Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This Southern-style broccoli salad with bacon, Cheddar and crunchy almonds is ideal for a picnic or BBQ.

This broccoli salad recipe was given to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kelly Santoro. I’m not usually a big fan of raw broccoli so I was skeptical 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 and crunchy almonds.

What You’ll Need To Make Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

ingredients for broccoli salad

How to Make Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

Step 1: Cook the Bacon

frying the baconIn a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

draining bacon for broccoli saladStep 2: Temper the Red Onion

soaking red onions in ice waterTo temper the bite of the raw onion, soak it in ice water for 10 minutes, then drain. This step is optional, but if you’re a raw onion-phobe like me, I recommend it.

Step 3: Make the Dressing

In a bowl large enough to hold all of the salad ingredients, combine the mayonnaise, honey, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.

salad dressing ingredients in bowl

Whisk well to combine.

whisked creamy dreamy dressing in mixing bowl

Step 4: Toss the Salad

Add the broccoli florets, Cheddar, and red onions to the dressing.

adding the broccoli, Cheddar and red onions to the dressing

Mix well. This can be done several hours ahead of time (in fact, all the better to allow the broccoli to soak up the flavor).

tossed broccoli salad

Right before serving, add the bacon and almonds.

adding the bacon and almonds to broccoli salad

Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.

finished broccoli salad

Transfer the salad to a serving platter or bowl and enjoy!

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Broccoli Salad with Bacon, Cheddar & Almonds

This Southern-style broccoli salad with bacon, Cheddar and crunchy almonds is ideal for a picnic or BBQ.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Set a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.
  2. Place the onions in a small bowl of ice water for ten minutes. Drain, then blot the onions dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (big enough to hold all of the salad ingredients), whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, honey (or sugar), salt, and pepper.
  4. Add the broccoli, Cheddar, and red onions to the dressing; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate the salad until ready to serve. (The salad can be made up to this point several hours ahead of time.)
  5. Before serving, set aside some of the bacon and almonds to use as a garnish for the salad. Add the remaining bacon and almonds to the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Transfer the salad to a bowl or serving platter and garnish with the reserved bacon and almonds. Serve cold or room temperature.
  6. 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

Powered by Edamam

  • 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, Edamam.com. 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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Could the bacon be replaced with fried tofu?

    • — Yael on June 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Yael, that should work!

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, with most recipes I find, the quantities are too much for 2 people. In the past, I have tried to reduce all the ingredients by 1/2 but most of the time it does work out quite right.

    How would you suggest adjusting the quantities on the ingredients in recipes and this one in particular?

    We love your website and all of your recipes. So easy to follow, simple, and tasty.

    Thank you.

    • — LaDonna Manson on June 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi LaDonna, I know what you mean but for salads like this one, it should work to just cut all of the ingredients in half. The only thing you may need to adjust is the cooking time for the bacon; it won’t take as long. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is my go-to salad recipe. I literally make this for lunch every weekend. I’m trying to eat low carb/Keto and on a budget so I modified the recipe just slightly. I use one cup sour cream instead of mayo (because high quality mayo made with avocado oil can get pricey) and I use monk fruit sweetener instead of honey (to keep things Keto friendly). Note: I found a 2 lb bag of broccoli florets is only a few bucks at Sam’s club. Enjoy!!!

    • — Eileen on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Really good, love the bacon & cheddar, I wouldn’t leave it out. I didn’t have almond slices so I added pumpkin seeds. I found the taste of the red onion a bit sharp, I might add less next time or soak them in cold water first. The salads are really really good on this site! It’s so wonderful to have so many options to choose from so you don’t get into a rut.

    • — Janet O on March 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • Can you make the dressing ahead of time?

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

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • Hello. can frozen broccoli florets and bacon bits be used in this recipe? Thank you.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • I added sunflower seeds and dried cranberries to this, it’s awesome both ways!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Could you replace the mayo with plain greek yogurt? My house us trying to eat as clean as possible

    • 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.

    • 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
      • Reply
  • 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.

  • 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! 🙂

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

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • It’s good to discover new recipes.Thanks

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • The perfect side dish and picnic gathering!

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

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

  • 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!

  • Excellent! Makes me think of a Spring picnic!

  • Rashad Weatherly

    Hey, thanks for the article. Really Cool.

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

  • 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

  • This recipe is great with golden raisins!

  • 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.

  • 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!

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