Broccoli Bacon Salad

published Aug 31, 2023
Broccoli Bacon Salad Recipe

Broccoli shows off its versatility in this crunchy, nutty make-ahead salad, but the real star is the sweet, creamy dressing.


Makes8 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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bacon broccoli salad in a serving bowl
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

I love hosting my friends for special occasions, whether for birthdays or simple rooftop hangs. When designing the menu, I often need to remember the importance of simple salads. Sure, grilled pork belly or a big plate of fried chicken take center stage, but sides, especially light, flavorful salads, are what’s gone the fastest.

This crunchy, creamy broccoli bacon salad is one of my favorite make-ahead salads. Here, raw broccoli florets get dressed in a tangy, creamy mayonnaise-based sauce and tossed with toppings like sliced almonds, scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and more. It’s perfect for those occasions when you have to cook a feast and is so versatile that it will go with just anything you serve. 

Ingredients in Broccoli Bacon Salad

  • Bacon: Cook thick-cut bacon in a skillet until crisp for added texture. Plus, the mayonnaise-based dressing has a little bacon fat for that subtle smoky flavor. 
  • Red onion and scallion: Adds extra punch to each bite of the salad.
  • White sesame seeds and sliced almonds: You can omit the toasted white sesame seeds, but I highly recommend adding sliced almonds for a beautiful, nutty crunch.
  • Rice vinegar: Adds a much-needed acidity that balances the rest of the ingredients. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Can You Make Broccoli Bacon Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can make broccoli bacon salad ahead of time. In fact, it’s better to make it a few hours before serving so that all of the ingredients can absorb the sweet, creamy dressing, while keeping the chopped broccoli from getting soggy. I recommend holding the final toppings like toasted sesame seeds and crispy bacon pieces until serving so that they stay crisp.

What Goes Well with Broccoli Bacon Salad

Broccoli bacon salad goes with everything, especially meaty entrées, like a big hunk of smoked brisket, prime rib, grilled chicken, or even as a side to a hot dog feast.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Broccoli Bacon Salad Recipe

Broccoli shows off its versatility in this crunchy, nutty make-ahead salad, but the real star is the sweet, creamy dressing.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Makes 8 cups

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 5 slices

    thick-cut bacon

  • 1 pound

    broccoli florets

  • 1/2

    medium red onion

  • 1

    medium scallion

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie

  • 1/2 cup

    plain Greek yogurt

  • 3 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    sliced almonds

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted white sesame seeds, plus more for garnish


  1. Cut 5 thick-cut bacon slices crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Cut 1 pound broccoli florets into rough 3/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups). Finely chop 1/2 medium red onion (about 2/3 cup). Thinly slice 1 medium scallion.

  3. When the bacon is ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat to a medium bowl and discard the remaining fat.

  4. Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the bacon fat and whisk to combine.

  5. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon over the broccoli (about 1 teaspoon). Juice the lemon over the broccoli (about 3 tablespoons). Add the dressing, half of the cooked bacon, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, and 1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds. Toss until well combined.

  6. Garnish with more sesame seeds and 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.