Broccoli Salad

I’ve never really been a big fan of traditional broccoli salad. I have this weird thing where I don’t like cheddar cheese in pre-dressed salads, especially ones with mayonnaise-based dressings. I also am not super keen on the mayonnaise-and-sugar dressing; many recipes I’ve seen call for nearly equal parts mayo and sugar. And then I have this thing about raisins and how I feel like they never, ever belong with vegetables. Even ants on a log is a little iffy (cute and fun, but I’m cool with just the peanut butter and celery–the raisins are welcome to join up with some oatmeal in some cookies, but only then with fair warning that those are raisins and not chocolate chips.)

I realize this could be seen as heresy–people tend to take their traditional recipes very seriously. But I never grew up eating broccoli salad; I grew up with the ’80s-chic layered salad with iceberg lettuce, bacon, peas, Miracle Whip mixed with sugar (yeah, that was me gasping), and Swiss cheese. So I don’t have any particular loyalty to traditional broccoli salad recipes. If you have a recipe you love, that’s awesome. But if you’ve always been a little iffy on broccoli salad, today is your day.

Broccoli salad from Our Best Bites

For the salad, you’ll need 12 ounces of broccoli florets (fresh, just in case there was any question) and 12 ounces of broccoli slaw. You’ll also need a cup of salted sunflower seeds, a cup of Craisins, 6 ounces of cooked, bacon, and a small red onion.

broccoli salad ingredients

For the dressing, you’ll need mayonnaise, quite a bit less sugar than traditional recipes call for, red wine vinegar, mild coarse grain mustard (I used Creole mustard), salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a couple tablespoons of grated red onion (I just grated some of the red onion I chopped up for the salad.)

broccoli salad ingredients

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl…

combined broccoli salad dressing

and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Break the broccoli florets into small pieces and toss with the broccoli slaw. Add the bacon, Craisins, chopped onion, and sunflower seeds

broccoli salad from our best bites

I love the sight of bacon mixed with my vegetables.

broccoli salad from our best bites

Toss until combined. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and combine thoroughly.

Broccoli Salad from Our best Bites

If possible, chill for at least an hour before serving.

broccoli salad from our best bites

Serves 10-12.

broccoli salad from our best bites

broccoli salad from Our Best BItes

Broccoli Salad

This Broccoli Salad is an updated version of the summertime party potluck favorite!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings10 -12 side dish servings



  • 12 ounces fresh broccoli florets or broccoli broken into small pieces
  • 12 ounces broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup Craisins 1 5-ounce bag
  • 1 cup toasted salted sunflower seeds
  • 6 ounces bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 small red onion grate a small portion of this onion for the dressing and then chop the rest of it for the salad


  • 1 cup mayonnaise light is fine; no Miracle Whip
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Creole or other mild coarse-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons grated red onion just use the onion you’re using in the salad
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white sugar


  • Toss together salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the salad. If possible, chill for at least an hour before serving. Serves 12-14.


If you want to serve this for a quick dinner in the summer, try adding sliced, grilled chicken breast on top of larger servings of this salad!
Author: kate jones
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!



woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Wow, I might actually like this. I also have issues with raisins and veggies. And the sweet dressings. I won’t eat coleslaw unless I make it because I hate the sweet dressing/cabbage combo. Going to give this a try!

    1. As long as you use a mild coarse mustard, it will just add another flavor dimension and it won’t be mustard-y at all. I use Creole mustard almost exclusively; surprisingly, Walmart has a very good coarse mustard. Those very strong, wine-y mustards are NOT a good option here.

  2. I love this salad! I have a recipe that is very similar but I added cauliflower to stretch it for a party and it was muy delicioso!

  3. This sounds delicious to me. I like broccoli just about any way I can get it. My daughter is looking over my shoulder saying she doesn’t like Craisins OR raisins in salads. Her dad doesn’t either. But I have her permission to make some for myself for lunch sometime. 🙂

  4. I agree–there is WAY too much sugar in the traditional broccoli salad. Also, there’s usually too much sugar in the spinach strawberry salads, too. Someone once brought one to a potluck, and it felt like I was eating spinach for dessert. Gag!!

  5. Delicious, so much fresher and yummier than the goopy original version and delightfully gluten free, for those of us who have the added nuisance of worrying about that kind of thing! Thanks!!

  6. This is pretty similar to our family’s favorite broccoli salad. I’m interested in trying this variation. I’ve never put cabbage, craisins, or mustard in it.

    1. Well, it’s not exactly cabbage (not much, anyway)–broccoli slaw is the broccoli stems shredded like coleslaw. There usually is a little purple cabbage in there, though.

