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 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:

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.
4.97 from 29 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 24 (⅓ cup) servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 232

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups broccoli florets bite-sized, from 2 bunches
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets bite-sized, from 1 head
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound bacon fried and crumbled (see notes)
  • 1 cup red onion diced
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (see notes)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

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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Comments

  1. This is spot on. My Aunt use to work at Piggly Wiggly and she would make this salad not only at work but for family gatherings as well. We started calling it The Pig Salad. I love this salad. I actually heat up the vinegar so the sugar dissolves better. I then cool off the vinegar sugar mixture before I add it to the mayo. Next time I’ll try it your way.5 stars

    1. I’ll have to try it your way as well Linda, that sounds like a great idea. So glad you enjoyed! – Meggan

    1. Hi Sharon, the recipe doesn’t call for any but you can add if you want! – Meggan

  2. Love broccoli salad and this mirrors my favorite recipe – except I always add about 1/4 cup each yellow raisins and dried cranberries! Also, I dislike red onion so always use Vidalias (which means I don’t make this salad when those onions are not in season! LOL). All of your NOTES are right on!!4 stars

  3. Exactly the same as my mom’s recipe. Thank you for sharing. The measurements in this recipe produce the very best flavor. This is by far, the best recipe for Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  4. Made this for camping and it was delicious. My only question is how much is in a single serving??5 stars

    1. Hi Elizabeth, a serving is 1/24th of the recipe. I’m adding it to my list to figure out how much that is in cups. Take care – Meggan

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