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Close overhead shot of a bowl of broccoli salad with bacon and silver serving tongs
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5 from 2 votes

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

The ultimate potluck or picnic dish! This old-fashioned Broccoli Salad with Bacon has been a crowd-pleasing easy side dish recipe for generations.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Broccoli Salad Recipe, Broccoli Salad with Bacon, potluck side dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 9 cups
Calories 273.8kcal
Author Blair Lonergan



  • 1 large bunch fresh broccoli, cut into pieces (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup roasted and salted sunflower seed kernels
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion
  • 10 strips bacon, cooked and chopped


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I used light mayonnaise, but any variety will work)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  • Place broccoli in a large bowl. Add raisins, cheese, sunflower seed kernels, onion and bacon.
  • In a small bowl, stir together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad. Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • Prep Ahead! This make ahead side dish just gets better as it sits! The broccoli softens a bit in the dressing and the flavors all come together. You can prepare the salad up to 3 days in advance and keep it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Leftover broccoli salad will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this salad.
  • This recipe yields approximately 9 cups of salad (more or less, depending on the size of your head of broccoli). Assuming it's served as a side along with other dishes, it's safe to assume anywhere from about 3/4 cup - 1 cup of broccoli salad per person, so this big bowl will easily feed a crowd of 8-10 people. If you're cooking for a smaller family, you can cut all of the ingredients in half.
  • My favorite way to cook the bacon: Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for about 12 minutes (or until crisp), flipping halfway through. Drain on paper towels before chopping and using in the salad.
  • For a shortcut, you can purchase pre-cooked bacon or use real bacon bits (often found in the salad dressing section).
  • Regular raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries (such as Craisins) or halved grapes will all work in this salad.
  • For a healthier salad, use light mayonnaise or cut half of the mayonnaise and use light sour cream or Greek yogurt in its place. You can also decrease the amount of bacon, cheese, or sunflower seeds that you use.
  • Swap out the sunflower seeds for roasted, salted almonds, peanuts, walnuts or cashews. That toasty, crunchy, salty contrast is key, though -- so I do not recommend using raw, unsalted nuts.
  • For another shortcut, you can purchase pre-shredded cheese at the store. If you do this, I recommend using the largest grate of cheese that you can find. Finely shredded cheese just kind of falls apart in the salad.
  • Instead of grating the cheese, dice the cheddar into cubes.
  • Other types of cheese will also work. Try Monterey Jack, cubed Swiss cheese, Colby Jack, or even Pepper Jack for a spicy kick.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 273.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.3g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 16.6g | Saturated Fat: 4.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3g | Cholesterol: 25.7mg | Sodium: 405.1mg | Potassium: 358.8mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 14.1g