Spicy, flavorful, juicy chicken pairs beautifully with ranch dressing and crunchy veggies in this easy and healthy Buffalo Chicken Salad recipe!
This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Salad is a perfect combination of spicy Buffalo Chicken and a healthy, crisp salad.
With this salad you will get all the flavors of a plate of Buffalo Chicken Wings with ranch, celery, and carrots, but without any deep frying or eating with your fingers!
With a generous drizzle of ranch dressing, you will likely decide that this is the best spicy chicken salad ever!
Cool lettuce and veggies are the perfect contrast to spicy hot chicken in this salad recipe, and you’ll find that it’s super simple to make with boneless chicken thighs.
You can enjoy your favorite burger as a salad too, with my Big Mac Salad Recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to Make – Simple, fresh salad ingredients like romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes come together with buffalo chicken and ranch dressing. There are no fancy ingredients here, and I’ll show you exactly how to make this recipe, step-by-step.
- A Healthier Option – This salad with unbreaded, pan-seared chicken thighs is just as delicious and satisfying as a salad topped with breaded and fried buffalo chicken fingers, or a plate of fried buffalo chicken wings, but with less fat and fewer carbs.
- Easily Adjustable – Feel free to use this method to make a buffalo chicken salad with other veggies or toppings that suit your preferences. My Crispy Buffalo Shrimp make a delicious topping for a Buffalo salad as well!
Here’s what you need to make Buffalo Chicken Thighs:
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs: 2 pounds of this inexpensive protein source will cook quickly on the stove, or check the recipe card for oven instructions as well.
- Seasonings: A marinade of homemade Buffalo sauce, herbs, and spices gives the chicken the perfect amount of spicy flavor.
Before you get started, mix up a batch of my homemade buffalo sauce! Franks Red Hot, butter, and a bit of honey are all you need.
And these are the ingredients for the chicken buffalo salad:
- Lettuce: I prefer Romaine lettuce for this recipe, but Iceberg or your favorite salad greens can also be used.
- Veggies: Choose your favorite salad vegetables, or go with what I’m using, which is red onion, shredded carrot, diced celery, and halved cherry tomatoes.
- Salad Dressing: My homemade ranch dressing is absolutely perfect for Buffalo Chicken Salad! You can also try this with creamy blue cheese dressing for an authentically Buffalonian experience.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How To Make Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Season the Chicken: Mix the chicken thighs with Buffalo sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or ziptop bag.
- Marinate: Put the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to soak up all of that flavor!
- Cook the Chicken: My preferred method of cooking chicken thighs is in a skillet. Heat yours over medium-high heat, heat some oil, and add the chicken. Cook in batches on both sides until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the pan, drizzle with more Buffalo Sauce, and set aside to rest.
- Make the Salad: To a large bowl, add lettuce and ¼ cup of the dressing and toss gently to combine. Then top with onion, carrot, celery, and tomatoes. Slice the chicken into strips or cut into cubes, then add that to the salad as well. Drizzle with the remaining ranch dressing and serve immediately.
Don’t add dressing to the lettuce until just before serving. If you want to prepare ahead of time, store the chicken, dressing, and vegetables all in separate containers in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, toss everything together!
- For more details on how to make marinated buffalo chicken thighs, see my recipe! You can use this chicken to make a salad, add it to sandwiches, or wraps, or enjoy it as a simple dinner with your favorite sides.
- Instead of ranch, try this salad with my creamy blue cheese dressing instead.
- You can also add crumbly blue cheese to the salad for even more flavor.
- If you like extra spice, add up to 2 tablespoons of buffalo sauce to the ranch dressing.
- Make this salad with chicken breast or chicken tenders. Marinate the chicken as directed, and cook using your favorite method. Cooking time will be different depending on the cut of meat you use, so be sure to use a thermometer to check for doneness.
- To make things super simple, use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. Simply toss the chicken with the marinade before adding it to your salad.
- Chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.
Once dressed, Buffalo chicken salad should be eaten right away. Leftovers can technically be stored for a day or so, but the salad will get soggy with time.
Feel free to cook the chicken and prep the veggies and dressing up to 2 days ahead of time. Store them separately, in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
There’s no need to reheat the chicken when you prepare the salad ahead of time. It’s delicious cold, and I actually think I prefer it that way!
What To Serve With Buffalo Chicken Salad
This spicy chicken salad is already a full meal, with lots of protein and fresh vegetables, but you can serve it with your favorite side dishes too!
Sure, but be sure to look for “wing sauce” rather than just plain hot sauce. Wing sauce has butter or oil added to it so that it’s rich and not so super spicy, right out of the bottle.
If you already have cooked chicken that wasn’t marinated in buffalo sauce, you can just mix it with buffalo sauce instead! Check out how I do this with shredded chicken in my Buffalo Chicken Sliders recipe.
Anything that you like on a salad will work here! Try bell peppers, sweet corn, red onions, homemade croutons, or baby spinach.
Spicy chicken adds so much flavor to this tasty and healthy Buffalo Chicken Salad! Feel free to double the recipe if you’re making this for a party, it’s always the first dish to disappear.
For the chicken
For the Salad
- 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- ½ small red onion sliced thinly about ⅛”
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 3 stalks celery sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 cup ranch dressing divided
To Cook the Chicken:
- In a large bowl or ziptop bag, combine chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Add ½ cup of buffalo sauce to the chicken, and stir to combine. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil and add the chicken. Cook in batches on both sides until the chicken is cooked through, and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C. This should take 10-15 minutes.
- Remove onto a plate, drizzle with the remaining buffalo sauce and set aside to rest before slicing.
- If you prefer to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, and roast on a sheet pan for 20-25 minutes.
To Make the Salad:
- To a large bowl, add lettuce and ¼ cup of the dressing and toss gently to combine.
- Top with onion, carrot, celery, cherry tomatoes. Slice the chicken into strips or chop into cubes, and top the salad with the chicken.
- Drizzle the salad with the remaining ranch dressing and serve immediately.
- Crumbled blue cheese would be delicious on this salad!
- You can also try this with my creamy blue cheese dressing instead of ranch.
- For extra spice, add 2 tablespoons of buffalo sauce to the dressing to make a spicy ranch.
- Instead of chicken thighs, make this salad with chicken breast or tenders. The cooking time may be slightly different for each, so be sure to use a thermometer to check for doneness.
- Other vegetables such as corn, sliced avocado, or cucumbers can be added.
- To Store: Once dressed, Buffalo chicken salad should be eaten right away. You can cook the chicken and prepare the salad ahead of time though. Store them in the fridge, separately, for up to 2 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen