Broccoli Salad is an easy summer side with raisins, bacon and sunflower seeds for barbecues and summer potlucks that can sit without wilting!
Broccoli Salad is an easy go-to cold salad side dish recipe, right up there with this favorite Potato Salad. It’s made with fresh broccoli (broccoli florets), red onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds mixed with seasoned mayonnaise and topped with crispy crumbled bacon. Broccoli salad is quick and you’ll enjoy it all summer long, and even get the kids to enjoy eating broccoli!
This broccoli salad recipe needs almost no prep time, and in fact takes a total time of five minutes to throw together. Leave some time to refrigerate the salad, because it tastes better cold and it gives all of the flavors a chance to come together.
If you love broccoli salad and you’re looking for more summer side dishes and summer salad recipes be sure to stay tuned, we are heading full speed ahead with summer friendly food items everyone will love! If you’re looking for other great side dish potluck recipes, check out Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, and Egg Salad!
More ways you can make Broccoli Salad
- Swap your sunflower seeds for chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
- Add in some chicken for an easy and quick filling lunch option.
- Squeeze in some lemon juice and add lemon zest to the dressing.
- You can easily swap out golden raisins for the regular variety or for dried cranberries.
- If you don’t like raisins, you can substitute red grapes cut in half.
- You can use regular onion instead of red onion for a stronger flavor.
- Mix in half cauliflower and half broccoli for another spin on this recipe.
Can you make Broccoli Salad ahead?
You can make broccoli salad ahead of time, and the flavor of the dressing even gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. But you’re still making it with fresh broccoli florets so try to only make it at most 24 hours before you’ll be serving it.
This is actually one of the best things about broccoli salad. You can enjoy greens without worrying about how they’ll fare sitting out while being dressed. Plus getting people to eat broccoli that is raw is not a challenge when you make this amazing salad!
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What to Serve with Broccoli Salad
- Easy Chicken Casserole
- Easy Pulled Pork
- BBQ Pulled Chicken
- Perfect, Easy Ribeye Steak
- Red Wine Pot Roast
- Sloppy Joes
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar instead of white vinegar if that’s what you have, either one will work. Apple cider vinegar will have a slightly different flavor than white vinegar.
This salad can be put together in just five minutes if you buy pre-crumbled bacon. If you do buy some, make sure to microwave your bacon for ten seconds on a paper towel to crisp it back up.
You can add ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese to this salad for a different variation.
This healthy broccoli salad is naturally gluten free and low carb. You can also make this easy broccoli salad low fat by swapping the mayonnaise for either light mayo or plain greek yogurt (or a mix of mayo and greek yogurt), and use turkey bacon instead of regular. You can also make this more creamy by mixing it with half sour cream and half mayonnaise.
Make this broccoli salad recipe even faster by buying pre-cut vegetables, and whisking together the dressing the night before. Or chop the onion faster by pulsing it in the food processor.
I don’t recommend using frozen broccoli for this broccoli salad because it’s already blanched before it’s frozen, so it won’t have the same crunch that you’d get from fresh broccoli. If you want a softer broccoli to start with instead of crunchy, blanch the raw broccoli quickly and drain it completely before mixing everything together.
Make sure to cut everything into bite sized pieces, to make the broccoli salad look more uniform. Making everything bite-size will also help make the salad easier to eat.
If you want this broccoli salad recipe to have a crunch to it, stir in some nuts or seeds right before serving, because the broccoli itself will soften the longer it sits in the dressing.
How to Store Broccoli Salad
- Serve: Do not leave Broccoli Salad out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours. If serving on a warm day, use a cooler or bucket of ice to place your serving dish in to keep the mayonnaise at a safe temperature.
- Store: Broccoli salad will keep for 3-4 days, when tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
- Freeze: It is not recommended to freeze Broccoli Salad because the mayo will not look good once it’s defrosted.
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 6 cups broccoli , cut into small florets
- 1/2 red onion , finely chopped
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 pound bacon , cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- In a very large bowl mix the mayonnaise, sugar, white vinegar, Kosher salt and black pepper. Add in the broccoli, red onion and raisins into the bowl and mix.
- Top with the bacon and the sunflower seeds. Mix broccoli, bacon, red onion, and raisins in a bowl.
- Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably 2 hours.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.