coleslaw dressing can replace the homemade dressing if desired.
4.99 from 1231 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 317 | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 81.7mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
glass bowl with The Best Broccoli Salad and a title
close up of The Best Broccoli Salad and wooden spoons with a title
ingredients in a bowl to make The Best Broccoli Salad with writing
ingredients in a bowl to make The Best Broccoli Salad and plated dish with writing


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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.99 from 1231 votes (1,011 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I needed a green salad veggie to serve with crab cakes, potato salad, marinated fresh tomatoes, to serve for a dinner party of eight. Hardly any left! Since I already had the potato salad with mayo/cider vinegar, I opted for a champagne vinaigrette salad dressing.

    I’m not a fan of broccoli, but this was superb, we only had enough leftover for a small serving for two.5 stars

  2. Stumbled upon this recipe, not sure how but dang where has this salad been all my life!? So so easy and tasty, making you feel like you’re eating semi-healthy. My husband is not a fan of mayo dressing but loves the tang of the recipe and so am I. Thank you!5 stars

  3. I made this for a family BBQ. Received calls three days later telling me they still were thinking about that broccoli salad! And you know what? So was I, so I made it again. Ha!
    Made it according to the recipe and wouldn’t change a thing. I added the dressing gradually and didn’t end up using all of it – my head of broccoli may not have yielded quite as much as the recipe calls for, but the ratios were still delicious. So pleased with this recipe and will be making this on repeat. Thank you!5 stars

  4. I used 3 tablespoons of Splenda (I’m diabetic) and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Delicious!

  5. Too much mayo for me so I cut it to about 1/3 cup (maybe less), doubled the dried cranberries, in place of sugar and apple cider vinegar I used a liberal amount of cinnamon-pear balsamic vinegar. used roasted and seasoned sunflower seeds so no salt and pepper needed. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. Lol. Best ever!5 stars

    1. You can use yogurt instead of Mayo or do half and half Mayo and yogurt. It’s a different taste but healthier.5 stars

    1. Hi Rosey, to confirm this recipe is gluten-free you will need to check the ingredients that you are using. It would be gluten-friendly but depending on the severity of the allergy you will want to ensure all ingredients used are made without cross-contamination. This recipe should be naturally dairy-free as well, but you will want to confirm that you are using a dairy-free mayo. I hope that helps!

  6. Perfect for my Bible Study group meeting. We have some people eating Keto diet so I let people add the cranberries if they wanted to and I left out the sugar. To each his own! Thank you!!! Next time I may try it with the shredded broccoli. I have swallowing difficulties and that might be easier for me.5 stars

    1. When purchasing sunflower seeds for this recipe, I purchase them already shelled. While I haven’t tried it, this page has a method for removing the shells. Let us know how it goes.

  7. I’ve been making this for a couple years now and I’m asked to bring it to every single family get together. Everyone loves it.5 stars

  8. I made this salad for Easter .My whole family and guests absolutely loved it! Thank you for an easy great recipe !!5 stars

  9. This broccoli salad recipe is easy and delicious and a favorite of ours! I can take it to our Bible study monthly dinner and everyone will look forward to it.Thank you, Holly!5 stars

  10. Made this as my dish to pass for a gathering and haven’t gone more than two weeks without making it since then! So easy and delicious.5 stars

  11. Hi Holly, for your broccoli salad, I only have white vinegar and white wine vinegar. Will
    either one of these work? If so, which is better?
    Thank you very much.

  12. Great, easy recipe that is a hit every time I make it. I also use my rind peeler and add finely shredded carrots.5 stars

  13. It was fast and delicious as promised. I didn’t have sun flower seeds so I substituted with pine nuts.5 stars