  7. I’ve been looking for a good broccoli salad, and I totally get you on the raisins and cheese, not yummy. This salad looks great! I also would love to have the recipe for the 80’s chic-layered salad…I ate it a shower once, um, probably in the 80’s, and I loved it!

  8. So agree with you about the cheese~ it gets slimy and mushy, yuck!
    This salad looks delish~ can’t wait to try it.

  9. That’s so funny that all of your issues with broccoli salad are my issues too, and we solved them about the same way! I like the idea of adding some broccoli slaw to it, I feel bad wasting the stems when I buy broccoli. But yeah, inifitely better with about HALF the amount of dressing normally on this type of salad, and that with about half the sugar, and I agree raisins don’t belong anywhere in a salad. Craisins are a perfect substitute. I use slivered almonds in place of sesame seeds, and they work well, too, though they’re better toasted and at least you don’t have to toast sunflower seeds.

    To the poster who asked about storing this – it’s good overnight, but any more than 1 day and it gets kinda soggy. Even overnight the dressing pools in the bottom of the bowl and needs a good mix, it gets a little watery. I keep the dressing and the ingredients in the fridge separately and then mix after I get where I’m going, or shortly before dinner.

  10. I love this and have always wanted to recipe. Now, thank you, I have it! Thanks for sharing. Adding to this week’s menu for sure!

  11. You have a lot of food issues! Broccoli salad is a favorite at our house. I’m pretty sure that if I made a different version, I would hear LOTS of protesting. It does look good though!

  12. Wow, Kate, again with the mind-reading?!? Impressive. First, the house ranch, and now this…chalk up another one for OBB!! THANKS a TON! I’m sick of paying 5.99 a pound at the deli for this stuff!!

  13. Very close to my version. I use pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds and Splenda instead of sugar. Every little calorie counts, no?

  14. I don’t think I have ever had broccoli salad. But THIS sounds like a way that I could eat my veggies 🙂

  15. I actually love broccoli salad, and this one looks so good. It reminds me of one I ate at a party, it came from Costco. This is a way better version, so thank you!

  16. I am not usually a fan of broccoli salads either because it has a ton of mayonaise and/or cups of sugar. I am excited to try this one. Thanks for the remake! 🙂

  17. I am SO with you on broccoli salads, especially because of the overdose of sugar (and while I’m on the subject, don’t even get me started on pasta or macaroni salads that have a dressing with sweetened condensed milk in it – GAG!). This one sounds good though. How far in advance could you make this salad? I’m all about things that can be done a day in advance – would it get soggy or does broccoli hold up well?

    1. You could always make the salad and the dressing in advance and then toss them together closer to serving time–it cuts way down on prep time (I say “way down” like this is an all-day recipe…it’s pretty easy, haha!), but then you avoid any potential sogginess.

  18. I’m looking forward to trying this salad. It looks like something I would love, even if it does do bad things to my breath.

  19. Fot a bit of a fresher taste, we substitute slice red grapes or the Craisins. The juicy texture is amazing!

  20. I’m not a fan of lots of raw onion, so when I make this salad I only include the small amount that is grated into the dressing. To me, that small amount of onion provides just the right onion-aftertaste…it doesn’t leave my breath smelling like I’ve just eaten an entire onion. Also good with cashews.

    1. Try cutting the onion and letting it sit in vinegar for about 20 minutes, then add it to the salad. Takes on a whole new amazing “not like you ate an entire onion” taste!

  21. In my neck of the woods it’s usually just broccoli, cauliflower, and bacon with some miracle whip and a touch of sugar. I love it that way, but I think I might mix it up a little bit now.

  22. I love the glass bowl. Where did you buy it? I’m really hoping you say something like “Ikea” or “Kohls” or “JCPenny” and not “Oh, this cute little store downtown, so there’s no way you can get one unless you live in LA.” The salad look gorgeous in that bowl.

    1. I got it at this cute little boutique in my neighborhood. Called Walmart. 🙂

  23. Fabulous! I needed a salad recipe for a potluck tomorrow night. You’re a life-saver. Thanks.

  24. This looks tasty. I haven’t had broccoli salad for a long time so I don’t know how it differs, but craisins win over raisins any day in any recipe.

  25. Is broccoli salad really a thing? I have only ever seen it at Soupplantation. Really. (And I love it.)

    Perhaps I will have to try this–though neither of my kids will eat any mayo-based dressing! They have only been exposed to Miracle Whip at grandma’s–and wouldn’t try it.

  26. This looks really yum. I love to use a mix of pepitas, sunflowers and pinenuts for my salads. We can get it easily in Australia, not sure about anywhere else but they are great toasted or fresh with breakfast or salads.
    Thanks so much for all the yummy salads you keep adding.