Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad Recipe Copycat


Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad is a delicious and beautifully colorful dish. And the tangy and creamy flavor of the sauce adds to the wanting to come back for more craving. From the green of the broccoli to the red of the tomato, purple of the onion, and orange of the cheddar cheese, the salad is visually appealing because of all the wonderful colors.

Broccoli Salad is the perfect crowd pleaser, picnic food or potluck dish. And best of all, it is quick and easy to make.

Paula Deen's Broccoli Salad
Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad. Photo by CookThink

Shopping List

Head of Broccoli
Red Onion
Cherry Tomatoes
White Vinegar
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Bacon Bits

Tips & Tricks

Of course, broccoli is the star of the show, so you’ll want to be sure to get the best possible head of broccoli that is very fresh and green. Old broccoli can make for a dry salad and you don’t want that.If you’re making Paula Deen’s broccoli salad a day ahead, you’ll want to reserve any ingredients that should be crispy when eaten and add those right before the dish is served. Items such as nuts, seeds, bacon pieces will get soggy if they are left to sit in the sauce.

Do you have extra vegetables in your refrigerator? You can add them in for more flavor and nutrients. Veggies that work well include carrots, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, and bell peppers.

Add some extra crunch to the salad by tossing in some roasted salted pecans, almond pieces, pine nuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds.

Add some sweetness to the mix by including some seedless grapes cut in half. They will taste delightful.

If you’re not too fond of raisins, no problem. Leave them out. You can add dried cranberries in their place, or eliminate the item completely.

Change up the salad by trying different cheeses. The original Paula Deen recipe calls for small cubes of sharp cheddar cheese. But you might also like to try Colby Jack cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Swiss cheese, Muenster cheese, or Feta cheese, Gouda or Provolone.

If you’re not too fond of the spicy flavor of the red onion, you can dial it down by marinating the diced onion in white vinegar for 10 minutes. Or eliminate the onion completely.

To change things up, blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute and then cool in ice. Add to the salad and proceed according to recipe instructions.

Paula Deen's Broccoli Salad.
Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad. Photo by CookThink

Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad Recipe Variations

The Paula Deen Broccoli Salad Recipe is so versatile it can be changed up with just a tweak here or there so that it feels like a different dish. Here are some variations:

Paula Deen’s Lean: Broccoli Salad

To make a lean or reduced fat version of Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad, substitute the cheese for reduced fat cheddar cheese. Use low fat Hellmann’s mayonnaise instead of the regular full-fledged version. And use ¼ cup Splenda in place of the sugar. The results will be a delicious, but healthier version of the same thing.

Paula Deen’s Broccoli Coleslaw Recipe

Enjoy a similar version of the Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad Recipe but change it up a bit by using shredded broccoli (that can be purchased in a bag) instead of the full head of broccoli. Uncooked Ramen noodles also make a delicious addition to this shredded version.

How to Store Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, however it is best if eaten sooner rather than later.  Store in an airtight container. Broccoli salad does not freeze well.

Paula Deen's Broccoli Salad.
Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad. Photo by CookThink

What to Eat With Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad

To us, Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad is a summertime celebration, but it can be enjoyed anytime of the year as a dish that is full of nutrients. It is the perfect crowd pleaser or potluck dish. Here are some ideas of what to eat with it:

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
Macaroni and Cheese
Barbeque Ribs
Broiled Beef Kababs
Pan Roasted Flank Steak
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Grilled Eggplant
Grilled Zucchini
Grilled Endive
Strawberry Crunch Cheesecake Cones

How to Make Paula Deen’s Broccoli Salad

Here is how to make this wonderful salad, created by Paula Deen.


1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
½ cup red onion, diced
½ cup Raisins, optional
½ cup Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
2 tbsp White Vinegar
8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cut into very small chunks
¼ cup Sugar
1 cup Mayonnaise
4 oz Bacon Bits

Broccoli Salad Recipe


1. Trim off leaves from broccoli and any dry ends. Remove any tough stalks at end. Wash under cool water thoroughly.

2. Cut broccoli into small bite sized floret pieces. And finely dice red onion. Cut cheddar cheese into very small chunks.

3. Place in a large bowl. If serving soon, add halved cherry tomatoes, raisins and bacon bits. If serving the next day, hold these items for the freshest result.

4. Add white vinegar, sugar and mayonnaise, stirring well. Cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving, to allow the flavors to meld. And as always, enjoy!

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This is a recipe I came up with to replicate the real thing.

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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