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This copycat Chili’s Buffalo Chicken salad is a zesty and satisfying dish that combines spicy buffalo chicken with crisp greens, pico de gallo, blue cheese, bacon, crunchy tortilla strips, and topped with a creamy dressing.
A medley of textures and flavors that will have you craving this salad all day long! For other buffalo recipes, we love these boneless buffalo wings, this party favorite buffalo chicken dip, and easy buffalo chicken pizza.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
A Buffalo Chicken Salad is a spicy and tangy dish that combines juicy chicken breast coated in a zesty buffalo sauce with crisp greens, crunchy vegetables, and creamy dressing.
The heat from the sauce is balanced out by the coolness of the greens and dressing, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal. This Buffalo Chicken Salad is perfect for lunch or dinner.
The addition of crumbled blue cheese or ranch dressing adds a rich and savory element to the dish, making it a favorite among salad lovers and buffalo chicken fans alike.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Chili’s Copycat – Make this restaurant favorite at home.
- Filling Salad – This is a salad that fits the bill for a filling dinner!
- Crispy Chicken – You get a thick and crispy coating by dredging the chicken in flour twice.
- Bold Flavor – This recipe combines the bold and spicy flavors of crispy buffalo chicken with fresh vegetables, creating a satisfying and flavorful dish.
- Flavor Balance – The creamy dressing and blue cheese also add a touch of richness and balance out the heat from the buffalo sauce.
- Nutritious and Delicious – The salad is high in protein and fiber, making it a filling and nutritious option for a meal or a snack.
Buffalo Chicken Salad Ingredients
All of the ingredients can be found at almost any grocery store! If you want to save time, buy store-bought pico de gallo instead of making your own.
- Chicken Breasts – Thinly sliced or pounded thin.
- All-Purpose Flour – For dredging the chicken and making the outsides crispy.
- Spices – Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika are added to the dredging flour.
- Eggs – For coating the chicken prior to frying.
- Oil for Frying – Such as vegetable or peanut oil
- Buffalo Sauce – Use your favorite bottled buffalo sauce here, or you can make your own with butter, hot sauce, and garlic.
- Pico de Gallo – Tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, minced garlic, and salt.
- Chopped Romaine Lettuce – Or other lettuce of choice.
- Salad Toppings – Blue Cheese Crumbles, Cooked and Crumbled Bacon, Shredded Carrots (you can buy pre-shredded carrots or grate them yourself), and Tortilla Chips
- Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing – For great flavor, try a homemade ranch dressing.
How To Make This Buffalo Chicken Salad Recipe
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Step 1: Pico De Gallo – Toss the pico ingredients in a bowl and set aside. This is optional but adds lots of flavor to the salad.
Step 2: Bread Chicken – Set up your breading stations by mixing together the flour and seasonings in a shallow bowl and the beaten eggs in another. Dredge the chicken in the flour then in the egg mixture and back in the flour one more time. Doing two coats of the flour gives the chicken a crunchy coating.
Step 3: Cook Chicken – Heat up a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add ½ inch of oil. When the oil is hot, fry the breaded chicken in batches. Flip the chicken occasionally until it is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165℉. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and rest for 2-3 minutes.
Step 4: Toss With Buffalo Sauce – In a large bowl, toss the chicken with as much buffalo sauce as you like.
Step 5: Assemble Salads – Fill the center of your plates with a mound of lettuce and top each with some of the blue cheese, bacon, pico, carrots, and tortilla strips. Cut the buffalo chicken into slices and place on top of the salads. Serve with your favorite dressing and enjoy!
The ‘Buffalo’ in Buffalo Chicken comes from its origin! The spicy sauce originated in Buffalo, New York.
While both Hot Chicken and Buffalo Chicken have spice, they have a different texture on the outside. Buffalo Chicken is coated in a wet, buffalo sauce. Nashville hot chicken is marinated in seasoning and then fried and given spice from cayenne pepper.
Buffalo sauce does have a kick, but it’s not too intense. It’s less spicy than regular hot sauce. Buffalo sauce is made by mixing hot sauce with melted butter or oil which helps bring down the spice level.
- Spicy – For extra spicy tenders, you can add up to ¼ cup of buffalo sauce to the eggs when breading the tenders.
- Other Lettuce – Feel free to use iceberg, romaine or butter lettuce, or spring mix.
- Shortcut – For a super quick version of this salad you can use your favorite store-bought frozen chicken tenders and bake or air fry according to package directions.
- Other Cheese – If you don’t like blue cheese, shredded sharp cheddar or Mexican-style shredded cheese could also be a nice substitute for the blue cheese in this salad.
This salad is best enjoyed when fresh, but the ingredients can be stored separately in containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat chicken in 425℉ oven on a baking rack until hot and crispy. Toss the chicken in the sauce when ready to eat so that they don’t become too soggy in the fridge.
- Chicken Tenderloins vs Chicken Breasts – Chicken tenderloins can be used instead of the thin sliced chicken breast. You can also slice whole chicken breasts horizontally to create thin filets, or simply pound whole breasts to ¼” thin between two sheets of plastic wrap.
- Frying Oil – Vegetable, canola or peanut oil would be the best for frying the chicken, as these have a high smoke point and will not degrade when frying. Do not use olive oil.
- Add Onion to Ice Water – To take the bite out of the onion and garlic for the pico: place minced garlic and onion in a small bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, drain, and combine with other pico ingredients.
More Chicken Recipes
- Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Ramen Chinese Chicken Salad
- Easy Chicken Salad Recipe
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Panera Green Goddess Salad with Chicken
Buffalo Chicken Salad
For chicken tenders
- 1 pound thin sliced chicken breast
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 eggs beaten
- Oil for frying
- 1 bottle buffalo sauce
For the pico de gallo
- 4 roma tomatoes cored, seeded and diced small
- 1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 red onion finely diced
- 3 tablespoons cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
For the salad
- 4 cups chopped romaine or lettuce of choice
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
- 8 bacon slices cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 bag tortilla strips
- Favorite ranch or blue cheese dressing
- Make your pico by combining all of the pico ingredients into a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- In shallow dish or gallon zip top bag, mix together the flour and dry seasonings. In a separate dish, place the beaten eggs. Place the chicken breasts in the flour, and press to coat. Transfer the chicken to the egg mixture, coating them and then place them back in the flour mixture one more time, pressing flour into chicken. This will give you a nice crunchy coating.
- In a large heavy skillet over medium to med-high heat, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan in ½ inch of oil. Once the oil is hot, fry chicken breast, working in batches so that you don't overcrowd the pan, flipping occasionally until all sides are golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165℉. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and rest for 2-3 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss the chicken with as much buffalo sauce as you like. I start with ½ cup, and add more if needed.
- To assemble the salads, fill the center of your plates with a mound of lettuce and top each with ¼ of the blue cheese, bacon, pico, carrots and tortilla strips. Cut the buffalo chicken into slices and place on top of the salads. Serve with your favorite ranch or blue cheese dressing.