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Quick Make-ahead Broccoli Salad

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If you’re looking for a quick, make-ahead broccoli salad or an easy side dish for a holiday or family meal, try this Quick, Make-ahead Broccoli Salad! It’s fine to make it and serve it immediately, but it’s even tastier if you make it the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

make ahead broccoli salad

I’m a person who uses recipes as guides. I look at the recipe and adjust it to fit what my family enjoys. I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly as it’s written. (Unless I’m baking sweets. In that case, it’s easy to mess up a recipe, so I’m more likely to follow it.)

Because I mostly guess at amounts, this recipe doesn’t include exact amounts for the ingredients. Even if you prefer exact amounts, I hope you’ll give it a try! You may find that you enjoy changing recipes a little. It makes cooking (something you may or may not enjoy doing) into something fun and creative! And (to be honest), most of the time, you’ll end up with a dish your family will love! 😉

Make-ahead Broccoli Salad

This quick, make-ahead broccoli salad is super easy and so yummy! And I love it because I can throw in a little of this and a  little of that until I have it just like I want it. It truly is easy and quick to put together too.

The part that takes the longest is washing and chopping the broccoli and onions! Everything else (literally) is just thrown in the bowl to mix together. And, if you’ll be in a hurry, you can always buy broccoli florets in the produce department. They’re already cut up and washed and ready to use!

What to Do

I start by washing and chopping two heads of broccoli (unless you’re using the pre-washed and pre-cut bagged broccoli florets). Make sure it’s dried off as much as possible before you put it in the bowl to add the other ingredients. (I like to use a Salad Spinner to dry my broccoli before I use it in this recipe.)

Then I throw in a handful or two of shredded cheddar cheese and a few sprinkles (or more!) of real bacon bits.

I don’t like a lot of onion, so I only use a few tablespoons of diced onion–or I leave it out completely and just sprinkle on a little onion powder instead.

Then I add cranberries or raisins–enough to make sure they are lightly sprinkled throughout the salad.

Sometimes I add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds too. My kids don’t love them, though, so it depends on who will be eating the salad. 111111111q(I like the added crunch.)

I usually mix the cup of mayo, 1/2 cup of sugar, and tablespoon of vinegar in a small bowl and then pour it over the top of the broccoli mixture. Mix well. If you find that your salad is too dry, just add more mayo.

As I mentioned earlier, this salad actually tastes better if you make it the night before. It’s hard to do, though, because we love it so much we want to eat it as soon as it’s been made!


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Quick Make-ahead Broccoli Salad

  • Author: Wendy Hilton


This quick make-ahead broccoli salad is delicious and easy! And it’s even better if it’s made the night before and refrigerated overnight.



2 heads of broccoli (washed and chopped), or freshly bagged broccoli florets (12 oz or 32 oz)

shredded cheddar cheese

real bacon bits

diced green or red onions (or onion powder)

cranberries or golden raisins (or whatever raisins you like)

sunflower seeds (shelled and ready to eat)

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp vinegar


Wash and chop two heads of broccoli. (I like to use a salad spinner to get it dry before I use it for this recipe.) OR use pre-washed and pre-bagged fresh broccoli florets (12 oz bag or 32 oz bag). Place broccoli florets in a bowl.

Mix mayo, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl. (Use more if you have a larger amount of broccoli and less if you’re using less broccoli.) Pour over broccoli florets and mix well.

Add (to taste) shredded cheese, real bacon bits, diced onions (or onion powder),  a handful or two of golden raisins or cranberries, and (optional) a handful of sunflower seeds. Mix again.

Leave in the refrigerator overnight or eat immediately. It will taste better if it’s allowed to sit overnight, but it will still be delicious if you eat it right away!



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