Fresh, healthy, and zesty, this loaded Buffalo Chicken Salad packed with fresh greens, bright veggies, and zesty buffalo chicken checks all of the boxes for a nutritious and flavor-packed meal.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Make this Buffalo Chicken Salad that's packed with equal parts healthy and delicious for a simple but amazing lunch or dinner. Perfectly seasoned chicken breast pieces tossed in buffalo sauce are nestled over a crunchy, creamy, and tangy salad.
This salad is packed with fresh greens and veggies, such as carrots, corn, red onion, and avocado, as well as some ingredients that just make it delicious and fun to eat, such as cheese, tortilla chips, and juicy buffalo chicken.
Do I Have to Use Romaine Lettuce?
Nope, you can use Iceberg or Spring Mix, or even throw some spinach or finely chopped kale in there. Whatever greens you have will work.
Can I Grill the Chicken?
Absolutely. Grill chicken breasts whole over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes per side (A fully cooked chicken breast will reach an internal temperature of 165°F.) Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and tossing in buffalo sauce.
Can I Use Pre-Cooked Chicken?
Yes! For a time saver, you can use grilled chicken strips you find in the deli or freezer section at your grocery store, or even chopped rotisserie chicken.
What Else Can I Add to My Buffalo Chicken Salad?
Salads are the best because they're so customizable. You can add or get rid of basically anything! Try these ideas to change things up:
- Cheese: You can add your favorite cheese to the mix or substitute one of the ones called for in the recipe. Mozzarella, Gouda, goat cheese, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or Pepper Jack would all work great in this salad.
- Jalapenos: Add some fresh or pickled jalapenos for even more heat.
- Dressing: The recipe calls for ranch, but you can also use blue cheese dressing, if you prefer.
- Seeds or Nuts: Add some sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, or chopped cashews for extra crunch, healthy fats, and protein.
- Hard Boiled Egg: Another great and easy protein addition.
- Other Veggies: Extra veggies are always welcome. Bell pepper, tomato, radishes, peas, cucumber, celery, and beets are all easy, fresh adds.
More Salad Recipes You'll Love
- Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad - A similar, but less spicy, salad. We usually make this version for the kids and save the buffalo chicken salad for the grown-ups.
- Creamy Southern Coleslaw - Classic cabbage-based slaw in a creamy, tangy dressing.
- Easy Homemade Fruit Salad - This fruit salad is simple and healthy with minimal ingredients and added sugar.
- Jicama Slaw - A fresh sweet and tangy slaw that's easy to make and packed with Mexican inspired flavors like chili and cilantro.
- Pizza Pasta Salad - This family favorite pasta salad packed with all your favorite pizza toppings and then some is delicious on its own or served over a bed of greens.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1-1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts) cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt & pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup cayenne pepper hot sauce such as Frank's Red Hot
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Tabasco to taste
For the Salad
- 2-3 Romaine hearts washed and chopped
- 1 avocado sliced
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup whole kernel corn (if frozen, thawed)
- ½ red onion thinly sliced (and soaked in cold water)
- 16 cherry tomatoes sliced or quartered
- ½ cup tortilla strips (or crushed tortilla chips)
- ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar
- ½ cup Ranch dressing
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
- Season chicken breast with salt and pepper, and add to skillet with oil. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain chicken from excess liquid.
- Add butter to the same skillet. Allow to melt over medium heat.
- Add cayenne pepper hot sauce, garlic powder, and chicken back in. Stir to combine, and allow to heat through. Add a couple dashes of Tabasco until sauce reaches your desired level of heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
- To assemble: Add lettuce and all remaining ingredients evenly into 4 separate bowls. Add chicken on top. Drizzle extra buffalo sauce and dressing onto salad.
- Serve immediately.
- This recipe is naturally gluten free.
- For crispy chicken, bake some tenders before tossing in buffalo sauce.
- Use rotisserie chicken as a time saver instead of cooking your own.
- Red onion: to lessen the onion-y bite, soak in a bowl of water before adding to the salad.
- Grilling Instructions: Grill chicken breasts whole over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes per side (A fully cooked chicken breast will reach an internal temperature of 165°F.) Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and tossing in buffalo sauce.
- Make Ahead Directions: All ingredients can be prepped up to 5 days in advance. Store ingredients separately, especially cheeses and dressing, to prevent lettuce and other veggies from getting soggy.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator. How long it will last depends on if you added dressing, cheese, or other wet ingredients. If possible, store these wet ingredients separately to allow the salad to last up to 3-5 days.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in May 2015. It was updated with new pictures, tips, and video and republished in January 2022.
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