BBQ Chicken Salad

5 from 9 votes
15 Comments

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This BBQ Chicken Salad is loaded with grilled chicken, corn, and black beans with a creamy barbecue dressing. It is a perfect summertime supper.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Dressing in a wooden bowl with 2 wooden spoons off to the side.
Featured with this recipe
  1. BBQ Chicken Salad Ingredients
  2. Creamy BBQ Dressing
  3. How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad
  4. Tips for Perfectly Grilled Chicken
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. More Scrumptious Salad Recipes
  7. How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad
  8. BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Dressing Recipe

This BBQ chicken salad, with homemade creamy barbecue dressing, is one of my summertime go-to meals. You can assemble it quickly with fresh ingredients, throw some chicken on the grill and you have a vibrant, hearty salad meal that is perfect to eat on the patio on hot summer evenings. The easy, creamy dressing is the perfect thing to drizzle over warm chicken and it adds so much flavor! Pair it with some icy cold lemonade and some crusty bread and you have a delicious dinner for any night of the week.

BBQ Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – in this recipe, you grill the chicken, but if you are in a hurry you can use shredded rotisserie chicken and mix it with bbq sauce. You can also cook the chicken in a grill pan or slow cooker.
  • BBQ sauce – Homemade bbq sauce works great or we love to use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ.
  • Romaine lettuce – chopped
  • Corn
  • Black beans
  • Green onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Crushed Tortilla chips
  • More Optional Toppings – diced tomato, diced red onion, avocado, monterey jack cheese, corn salsa

Creamy BBQ Dressing

I used this BBQ ranch dressing on my BBQ chicken salad and it was incredible! Typically I just combine ranch dressing with BBQ sauce (and you can totally do that if that is what you have on hand) but this dressing is way better!

  • Mayonnaise – The base of the dressing by adding flavor as well as gives substance to the dressing.
  • Milk – A creamy dressing in store for you! Milk helps add liquid, flavor, and creaminess.
  • Buttermilk – Always blends well with a creamy base that has flavor, a thick creamy base, and adds a sweetness to the homemade dressing.
  • Cilantro – This has a lemon and peppery taste to it.
  • Lime juice – A hint of zest from the juice that helps balance the BBQ sauce.
  • White vinegar – Just a little bit of white vinegar will go away. In dressing, this helps keep it in the fridge for a couple of days but also has a strong vinegar flavor. It is a great balancer for all the ingredients.
  • Sugar – Added mainly for sweetness and gives some texture to the dressing.
  • Garlic – Everyone loves garlic and no dressing or recipe can be left out of garlic! This is always a popular ingredient that most people love to add in and have on hand.
  • Cayenne pepper – A little bit of subtle heat.
  • Cumin – Gives a nutty and warm flavor to the dressing.
  • BBQ sauce – Pick your favorite BBQ sauce or make your own homemade bbq sauce.

How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad

This BBQ chicken salad tastes amazing with all the flavor and combination of sweet and savory! Every bite is filled with all the textures and bursting with flavor. Your tastebuds will be thanking you!

  1. Marinade – In a plastic bag, combine chicken and 1 cup of BBQ sauce. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Grill chicken – Remove chicken from bag, discard marinade, and grill chicken on BBQ grill until cooked through. Use remaining BBQ sauce to baste over chicken while grilling. When the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165, remove it from the grill and set aside.
  3. Toss – In a large bowl, toss romaine with corn, black beans, and green onions.
  4. Combine – After the chicken has had a chance to rest for a few minutes, slice it and put it on the salad. Top with shredded cheese and tortilla strips.
  5. Drizzle – Serve with Creamy BBQ Dressing.

Tips for Perfectly Grilled Chicken

I have mentioned this several times in other blog posts, but getting the chicken just right is everything. People are always asking how I get juicy grilled chicken. Here are two of my tried and true tips:

  • Cooking meat – Use a DIGITAL meat thermometer. Don’t slice your chicken apart every five minutes to check doneness. Digital meat thermometers are amazing little gadgets and they can make ANYONE a grill master. They are cheap, they are accurate, and they will give you perfect meat every. time. If you don’t have one, get one! You’ll thank me later.
  • Slow cooking – Be patient and cook over medium to medium-high heat on the grill. Don’t crank up the temperature and turn the outside of your chicken. You will have a burnt outside and raw inside. Take your time. Do it right. Your guests will thank you.
  • BBQ sauce – For this recipe, I love using Bull’s Eye or Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce, and I brush it on while the chicken is on the grill. Any of your favorite sauces will do, but those two brands are my favorite.

