Easy Broccoli Bacon Salad

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

For the dressing

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

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add the ingredients for the salad to the bowl with the dressing. Start by chopping your broccoli using a ckef’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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge! This salad will keep for about 5 days.
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