Broccoli Pasta Salad with Bacon and Cheddar

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Broccoli Pasta Salad will be the star of your barbecue! This easy pasta salad recipe is a snap to make, packed to the brim with Campanelle pasta, healthy veggies, and crispy bacon. Broccoli cheddar salad is scrumptious for potlucks, picnics, or a make-ahead holiday side dish!

titled: Broccoli Cheese Pasta Salad with Bacon


Broccoli Pasta Salad

Who doesn’t love a good pasta salad at summertime potlucks and barbecues?

Not only is a cold summer salad a guaranteed crowd-pleaser but it can also be prepared ahead of time.

Plus, most recipes require just a few ingredients, so they’re budget friendly!!

The most popular recipes are usually the simplest to make too — like my Southern Macaroni Salad and Rotini Pasta Salad.

But, I also love coming up with interesting flavor combinations, which is how this broccoli cheddar pasta salad recipe was born!

Crisp veggies, tender noodles, and cubes of cheese are tossed in a tangy, homemade dressing. Everyone will want seconds of this creamy broccoli bacon pasta salad!

ingredients for broccoli cheddar salad with pasta

Ingredient Notes and Swaps

  • Buy the pre-cut broccoli. This is a great time-saving shortcut! Usually, the pieces are still a bit larger than I prefer, so I trim the stems and large florets.
  • Add in extra veggies. Bulk up broccoli pasta salad even more with fresh spinach, onions, zucchini, olives, or tomatoes.
  • Use your preferred pasta. I like Campanelle noodles for this broccoli bacon pasta salad, but almost any pasta will work just as well.

    Try rotini, penne, cavatappi, or even macaroni!
  • Cook bacon in the oven. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray or line it with foil.

    Lay bacon flat on the pan, then bake at 375ºF for approximately 15-20 minutes.

How To Make Pasta Salad With Broccoli

Save yourself an extra step and an extra dish to wash! Instead of boiling or steaming florets for broccoli pasta salad, cook them with the hot noodles.

Add the florets to your bowl, then pour the hot, drained pasta directly over the top. As the noodles cool, the heat and steam will make the veggies slightly tender.

If you prefer your broccoli to be even more tender, place it in the colander and drain the pasta directly over it!

The boiling water will cook the florets slightly, then they’ll continue to steam as the pasta cools.

pasta salad with broccoli ingredients in a clear bowl

Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad FAQ

Should you blanch broccoli for salad?

You don’t need to when making pasta salad with broccoli! That’s because the hot pasta will soften the florets without the extra step of blanching or steaming.

How long does broccoli pasta salad last in the fridge?

Most pasta salads can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Keep the bowl tightly covered or transfer leftovers to an airtight container.

Because this broccoli cheddar salad contains both dairy and mayonnaise, be sure to keep it chilled and don’t leave it at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

Can I make this the night before?

Absolutely! In fact, broccoli cheddar pasta salad tends to taste even better the next day. That’s because all of the flavors have more time to meld together.

If you’ll be serving this to guests, I recommend making pasta salad with broccoli no more than 24 hours in advance.

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overhead: broccoli bacon pasta salad in bowl

Other Easy Broccoli Recipes

broccoli bacon pasta salad, close up

Broccoli Pasta Salad Recipe with Bacon and Cheddar

Donna Elick
Broccoli Pasta Salad with cheddar and bacon will be the star of your barbecue! This easy recipe is a snap to make for potlucks and picnics!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 8



  • 16 ounces Campanelle pasta , cooked according to package instructions, and drained
  • 2 large broccoli crowns , stems removed, trimmed down to small florets
  • 8 ounces cooked bacon, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, cubed


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed (1/2 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  • Place prepared broccoli florets into large bowl. After draining pasta, transfer hot pasta to bowl. Allow the hot pasta to cool on top of broccoli. This will make the broccoli slightly tender.
  • Once pasta is cool, add the remaining pasta salad ingredients.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined.
  • Pour dressing over pasta salad. Gently toss until salad ingredients are evenly coated with dressing.

Donna’s Notes

  1. This amount of dressing is for a lightly dressed salad. If you prefer a heavily dressed pasta salad, double dressing recipe.
  2. For best results, refrigerate 2+ hours before serving.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 553cal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 898mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 6g | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for broccoli pasta salad recipe

Originally published August 2018. Updated and republished May 2023

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  1. 5 stars
    Cheddar and Broccoli? A perfect pair! I made a double batch for a family birthday last week and it was gone before it was over! Everyone loved it and went back for seconds.

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