The Best Broccoli Salad

The Best Broccoli Salad — My FAVORITE recipe for the classic salad with a tangy dressing that everyone LOVES!! Flavor and texture galore in this EASY salad that’s perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

The Best Broccoli Salad - My FAVORITE recipe for the classic salad with a tangy dressing that everyone LOVES!! Flavor and texture galore in this EASY salad that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

The BEST Broccoli Salad Recipe

My mom makes amazing broccoli salad and it’s one of those nostalgic foods for me that I can eat, and eat, and eat some more of. It doesn’t hurt that broccoli truly is one of my favorite foods. For real. And then cookies, of course.

I’ve never shared a recipe for broccoli grape salad because I thought it may be a regional thing confined only to potlucks and picnics in the midwest where I grew up. But a month or so ago I was at an event in northern California, and low and behold broccoli salad was one of the sides. I was in cruciferous heaven.

My mom’s easy recipe for broccoli salad includes broccoli, bacon, celery, green onions, red grapes, raisins, and sunflower seeds all tossed in a tart-and-tangy dressing made with mayo, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. If you’ve never tried this odd combination of ingredients, it’s one of those don’t knock it until you try it because it actually all works and it’s delicious kind of recipes.

So many textures and flavors in every bite including crunchy broccoli, crisp celery, salty bacon and sunflower seeds, juicy grapes, and sweet raisins.

The Best Broccoli Salad - My FAVORITE recipe for the classic salad with a tangy dressing that everyone LOVES!! Flavor and texture galore in this EASY salad that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

What’s in Broccoli Salad? 

To make the broccoli raisin salad, you’ll need: 

  • Raw broccoli florets
  • Seedless red grapes
  • Celery 
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Raisins
  • Green onions

And to make the tangy broccoli salad dressing, you’ll need:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Granulated sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Celery seed
  • Black pepper

The Best Broccoli Salad - My FAVORITE recipe for the classic salad with a tangy dressing that everyone LOVES!! Flavor and texture galore in this EASY salad that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

How to Make Broccoli Salad

Mix together the broccoli, grapes, celery, bacon, sunflower seeds, raisins, and green onions. Then, whisk together the broccoli salad dressing and toss with the broccoli mixture. 

Serve immediately, or let the broccoli bacon salad chill for a few hours first. 

How Long Does Broccoli Salad Last? 

This broccoli salad with sunflower seeds is best eaten within 24 hours since the broccoli, grapes, and green onions release moisture over time. If you want to prep this recipe further in advance, I recommend storing the salad and dressing in separate containers and mixing the two just before you’re ready to serve. 

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli? 

No, this broccoli grape salad should only be made with fresh, raw broccoli florets. 

The Best Broccoli Salad - My FAVORITE recipe for the classic salad with a tangy dressing that everyone LOVES!! Flavor and texture galore in this EASY salad that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

Tips for Making the Best Broccoli Salad 

There are tons of recipes out there for broccoli bacon salad and some use almonds rather than sunflower seeds, some don’t have raisins, others use red rather than green onions, some use red wine vinegar, and so forth. If you don’t like a particular ingredient, omit it or swap it out because it’s a very flexible recipe. Just don’t omit the broccoli.

Note that you can save time by using precooked bacon to make this broccoli bacon salad. Simply zap it in the microwave for about 1 minute to heat it up, then chop it into pieces for the salad. 

I like to make this broccoli salad with sunflower seeds about 4 hours before I plan to serve it, then I chill it to allow the flavors to marry and the dressing to soften the broccoli and penetrate all the nooks and crannies of the florets.

The Best Broccoli Salad

The Best Broccoli Salad

My FAVORITE recipe for the classic salad with a tangy dressing that everyone LOVES!! Flavor and texture galore in this EASY salad that's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!

Yield: 10
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 6 cups of small raw broccoli florets (from about 2 large heads of broccoli with stalks discarded)
  • 1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 cup celery, diced small
  • 3/4 cup cooked bacon, diced small
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds (I use salted)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use light)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or as desired for consistency
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Instructions

    1. To a large bowl, add the broccoli, grapes, celery, bacon, sunflower seeds, raisins, green onions; set aside.
    2. To a medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, sugar, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, celery seed, pepper, and whisk to combine. If necessary, add additional apple cider vinegar so that dressing is pourable but still thick.
    3. Evenly pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
    4. Salad may be served immediately but I prefer to cover it and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to chill before serving.

Notes

  • Tip: Save time by using precooked bacon and zap it in the microwave for about 1 minute to cook

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 1058mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 5gSugar: 19gProtein: 11g

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20 comments on “The Best Broccoli Salad”

  1. do you have trouble with this breaking down if not ate within a day or two

    • Yes this would be a recipe to eat within 24 hours unless you 1. keep the dressing separate or 2. know full well that it will be softer and with much more natural juices released if you wait longer than 24 hours to consume

  2. I live in SE Tennessee and we eat broccoli salad here. I have a recipe similar to this only it uses raisins instead of grapes.

  3. I’m not a broccoli salad lover, but ever since that gathering I’ve been super crushing on raw broccoli. There was some left over and it’s now my favorite way to eat it!!

  4. How DELISH does this look!? And you know that’s something special when I’m saying it about broccoli salad. ;) Gotta try this!

  5. This looks great. I have never been to the Midwest and have never had Broccoli Salad. I have a question what can I use in place of sugar? I am post Whole30 but still trying to be sugar free as that is my BIG weakness. I don’t want to stall my weight loss and eating added sugar will do that to me.

    Would Stevia work or honey or maple syrup?

  6. I haven’t had broccoli salad in ages!! This looks so good! I need to make a big bowl of it soon!

  7. Funny to think that there are people out there who haven’t had this! I guess you are right, it’s a midwestern thing … but a tasty one!

  8. This looks amazing! Totally need to make this over the summer!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  9. This is one of my favorite dishes and it is served often here, but I have never seen it made with grapes. I often use red onion and dried cranberries instead of raisins. And I do live in the Midwest–KY to be exact.

  10. I have a cookbook from the early 90’s and it is a compilation of recipe variations from home cooks all over the country. There are several similar to yours with little tweaks but they are all from the Midwestern states. I haven’t seen or made this in such a long time so I am happy to see a recipe come around again!

    • I would LOVE that cookbook! That is my idea of a perfect cookbook! I love regional cuisines and also if they’re potluck/family-style/church basement type recipes, even better. Those are where the real gems are at :)

      Funny though that all the broccoli salad recipes are from midwestern states!

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