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Whip up this grilled BBQ chicken salad with festive, tasty ingredients like tortilla strips, juicy grilled chicken, jalapenos, black beans, silky avocado, cheese, and more, all coated in a tasty dressing. This delicious BBQ chicken salad is perfect as a wholesome lunch or as part of a spread at your next gathering. If you love the California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) or Panera BBQ chicken salad, you’ve got to make it at home.

A grilled BBQ chicken salad with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion, corn, and tortilla strips is arranged on a plate with dressing, condiments, and seasonings in the background.

A creamy, perfectly tasty grilled BBQ chicken salad full of great textures, colors, and flavors that are perfect for spring and summer.

Checking out new chicken salad recipes? Don’t miss this Chinese chicken salad, plus this chopped chicken blue cheese salad is always a hit. Another must-try chicken recipe is this strawberry fields salad.

A grilled chicken salad topped with cherry tomatoes, red onions, avocado slices, jalapeños, cheese, and tortilla strips, surrounded by additional toppings and seasonings on a white table.

Why You’ll Love It

Restaurant favorite: Make your very own BBQ chicken salad at home. There’s nothing better. It’s also easy to customize depending on what’s in your fridge.
Scale it up to a build-your-own: Create a buffet with all the lettuce, chicken, and toppings. Everyone can help themselves.
Leftovers: If you happen to have leftover grilled BBQ chicken in the fridge, this is a great recipe for it.
It’s so easy: Once the chicken is cooked and cooled and the salad ingredients are ready, all that is left to do is combine everything.

A white plate filled with a grilled BBQ style chicken salad. A small bowl of barbecue sauce with a brush sits beside the plate on a white surface.

Ingredients For Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts are great for grilling. Use leftover rotisserie chicken and dress it in a little barbecue sauce.
BBQ sauce: Use any BBQ sauce you like – whichever brand you’d usually reach for.
Monterey Jack cheese: Shredded cheese is distributed easily through the other salad ingredients.
Corn: Fresh, canned, or frozen corn can all work. What’s important is that it’s cooked before adding it to the salad.
Canned black beans: These add extra protein and body to the salad.
Bacon: Adding cooked and diced bacon to the BBQ salad adds a salty, smoky flavor. Smoked turkey is delicious, too.
Avocado: Avocado is the perfect creamy ingredient to contrast the other salad ingredients.
Tortilla strips: For texture and as a fun layer of tortilla chips or slices in this BBQ chicken salad. Crushed tortilla chips are great, too.
Jalapeno slices: These are optional, but add the most incredible zing.
Ranch dressing: Use a store-bought variety or a homemade ranch dressing recipe in this hearty salad.

Ingredients for a grilled BBQ chicken salad arranged on a white surface, including tender chicken breasts, crisp lettuce, juicy cherry tomatoes, creamy avocado, beans, cheese, smoky bacon, spicy jalapeno, sweet corn, sharp red onions, tangy dressing, olive oil and seasoning.

How To Make Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Prepare the chicken: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Drizzle oil over the chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook the chicken: Heat a grill pan and brush with oil. Add the chicken and grill it on one side. Flip and continue cooking until done. Brush BBQ sauce on the chicken, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients and combine: In a large serving bowl or platter, combine the romaine, tomatoes, cheese, corn, beans, red onion, bacon, avocado slices, and sliced chicken.
Dress the salad and serve: Toss the salad ingredients in ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. Serve topped with tortilla strips, cilantro, and jalapeno.

A grill pan with three pieces of grilled BBQ chicken breast, surrounded by bowls of lettuce, shredded cheese, sliced red onions, tortilla strips, barbecue sauce, and a brush on a marble countertop.

Substitutions and Variations

Garnishes: Try French fried onions, hard-boiled eggs, green onions, lime wedges, or jicama.
Protein swaps: Grilled salmon or shrimp would be delicious with BBQ sauce instead of chicken.
Vegetarian: Roasted chickpeas or tofu would work as a vegetarian option. Skip the bacon in this case, or use a veggie alternative.
More vegetables: Add in cabbage, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, broccoli slaw, iceberg, or leaf lettuce.

A plate of grilled chicken salad that sits accompanied by two pepper mills and a small bowl of dressing on a white surface.

