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.
4.98 from 47 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
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

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

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




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

Comments

  1. I make it only with broccoli. It’s easy to make and the best broccoli salad I ever had. I love all the extra dressing. Thanks for a great recipe 😋 ❤️

  2. This is absolutely delicious! I did reduce dressing as suggested and made a few changes. Only 1/2 cup diced red onion, 1 cup mayo and 1,/2 cup plain Greek yogurt. 3 tbsp red wine vinegar in place of white vinegar and added 2/3 cup raisins. I tried to attach a picture but can’t figure out how to do that.5 stars

    1. Thanks Angela, you can’t post photos here but feel free to share on Instagram or Facebook so we I can see! – Meggan

  3. 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

  4. 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

    1. My dressing didn’t come out white and creamy like in the picture.. it looks like honey mustard almost. What did I do wrong?

    2. Hi Danielle, it’s possible your mayonnaise has a more-yellow color due to the egg yolks or if mustard is used as a binder. Store-bought mayo is significantly whiter in color compared to homemade. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. This stuff should be renamed to Crack Salad, ridiculously delicious. Thanks for the recipe, now I don’t have to pay my local deli $8.99 a pound :)

  8. This was delicious! The only thing I changed was reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup! It was still very sweet for us, so next time I will probably reduce it even more. I’m curious if the 1 cup of sugar is a mistake or not? I have never had the original Piggly wiggly salad, so I can’t compare to that. Regardless, thanks for sharing this great recipe. I will make it again.5 stars

  9. Really excellent low carb salad if you change up the sweetener. Stevia etc instead of sugar. Apple cider vinegar or lemon especially Meyer lemon instead of vinegar is excellent too.5 stars

  10. I make this with two pounds of broccoli, no cauliflower and omit the onions…just for my family’s preference. I get requests to make it for every cookout!5 stars

    1. Hi Desiree, excellent question. I have never tried it with frozen veggies but I really want to. That would be SUCH a time saver I’d it worked! My next testing day is January 25th so I’ll put this on the list. Sorry I don’t ave a chance to find out sooner and let you know. Thanks! -Meggan

    1. Hi Kelley, yes! If you have any reservations at all, prep all the ingredients and keep them in the fridge, and mix up the sauce and store in separately. And you can throw it all together at the last minute. But I’ve made it a day ahead many times… not to mention eaten leftovers days after… without issue. Everything holds up really well. Good luck! -Meggan

    1. Hi Carol, I am not a registered dietitian so I don’t really have any expertise around sugar exchanges for diabetics. I am so sorry about that! My initial thought, which is probably horrible, is that you could maybe substitute something like Splenda so you don’t even have to worry about the sugar exchanges. I don’t know how much you need, but I think it’s sweeter than sugar so you could just try 1/4 cup at a time and see what you like. I am sorry I can’t help more, this is probably a terrible answer, but thanks for your question and best of luck. -Meggan

  11. This has become a family and extended family favorite. We have it at every family get together! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  12. Awesome and easy recipe! I added roasted and salted sunflower seeds to the salad, didn’t tweak the dressing because it’s the perfect blend of tangy sweet. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

    1. Yes, salted sunflower seeds are SO GOOD here. Well I feel like, generally the recipe is either bacon + cheese or sunflower seeds + raisins. Everything else is the same. The raisins might be weird with cheese and bacon, but sunflower seeds certainly are not. Glad you enjoyed it! Thank you Catherine!

  13. This is really good =) We make it with swiss cheese as well as cheddar. And do a dressing with mayo, half & half or cream, apple cider vinegar & sugar. You can buy cauliflower pre-diced up now (“riced”) since people are so into using it in replacement recipes!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Breeze! And yes to the cauliflower rice, that is basically the most useful thing ever. I love the idea of a creamier dressing with the half and half too. Thanks and I’m glad you like it!

  14. We have a dairy sensitive family member, so I substituted halved grapes for the cheese, and Apple cider vinegar was all we had…but wow, your recipe is yummy!  I bet even better with the cheese… thank you so much!5 stars

  15. Hi Meggan , Hmmm sunflower seeds sound really good. A little nutty salty flavor with added crunch! I will give that a try, thanks have a great weekend. Easter dinners at 3, LOL!

  16. This is a really good recipe. I love all the flavors together and sometimes I put in white raisins ,maybe about three quarter cup. Some people don’t like raisins but I find it a very nice variation to use. This will be a perfect little salad on a few leaves of lettuce for my Easter dinner! Yum🦆🐣🌷🌷5 stars

    1. I agree with you on raisins! Well, normally I either do the bacon/cheese combination OR raisins and sunflower seeds (the shelled ones). But yes. So good. I’m glad you like the recipe, and what time should I report for Easter dinner? LOL Just kidding! Have a great weekend Ellie.

    1. Hi Gloria, yes of course! You probably have a recipe in mind, but I have a great poppyseed dressing on my blog too if you need ideas. But yes, update the recipe however you see fit! Thanks.

  17. Just finished making this w/o cauliflower. Used small container of plain Greek yogurt instead of all the mayo (only used about 2 Tbsp mayo), red wine vinegar, & about 1/4c spicy brown mustard, with a scant 1/2c white sugar. This turned out amazing!!!! Best broccoli salad ever! BTW, this is also a staple in the low country of South Carolina where I grew up!5 stars

    1. Loved your idea of substituting the yogurt for the mayo! My son has an egg allergy and cannot enjoy any salads with mayo and misses out on so much.   I personally love mayo but make a separate salad for him to enjoy.  😊5 stars

  18. 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. :)

  19. 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. 

  20. 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. :)

  21. 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

  22. 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!

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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