Easy Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon
Easy broccoli salad recipe with bacon, cranberries, red onion, and a zesty dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. Jump to the Broccoli Salad Recipe with Bacon or read on to see our tips for making it.
Crisp raw broccoli is tossed with bacon, dried cranberries, red onion and a zesty dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. So simple and outrageously delicious!
For another broccoli packed salad, try our broccoli slaw with sunflower seeds and dried fruit.
Making broccoli salad
This recipe started with a faint memory of something my Mom would make when I was a child. Raw broccoli, a lightly sweetened mayo-based dressing, bacon and cheese. I wasn’t the biggest fan of vegetables as a child, but I do remember loving her broccoli salad.
Here’s our version with broccoli, red onion, mayonnaise (instead of a sweetened version, ours is doctored up with zesty mustard), bacon and instead of cheese, we throw in a handful of dried cranberries. Not that cheese would be a bad idea, though!
I love the salty crunch of bacon in this salad. We bake our bacon — it is hands-off, takes around 15 minutes and, if you use a foil-lined pan, is less messy than making it on the stovetop. If you are meat-free, try some salty almonds instead.
Don’t Throw Away Broccoli Stems
When I first started cooking for myself, whenever it came to chopping up broccoli, I’d slam my knife down just below the crown and throw away the stem. Thankfully someone, somewhere down the line set me straight. Broccoli stems are excellent — especially in this salad.
We actually save and roast broccoli stems all the time. Take a look at our favorite oven roasted vegetables recipe that includes broccoli stems!
The end of the stem — let’s say about half-an-inch from the bottom is probably going to be too hardy and woody. Cut that off and discard, you won’t be needing that for the salad. The rest of the stem is usable. Depending on how hardy the stem is, it might be a good idea to run a vegetable peeler up and down the stem to remove the outer (sometimes tough) layer. Then, chop into small pieces.
More broccoli recipes
- Seriously Good Broccoli Coleslaw
- Cheddar Baked Broccoli
- The Ultimate Guide for Roasting Broccoli
- 30 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
Recipe updated, originally posted February 2015. Since posting this in 2015, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Easy Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon
In this simple broccoli salad recipe, broccoli is tossed with bacon, dried cranberries, red onion and a zesty dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. For the bacon, we recommend baking it instead of cooking it on the stovetop — it is more hands-off that way. If you are not so sure about adding bacon, try substituting with a roasted or lightly salted nut — try cashews, almonds or peanuts.
You Will Need
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 pound broccoli (1 medium bunch)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise, try our homemade mayonnaise recipe
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Cook the bacon until crisp (see note below). Chop into small pieces.
Add onion to a small bowl and cover with warm water. Leave for 10 minutes then drain. This tones the raw onion flavor a little.
Meanwhile, separate the broccoli crowns from their thick stem. Remove the woodiest part of the stem — usually 1/2-inch from the bottom — and discard (or save for stock). Chop the remaining part of the stem into bite-size chunks. (If the stem is really hardy, use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer and then chop). Snap the florets from the broccoli crown and pull them apart so that they are bite-size. Rinse broccoli then pat or spin dry.
Drain the red onion and toss with the broccoli, bacon, and cranberries in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, mustard, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper together. Taste for acidity and seasoning then adjust.
Pour two-thirds of the dressing over the broccoli and onion and mix well. If the salad seems dry, add a little more of the dressing. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving or keep refrigerated (it should last 2 to 3 days, but we never have been able to keep our hands off of it for that long).
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Cooking Bacon: For this salad (and almost all other dishes that need a few slices of bacon), we like to use our oven to cook the bacon. Baking bacon is hands-off and results in crisp bacon slices, perfect for this salad. Bake bacon slices in a 400 degree F oven until crisp, 12 to 18 minutes.
- Make Double the Dressing: Leftover dressing can be used as a spread for sandwiches, dip for vegetables, or served with grilled or roasted vegetables, chicken or meats.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.