15-Minutes Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe (Zesty And Refreshing)

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This Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors. Aim to combine tender, spicy chicken with crisp lettuce and sweet tomatoes. Remember to add a tangy dressing for extra zing. Homemade croutons add a satisfying crunch. This dish, ideal for those who enjoy a kick of heat, might just become your new favorite. Fresh ingredients must be used to maximize the benefits of this vibrant salad.

If you’re worried about finding the perfect meal to invigorate your taste buds, consider the Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe, a culinary revelation I stumbled upon during my travels.

On a visit to a quaint Middle-Eastern bistro, the vibrant flavors of their spicy chicken salad left an indelible impression. 

Fork and Bowl

It inspired me to recreate this dish at home, blending the fiery zest of the Middle East with the freshness of European salads. The challenge, however, lies in balancing the spice without overpowering the delicate flavors of the salad. 

My plan involved juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken, complemented by fresh vegetables and a light, tangy dressing. The result? A mouth-watering salad that’s not just a feast for the taste buds but also a nourishing meal. 

Whether it’s a request from the kids for something exciting or a delightful surprise for friends at a dinner party, this Spicy Chicken Salad recipe is your best bet for a memorable dining experience.

What Is Spicy Chicken Salad?

Spicy Chicken Salad is a vibrant dish combining the warmth of spices with the freshness of salad greens. In this recipe, chicken, marinated in a blend of fiery spices, is cooked to perfection, offering both heat and flavor. 

The chicken must be mixed with crisp vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. However, the homemade dressing, often a mixture of tangy and spicy ingredients, makes this salad stand out. 

This salad is a favorite for those who aim to enjoy a flavorful and health-conscious meal, offering the benefits of protein and fresh veggies.

What Is The Origin Of Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

The origin of the Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe is not tied to a single source. Still, rather, it’s a fusion of culinary traditions. 

This dish blends elements from various cuisines. For example, the use of spices in chicken can be traced back to Middle Eastern and Asian cooking, where spices are fundamental. 

The concept of a salad with meat is more aligned with Western culinary styles. Over time, as people traveled and cuisines intermingled, dishes like Spicy Chicken Salad emerged. 

It’s a testament to how culinary boundaries can be crossed, creating new, delightful flavors that are both familiar and excitingly different.

Plate and Salad

Ingredients List

Canned Chicken12.5 oz
Mayonnaise (Kewpie recommended)1/4 cup
Salt1/4 tsp (or more to taste)
Chopped Pickled Banana Peppers1/3 cup
Deli Mustard (or Yellow Mustard)2 Tbsp
Worcestershire Sauce2 Tbsp
Chopped Pickles (any type)1/2 cup
Black Pepper1/4 tsp
Chili PowderTo taste
GarnishFresh herbs of your choice

What Are The Variations Suitable For The Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

There are numerous variations you can explore to create a delicious and spicy chicken salad. Here are some options to consider:

Protein Swap

Replace chicken with shrimp, tofu, or beef for a different flavor profile.

Greens Galore

Experiment with various greens like arugula, spinach, or kale for added nutrition.

Dressing Diversity

Change up the dressing with options like Sriracha mayo, Thai peanut sauce, or honey-lime vinaigrette.

Veggie Variety

Add crunchy veggies such as bell peppers, cucumbers, or jicama to enhance texture and taste.

Nutty Twist

Sprinkle roasted peanuts, cashews, or almonds for a delightful crunch.

Fruit Fusion

Incorporate fruits like mango, pineapple, or avocado for a sweet and spicy twist.

Cheese Choices

Crumble feta, blue cheese, or goat cheese for a creamy and tangy element.

Heat Factor

Adjust spice levels by tweaking the amount of chili flakes, jalapeños, or hot sauce.

Ethnic Flair

Infuse international flavors like Mexican, Thai, or Indian spices for a unique twist.

Grilled Goodness

Grill the chicken for smoky flavor or use leftover rotisserie chicken for convenience.

What Are The Tips For The Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

When preparing the Spicy Chicken Salad, focusing on key tips is vital to ensure the best results. First, aim to use high-quality canned chicken or, if possible, cook and shred fresh chicken for a more authentic flavor

Remember to drain the chicken well to avoid excess moisture in the salad. Marinating the chicken with some spices beforehand can enhance the depth of flavor. 

