BBQ Chicken Salad


See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.


This BBQ Chicken Salad is packed with flavor! Seasoned grilled chicken, black beans, corn and avocado are tossed in a tangy cilantro-lime dressing and drizzled with BBQ sauce. Shredded cheese and tortilla strips are the perfect finishing touch!

grilled chicken salad drizzled with bbq sauce and cilantro lime dressing

I love making a big salad for dinner in the summer! This BBQ chicken salad is one of our favorite salad recipes, along with this Salmon Salad, this easy Taco Salad and this zesty Italian Salad.

This BBQ chicken salad is light enough to enjoy on a hot day, yet filling enough to leave you satisfied. It’s loaded with toppings so that each bite is full of flavor! 

lettuce, grilled chicken and other salad ingredients in large bowl

I’ve seasoned the chicken for this salad with a simple spice blend. My Grilled Chicken Recipe,  Baked Chicken Breast or chicken marinated in my easy chicken marinade would be delicious in this salad. This recipe is a great way to use leftover chicken from Instant Pot BBQ Chicken or Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken. If you’re really short on time, you can use a rotisserie chicken.

There’s no need to heat up your house by turning on the oven when a big salad is on the menu! 

BBQ Chicken Salad Ingredients

Here’s an overview of the ingredients needed for this salad. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.

ingredients for bbq chicken salad recipe

  • Grilled Chicken: The recipe card below includes directions for how to season and grill the chicken. Or, use rotisserie chicken or your favorite method for cooking chicken.
  • Cilantro-Lime Dressing: The tangy dressing is made with cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt, honey, salt and pepper. 
  • Romaine Lettuce: I love the crunch of crisp romaine lettuce in this salad, but you can use your salad greens of choice.
  • Black Beans: Rinse and drain canned black beans well.
  • Corn: I use canned corn for ease. You can also cook corn on the cob in the Instant Pot or on the grill.
  • Tomatoes: Choose cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or whole chopped tomatoes.
  • Red Onion: Slice the onion thinly, or chop it if desired. 
  • Avocado: Creamy, rich avocado makes any salad better!
  • Shredded Cheese: I love Colby jack in this salad. Shredded cheddar, Monterey jack, Mexican blend shredded cheese, or even crumbled Cotija cheese would also be delicious in this salad recipe.
  • Tortilla Strips: If you don’t have tortilla strips you can crumble up some tortilla chips. For a healthier salad, you can leave out the tortilla strips.
  • BBQ Sauce: Try my homemade BBQ sauce or use your favorite store bought barbecue sauce.

How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad

  1. Season and grill the chicken.
  2. Make the cilantro-lime salad dressing by pulsing the ingredients together in a food processor. ingredients for cilantro lime dressing in food processorcilantro lime dressing in food processor
  3. Toss the lettuce with about half of the dressing.
  4. Top salad with black beans, corn, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, cheese and chicken. 
  5. Drizzle salads with more of the cilantro-lime dressing. spooning cilantro lime dressing onto salad
  6. Top with tortilla strips and drizzle with BBQ sauce.

Then enjoy one of the most mouthwatering dinner salads you’ve ever tasted. This grilled chicken salad recipe is going to be on repeat in our meal rotation all summer long! See more delicious easy dinner ideas.

bbq chicken salad in a bowl with bbq sauce and tortilla strips on the side

Recipe Variations

This is a recipe that you can really make your own, depending on your tastes and what you have on hand. If you don’t care for one of the ingredients, leave it out! Add in your favorites. Here are a few ideas for variations on this BBQ chicken salad:

  • Try Ranch Dressing instead of the cilantro-lime dressing.
  • Add in other veggies. Try crisp radishes, cucumber, bell peppers, or thinly sliced carrots.
  • Substitute chopped green onion for the red onion.
  • Garnish the salads with chopped fresh cilantro for even more flavor.

More Summer Salad Recipes:

close up of bbq chicken salad on a plate

BBQ Chicken Salad

close up of bbq chicken salad on a plate
Print Pin
4 from 1 vote
This BBQ Chicken Salad is one of our favorite dinner salads! It's tossed in a tangy cilantro-lime dressing and drizzled with BBQ sauce. Shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips are a perfect finishing touch!
Course Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq chicken salad, summer salad
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 478kcal

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper

For the cilantro-lime dressing:

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

For the salads:

  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup canned corn (drained)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • ½ small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 avocado (chopped or sliced)
  • ½ cup shredded colby jack cheese (or cheddar)
  • ½ cup tortilla strips ( or crumbled tortilla chips)
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce (for drizzling)

Instructions 

Grill the chicken:

  • Pat chicken breasts dry using paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Rub over all sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, turning once halfway through, about 5-10 minutes per side. Set chicken on a clean plate to rest for at least 10 minutes and then slice.

Make the cilantro-lime dressing:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until cilantro is finely chopped and everything is well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Assemble the salads:

  • Place lettuce in a large bowl or 4 individual serving bowls and toss with about half of the dressing.
  • Top lettuce with black beans, corn, tomato, red onion, avocado, cheese and chicken. Drizzle each salad with a little more of the cilantro-lime dressing. Top with tortilla strips and then drizzle lightly with BBQ sauce. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If desired, ranch dressing can be used instead of the cilantro-lime dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 recipe | Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 755mg | Potassium: 1087mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 9133IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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