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 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?

This particular recipe, the broccoli 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.

What Can I Serve with Broccoli Salad?

I like to serve classic broccoli salad with any grilled dishes. Bacon and Cheddar Smash Burgers, Herb Grilled Lobster Tails, and Garlic Butter Shrimp Skewers are good choices as are Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Hot Colby Ham Sandwiches

Broccoli salad is also great with just about any sandwich. You could easily pack this into your lunch if you take one to work. You will need to refrigerate it or use a cold pack.


More Summer Side Dishes

Be sure to follow our Pinterest board for more summer BBQ ideas. 

Classic Broccoli Salad Twitter image

Classic Broccoli Salad

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.
4.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings



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


  • 1 head broccoli about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 of a medium Bermuda onion chopped


  • In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk together to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour about 1/2 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.
  • Before serving, taste and decide if you need to add additional dressing.

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

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

4.93 from 13 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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