Mixing the mayonnaise and spices separately before adding them to the chicken ensures an even distribution of flavors. 

If you’re worried about the salad being too dry, add some mayonnaise or a splash of olive oil. For the best bet in texture contrast, include crunchy elements like fresh lettuce or crispy croutons. 

Lastly, chilling the salad briefly before serving allows the flavors to meld together, offering a more cohesive taste experience.

Are There Any Unusual Or Exotic Ingredients That Work Well With Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

Certainly! If you’re looking to add an exotic or unusual twist to your spicy chicken salad, consider these ingredients:

  • Dragon Fruit: Its vibrant color and mild flavor can contrast the spiciness and bring a tropical touch.
  • Pickled Daikon Radish: Adds a sweet and tangy crunch that complements the heat.
  • Tamarind Paste: Infuse a unique, sweet-sour taste into your dressing for a Thai-inspired twist.
  • Sumac Spice: Sprinkle this Middle Eastern spice for a lemony, tart flavor and a pop of deep red color.
  • Szechuan Peppercorns: Offer numbing and tingling sensations that elevate the heat factor.
  • Edamame: These young soybeans bring a nutty flavor and a vibrant green color to the mix.
  • Candied Ginger: Adds a sweet and spicy element that contrasts with the savory chicken.
  • Black Sesame Seeds: Enhance both flavor and visual appeal with these earthy seeds.
  • Dried Kelp (Kombu): Create a umami-rich broth to marinate your chicken for an Asian infusion.
  • Pineapple Sage: Use this aromatic herb for a fruity and herbal fragrance in your salad.
Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Combine Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, add 12.5 oz of drained canned chicken, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/3 cup chopped pickled banana peppers, 2 Tbsp deli mustard, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup chopped pickles, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and chili powder to taste.
  • Mix Thoroughly: Gently mix all the ingredients until well combined. Ensure that the chicken is evenly coated with the mayonnaise and spices.
  • Season to Taste: Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you find it needs more kick, add a bit more chili powder. For more saltiness, sprinkle in a little more salt.
  • Let It Rest: Allow the salad to rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This rest time helps the flavors to meld together and intensify.
  • Garnish and Serve: Before serving, garnish the salad with fresh herbs of your choice. Serve chilled as a standalone dish or as a filling for sandwiches and wraps.

Experience the mouthwatering delight of Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe – it’s pure taste satisfaction.

What Herbs And Spices Work Well In Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

A thoughtful selection of herbs and spices can significantly enhance the flavor of the Spicy Chicken Salad recipe. Chili powder is essential for the heat, while paprika can add a smoky undertone for spices. 

Cumin and coriander offer earthy notes, and a hint of garlic powder can bring a pungent depth. Cilantro or parsley works beautifully for herbs, adding a fresh, vibrant taste. 

Dill or chives can introduce a subtle, onion-like flavor that compliments the spicy chicken well. 

If you’re aiming for a more exotic touch, try a sprinkle of sumac for its lemony zing or za’atar for a Middle-Eastern twist. Remember to balance the spices and herbs according to your taste preferences. 

However, it’s essential to use them judiciously to ensure they enhance rather than overpower the natural flavors of the chicken and vegetables.


Nutritional Values

The Spicy Chicken Salad is a nutritional powerhouse, offering a balanced blend of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins. 

The chicken provides a high-quality protein source for muscle repair and growth. Mayonnaise, albeit in moderation, contributes healthy fats. 

Adding fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles increases dietary fiber intake, vitamins A and C, and minerals like potassium. The spices, particularly chili, may boost metabolism, making this salad a healthful choice.

What Are The Total Calories In The Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

The total calories of the Spicy Chicken Salad recipe depend on the specific ingredients used. However, a general estimate can be made. 

Canned chicken, the primary ingredient, contributes a significant portion of the calories, primarily from protein. Mayonnaise adds calories from fats. 

The vegetables and spices contribute minimally to the calorie count. On average, this Spicy Chicken Salad serving might contain approximately 200-300 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie yet satisfying meal option.

Health Benefits Of The Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe


The chicken in the salad is an excellent source of lean protein, essential for muscle building and repair.

