This broccoli salad features bacon, cranberries, red onion, sunflower seeds, and cheddar cheese all tossed in a sweet and tangy dressing. It's a copycat of Chicken Salad Chick's broccoli salad and it makes a great side dish for your next meal.
Why this recipe works
Creamy broccoli salad is a great side dish for many occasions. From casual summer barbecues to a more formal Easter or Mother's Day brunch, the crisp broccoli, tangy-sweet dressing, and flavorful toppings are a perfect combination.
This broccoli salad recipe is a copycat version of the popular side dish at Chicken Salad Chick. If you're not familiar, it's a fast-casual restaurant chain serving, you guessed it, chicken salad!
Their version is delicious and it's a great option for a healthy-ish side dish when dining out. My copycat version adds a few more toppings such as sunflower seeds and dried cranberries for an extra boost of flavor.
- Broccoli - Fresh broccoli is best for this broccoli salad recipe. Frozen will not have the same texture. Be sure to trim the florets into small, bite-sized pieces, around an inch each.
- Cheese - I prefer to use thick-cut shredded cheese in this dish over the finely shredded type.
- Bacon - I recommend making your own bacon for the best results, but if you're in a time crunch you can buy precooked bacon strips. They're often found in the deli section of grocery stores. I do not recommend bacon bits.
Dressing Ingredient Notes
- Apple Cider Vinegar - I think the tang from apple cider vinegar is perfect in this dish, but you can substitute white vinegar if you prefer.
- Mayonnaise - I recommend using real full-fat mayonnaise. Light versions and sandwich spreads like Miracle Whip will not have the same flavor.
How to Make Broccoli Salad Dressing
This broccoli salad dressing is a little tangy from the mayonnaise and cider vinegar and a little sweet from the sugar, but the combination is perfect with the crisp broccoli and toppings. To make the dressing:
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
Step by Step Instructions
- After you've prepared the dressing, add your broccoli to a large mixing bowl. Add around ¾ of the dressing and stir to combine. If it still seems too dry add more dressing until all of the broccoli is well coated.
- Add all of the toppings and stir until just combined. If you over mix the toppings will tend to sink to the bottom.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight to allow the flavors to combine. Stir again just before serving.
What to Serve with Broccoli Salad
This tangy sweet broccoli salad is a perfect side dish for lunch or dinner. I love to serve this as a healthier side dish option for barbecues and summer cookouts. Some of my favorite pairings are:
Recipe Tips and FAQs
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
It is not necessary to cook the broccoli when making a broccoli salad. The dressing will soften the broccoli a bit as it sits. If you're not a fan of raw broccoli you can blanch it in boiling water for a minute or two. Allow the broccoli to cool and dry it thoroughly to avoid watery broccoli salad.
More Side Dish Recipes
- Hawaiian Mac Salad
- Creamy Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Corn Salsa with Avocado
- Grilled Broccolini
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
Broccoli Salad Recipe
- 7-8 cups broccoli florets, around 3-4 heads
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup crumbled bacon, 3-4 slices
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
- Add the broccoli to a large mixing bowl. Pour the ¾ of the dressing over top and stir until the broccoli is well coated. If the broccoli seems too dry add more of the dressing until it is all coated.
- Add the cheese, cranberries, bacon, sunflower seeds, and onion then stir gently until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, up to overnight. Stir again just before serving.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.
Leave a Reply