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BBQ Chicken Salad

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Savor the smoky and tangy flavors of a BBQ Chicken Salad with tender grilled chicken, crisp lettuce, sweet corn, creamy avocado, and juicy cherry tomatoes drizzled with a tangy barbecue ranch dressing.

BBQ Chicken Salad drizzled with ranch dressing in a large white serving bowl.

The Best BBQ Chicken Salad Recipe

To me there isn’t a dish more satisfying and delicious when the weather is warm than a hearty salad. It’s fresh and healthy, makes the most of summer produce, and it’s a quick and easy meal that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. We have a few favorite main dish salads that we rotate through (occasionally throwing a new one in here and there) but this BBQ Chicken Salad is a bonafide favorite.

For starters, the smoky, grilled BBQ chicken just screams summer. You can throw it on practically anything and it will taste delicious, but it definitely takes center stage in this salad. Secondly, it’s loaded with delicious, nutrition-packed ingredients. Last, but most certainly not least.. it’s easy and downright delicious. The BBQ ranch dressing is simple and so flavorful. Trust me, this is one salad that you will turn to again and again.

An overhead shot of salad topped with corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion, avocado, and grilled bbq chicken.

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make BBQ Chicken Salad:

  • Romaine Lettuce– Hearty, crispy romaine lettuce is perfect for this salad.
  • Cherry Tomatoes– We like to use cherry tomatoes, but you can also use diced roma tomatoes.
  • Corn– Fresh, frozen or canned. We used frozen corn.
  • Black Beans– One can, rinsed and drained.
  • Red Onion– We love the color and spicy bite of red onion. Green onions or french fried onions are also delicious.
  • Avocado– Creamy and so delicious.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese– Mild and creamy monterey jack cheese is yummy here. We have also used pepper jack and cheddar.
  • Ranch Dressing– We used our homemade ranch dressing.
  • BBQ Sauce– Make sure you use a brand you’ve tried and loved! We like Sweet Baby Ray’s.

BBQ Chicken

  • Chicken Breasts– We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Olive Oil– Any neutral flavored oil will work here.
  • Paprika– Adds an additional smoky flavor.
  • Cool Water & Sea Salt– To make the brine.
  • BBQ Sauce– Again, just. make sure to use a brand you love, as this will be the prevalent flavor.
Chicken Salad topped with fresh corn, black beans, tomatoes and avocado drizzled with a bbq ranch dressing.

How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad:

  1. Grill the chicken. We used our favorite BBQ Chicken Breast recipe. You can also use rotisserie chicken tossed in BBQ sauce if you’re short on time!
  2. Make the dressing. This might be the world’s simplest dressing. Simply whisk together BBQ sauce and ranch dressing. We almost always have our homemade ranch dressing on hand, so that is what we used here. Add a couple tablespoons of bbq sauce and whisk to combine. Taste and add more if desired.
  3. Prep the other ingredients. Slice the avocado and tomatoes, dice the red onion, wash and tear the lettuce, shred the cheese, and drain the black beans.
  4. Build your salad. Arrange all of the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Slice the BBQ chicken, add to the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.
A refreshing bbq chicken salad topped with fresh vegetables, chicken, and mozzarella cheese drizzled with ranch dressing.

Tips & Suggestions:

BBQ Chicken Salad Wrap

This salad makes an incredibly delicious (and portable!) wrap! Using large tortillas, add a little lettuce, sliced chicken, and whatever topping ingredients you like. Drizzle with dressing and wrap up tightly.

BBQ Chicken Salad Meal Prep

When going to all the work to make a meal, it’s such a great idea to prep extra ingredients for future meals throughout the week. It only takes a few extra minutes, but saves lots of time later on. Store the ingredients separately so they stay fresh until you are ready to serve. All you’ll have to do is assemble!


  • Replace the red onion with french fried onions.
  • Top with crushed tortilla chips.
  • Replace the sliced avocado with a scoop of guacamole.
  • Throw corn on the cob onto the grill while you are cooking the chicken. Cut the kernels off the cob and add them to the salad for another delicious layer of smoky flavor.
  • Add spinach to your greens.

What should I serve with BBQ Chicken Salad?

This hearty salad makes a great meal all on its own, but I often serve it with one of these:

BBQ Chicken salad with grilled chicken, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, and drizzled with a bbq ranch dressing in a white and blue serving bowl.

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BBQ Chicken Salad

Savor the smoky and tangy flavors of a BBQ Chicken Salad with tender grilled chicken, crisp lettuce, sweet corn, creamy avocado, juicy cherry tomatoes drizzled with a tangy barbecue ranch dressing.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 286kcal


BBQ Chicken


  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 medium avocado sliced
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels drained
  • 1 cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese shredded
  • tortilla chips for serving


  • 1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce


For the Chicken

  • Brine chicken breasts. This helps the chicken absorb moisture so that they don't dry out on the grill. The chicken won't get salty because the brine time isn't very long, but the flavor and moisture level will be amazing!
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of cool water with sea salt until the salt is dissolved. Add your chicken breasts to the water, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is brining, heat your grill to medium heat. Brush the grates with a little olive oil before placing the chicken on it.Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the chicken with olive oil and season with paprika on both sides.
  • Place chicken on the hot grill, and baste the top side with BBQ sauce. Let it cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes. Flip the chicken over and move it to a cooler side of the grill. Baste the other side with BBQ sauce. Cover the grill and let them them finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165℉. Remove from the grill and brush with a final coat of BBQ sauce. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

For the Salad

  • In a large serving bowl, combine chopped romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, corn, black beans, red onion, and shredded cheese. Toss to combine. Layer with BBQ chicken slices.

For the Dressing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together ranch and BBQ sauce. Drizzle the salad with dressing and toss to coat, or serve the dressing on the side. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 847mg | Potassium: 656mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4382IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword : BBQ Chicken Salad


Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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