This broccoli salad with bacon is dressed up with cranberries, sunflower kernels and a creamy homemade dressing. It is super easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. It’s the perfect recipe to bring to a BBQ!
Favorite potluck salad
I don’t know about you, but I am SO excited that summer is almost here. One of my favorite parts about summer is having outdoor BBQ’s and getting together with friends and family. And who can forget all of the delicious potluck salads.
This broccoli bacon salad is always a crowd pleaser and is super easy to make. It’s filled with fresh crunchy broccoli, sweet dried cranberries, salty sunflower kernels, diced red onion and crispy bacon pieces. Then it’s topped off with a creamy and tangy dressing that adds the best flavor. All of the ingredients marinate together in the dressing and make it super delicious.
Broccoli salad dressing
The dressing is what makes this dish taste so good. It is so simple and has great flavor! I made it a little different than the classic dressing with sugar and vinegar and it tastes so much better! You have to try it. It’s made with 3 simple ingredients:
- Mayo or greek yogurt
- Lemon juice
I like to make my dressing first and let the flavors marinate together for a few minutes. Then I toss all the ingredients in a large bowl and make sure the broccoli is evenly coated with the dressing. Then just refrigerate the salad for at least 15 minutes prior to serving!
Tips + substitutions
- Substitutions. Feel free to swap dried cranberries with raisins or 1/4 cup sliced grapes. You can also use slivered almonds or walnuts in place of sunflower kernels.
- Cheese. Shredded cheddar cheese is a delicious addition. You want the cheese to be thickly shredded, so that it remains sturdy in the salad.
- Convenience. If you’re in a hurry, you can buy pre-chopped broccoli and pre-cooked bacon. It makes this side dish come together super quickly.
- Lighten it up. If you want to make this dish lighter, use Greek yogurt for the dressing and turkey bacon instead of regular.
- Bacon in the oven. I love to cook my bacon in the oven. It’s by far the easiest method in my opinion and way less messy. Give it a shot if you haven’t tried it!
- Chop, chop chop. Make sure to chop the broccoli florets into small, evenly sized pieces. They’re easier to eat this way and will soak up more of the dressing.
- Let marinate. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes prior to serving. It enhances the flavor and allows the dressing to soak into the broccoli to soften it up a bit.
Making in advance
This dish can easily be prepped ahead of time if preferred. Assemble as directed, except leave out the bacon pieces so that they don’t get soggy. Then right before serving, mix them in. This helps keep the bacon nice and crispy.
More potluck salad recipes:
Broccoli Bacon Salad
- 6 cups broccoli florets , cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 pieces bacon , cooked crisp, cooled and crumbled
- 1/4 cup salted sunflower kernels
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup red onion , finely chopped
For the dressing:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- Combine the broccoli, bacon, sunflower kernels, dried cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour evenly over the broccoli and stir until well coated.
- Refrigerate the salad for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors marinate together. Toss well before serving.