Easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Prep 15 mins
Total 15 mins
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This easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon is a crowd favorite for a potluck or cookout side dish! It’s fresh, creamy, crunchy, and only takes 15 minutes to make!

My Favorite Broccoli Salad Recipe

Crunchy and creamy. Sweet and savory. These are the flavor combos that really get me going. Give me a big ole bowl of anything creamy and crunchy or sweet and savory and imma gobble up the whole thing!

I love, love, love, the sweet and tart flavor of dried cranberries combined with the salty crisp bacon. And don’t even get me started with the creamy dressing combined with the crunchy chopped pecans.

This Easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon has everything your taste buds want, it’s crunchy and creamy, sweet and savory. And, it’s done in no time at all. If you’re using pre-cooked bacon, it will take you less than 5 minutes. If you’re making your bacon for this dish, you’re still only looking at 15 minutes. Like is said – easy. And perfect for your next potluck or cookout!

Ingredients in bowls and broccoli on a cutting board.

Recipe Ingredients

This Easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon recipe has some of my favorite ingredients in it, like broccoli, bacon, and dried cranberries.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this broccoli salad:

  • Broccoli: I recommend using fresh broccoli cut into bite size florets. Some people blanch their broccoli, but I prefer the fresh crisp broccoli the best.
  • Orange Bell Pepper: You can also use a red or yellow bell pepper. A yellow or orange bell pepper are the most mild in flavor. You could also use the small, tri-color, sweet bell peppers.
  • Bacon: I highly recommend making your own crispy bacon and dicing it up. I always cook my bacon in the oven, it’s so easy and always crispy. If you don’t have time, store bought bacon bits will work in a pinch. Or if you need this dish to be vegetarian, skip the bacon!
  • Dried Cranberries: Dried cherries also work great.
  • Pecans: I used regular diced pecans, but you could use candied pecans for a sweeter bite. Or, walnuts or almonds also work!
  • Red Onion: If you aren’t a fan of raw red onion, you can use a shallot for a milder flavor.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayo will give you the most classic flavor, but if you aren’t a fan of mayo, you can use sour cream or whole fat plain greek yogurt.
  • Sugar: Just a pinch, but you can also skip it!
  • Red Wine Vinegar: You really need a touch of acid to bring the salad dressing together, if you don’t have red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will both also work.
  • Ground Coriander Seed: This adds an aromatic taste with a touch of citrus.

How to Make Crispy Bacon

The key to this recipe is crispy, not soggy, bacon. I find that I get the crispiest bacon by cooking it in the oven – not in a skillet on the stove top.

I lay the slices of bacon on a wire rack that is placed on top of a parchment lined baking sheet. This gets my bacon nice and crispy on both sides and allows the bacon fat to drain off of the bacon slices.

It’s so easy, there’s no need to flip the bacon and it comes out perfectly crispy which is what we really want for this Broccoli Salad! You can find full instructions here on how to cook bacon in the oven!

A glass bowl with broccoli, red onion, bell pepper and nuts.

How to Make Broccoli Salad

Just three easy and simple steps:

  1. Toss: In a large bowl toss together the broccoli florets, chopped bacon, cranberries, pecans, and onion.
  2. Whisk: In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and coriander seed.
  3. Dress and Serve: Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Serve.
Up close image of a fresh vegetable salad with broccoli, onion, bacon and more.

Tips For Best Results

Follow these tips and you’ll have the perfect side dish:

  • Use raw, not blanched broccoli. Many broccoli salad recipes will have you blanch your broccoli but that’s not my style. I like my broccoli to be crisp. You can opt to blanch your broccoli but it’s definitely not necessary.
  • Try to chop evenly. You’ll want your broccoli pieces close in size. Try not to have super tiny pieces of broccoli or crazy big ones, either.
  • Let your broccoli salad sit. The longer this salad sits, the more the flavors will meld together for complete perfection. The broccoli will begin to absorb the dressing and it will create a really nice crispy but a bit tender texture. Just don’t let it sit on the counter top. Cover it with plastic and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
  • Reserve some dressing. For ultra creamy broccoli salad, reserve a bit of the dressing to toss with it right before serving (this is especially important if you refrigerate your broccoli salad for a few hours before serving).
  • Always use REAL chopped bacon. Don’t waste your time with bacon bits. They just won’t do in this broccoli salad. The real deal is definitely a must!
Colorful broccoli salad served in 3 bowls.

How to Store Broccoli Salad

This is a great make ahead dish! It tastes even better if it’s left to sit for a bit, the broccoli absorbs the dressing and the flavors of the add-ins meld together.

Since the dressing contains mayo, it’s important to refrigerate this broccoli salad until you’re ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

This dish does not freeze well.

A fresh salad with broccoli and bacon in wooden bowls with fork and spoons.

More Great Potluck Ideas!

Looking for a few more delicious easy potluck ideas, check out some of these reader favorites:

Yield: 6

Easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Close up of prepared broccoli salad.

This easy Broccoli Salad with Bacon is a favorite side dish! It’s creamy & crunchy with a sweet bite. It’s done in 15 min and everyone will want the recipe!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli, cut into bite size florets
  • 10 slices cooked bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper, optional
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl toss together the broccoli florets, chopped bacon, orange bell pepper, cranberries, pecans, and onion.
    2. In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and coriander seed.
    3. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat.
    4. This is a great make ahead dish as it tastes even better if it’s left to sit for a bit. Just refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Notes

Storage:

Make Ahead: If making this salad for a party, you can make it up to 24 hours ahead without loosing any texture or taste changes. I do recommend adding only half of the dressing and then adding the second half of dressing before serving.

Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. If salad dries out a little during storage, add a little extra mayo and/or red wine vinegar to revive it.

Freeze: This recipe does not freeze well.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 460mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 16gProtein: 9g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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