Bacon Mandarin Broccoli Salad is full of fresh broccoli, bacon, almonds, red onions, and mandarin oranges. This recipe uses a semi-homemade creamy mayo sauce that takes this broccoli salad to the next level. Perfect side dish for any meal or fancy & delicious enough for a Holiday dinner.
Bacon Mandarin Orange Broccoli Salad Recipe
Broccoli salad may not sound too interesting but this one is amazing! Chunks of fresh broccoli, crisp bacon, juicy mandarin oranges, cranberries, crunchy almonds, and red onion covered in a rich & creamy semi-homemade mayo sauce.
This fresh salad bursting with colors and texture frequently makes it's way onto our Thanksgiving dinner table. I have also taken it to picnics and gatherings and come home each time with an empty bowl.
What You'll Need
Here are the ingredients that you need to make this broccoli salad with bacon and mandarin oranges. I also give some tips on best products to use.
- Creamy Mayo Dressing
- Large Eggs
- White Wine Vinegar - Red Wine Vinegar will also work if that's what you have.
- Granulated Sugar
- Dry Mustard Powder - This is a seasoning that comes in the spice jars.
- Mayonnaise - It's best to use full-fat mayo in this recipe. It has a better taste and a creamy, thicker texture.
- Broccoli Salad
- Chopped Fresh Broccoli - I like to chop the broccoli into small pieces but you can leave them as large, or as small, as you prefer.
- Bacon - Cook the bacon, in preferred way, until crisp and then chop it up.
- Sliced Almonds - Slivered almonds also work here.
- Red Onion
- Dried Cranberries - These are dried cranberries, like raisins, but with cranberries. They are sweet and tart and provide good flavor and texture.
- Mandarin Oranges - I prefer to cut the mandarin oranges in half. You can leave them whole as well.
How To Make Broccoli Salad with a Creamy Mayonnaise Sauce
There are a few steps involved and time needed because the dressing has to be completely cooled. Read below to learn how to make broccoli salad.
- Creamy Mayo Dressing : This is a semi-homemade mayo recipe that cooks on the stove top. Add all the dressing ingredients (except for mayo) into a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until it's thickened and bubbles. It will be the consistency and look like pudding. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the mayo in and stir. Let cool completely.
- Broccoli Salad : Mix all ingredients together into a large serving bowl or mixing bowl. Pour the cooled dressing over the broccoli salad and stir well to coat everything in the dressing.
- Refrigerate : For best taste let the salad refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. This gives the dressing time to soak into the broccoli and other ingredients.
Tips For Success
Here are a few of my tips that will help this recipe be a success in your own kitchen.
- Save Time! : Buy a bag of already chopped broccoli florets at the grocery store. You can also buy pre-chopped red onion as well. You can find both of these things in the refrigerated section of the produce area.
- Make It Lighter : Use plain yogurt in place of the mayo in the creamy dressing. I don't like this substitute because I think the mayo provides much better flavor to the sauce, but you can do it if you want.
- Bacon : There are many ways to cook bacon. Fry it up in a pan on the stove top. Use microwave bacon (Costco has a really delicious microwave bacon). You can also cook bacon in the oven. Here is a great tutorial on how to cook bacon in the oven.
- Tip For Creamy Dressing : Be careful when cooking the egg for the dressing. If your stove is turned up too hight, you will end up scrambling the egg and have chunks of cooked egg in the dressing. It will take several minutes to thicken, but don't be tempted to turn up the heat, you don't want the heat hight when thickening the sauce.
Variations & Substitution Ideas
There are a few ways to change up this recipe.
- Change the Nut : If you don't like almonds then feel free to substitute with any nut. Pecans are a good choice and cashews are also a good one. I love the almonds in this recipe because of the soft, slightly sweet crunch they have.
- Lighten It Up : Use plain yogurt in the dressing recipe instead of mayo. You can also use lite mayo in it's place as well. I prefer the full-fat, real mayo in this recipe because it has the best taste and creamy thickness.
- Dried Cranberries : These are called 'craisins' at the store and they are dried cranberries. If you don't like cranberries then you could try using golden raisins instead. Golden raisins or a light yellow color and they are sweeter than traditional raisins.
- Onion : Feel free to use whatever onion you prefer. You can also just skip the onion if wanted. I love the red onion in this recipe but you a sweet onion would also be a great choice.
Bacon Broccoli Salad FAQ's
- How Long Will Leftovers Last?
- Leftovers of broccoli salad will last for 3 days in an air-tight container in the fridge. Because of the dressing that is mixed in, the broccoli and other ingredients will soften, but we still gobble it up! I actually like the softer texture of the broccoli on the leftovers.
- Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
- Yes! This recipe tastes best if it has had about 2-3 hours of refrigeration time before serving. You can serve it right away if wanted as well. I would not make it the day before because the broccoli salad will dry out.
- Serving Suggestions
- We love this as a side dish to any dinner, especially when we are grilling during the summer. It also seems to make it's way onto our Thanksgiving table every year too. This salad is also a great option for a gathering or potluck. It's a delicious dish that is interesting enough that people want to try it.
Here are a couple supplies that you will need to make this bacon mandarin broccoli salad recipe. These are an affiliate link, meaning that if you purchase, I will make a very small percentage from the sale. As always, I appreciate the support for the free recipes I post. I will only recommend things that I personally own and love! Promise.
Vegetable Chopper : One of my favorite 'extra appliances' I own. This thing chops up onion and vegetables into really small pieces. So easy to use too!
Ceramic Knife Set : I swear by this inexpensive knife set. They come with covers so storing them in a drawer is easy. They are sharper than any expensive set of knives I have ever owned. These cheap ceramic knives replaced my big block of high priced knives! They are that good.
Silicone Whisk : If you have non-stick cookware then you need one of these! This whisk has a silicone coating so it won't scratch your pans.
Bacon Mandarin Broccoli Salad
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup full-fat mayonnaise
- 5 cups chopped broccoli
- 8 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup finely minced red onion
- 1 can (10 oz) mandarin oranges drained well
Make the Dressing
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add the eggs, cornstarch, vinegar, sugar, water, dry mustard, and salt. Whisk well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it bubbles and thickens - it should be the consistency of pudding * Do not turn up the heat at all or stop whisking. If medium is too hot then turn down the heat to medium-low. You don't want to scramble the eggs.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the mayonnaise and let the dressing cool completely.
- Add all broccoli salad ingredients into a large serving bowl or mixing bowl. Stir together to combine. Add the cooled creamy dresisng and stir well to cover everything in the dressing. .Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before serving. It's also really good right after it's made but the flavors blend together as it sits in the fridge.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. This salad is better if it's cold and the dressing has had time to soak into the broccoli and other ingredients. You can serve it right away but I would recommend refrigerating it for a couple hours before serving.