Our BBQ Chicken Salad is crisp, refreshing, and loaded with all your favorite barbecue fixin’s. Even better, this bbq chicken salad recipe takes just 25 minutes to throw together and feeds a crowd!
BBQ Chicken Salad
Do you love barbecue sauce so much you could almost drink it? Me too!
I just can’t get enough of it, especially when it’s slathered over a juicy and tender piece of grilled meat.
While a barbecue meal isn’t always the healthiest, you can rest assured that this BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad is.
Loaded with veggies, lean protein, and plenty of greens, it’s satisfying and refreshing at the same time — perfect for summer!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Chicken – Boneless, skinless breasts are preferred, but tenderloins will also do the trick. Just be sure you use the same amount by weight.
- Lettuce – Romaine is the best choice for bbq ranch chicken salad. It’s nice and crunchy, plus sturdy enough to hold up under all of the toppings.
- Black Beans – These add extra protein and fiber and help bulk up the dish. Kidney beans or chickpeas are good alternatives.
- Corn – If you can get your hands on fresh cobs, toss them in the smoker or air fryer before slicing off the kernels.
Otherwise, canned is just fine — or frozen, if you thaw and cook the kernels first.
- BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite or try my simple homemade recipe. I also have a Double Kick sauce made with Jack Daniels that’s extra smoky!
Tips for Making Barbecue Chicken Salad
- Clean lettuce properly. To keep it nice and crisp, soak chopped Romaine in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain and dry in a salad spinner.
- Add extra crunch. Crush tortilla chips or Doritos into bite-sized pieces and mix them into this barbecue chicken salad!
- Meal prep tip: Cook the bacon and chicken ahead of time while you chop up all the veggies.
Store in separate containers in the fridge, then dump it all together in a bowl.
You can also BBQ chicken for salad a day or two ahead of time if you’ll already be at the grill. Let it rest, then slice and refrigerate before adding to salad with ranch.
Storing Leftover Salad with Ranch
If you know you’ll have leftovers, store this bbq chicken salad without the dressing. You may also want to add the avocado as needed so it doesn’t turn brown.
Barbecue chicken salad will keep for up to 2 in the refrigerator. After that, the lettuce will wilt and become soggy.
Toss leftover salad with ranch just before digging in and top with fresh avocado.
BBQ Chicken Salad Recipe FAQ
You bet! Cheddar is always a great choice, but Monterey Jack or Colby would also go well with the other flavors in the bbq chicken salad recipe.
For a salty bite, try crumbled feta or Cotija cheese instead.
The better question is what vegetables don’t go well with ranch! Carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, broccoli… the list goes on and on.
For a Southwestern flair, this bbq chicken salad recipe has tomatoes, corn, red onion, and avocado.
It’s a good blend of crunchy and creamy textures that also taste great in salad with ranch and bbq sauce.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Salad Recipes
BBQ Chicken Salad
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, 1 inch thick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
- 15 ounce can corn, drained
- 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 avocados
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- Lite Ranch Dressing
- Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove drippings from pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan.
- Mix together paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over both sides of chicken breasts.
- Cook chicken in the skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, flip, brush with half of the barbecue sauce and cook another 5-6 minutes until chicken is done (165 degrees F).
- Remove from pan and brush the remaining barbecue sauce on the bottom side. Cool for 10 minutes and then slice.
- Assemble salad with lettuce, corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, onion, chicken, and bacon. Add the desired amount of ranch dressing, toss, and serve.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published February 2018, updated and republished July 2023
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