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Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

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broccoli salad

This broccoli salad recipe is from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kelly Santoro. I’m not a big fan of raw broccoli but Kelly insisted it was delicious, and 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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Creamy Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

Servings: 6-8


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


  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.

Nutrition Information

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  • Calories: 444
  • Fat: 39 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 445 mg
  • Cholesterol: 40 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • All hail queen Jenn!!! I made this today and can’t wait to eat what’s left of it tomorrow. I can’t believe it took me this long to find an amazing broccoli recipe, considering that I eat it almost every day. I skipped the almonds and onions (not of either food in their raw form) but it still turned out great. Thanks Jenn, for another winner.

    • — Oyinda on March 10, 2019
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  • Can you make the dressing ahead of time?

    • — Cyndie O’Keefe on August 30, 2018
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    • Sure, I think it would refrigerate nicely for a few days.

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
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  • I substituted walnuts for the almonds. I took this to a party last night and now due to requests I must share the recipe with six people. Everybody loved it!

    • — Barbara Shafer on August 12, 2018
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  • Loved this enough that we’ve made it twice in one week. We don’t care for raw onions, so we grated part of a shallot into the dressing to get the flavor without pieces of onion. Just perfect and toasted pumpkin seeds are a win.

    • — Merry on June 26, 2018
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  • I love this recipe, I didn’t have cider vinegar so I just used white and it was still delicious!

    • — Jenn on November 30, 2017
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  • I tried to make this salad a bit healthier and used greek yogurt to replace the mayo; I added a couple of tablespoons of orange juice to the dressing and also about 1/2 tsp of celery salt. I omitted the cheese and bacon and added orange segments and sunflower seeds. Very yummy! Thank you for the baseline Jenn, your website is my go to for no fail recipes!

    • — Gwyneviere on September 4, 2017
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  • Hello. can frozen broccoli florets and bacon bits be used in this recipe? Thank you.

    • — Louie on July 5, 2017
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    • While I think both could be used, I think the result would definitely be better with fresh broccoli and real bacon. If you do use frozen broccoli, make sure to drain it when defrosting to get rid of any excess water.

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2017
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  • Yummy. This was my first try at broccoli salad. I liked that your recipe seemed simple enough to follow. Thanks for sharing. It was delish.

    • — Monique on December 20, 2016
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  • I added sunflower seeds and dried cranberries to this, it’s awesome both ways!

    • — KELLY CARR on October 20, 2016
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  • This recipe is amazing! However, I cannot and will not understand why people use miracle whip instead using mayonnaise! They are completely different! Look at the ingredients in miracle whip and in mayo they are not the same!

    • — kim on May 16, 2016
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  • Tried it and loved it! I would travel over 15 miles to the Amish market to get this salad and sometimes they were out? soI went online to find the recipe and tried this one. Five stars??!!!!

  • This salad is so delicious. I added 1 1/2 tsp each of toasted ground coriander and toasted ground cumin to the dressing to give it another element of flavour. This one is going into my personal favorites.

    • — David Chappelle on November 17, 2015
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  • Could you replace the mayo with plain greek yogurt? My house us trying to eat as clean as possible

    • — Kim on April 25, 2015
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    • Hi Kim, I would use whole milk Greek yogurt and cut back on the vinegar since the yogurt is already tangy. You can add more if need be.

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2015
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    • Hi Kim
      I’ve used plain full fat greek yogurt and added a couple of tablespoons of orange juice, and orange segments to the salad. Very yummy.

      • — Gwyneviere on September 4, 2017
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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    • Hi Macha, Sorry about that…it’s back up!

      • — Jenn on January 8, 2014
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  • 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
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    • 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
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  • It’s good to discover new recipes.Thanks

    • — Bernie on August 17, 2013
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • The perfect side dish and picnic gathering!

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

    • — Deb on May 15, 2012
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • Excellent! Makes me think of a Spring picnic!

    • — Donna Hudson on March 1, 2012
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  • Rashad Weatherly

    Hey, thanks for the article. Really Cool.

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

    • — Kristina on July 14, 2011
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  • 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,

  • This recipe is great with golden raisins!

    • — Amy on June 2, 2011
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  • 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
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  • 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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