Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

broccoli salad

This recipe is from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kelly Santoro. Kelly tasted it at a baby shower recently and enjoyed it so much that she asked for the recipe. 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.

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

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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
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe


For the Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellman’s
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly 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


1. Make dressing: Combine mayonnaise, cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cheddar cheese and red onions. Add dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made several hours ahead.)

3. Right before serving, cook bacon according to package instructions. Drain on papertowls, then crumble into small pieces over salad. Add almonds and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve cold or room temperature.

*Broccoli crowns are trimmed just under the broccoli head, wheras 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.

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  • Margot Garofalo

    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!

  • Carmen Murray

    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.

  • Amy

    This recipe is great with golden raisins!

  • 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,

  • Kristina

    My husband despises mayo, could you sub it for sour cream?

  • Rashad Weatherly

    Hey, thanks for the article. Really Cool.

  • Donna Hudson

    Excellent! Makes me think of a Spring picnic!

  • Beth

    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!

  • Rose

    This salad is AWESOME. I made this over the summer for a pot luck, and it was one of the first things gone.

  • Deb

    Delicious! Just made it a few weeks ago for a pot luck luncheon. Thanks for posting!

  • Tessa

    The perfect side dish and picnic gathering!

  • Donna

    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!

  • Amanda

    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!

  • Bridget

    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.

  • Theresa Jenkins

    we use miracle whip instead of mayo didn’t have almond so we used walnuts and we added fresh sliced mushrooms

  • Bernie

    It’s good to discover new recipes.Thanks

  • Linda

    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.

    • Jenn

      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.

  • Macha

    What happened to the recipe?? Absolutely loved it and had it saved in my bookmarks but now it;s gone :(

    • Jenn

      Hi Macha, Sorry about that…it’s back up!

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