Low In Calories

This salad is a low-calorie option with primarily lean chicken and fresh vegetables, ideal for weight management.

Metabolism Boost

Spices, especially chili powder, can stimulate metabolism, aiding in weight loss and improved digestion.

Heart Health

Using olive oil or low-fat mayonnaise can provide healthy fats, beneficial for heart health.

Rich In Vitamins And Minerals

Fresh vegetables contribute essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, potassium, and fiber.

Antioxidant Properties

Spices and herbs used in the salad have antioxidant properties, which combat oxidative stress in the body.


Vegetables like lettuce and cucumbers have high water content, aiding in hydration.

Low In Carbohydrates

This recipe is relatively low in carbs, making it suitable for low-carb diets.

Immune System Support

The vitamins and minerals in the vegetables can support a healthy immune system.

Versatility For Dietary Needs

Easily adaptable, this recipe can cater to various dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or low-fat diets.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Dressings Are Best Served With Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

The Spicy Chicken Salad pairs well with dressings that complement its bold flavors without overpowering them. 

A classic choice is a light ranch dressing, which offers a creamy texture and a subtle tang that balances the spice. 

For a healthier alternative, a yogurt-based dressing seasoned with herbs like dill or parsley can be refreshing.

A zesty lime or lemon vinaigrette can add a citrusy sharpness, cutting through the richness of the spicy chicken. 

For those who prefer an Asian twist, a sesame ginger dressing can be a delightful pairing, adding a sweet and nutty flavor. 

An avocado dressing, creamy and rich, can also work well, especially if you’re aiming for a heartier salad

Each of these dressings can enhance the salad’s flavor profile, making it a versatile dish for various taste preferences.

Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

Make mealtime exciting with Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe – a perfect blend of health and flavor.

Are There Any Unique Toppings That Can Elevate The Crunch Factor Of Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

  • Croutons: Homemade or store-bought, these add a classic crunch.
  • Tortilla Strips: For a Tex-Mex twist, these bring a satisfying crispiness.
  • Sliced Almonds: These nuts offer a delicate crunch and a nutty flavor.
  • Roasted Chickpeas: A healthy option that adds a crunchy texture.
  • Sesame Seeds: Small but impactful, they provide a subtle bite.
  • Crumbled Bacon: Offers a savory, crunchy element.
  • Sunflower Seeds: These seeds add a mild, nutty crunch.
  • Fried Shallots or Onions: For a deep, savory crunch.
  • Rice Noodles: Thin and crispy, they add an Asian flair.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: A nutritious option that adds a nice crunch.
Salad Recipe

What Is The Difference Between Homemade And Store-Bought Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe?

  • Flavor Freshness: Homemade salad often has a fresher, more vibrant flavor due to freshly prepared ingredients.
  • Ingredient Quality: You control the quality of ingredients in homemade versions, opting for organic or high-grade products.
  • Customization: Homemade salad allows for customization in spice levels, ingredients, and dressings to suit personal preferences.
  • Nutritional Value: Homemade salads can be healthier, with less sodium and no preservatives or artificial additives.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Preparing salad at home can be more cost-effective than store-bought options.
  • Serving Size: Homemade recipes can be adjusted to serve any number of people, whereas store-bought salads come in fixed portions.
  • Preservatives: Store-bought salads often contain preservatives to extend shelf life, which are absent in homemade salads.
  • Packaging Waste: Homemade salads reduce packaging waste, making them a more eco-friendly choice.
  • Spice Blend: Homemade salads allow for a unique blend of spices, while store-bought versions usually have a standard flavor profile.
  • Texture: Homemade salads tend to have a better texture, as they don’t undergo store-bought salads’ chilling and transportation processes.

How Can You Store Or Preserve The Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe Leftovers?

  • Airtight Container: Store the salad in an airtight container to keep it fresh and prevent odor absorption from the fridge.
  • Refrigeration: Always refrigerate the leftovers promptly; the salad should be kept cold.
  • Consume Quickly: Aim to consume the leftovers within 1-2 days for optimal freshness and taste.
  • Separate Dressing: Store the dressing separately to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended as it can drastically alter the texture of the fresh ingredients.
  • Label and Date: Label the container with the date to keep track of its freshness.
  • