This loaded BBQ Chicken Salad is quick, easy, and so satisfying! It's drizzled with a creamy, thick homemade ranch dressing that's a healthier version of classic ranch and uses Greek yogurt as the base.
About The Recipe
It doesn't get any easier — or tastier — than this BBQ chicken salad. Simply cook your chicken (or use a rotisserie chicken), cut or shred it and then toss it with BBQ sauce and add it to your salad.
This salad is loaded with fresh ingredients that you can mix and match to fit your own tastes. Most of the veggies are Southwest-inspired: corn, beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, avocado & more.
Healthy Ranch Dressing
The ranch dressing is what makes this salad truly crave-worthy... It's a healthier version of classic ranch dressing, but you won't taste the difference! It's thick, creamy, and full of herby flavor.
Dinner, Meal Prep, or Party
This salad is a must-have recipe for your kitchen: it can be a quick weeknight dinner, meal prep for your week, or an impressive dish to bring to a get together or barbecue.
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe:
For the salad:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Barbecue sauce
- Romaine lettuce
- Cherry tomatoes
- Canned corn
- Canned black beans
- Bell pepper
- Red onion
For the Ranch Dressing:
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried parsley
- Dried dill
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until cooked.
The chicken should be cooked through, no longer pink in the middle and have an internal temperature of 165°F.
TIP: to save time, buy a rotisserie chicken and skip cooking your own.
Step 2: While the chicken cooks, mix your dressing. Add all of the ingredients except for the water to a small bowl and stir. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water (or more), until the dressing reaches your desired thickness.
Step 3: Remove the chicken from the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes and then cut it into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken in the barbecue sauce until coated.
TIP: for this recipe you can slice, cube, or shred your chicken as long as it's bite-sized!
Step 4: Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss to mix.
Step 5: Serve immediately. If preparing the salad ahead of time, wait to mix in the dressing just before serving.
Chicken: you can use chicken breasts or chicken thighs. If you use chicken thighs, be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly. You can also use shredded rotisserie chicken to save time.
Barbecue sauce: I find that this recipe tastes best with a sweet, dark BBQ sauce (like Sweet Baby Ray's®).
Lettuce: this recipe calls for romaine lettuce; but you can swap this out for any lettuce (like a spring green mix, spinach, etc).
Ranch Dressing: the recipe includes a simple homemade ranch dressing. You can substitute your favorite store bought version or a different flavor of dressing — creamy dressings work best (like creamy cilantro lime, creamy avocado, etc).
About The Dressing
This salad includes a recipe for a simple, creamy homemade ranch dressing. The dressing is a 'lightened up' version of classic ranch because it uses Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk and mayonnaise.
Even though the dressing is a healthier take on ranch you won't taste the difference! It's still deliciously creamy, herby, and flavorful.
Using Dried Herbs
The dressing also opts for using all dry herbs instead of fresh herbs. This makes it easy to keep all of the dressing ingredients on hand and make it whenever you crave it (no food processor or blender needed).
Plus it's so easy to make — once you've tried making homemade ranch you'll want to make it this way every time!
For this recipe, you'll cook the chicken in the oven before adding it to your salad. You'll want a good quality baking sheet to cook the chicken on.
Here's my go to brand and size for baking sheets (these have held up well over the years): Favorite Baking Sheets.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. This recipe will stay good for 1 - 2 days because the avocados tend to brown quickly.
For best results, store the dressing in a separate container and toss just before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, absolutely! If you want to grill your chicken, here's a quick recipe for how to grill BBQ chicken: Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts.
This recipe is satisfying enough to be a main course (serves about 4 - 5 people) but can also be a side dish (for about 6 - 8 people).
You could serve it with a side of crusty bread, or as part of a big BBQ meal with classics like hot dogs/hamburgers, grilled meat, macaroni salad, etc.
Yes, you can make this salad ahead of time. Wait to add the dressing until you're ready to serve it. And if you can, slice the avocado just before serving as well (otherwise it will go brown).
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment at the bottom of this page. And if you share a photo on social media, I'd love to see it! You can tag me on: Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.Print