Easy broccoli salad recipe without bacon

Broccoli salad is one of my favorite side dishes when made just right. It’s a simple and refreshing side dish for summer parties and get togethers. This broccoli salad recipe without bacon can be prepped in under 15 minutes.

This recipe has a surprising bit of sweetness thanks to a pinch of sugar. When combined with the broccoli and splash of apple cider vinegar for a subtle bite, you have a salad that you can’t get enough of.

broccoli salad without bacon in blue bowl

Tips for making the best broccoli salad

Broccoli salad is easy to make, but there are a few tips I want to share to make everything come together perfectly for you.

Broccoli florets can be raw or cooked (blanched)

The crowns of broccoli can be raw or blanched depending on your preference. Both work in the salad recipe.

Cut your broccoli small

Cut your broccoli into small pieces. It will help you make sure the smaller pieces become fully coated and soften in the dressing. Also, when the broccoli pieces are a similar size you can get a little of everything in each bite.

For the best taste, let it sit

While this simple broccoli salad recipe can be served right away, it is best to let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to let all of the flavors really meld together.

Broccoli salad can be prepared up to and stored in an airtight container for up to three days in advance of serving. Make it as a part of your meal prep during the week.

How To Make Broccoli Salad Dressing

The creamy broccoli salad dressing is super simple with just a few ingredients.

Traditional broccoli salad dressing is just creamy perfection. Start with mayo and add apple cider vinegar for lots of tangy brightness. And a bit of sugar and salt to balance it all out is all there is to homemade broccoli salad dressing.

A few tips on the dressing:

  • To make this broccoli salad recipe healthier, substitute half of the mayonnaise for plain Greek yogurt.
  • Mayonnaise can be swapped for dressing like Miracle Whip.
  • A sugar substitute of your choice can be used instead of regular sugar.

What You’ll Need:

  • Broccoli florets
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sugar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Almonds: or your favorite nuts
  • Onion: chopped sweet or red onion
  • Bacon: cooked and chopped.

Recipe Variations:

One of my favorite things about broccoli salad is that it’s so customizable. Make some adjustments based on your diet, mood, or what kind of ad-ins you have available. Some of my favorite things to add include:

  • Vegan broccoli salad: sub vegan mayo for mayo.
  • Add nuts or seeds: crunchy sunflower seeds or pecans.
  • Add cheese: Add a handful of chopped cheddar cheese.
  • Add sweet raisins or craisins.
  • Add crispy bacon: You can add crispy bacon, bacon bits or turkey bacon for a little bit more flavor.

Do you have to cook the broccoli?

No, raw broccoli is relatively common in broccoli salads. The crunchy broccoli breaks down in the creamy dressing.

If you don’t like raw broccoli, you can blanch the cut florets. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then blanch your broccoli for no longer than 60 seconds. Immediately drain and transfer the florets into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Dry your broccoli thoroughly before proceeding.

You can buy pre-cut broccoli florets, but I have found it’s typically cheaper to buy a few heads of broccoli and cut it myself. 

broccoli salad without bacon in bowl on top of peach napkin

Broccoli salad recipe without bacon

Yield: 8-10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

An easy summer salad that pairs nicely with several different dishes.


  • 2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped in bite-size pieces approximately 8 cups
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp milk or cream
  • 4 tbsps sugar
  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar


  1. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite size slices.
  2. In a large bowl combine broccoli, sliced almonds (optional) and mix well.
  3. Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise and milk until well combined, add the sugar and stir.
  4. Add the vinegar to the mayonnaise mixture and whisk until smooth. (You may use more or less sugar according to taste.)
  5. Stir dressing into the broccoli mixture until well coated.
  6. Chill salad and serve cold.


  • If desired you can stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese just before serving.
  • This recipe can be made KETO friendly by using a sugar substitute and eliminating the onions or replacing them with scallions.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 301Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 16mgSodium 215mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 4gSugar 9gProtein 4g

Wrap up

Broccoli salad is not necessarily a healthy salad in comparison to the traditional salad. However, broccoli has many benefits including as a great source of fiber. This classic side dish can be paired with various types of protein and be made at any time of year.

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