Serving Suggestions

Appetizer: Serve this grilled BBQ chicken salad as the perfect start to a light summer meal.
Main: Try cowboy sliders as a fun, casual main or this American chop suey. Baked creamy spaghetti is another easy, kind of dreamy main to follow grilled BBQ chicken salad.
Dessert: How delicious does a platter of orange bars sound? A slice of this coffee cake is another deluxe dessert to end with.

A plate with a Chicken Salad topped with barbecue sauce.

How to Store Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad

Store: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you plan to meal-prep this recipe, don’t dress the salad until it’s ready to be served.
Freeze: This grilled BBQ chicken salad recipe is not suitable for freezing.

A fresh BBQ chicken salad in a large bowl. A dish of barbecue sauce with a brush is placed in the foreground.

Top Tips

Use a meat thermometer: To make sure the chicken is cooked through but still juicy, use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast to get an accurate reading. Chicken cooking times will vary depending on thickness.
Let the chicken rest: Allow the grilled chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing or chopping it for the salad. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, producing a juicier and more flavorful chicken.
Choose fresh, crisp greens: Use fresh and crisp greens rather than softer greens for the base. Avoid wilted or soggy greens.
Properly season the chicken: Before grilling, generously season the chicken with your favorite BBQ seasoning or marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to enhance its flavor if you have the time.

A dinner salad topped with cherry tomatoes, red onion slices, and tortilla strips. Nearby are bowls with extra ingredients, a sauce brush with barbecue sauce, and two wooden pepper grinders.

Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad FAQs

Can I use pre-cooked chicken for this salad?

Yes, you can use pre-cooked chicken for this salad if you’re short on time. Simply shred or slice the cooked chicken and toss it with your favorite BBQ sauce before adding it to the salad.

What can I use as a substitute for BBQ sauce?

If you don’t have BBQ sauce on hand or prefer a different flavor, you can use other sauces like teriyaki sauce, honey mustard, or buffalo sauce for a unique twist on the grilled chicken.

How do I prevent the salad from becoming soggy?

To prevent the salad from becoming soggy, dress it just before serving. Keep the dressing on the side and allow each person to dress their portion individually. Additionally, ensure that the grilled ingredients are cooled before adding them to the salad.

A brush is spreading barbecue sauce on grilled chicken pieces over a mixed salad with lettuce, jalapeños, cherry tomatoes, corn, beans, and red onions.

Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad Recipe

5 from 3 votes

Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad

By: Bella Bucchiotti
A creamy, perfectly tasty grilled BBQ chicken salad full of great textures, colors, and flavors that are perfect for spring and summer.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ Cup BBQ sauce
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 Cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ Cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ Cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • ¼ Cup corn kernels, cooked
  • ¼ Cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red onion, small, sliced
  • 5 Slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • tortilla strips, for serving
  • cilantro, fresh chopped, for serving
  • ranch dressing, for serving, optional
  • jalapeno, sliced, for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Drizzle ½ tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken and season both sides with salt, and pepper.
  • Heat grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Add chicken and grill for 6 to 8 minutes on one side.
  • Flip and continue cooking for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Brush BBQ sauce on the chicken, cover and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • In a large serving bowl or platter, combine the romaine, tomatoes, cheese, corn, beans, red onion, bacon, avocado slices, and sliced chicken.
  • Drizzle the salad with ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.
  • Serve immediately, topped with tortilla strips, cilantro, and jalapenos.

Notes

Use a meat thermometer: To make sure the chicken is cooked through but still juicy, use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast to get an accurate reading. Chicken cooking times will vary depending on thickness.
Let the chicken rest: Allow the grilled chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing or chopping it for the salad. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, producing a juicier and more flavorful chicken.
Choose fresh, crisp greens: Use fresh and crisp greens rather than softer greens for the base. Avoid wilted or soggy greens.
Properly season the chicken: Before grilling, generously season the chicken with your favorite BBQ seasoning or marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to enhance its flavor if you have the time.

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 478mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2197IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Here’s a light, healthy, hearty grilled BBQ chicken salad recipe. The salad includes delicious grilled chicken, creamy avocado, black beans, and other favorites. This summer salad makes a luscious lunch, a side at a cookout, or an easy midweek dinner dish. It is also a fun way to use up leftover grilled chicken.

Other Chicken Recipes To Try

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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