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.
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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.
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: 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:
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
BBQ chicken chopped salad is the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and creamy. It’s loaded with flavor and texture!
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.
BBQ Chicken Salad
For BBQ Chicken
For Ranch Dressing
- 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.