This Broccoli Salad is simple and so flavorful featuring sweet apples, walnuts, raisins, cheddar cheese, and red onions. It’s salty, sweet, and perfect for bringing to any picnic or potluck!
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The best broccoli salads should have a great combination of textures and flavors. There’s gotta be something crunchy, something soft, something sweet, and something salty in every bite! This easy salad recipe really has it all. A sweet burst from apples and raisins, a bold kick of red onion, a satisfying crunch from broccoli and MORE are enjoyed in each bite.
I also like to load the salad up with as much cheese crumbles as the broccoli salad can hold! The savory, cheesy flavor goes very well with apples walnuts and broccoli. Cheddar cheese is easy to grate or shred yourself, or you can always find some cheese crumbles that are already ready to use to make this recipe even quicker.
If you don’t like walnuts, don’t dismiss this salad. I know some people who can’t stand walnuts in their food, and that’s okay! You can easily substitute walnuts for pecans or almonds. Both nuts will provide that special nutty crunch that will go so well with the broccoli and other ingredients. This broccoli salad recipe is so versatile!
Broccoli – You’ll need about 2 medium heads of fresh broccoli. (If you have any extra, don’t let it go to waste! Use it to make my favorite Broccoli Cheese Casserole).
Apples – I really like Granny Smith apples because they taste sweet and sour at the same time. However, you can use sweeter apples like Fuji or Honeycrisp instead if you’d like.
Raisins – I like to use golden raisins in this recipe because of their sweetness and plump consistency.
Walnuts – Feel free to swap these for almonds or pecans if preferred.
Red Onion – Red onions make such a sweet and savory addition at the same time! Don’t use any other color of onion.
Cheese – it’s best to use a block of cheddar cheese and cut it into small cubes yourself. If you need to use shredded cheese instead, make sure it’s thick shredded.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Broccoli Salad
Prepare. Prepare all of the ingredients (except for the vinegar, mayo, and sugar) and place them in a large bowl (1).
Make the dressing. In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing until smooth. Pour it on top of the salad ingredients (2).
Toss. Toss all ingredients together until the salad ingredients are fully coated by the dressing (3).
This apple broccoli salad is a beautiful summer side dish! Serve it at picnics, potlucks, or backyard barbecues with all of your favorite entrees. Some of my favorites include Grilled Salmon Burgers, Shrimp Rolls, Garlic Parmesan Air Fryer Chicken Wings and Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
I like to use a simple combination of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and sugar. It’s creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet. It pairs perfectly with all of the ingredients in the salad! If you wanted to try something different, I recommend my Apple Vinaigrette.
No, you really should use fresh broccoli only when making broccoli salad. However, you can buy it already chopped broccoli florets in a bag to save some time if you’d like! Just make sure you have at least 22 oz. of broccoli, which is equivalent to 2 medium heads.
How to Make Apple Broccoli Salad Ahead of Time
This is one of those side dishes that gets even better the next day because broccoli has time to mingle with other ingredients and soak up all the delicious flavors. You can easily prepare it a few hours before or even a day before and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Leftover broccoli salad makes a great side dish on busy weeknights. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days before it starts to get too soft.
Make sure to use a clean spoon each time you take some out and close the lid back right away. The less exposure to air and bacteria, the longer it will keep.
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- 22 oz broccoli florets (about 2 medium heads)
- 8 oz Granny Smith apples 2 medium apples
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 small red onion
- 6 oz Cheddar cheese crumbs (thick shredded can be used as well)
- 1 1/4 cups mayo
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
- Note: you can choose to peel the apples or leave apple skin on. If you choose to leave the skin on, make sure to wash the apples well.
- Core apples and dice into small cubes. Peel and dice red onion into small pieces as well.
- Combine broccoli florets, diced apples, cheese crumbles, red onions, crushed walnuts, and raisins in a large mixing bowl and mix it to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mix mayo, apple cider vinegar, and sugar until smooth.
- Combine the dressing with the broccoli mixture until everything is coated evenly.
- You can serve the salad right away or store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Broccoli salad should last 3-4 days when store properly.
- Storing: Leftover broccoli salad makes a great side dish on busy weeknights. Store leftovers in an air-tight food storage container in the refrigerator. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days before it starts to get too soft.
- Make ahead: This is a good side dish to make ahead about a day before. I don’t recommend making it any longer than 1 day before. You can prepare the salad completely with the dressing if you don’t mind broccoli getting a little soft. If you want to keep broccoli as crisp as can be, make it fresh.