Everyone needs a recipe for the best Broccoli Salad! This one is stuffed with bacon, cranberry, cheese, sunflower seeds, and tangy homemade dressing. It is easy to make and is a huge crowd pleaser. The perfect side dish to bring to your summer barbecue, or even to serve at Thanksgiving! 

close up picture of spoonful of broccoli bacon salad with cranberry

I finally broke down and bought an electric toothbrush. Maybe this doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but the sinister whir of an electric toothbrush gives me the heebie jeebies. (They sound EXACTLY like a dentist drill, doesn’t this give flashbacks to anyone else??) The idea of using it twice a day makes me want to die.

best broccoli salad recipe in an orange bowl

Here I am, on my maiden voyage with the blasted thing, trying not to cry about the fact that this is my life now. Eric thought I was being so ridiculous that he took a picture.

He’s not wrong.

The toothbrush I bought came as a set of two, so Eric got the other one. You know, just one of those lovely gifts you get your spouse with a not-so-subtle message. “Clean your teeth, you filthy animal.”

close up picture of broccoli salad with cranberry, cheese, bacon

I saw him using it a couple days later, and he was done in about 30 seconds. I was outraged. “You stopped it before the cycle was even over??”

“What cycle?”

“There’s a cycle. It beeps at you so that you can switch to the next quadrant of your mouth. Then it automatically turns off when you’re done.”

spoonful of broccoli cranberry salad

He shrugs. “Meh. I don’t need a toothbrush telling me what to do.”

Maybe I need to be little more zen about the toothbrush situation.

(Also, I suppose this is the response I should expect after buying him the thing in the first place. Passive aggressive, much?)

broccoli salad in an orange bowl

Is everybody ready for Labor Day on Monday? It is forecasted to be 109 degrees, so I’m planning to eat copious amounts of this Broccoli Salad while sitting in my cool, air conditioned house.

How to Make Broccoli Bacon Salad

Who loves a good Broccoli Salad? Is it even a broccoli salad without the bacon? I added it to the title just so we’re all on the same page here about what this salad is all about.

It’s super easy to put together. First, fry up some bacon.

raw bacon on a sheet pan, cooked bacon on a paper towel

Except don’t actually fry it, that’s messy. Put it on a pan and bake it in the oven. So much easier! No lava splatters!

While your bacon is cooking, chop up your broccoli. Now, I know you’ve chopped some broccoli in your lifetime, and you might be thinking I’m a total weirdo for including not one, not two, but  SIX process shots (count em up) for how to cut broccoli.

how to make chop broccoli into florets

But stay with me here: just like in my Macaroni Salad, I’m a firm believer that half the success of these type of salads comes from the size of the veggie chop. I like small florets of broccoli, so that I don’t ever have to take a bite of just big ol broccoli. I want a bite of broccoli AND bacon AND dried cranberries. Small florets are the way to go.

broccoli on cutting board, cutting into florets

And don’t leave those stems behind! They are tasty…when they are chopped small. Nobody wants to gnaw on a big ol stem in the middle of their salad experience. Be kind to your guests. Small chop ftw.

chopping broccoli stems to add to broccoli salad

Now that we’ve got all the chopping out of the way, mix up your dressing. It couldn’t be easier. I start with Miracle Whip. Miracle Whip?? Yep. I’ve never been a believer before this, guys. But recently Eric made us a special snack from his childhood:

I asked my Instagram followers if they had heard of it. It’s canned pear, topped with miracle whip and cheese, on a bed of lettuce. (SO. WEIRD. Have you had it before?)

Anyway. We had the Miracle Whip on hand and I decided to try it out in the broccoli bacon salad. I thought the only difference between Miracle Whip and mayo is that Miracle Whip had a lot more sugar. But it actually only has a little bit more sugar, and lots more spices. I’m A-ok with spices, so I decided to try it out. Delicious! I think I’m a convert. (A Miracle convert. NOT a Pear Cheese Salad convert.)

spoonful of dressing for salad in a metal bowl

If you are not a believer, you can totally use mayo in place of Miracle Whip. I tried it both ways!

Anyway, back to the dressing for the broccoli bacon salad. Miracle OR mayo, with lemon, vinegar, sugar, and a little dry mustard and cayenne pepper.

cheddar, sunflower seed, cranberry, broccoli, bacon, and red onion in a metal bowl

Put it all together…

Broccoli salad in an orange bowl with red onion and a lemon

and voila. The easiest, tastiest Broccoli salad situation of your life!

broccoli salad in a bowl from overhead

This would be so fun to bring to a Labor Day BBQ on Monday, if you’re going to one! If you are still in quarantine, then make this salad and eat it as a side dish with your lunches all week. The perfect healthy side dish for any meal!

More delicious summer salads you are going to love!

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Easy Broccoli Bacon Salad

Serves 8-10     adjust servings

Everyone needs a recipe for the best Broccoli Salad! This one is stuffed with bacon, cranberry, cheese, sunflower seeds, and tangy homemade dressing. It is easy to make and is a huge crowd pleaser. The perfect side dish to bring to your summer barbecue, or even to serve at Thanksgiving! 

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 10-11 strips of bacon, cooked
  • 2 heads broccoli (about 1 and 1/2 pounds or 5-6 cups)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion, or more to taste

For the dressing

  • 1 and 1/4 cups Miracle Whip OR mayonnaise
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Start by making the bacon. I highly recommend baking it in the oven! So mush easier, and no splatter. However you want to do it, cook 10-11 slices of bacon to your desired level of crispness, then set aside on paper towels to cool. Once cool, chop into bite size pieces.
  2. While the bacon cooks, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. In a large bowl add 1 and 1/4 cups Miracle Whip OR Mayonnaise, the zest from 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 and 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. (the cayenne adds flavor but not heat. Don't be scared of it! Just careful :) Whisk all the dressing ingredients together.
  3. Add the ingredients for the salad to the bowl with the dressing. Start by chopping your broccoli using a chef's knife. I like really small florets, so you don't get any bites that are just giant broccoli. See photos. I also like to save the stems, chop them up, and add them into the salad, but you can leave them out if you prefer.
  4. Add all the broccoli to the large bowl. Add 1 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/3 cup chopped red onion. Add in most of the bacon, reserving some to sprinkle on top for serving.* (Actually, any of the ingredients besides broccoli would look pretty sprinkled on top right before serving.)
  5. Stir it all together. This salad can be served room temperature or chilled. If you chill it first, let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes before serving.
  6. Store leftovers covered in the fridge! This salad will keep for about 5 days.

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If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it!