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Classic Broccoli Salad

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Classic Broccoli Salad is a staple at many summer backyard parties. This version has a simple dressing that’s a bit tangy but not too sweet plus all your favorite add-ins.

If you’re hosting a summer cookout, broccoli salad needs to be on your menu. All it takes is a little advance planning and some prep work.

If you can’t make Classic Broccoli Salad right now, Pin the recipe to make it later. 

Broccoli salad on a blue plate.

What’s in Classic Broccoli Salad?

Well, besides broccoli, you can add in a number of different ingredients suited to your tastes. My family loves dried cranberries in any kind of salad, such as my cranberry almond chicken salad. So I added some to this one.

Bermuda onions, also known as red or purple onions, have more of a bite than a sweet onion. If you prefer sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, feel free to use those, though I’d save shallots for another recipe. I do love the color the red onion adds to the dish.

Cheddar cheese is my go-to for this salad. Sometimes I’ll use a white Cheddar if I have it but you could also use mozzarella or Swiss. If you’re adventurous try some feta or goat cheese.

Other add-ins include:

  • Sunflower seed kernels
  • Raisins instead of dried cranberries
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Chopped bacon

An overhead photo of the ingredients for broccoli salad.

How do I store broccoli salad?

I like to make this salad a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld. This salad needs to be stored, covered, in the refrigerator. You can keep broccoli salad in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but it probably won’t last that long!

All of the ingredients in broccoli salad can be frozen, however, if you want to freeze this dish, do so without the dressing. The dressing is easy enough to make that you can thaw the ingredients and then toss them together. Make sure whatever you freeze in is airtight. You don’t want ice crystals forming on anything.

Broccoli salad in a purple bowl.

Is Broccoli Salad cooked?

For this particular recipe, it is not cooked. My family happens to like raw broccoli but if your family does not, just blanch it. You want the broccoli to remain crisp.

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Broccoli salad on a blue plate.

Classic Broccoli Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Classic Broccoli Salad is a staple at many summer backyard parties. This version has a simple dressing that's a bit tangy but not too sweet plus all your favorite add-ins.



  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 head broccoli, about 2 cups
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ of a medium Bermuda onion, chopped


  1. In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk together to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour about ½ the dressing over the ingredients and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more pepper if necessary. Combine well, cover, and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Before serving, taste and decide if you need to add additional dressing.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below or share it on Pinterest!


Saturday 15th of May 2021

Yum this looks so good! I love a broccoli salad with all the add ins!


Saturday 15th of May 2021

This is just chock full of yummy stuff and I'm always looking for new broccoli recipes!

Karen @Karen's Kitchen Stories

Friday 14th of May 2021

Cheese makes everything better! I'm a huge fan of broccoli salads and yours sounds really special.

Lisa Kerhin

Friday 14th of May 2021

Love broccoli salad, it's a staple in the summer in our house.

Wendy Klik

Friday 14th of May 2021

We enjoy broccoli salad all year long but it is especially wonderful for BBQ's and Pot Lucks. Thanks for sharing Ellen.

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