“Made this for dinner tonight and loved it! A new recipe to add to our dinner rotation. Thanks for sharing!”

-Jessica

Frequently Asked Questions

Should chicken be cold for the salad?

Either way is great! Chicken can be served either room temperature warm or cold on a salad. It is more of a preference. Most of the time we let our chicken rest before serving it on the salad so the chicken does not heat the salad and it stays fresh longer. Keeping the chicken cold helps the flavors meld together and have a tastier salad.

Are grilled chicken salads healthy?

Yes! Most salads are on the healthier side. It is the dressing that tends to make it less healthy or unhealthy depending on the dressing and how much is used. Chicken salad is packed with lean protein, vitamins, and minerals that make an overall healthy meal and diet.

What temperature to cook chicken at?

It is best to cook a whole chicken at 180 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken breasts at 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The USDA does say the key temperature for safety is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Do what is best for your family and how you enjoy your poultry.

More Scrumptious Salad Recipes

For all the salad lovers out there, these salads will make your lunchtime even better! Each salad is loaded with so much flavor and deliciousness. You won’t know which one to choose each day, they are that good!

How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Dressing in a wooden bowl with 2 wooden spoons off to the side.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Dressing

5 from 9 votes
This BBQ Chicken Salad, chock full of grilled chicken, corn, and black beans with a creamy barbecue dressing, is a perfect summertime supper.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Video

Equipment

  • Outdoor Barbecue Grill

Ingredients

Creamy BBQ Dressing:

Instructions

  • In a plastic bag, combine chicken and 1 cup BBQ sauce.
  • Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Remove chicken from bag, discard marinade, and grill chicken on BBQ grill until cooked through.
  • Use remaining BBQ sauce to baste over chicken while grilling.
  • When internal temperature of chicken reaches 165, remove from grill and set aside.
  • In a large serving bowl, toss romaine with corn, black beans, and green onions.
  • After chicken has had a chance to rest for a few minutes, slice and put on the salad.
  • Top with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.
  • Serve with Creamy BBQ Dressing.

Creamy BBQ Dressing

  • Combine all the ingredients together and whisk vigorously to combine. You can also run this through a blender to make it even more smooth.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

I have mentioned this several times in other blog posts, but getting the chicken just right is everything. People are always asking how I get juicy grilled chicken. Here are two of my tried and true tips:
  • Cooking meat – Use a DIGITAL meat thermometer. Don’t slice your chicken apart every five minutes to check doneness. Digital meat thermometers are amazing little gadgets and they can make ANYONE a grill master. They are cheap, they are accurate, and they will give you perfect meat every. time. If you don’t have one, get one! You’ll thank me later.
  • Slow cooking – Be patient and cook over medium to medium-high heat on the grill. Don’t crank up the temperature and turn the outside of your chicken. You will have a burnt outside and raw inside. Take your time. Do it right. Your guests will thank you.
  • BBQ sauce – For this recipe, I love using Bull’s Eye or Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce, and I brush it on while the chicken is on the grill. Any of your favorite sauces will do, but those two brands are my favorite.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 845kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 40gFat: 44gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 1646mgPotassium: 1246mgFiber: 10gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 7169IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 287mgIron: 4mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I didn’t wait until summer to have a bowl of this deliciousness. When our warm spell came through I was right out there at the grill cookin’ me some chicken. Tossing it on the salad with yummy black beans and corn was just right for a light dinner. We didn’t try the dressing here but I’m sure it’s as out of this world as the chicken.

    1. Hmmmmmmmm that is a good question because the dressing for this is soooooo good, no store-bought would do it justice. I know Litehouse has some good dressings ( I think they have a chipotle one that is ok ) maybe try one of those if you must go for store-bought?

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight! Love the dressing, but I think I will back off the cilantro next time. Maybe just one T. But so yummy!

    Thanks!!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and loved it! A new recipe to add to our dinner rotation. Thanks for sharing!

    1. @Mel– Thanks for the awesome dressing recipe! I can’t get enough of your food blog. I am definitely one of your stalkers 🙂