Salad · Sides

Classic Broccoli Salad

It’s mid-June. Your family is over for a cookout. You’ve been tasked with providing the sides. What do you make?

A lot of people will throw chips and dips out there and be done with it. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s simple, doesn’t need a lot of effort, and is typically cost-effective.

If you’re trying to impress your family, or you want something more homemade, you’ll probably make a salad. Any of the summer salads will work: pasta, potato, or vegetable. Personally, I enjoy a good homemade potato salad with my barbecue. The thing that comes in close second: broccoli salad.

It’s definitely the easier of the three to make. There’s no cooking necessary (unless you count cooking the bacon, which we won’t for this scenario) and it comes together faster than potato or pasta salad.

You also don’t need to let it refrigerate for hours to taste better. I know a lot of potato salad recipes need to be made a day in advance so it can chill in the fridge to let all of the flavors come together. Broccoli salad is way less high-maintenance. Just make it and go.

A classic Southern broccoli salad can be almost sickeningly sweet. I’ve seen dozens of recipes calling for 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sugar in the dressing. That’s the only change I made for this “classic” version: I took out the sugar and just added a bit of honey.

I don’t like my broccoli salad sweet. I want to taste the broccoli and all the other ingredients, not just the dressing.

Other than that substitution, this broccoli salad fits the classic mold: bacon, sunflower seeds, and cranberries. It’s a delectable little treat to serve with a burger or hot dog.


Classic Broccoli Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A Southern summer classic. Broccoli salad with bacon, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. The perfect side dish for a barbecue.


  • 2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, kernels only
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS. white vinegar
  • 1 TBS. honey


  1. Place broccoli florets into a large bowl. Stir in sunflower seeds, onion and dried cranberries.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and honey until smooth. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to combine.
  3. Top with crumbled bacon and serve.

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