Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

broccoli salad

This recipe is from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kelly Santoro. I was skeptical at first because I’m not a big fan of raw broccoli but Kelly insisted it was delicious. She was right. The broccoli soaks up the creamy dressing — softening a bit but remaining crisp — and marries beautifully with bits of salty bacon, tangy cheddar cheese and crunchy almonds.

Broccoli salad 3

Begin by making the dressing. It’s a simple, Southern-style mix of mayonnaise, honey and cider vinegar.

Broccoli salad 2

Broccoli salad 18

Next, chop the broccoli into bite-sized florets and toss with the cheddar cheese, red onions and dressing. This can be done several hours ahead of time (in fact, all the better to allow the broccoli to soak up the flavor).

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Cook the bacon and then crumble it into small pieces.

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Right before serving, toss the sliced almonds and bacon into the salad. It’s important to do this at the last minute, otherwise the bacon will get soggy.

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That’s all there is to it. Serve cold or room temperature at your next picnic or barbecue. Thanks, Kel!

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Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey or sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 9 cups broccoli florets, cut into small, bite-sized pieces (you'll need about 2 pounds of broccoli crowns)
  • 1 cup lightly packed grated sharp cheddar cheese, best quality
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cheddar cheese and red onions. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made up to this point several hours ahead of time.)
  3. Right before serving, cook the bacon according to the package instructions. Drain on paper towels, then crumble into small pieces over the salad. Add the almonds and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve cold or room temperature.
  4. Note: Broccoli crowns are trimmed just under the broccoli head, whereas broccoli bunches have stalks that are about 5 inches in length. If you can only find bunches, be sure to buy a bit extra to account for the weight of the stalk.

Reviews & Comments

  • This salad is delicious! The only change I made was to use regular white vinegar for a tangier flavor. I like to make this to go with chicken or turkey.

    - Jen on July 19, 2014 Reply
  • This was an amazing recipe! Made it tonight and not only did I LOVE it, but my hubby LOVED it as well, and he is very picky, and sometimes a broccoli hater — He told me that I had to make it again it was so good! Thanks for another great broccoli recipe to add to my list! :)

    - Amanda on May 12, 2014 Reply
  • What happened to the recipe?? Absolutely loved it and had it saved in my bookmarks but now it;s gone :(

    - Macha on January 8, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Macha, Sorry about that…it’s back up!

      - Jenn on January 8, 2014 Reply
  • Made this exactly by the recipe and it was really bland. Don’t know what was missing. I’ve made several of the salads from this site and they have been wonderful and creative but not this one. Maybe needed about twice the dressing plus something for zing.

    - Linda on October 3, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Linda, So sorry you found the salad to be bland. I’ve temporarily removed it from the site for re-testing. Thank you so much for your feedback.

      - Jenn on October 4, 2013 Reply
  • It’s good to discover new recipes.Thanks

    - Bernie on August 17, 2013 Reply
  • we use miracle whip instead of mayo didn’t have almond so we used walnuts and we added fresh sliced mushrooms

    - Theresa Jenkins on March 16, 2013 Reply
  • This is my hubby’s favorite salad! He LOVES broccoli and get so tired of it steamed. Another great “method” recipe. So easy to substitute: I have tried different sweeteners, vinegars, nuts and dried fruit. However, the BACON is a must ;-) Also, we like to boil the broccoli for 3 to 5 minutes to make it a little softer – just until it is bright green.

    - Bridget on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • We sub grapes for almonds, a little less mayo and use shredded almond cheese in mozzarella flavor to keep it lactose free. Sunflower seeds also sound like a great addition. Red onion also only added for the adults as the toddler’s aren’t great fans of onions. Best thing about the recipe is it’s easy to quickly adjust for various audiences!

    - Amanda on December 2, 2012 Reply
  • I just made this for dinner this evening. I had been looking for a good broccoli salad recipe, and THIS is perfect — just what I wanted, the perfect combination of ingredients. I especially like putting the bacon and almonds in just before serving. This has a nice texture and wonderful taste. It is now my default broccoli salad recipe. Thanks!

    - Donna on May 18, 2012 Reply
  • The perfect side dish and picnic gathering!

    - Tessa on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • Delicious! Just made it a few weeks ago for a pot luck luncheon. Thanks for posting!

    - Deb on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • This salad is AWESOME. I made this over the summer for a pot luck, and it was one of the first things gone.

    - Rose on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I do a low-fat version. Had never had it with the cheddar before this post. People always love it and go back for seconds!

    - Beth on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Excellent! Makes me think of a Spring picnic!

    - Donna Hudson on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Rashad Weatherly

    Hey, thanks for the article. Really Cool.

    - Rashad Weatherly on December 26, 2011 Reply
  • My husband despises mayo, could you sub it for sour cream?

    - Kristina on July 14, 2011 Reply
  • Great recipe – it has all my favorite foods compiled into one! Made something similar not too long ago for a family gathering and they loved it. Also, I agree with Amy, add some raisins in there for some extra sweetness!

    Take care,
    –Chelsey

    - Cooking contests on June 8, 2011 Reply
  • This recipe is great with golden raisins!

    - Amy on June 2, 2011 Reply
  • I do one Broccoli Grape Salad, same basic recipe omit the bacon, cheese. Change almonds to sunflowerseeds and add 2 cups of seedles red grapes cut in half.

    - Carmen Murray on June 2, 2011 Reply
  • Very similar to another salad that I have made that is ALWAYS a big hit at parties… has a similar dressing but uses sugar instead of the honey, and instead of the almonds, uses sunflower seeds. Even the non-broccoli eaters LOVE it!

    - Margot Garofalo on June 2, 2011 Reply

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