This BBQ Chicken Salad recipe is loaded with flavor and crunch! Juicy baked BBQ chicken and creamy ranch dressing tie together vegetables for a perfect summer entrée.

On a salad kick? Make my grilled chicken salad, healthy chicken salad or avocado chicken salad.

Bbq chicken salad drizzled with ranch dressing in a bowl.

Filled with tender BBQ chicken, fresh veggies, black beans, sweet corn, crunchy tortilla strips, and drizzled in a flavorful dressing, this colorful BBQ chicken salad is a huge hit!

Fresh, hearty, and easy to make, barbecue chicken salad recipe is a complete summer meal. Honestly, I make it year round, it is so delicious.

You can toss it together on a busy weeknight or prep for a weekend gathering, it’s the perfect use of your grilled BBQ chicken breast, baked BBQ chicken breast or Instant Pot BBQ chicken breast.

Ingredients for BBQ Chicken Salad Recipe

To break it down, this BBQ chicken salad recipe has three main parts. The chicken, the dressing, and the salad.

Full of pantry staples and garden favorites, here is what you need to build healthy BBQ salad.

For the BBQ Chicken:

Chicken breasts, smoked paprika, garlic powder, barbecue sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Chicken: You can use skinless boneless chicken breast or skinless boneless chicken thighs. I used my baked BBQ chicken recipe, but leftover cooked chicken, or Instant pot shredded chicken tossed with BBQ sauce is great for those super busy nights.
  • BBQ sauce: This healthy BBQ sauce is my go-to to make BBQ chicken salad recipe. Or my favorite store-bought BBQ sauce is Stubb’s original. It has 2 times less sugar than its other flavors.

For the Ranch Salad Dressing:

Plain yogurt, dill, onion powder, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar.
  • Dressing: I use my homemade healthy ranch dressing made with plain yogurt, white vinegar, fresh dill, and simple seasonings. Or you can find healthier Greek yogurt based store-bought dressing like Hidden Valley, if short on time.

Recipe Tip

I do not add any BBQ sauce to the dressing because I generously slather BBQ chicken with it. You can always add BBQ sauce to the ranch to make BBQ ranch dressing, if you wish.

For the BBQ Chicken Salad:

Romaine lettuce, cilantro, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, tortilla strips, black beans, corn.
  • Lettuce: I like romaine lettuce as the base for BBQ chicken chopped salad, but any green leaf lettuce like iceberg is good too.
  • Toppings: Black beans, frozen or grilled corn, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, sharp red onions, crunchy tortilla strips, and fresh cilantro.

BBQ chicken salad recipe is incredibly versatile so you can easily add, omit, and change it up to your preferred taste.

How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad

Here is a quick overview how to make BBQ chicken salad step by step. Find full recipe card with measurements below.

Step by step process how to make barbecue chicken, ranch dressing and assemble the salad.
  • Cook chicken: Preheat oven to 400 F. Meanwhile, add all BBQ sauce ingredients to a large bowl and whisk. Then add chicken, toss with tongs to coat, and let marinade while oven preheats. Place chicken in a large baking dish, pour remaining BBQ sauce on top and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with tinfoil, rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut into bite-size pieces. You can also make BBQ chicken breast on the grill.
  • Make salad dressing: In a separate small bowl, add all ranch dressing ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Assemble: In a large salad bowl, toss in the lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and red onion. Pour some dressing on top and gently mix to combine. I like to lightly drizzle the dressing to make sure all the flavors in the BBQ chicken salad stand out. You can always add more dressing later.
  • Finish and serve: Top salad with BBQ chicken and tortilla strips, serve and enjoy!
Barbecue chicken salad with corn, tomatoes, barbecue chicken and tortilla strips served on a plate.

Tips for Best Results and Variations

Follow these easy tips and this BBQ chicken salad recipe will be the most requested dish this summer.

  • If you can’t find tortilla strips: Replace them with crushed tortilla chips.
  • Make tortilla strips at home: Slice a few corn tortillas into thin strips and pan fry with a little bit of oil until crispy, stirring often.
  • Use what you have on hand: For BBQ chicken salad toppings get creative and use what you have and what your family likes. Feel free to omit the black beans, add creamy diced avocado or top with some shredded cheese.
  • Add salty cheese: Crumbled feta cheese, shredded Tex-Mex cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or Colby jack cheese will work great in this barbecue chicken salad.
  • If you’re grilling the chicken: If you decide to grill barbecue chicken breast, throw in a few corn on the cob on the grill as well.
  • To save time on cooking chicken: Shred some store-bought rotisserie chicken and coat in BBQ sauce.

How to Store BBQ Chicken Salad

Store: Keep barbeque salad ingredients separate from the dressing. Salad ingredients can be covered with plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and the dressing will keep in a mason jar for up to 2 weeks.

I don’t think BBQ chicken salad freezes well. It has a lot of fresh veggies that would go limp once thawed.


What are good shortcuts for this BBQ chicken salad?

Use store-bought barbecue sauce, store-bought ranch dressing, and store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can also get store-bought tortilla strips or tortilla chips.

Can I make barbecue chicken salad recipe ahead?

Yes, BBQ chicken salad can be great for meal prep. Cooked BBQ chicken can be diced and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, the dressing can be made up to 2 weeks in advance, and you can prep the lettuce and toppings the day before.

What does BBQ chicken salad taste like?

BBQ chicken chopped salad is the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and creamy. It’s loaded with flavor and texture!

Does barbecue chicken salad get soggy?

I always recommend serving salad recipes right away for the best results. Adding the BBQ chicken and dressing just before serving will prevent a soggy salad. Also add tortilla strips right before enjoying. And eat it within the first few hours.

More Salad Recipes to Try

Or browse this extensive collection of healthy salads.

Close up of BBQ chicken salad drizzled with ranch dressing in white bowl.
Bbq chicken salad drizzled with ranch dressing in a bowl.

BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad recipe is loaded with flavor & crunch! Juicy BBQ chicken and creamy ranch tie together vegetables for perfect summer meal.
5 from 1 vote
Servings 6 servings
Calories 260
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


For BBQ Chicken

For Ranch Dressing

For Salad

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce 8 cups chopped
  • 15 ounces can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn frozen or grilled
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 long English cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup tortilla strips


Cook Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, add barbecue sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and whisk. Add chicken breasts, stir with tongs to coat and let marinate while oven is preheating.
  • In large 9 x 13 baking dish, add chicken breasts in a single layer and pour remaining sauce on top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice.

Make Ranch Dressing

  • In a small bowl, add yogurt, vinegar, dill, garlic, onion powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir with a fork and set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  • In a large bowl, add lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and red onion. Pour dressing on top and gently toss. Place BBQ chicken and tortilla strips on top and serve.


  • Make ahead: Refrigerate salad ingredients separately from the dressing covered with plastic wrap for up to 2 days. Dressing in a jar can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 661mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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