Bacon Ranch Broccoli Salad

published Jun 25, 2024
summer
Bacon Ranch Broccoli Salad Recipe

This crunchy broccoli salad has cubes of creamy cheddar and crispy bacon in a smoky, tangy ranch dressing.

Serves8

Makes8 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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broccoli salad in a bowl dressed with spoon resting
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling; Spencer Richards

With two young kids, a full-time job, and a relocation move looming, I’m determined to take it easy this summer. That means no homemade snacks — I’m just buying a bag of the best potato chips and fresh watermelon (here’s the secret to always choosing the best watermelon). Casual backyard cookouts will be stocked with easy hot dogs from the oven for a crowd, corn on the cob, no-bake desserts, and simple side dishes. 

One of my favorite sides is a salad that has no lettuce at all. It’s a crunchy mixture of raw broccoli florets, colorful red onion, crispy bacon, and creamy cheddar cheese. A tangy bacon-infused dressing holds it all together, and it’s super-easy, as it starts with store-bought ranch dressing (although homemade ranch would also be amazing here). I guarantee everyone will love this make-ahead side dish. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • You need just six ingredients. Toss fresh broccoli, crispy bacon, red onion, and cubed cheddar cheese with dolled-up store-bought ranch dressing.
  • It stays crunchy for days. Because the broccoli is kept raw, this salad keeps for days in the refrigerator without wilting. If you plan on making the salad in advance, wait to add the bacon until just before serving to maintain its crisp texture. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling; Spencer Richards

Key Ingredients in Bacon Ranch Broccoli Salad

  • Bacon: Cut thick-cut bacon into 1-inch pieces with a sharp knife or kitchen shears and cook until browned and crisp. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat to infuse the dressing with bacon’s smoky flavor. 
  • Ranch dressing: Dress up your favorite store-bought ranch dressing (these are our favorite brands) with warm bacon fat, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper. 
  • Broccoli: Trim broccoli florets into small, 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces so that they’re easy to eat and get well-coated in the dressing.
  • Cheddar cheese: Cut sharp cheddar cheese into small pieces to add a creamy, salty surprise to every bite.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling; Spencer Richards

Bacon Ranch Broccoli Salad Recipe

This crunchy broccoli salad has cubes of creamy cheddar and crispy bacon in a smoky, tangy ranch dressing.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 8 cups

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 5 slices

    thick-cut bacon (about 9 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup

    ranch dressing

  • 3 tablespoons

    white wine vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound

    broccoli florets

  • 1/2

    medium red onion

  • 3 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese (not shredded)

Instructions

  1. Cut 5 thick-cut bacon slices crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.

  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat to a large bowl and discard the remaining fat. Add 1/2 cup ranch dressing, 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the bacon fat and whisk to combine.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of dressing as you complete it: Cut 1 pound broccoli florets into rough 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 cups), finely chop 1/2 medium red onion (about 3/4 cup), cut 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1/2 cup).

  4. Coarsely chop the bacon, add half to the bowl, and toss until well-combined. Garnish with the remaining bacon, and serve either at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.