Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese

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This easy Broccoli Salad is loaded up with bacon, cheese, and a sweet and tangy 3-ingredient salad dressing. We call it Piggly Wiggly salad in the Midwest, and it’s the ultimate year-round party side dish.

Broccoli salad with bacon and cheese in a green bowl with a spoon.

Families throughout the Heartland have been making this recipe for potlucks, cook-outs, and tailgates for decades. Why? Because everyone gobbles it up as soon as it hits the table. We will always be grateful to Piggly Wiggly, the grocery store chain that made this salad famous!

Recipe ingredients:

Ingredients for broccoli salad with bacon and cheese in various clear bowls on a gray counter.

Ingredient notes:

  • Broccoli and cauliflower. Sure, you can use only broccoli, or both broccoli and cauliflower. And to make it even easier on yourself, buy a 2-pound bag of florets at the grocery store (you might have to chop them a little bit more).
  • Bacon. Instead of cooking your own bacon, you can also use the pre-cooked, pre-crumbled bacon, as long as it’s REAL bacon. Once, I made the salad with half the amount called for (8 ounces) and the salad still had plenty of bacon. But if you want more bacon? Add more bacon.
  • Mayonnaise. Pick the mayo that you’re used to eating. If you love Hellman’s or Best Foods, go with that. If you’re a Miracle Whip family, use that. Some calorie conscious cooks switch out half the mayo for plain Greek yogurt and absolutely love it.
  • Vinegar. Old-fashioned white vinegar is just fine, but you can use cider vinegar or lemon juice, too.

Step-by-step instructions:

Dig out your biggest salad bowl! Once you knock out the prep, this recipe flies by.

  1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar all together.
  2. Mix all the vegetables, bacon, and cheese together together in the big bowl, and drizzle about half of the salad dressing over the top. Gently toss until combined, and see if the salad needs more dressing. Add ¼ cup at a time, tossing between additions, until your perfect dressing-to-salad ratio is achieved. Cover the bowl and chill until serving time.

Dressing for broccoli salad with bacon and cheese being poured over the salad in a clear bowl.

Recipe notes:

  • Lots of dressing: This recipe makes A LOT of dressing, probably more than you need. But this is how we do it! If calories or sugar or fat has ever crossed your mind, you can easily get away with making just half the dressing. You’ll still have plenty.
  • Make ahead: In my opinion, broccoli salad is best when you cover it and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Just like the deli at Piggly Wiggly!
  • Leftovers: Leftover Piggly Wiggly is just the best, maybe even better than the first day. Store leftover salad in an airtight container and use it within 4 days.

Broccoli salad with bacon and cheese in a green bowl with two spoons.

FAQs:

  • Should I blanch the broccoli and blanch the cauliflower? No, please don’t. It completely changes the texture and flavor of the salad.
  • Can I substitute frozen vegetables? This isn’t going to work either. I think thawed-out frozen veggies change the consistency too much, just like blanching.
  • Can I use a food processor to speed up my prep? I tried this a few years ago, and it turned my broccoli and cauliflower into a sloppy mess. Zero stars, do not recommend.
  • Can I freeze it? This salad does not freeze well.

Recipe variations:

  • Low-sugar dressing: If you’re familiar with low-calorie sweeteners, you should be able to switch out the sugar for a comparable amount of your favorite product: monk fruit, Swerve, or Splenda.
  • Vegetarian: Now I know I emphasized using real bacon in the notes above, but if you’re eating a plant-based diet or cooking for a vegetarian, go ahead and make broccoli salad with smart/impossible/fake bacon.
  • Yogurt dressing: Some folks make the dressing with less mayo, mixing in some Greek yogurt or light sour cream to make it creamier. That’s up to you!
  • Optional ingredients: sunflower seeds, raisins, almonds, dried cranberries, grapes, cherry tomatoes

If anything sounds good, add it in! (Remember, the recipe makes a LOT of dressing, so you can go a little crazy with ingredients, if you’re feeling inspired.)

More delicious salads:

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Broccoli salad with bacon and cheese in a green bowl with a spoon.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese

This easy Broccoli Salad is loaded up with bacon, cheese, and a 3-ingredient sweet-and-tangy salad dressing. We call it Piggly Wiggly salad in the Midwest, and it's the ultimate year-round party side dish.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 (⅓ cup) servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 232
4.97 from 110 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • To make the dressing, In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cauliflower, onion, cheese, and bacon.
  • Pour dressing mixture to taste over the salad ingredients and toss well until evenly coated.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Lots of dressing: This recipe makes A LOT of dressing, probably more than you need. If you are worried about calories, make half the dressing. You'll still have plenty.
  2. Make ahead. In my opinion, broccoli salad is best when you cover it and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Just like the deli at Piggly Wiggly!
  3. Leftovers: Leftover Piggly Wiggly is just the best, maybe even better than the first day. Store leftover salad in an airtight container and use it within 4 days.
  4. Should I blanch the broccoli and cauliflower? No, please don't. It completely changes the texture and flavor of the salad.
  5. Can I substitute frozen vegetables?: This isn't going to work either. I think thawed-out frozen veggies change the consistency too much, just like blanching.
  6. Can I use a food processor to speed up my prep? I tried this a few years ago, and it turned my broccoli and cauliflower into a sloppy mess. Zero stars, do not recommend.
  7. Can I freeze it? This salad does not freeze well.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 5gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 269mgPotassium: 144mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 201IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. Half the dressing. If you follow the recipe it becomes a soupy mess. If you half it it’s delicious!

    1. Hi Me, thank you for your comment and supporting what I say in my post. This recipe does make a lot of dressing. I’m glad you loved it! – Meggan

  2. Delicious!!!!! I didn’t have red onion, so I used sweet onion. I made the full amount of dressing, it was NOT too much!! I scoured over 25 recipes & decided yours sounded the best! That is a understatement!!! I’m so glad I went with yours!! Awesome, superb, fantastic & delicious!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe!! Oh, I used all broccoli too5 stars

    1. Hi Carol, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m happy you trusted my recipe! Take care! – Meggan

  3. Delicious!!!!! I didn’t have red onion, so I used sweet onion. I made the full amount of dressing, it was NOT too much!! I scoured over 25 recipes & decided yours sounded the best! That is a understatement!!! I’m so glad I went with yours!! Awesome, superb, fantastic & delicious!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!5 stars

    1. You’re so welcome, Carol! I appreciate you trusting my recipe. Take care! – Meggan

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