How To Make Broccoli Salad


I had broccoli salad for the first time about eight or nine years ago when I went to a family gathering with my wife. It was surprisingly good. Unfortunately, everyone I asked for a recipe told me what kind of bottled salad dressing they use.

I guess they don’t understand the whole “from scratch” thing for what I put on the blog.

So after an hour or so of research I finally found a good one that I could do. And it included a fantastic tip that makes this the best version I’ve had.


2 heads broccoli
¾ pound bacon (ends if possible)
½ medium onion, red or sweet
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces while it’s still frozen. It cuts much easier that way.

Cook over medium heat until it’s browned but not crunchy, then scoop everything out to a bowl or plate lined with a paper-towel to soak up the grease.

Here’s the great tip. If you blanch the broccoli it will turn a brilliant emerald green, and be just a little softer. Cut the florets off and into bite-size pieces. Place in boiling water for only one or two minutes. As soon as you see the color deepen, it’s done.

Remove the finished broccoli to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain the water and replace with cold water again once or twice, until the broccoli is well cooled. Then drain in a colander.

Cut the onion into shreds. Red onion will look nicer, but I forgot to get some so I used sweet onion. Tasted just as good.

The dressing calls for one cup of mayo. I’ve stopped buying it and always make my own mayonnaise now. Of course you can use prepared mayo if you’re not as crazy as I am. Add the cider vinegar and the honey and stir.

Then add the bacon and onion to the dressing and stir together.

Add the cheese and broccoli and … hey, where did the pictures go? I was sure I took some? Hmm … it looks like I had too many things going at once and forgot to take those two shots.

Imagine that in this space you see me adding the drained broccoli and about two cups of cheddar cheese and gently tossing with a wooden spoon. 
You don’t want to mash the broccoli, that’s why you mix everything else into the dressing first.

Oh, and also imagine that you see me transferring to a larger bowl halfway through the process because I didn’t have enough room to mix it. Rule of thumb: when mixing, always use a bowl at least 50% larger than what will hold all the ingredients.

Transfer to the right size serving bowl.

And that’s it.

This is part two of a “picnic in January” we did. Part one was the twice baked potatoes. I’ll have the main course tomorrow, and it’s a good one.

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad


  • 2 heads broccoli
  • ¾ pound bacon (ends if possible)
  • ½ medium onion, red or sweet
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • -- Dressing --
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces while it's still cold -- nearly frozen is easiest. It cuts much easier that way. Fry it until browned but not crunchy. Remove to a plate covered with paper towels to drain and cool.

Cut the heads off the broccoli and divide them into bite-sized pieces. Blanch by putting in boiling water for about a minute or two. Work in small batches so the water stays at a boil. As soon as the colors changes to deep green, remove them to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking process.

While the bacon cools and the broccoli dries, mix the dressing in a large bowl. Slice the onion into shreds and stir the onion, bacon and cheese into the dressing.

Finally, add the broccoli and toss gently so you don't crush the florets. Refrigerate until ready to eat.


  1. Looks great, love the blog…

    But do you think there is any way to make this and have it taste similar without the honey? I don’t eat sugar.


  2. Linda Goossen says:

    You forgot the white raisins and sunflower seeds! This is my 2nd favorite salad, with the seven layer one being first!

  3. I’ve made this salad with the homemade dressing for, oh, 30-some years now. One of my favorites along with the Seven Layer salad that Linda mentioned.

  4. That looks mad good. I’ve been using a broccoli salad recipe from a little church cookbook my mom sent me some years ago, but I think it’s time to try something new. Well, newish. :)

  5. I’ve had this and love it. Also love it with the addition of peanuts and chow mein noodles for crunch and salt. Man, you’ve made me so hungry now! And thanks for making your own dressing!

  6. Arlo, all I can tell you is what I’ve read online. Raw Agave Nectar which comes from the cactus plant is supposed to be a reasonable replacement for honey. But I’m seeing a bunch of stuff saying honey usually is the substitute of choice for people on a sugar-free diet. This page for example. Without knowing why you don’t eat sugar, I’d have a hard time saying what makes a god substitute.

    Linda, what I really forgot was the chick peas (garbanzo beans). I thought I still had some in the freezer, but all I had left was the dried ones that take at least an hour to rehydrate.

    Wosnes, is your dressing similar to the one I did? This was the first one I found that didn’t include some other prepared food as an ingredient.

    Bob, church cookbooks are so hit-and-miss. Some really fabulous ideas, but much more of the “and a can of cream of mushrooom soup” variety.

    Trixie, peanuts I could go with. But I don’t like seeds — pumpkin or sunflower. And I only barely tolerate sesame seeds on burger buns.

  7. Hey, you’re booked on your show on the 21st? Congratulations!

  8. Marty, that’s right. But where did you hear it from? I haven’t told a lot of people yet.

  9. That broccoli salad sounds really tasty!

  10. How much chick peas do you usually add?

  11. Rosemary, I really wanted to include them so I could measure, which I’ve never done. I would guess with this amount I’d probably go with about a cup, or half a can.

  12. I tried this, and loved it! (And I don’t even like broccoli!) Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  13. Mochio8, that’s great but I’ve got to ask … if you don’t like broccoli, why did you make it?

  14. Thanks for responding to my plea for recipes that use lots of egg whites on the Leftover Queen Forum. The one about pasta really intrigued me. Have you every made white noodles? Do you have a recipe?

  15. Marilyn, you can do pasta with just flour and water. I had some today as a matter of fact. (Store bought, not home made.) I usually do one large egg to about 3/4 cup of flour and a teaspoon of salt. Using just whites, I’d think 3 whites to a cup-and-a-half of flour and two teaspoons of salt.

    Oh, and check this out. Egg white recipes.

  16. I like that this is completely from scratch, even the dressing :D! I’m holding on to this one :).

  17. Sophie, that is what “from scratch” means, isn’t it? :-)

  18. *munch* *munch* *munch*

    Drew, I’m chowing down on a big bowl of this right now. It is satisfying my craving for a good broccoli salad which has been gnawing at me for a few weeks. I think the timing is eerie that you’d post this… don’t know if you’ll see this comment since it’s been a while since you posted the recipe. I didn’t even put any crunchy extras in it this time!

    I’ve got a big pot of chicken soup simmering with another hour at least to go before the next step (deboning and de-skinning the chicken and shredding the meat.) I could not wait that long for something yummy. I hope I don’t eat all of the broccoli salad before the soup is done!

  19. By now you’ve probably had the soup, but if you haven’t they go ahead and have the salad. Soup freezes and reheats really well.

  20. This is much better, in my opnion, with cauliflower, especially if the cauliflower is fried a little bit. and some walnuts also taste good in it but only if it is with cauliflower and not broccoli. That is how my mother makes it. And her dressing is exactly the same.

  21. David, that may be the first suggestion I’ve ever heard for cauliflower that I want to try.

  22. the deli that I work in when I was in college made this salad – we called it Sunny Delight. We also added sunflower seed nuts and regular and golden raisins – I make this all the time! It's great in the summertime!

  23. oops – ignore my typo! LOL

  24. Hmm, raisins … yeah, I think I could like that.

  25. I am going to try this. Hopefully I get it right

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