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.
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 24 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 232

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups bite-sized broccoli florets from 2 bunches
  • 4 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets 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
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

 

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I can hardly wait for lunch to make this.  One note Per one reader, on salads getting watery after dressing them. If you add salt it will pull moisture out of the veggies and make it watery.

    Personally I believe it’s foolproof if you dress the salad upon serving. 

    I grew up with my mom and grandmother making a similar dressing for slaw and new leaf lettuce from the garden.  And a bacon, white gravy for wilted endive and fresh dandelion greens.5 stars

    1. I love your family’s version. That sounds so great! And I appreciate your tips on avoiding a watery dressing. My mom always made it with Miracle Whip which I hadn’t had in years… and then tried again on my recent trip home. :)

  2. This salad sounds amazing! My question is can you substitute apple cider vinegar for the white? I’ve never made this so i was just curious if it would make a difference. 

  3. This salad is amazing! My question is can you substitute apple cider vinegar for the white? I’ve never made this so i was just curious if it would make a difference. 

    1. Hi Joni! Yes you can. It might even taste a little better, that hint of apple sweetness. I think any vinegar works great! Thanks for your question. :)

  4. We always add 1 red,green,yellow pepper to it.  Mozzerella&sharp cheddar.  Lots of bacon.  Yummy! Making it today actually!  
    Love the name! 5 stars

    1. Your tweaks sound AMAZING Angela! That’s basically how my favorite macaroni salad is made (with noodles too of course). I should definitely try adding all that stuff. So good. I’m salivating. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Joni, no. We always just eat it raw. Does that sound crazy? I’m pretty sure my mom and sisters would never make it if blanching the veggies was a requirement. ;)

    2. Delicious! Easy to make! Can’t wait for the next potluck because I know what I am bringing!5 stars

  5. This salad is SO yummy.  My question is, why does the dressing breakdown….seems to get so watery?  

    1. Hi Caroline, it shouldn’t be breaking down and seem watery for you. The first question that comes to mind is, were all your vegetables really dry when you put them in the salad? There isn’t any water in the dressing so I don’t think it would break down the way you are describing. And in my experience, it doesn’t. A bowl of leftover salad will sit in the fridge for 3-4 days as we eat it and it’s always still perfect. I always use Hellman’s or Best Foods Mayonnaise and my mom always used Miracle Whip. What brand of mayonnaise did you use? I’m so sorry you had that issue!

  6. I definitely remember people making something similar when I lived in the Midwest. I always loved it, but never had a recipe…until now! Can’t wait to try it!5 stars

  7. What a gorgeous salad, Meggan. I love that you call it Piggly Wiggly Salad – such a cute and truly Midwestern name ;). Thanks for sharing!!5 stars

  8. I love how varied flavors and recipes are around the country. And how great and easy for you that you can have a go to dish for potlucks out here that you know will impress!5 stars