Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon

This quick and easy Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon is a Spring and Summer staple for parties, gatherings, barbecues, and picnics galore!

Classic Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon

After playing around with #ALLTHEVARIETIES of broccoli salad, I’m embracing all things Southern and diving into the classic picnic and potluck staple and loving every minute of it!

It’s a mix of fresh and creamy, sweet and savory, tender and crunchy and translates to a flavor and texture celebration of sorts. It’s no wonder this dish is so popular!

My go-to broccoli salad strategy is to toss the salad in a small portion of the dressing before chilling, then dressing a bit more after the salad has had some time for the flavors to marinate and meld.

I also like to add the bacon and sunflower seeds right before serving for maximum crunch factor – SO GOOD!

Broccoli Salad with Cranberries

Easy Vegan and Vegetarian Swaps

As written this classic broccoli salad is gluten-free. If you’re one of my vegan or vegetarian friends, there are a few deeeeeelicious options to for ya:

If you’re vegetarian and would like to make the broccoli-kissed salad below, simply swap out the bacon for vegetarian bacon bits or smoky tempeh “bacon” *or* simply leave it out entirely!

My Vegetarian Broccoli Salad and Chopped Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad are both tasty veggie-friendly options as well!

For a vegan version of this broccoli salad, you can use your favorite vegan bacon swaps or skip as mentioned above, and swap mayo/sour cream for your favorite vegan varieties.

My beloved Broccoli Kale Salad is also vegetarian and veganized by skipping the optional cheddar mix-in.

As always, feel free to shoot me a message if you need any tips for swaps and such.

Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon

Here’s what you’ll need to make this baller broccoli salad:

From the pantry, grab some dried cranberries, roasted sunflower seeds, and red onion. You’ll also want to snag white wine or apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and a little sugar to sweeten the dressing.

Fridge ingredients include broccoli, cheddar cheese, bacon, mayo and/or sour cream.

Broccoli Salad Ingredients

Once you have all your ingredients ready to go, it’s time to get our broccoli salad on with this easy peasy recipe!

Classic Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon
5 from 2 votes

Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon

This quick and easy Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon is a Spring and Summer staple for parties, gatherings, barbecues, and picnics galore!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Broccoli Salad with Cranberries
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 369 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 6 cups finely chopped broccoli (approx. 1 pound)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup dried cranberries plus extra to taste
  • ⅓-½ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup crumbled bacon (approx. 6-8 slices)

Broccoli Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup quality mayo (Duke's is my fav)
  • 1 TBSP white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  1. First whisk together dressing ingredients. Set aside.

  2. NOTE: The dressing for these salads is traditonally sweetened a bit more. Feel free to sweeten to taste or add extra dried cranberries for sweetness. For a tangy broccoli salad you can replace 1/4 cup of the mayo with sour cream. My biggest tip would be to use a quality mayo like Duke's, Hellman's, or even homemade.

  3. Next chop broccoli into small bite-sized pieces. I like to include around 5 cups of florets with a cup or so of chopped broccoli stalk

  4. Add broccoli to a large bowl along with finely chopped onion, dried cranberries, and coarsely grated cheddar cheese.

  5. Add *HALF* the dressing to the bowl and mix well. Chill for an hour. Chill remaining dressing to add before serving, to taste.

  6. I love to use fresh ultra-cripsy bacon for this salad. Cook bacon via your favorite method (pan-frying, baking, or air fryer) while the salad chills then add to the salad just before serving for best results. Cook time will vary based on method chosen.

  7. After chilling, give the salad a taste and then add additional dressing to taste. Mix well.

  8. Top with sunflower seeds and crumbled bacon. Toss to combine and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Want to veg things up even further? Shredded carrots make a tasty mix-in! Chopped red grapes are a tasty optional mix-in as well as sliced almonds or pepitas.

Nutrition Facts below are estimated for both salad and dressing using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Bacon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 369 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 524mg23%
Potassium 312mg9%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 589IU12%
Vitamin C 62mg75%
Calcium 144mg14%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you get a chance to try this classic broccoli salad with cranberries and bacon, let me know!

Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

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Recipe Rating


  • Sam

    5 stars
    This salad was fresh and delicious! Thank you for sharing!

    • So happy you enjoyed it, Sam! Thank you!

  • Gina

    5 stars
    This was delicious! Definitely making this again!

    • Yay!! Totally happy dancing over here!

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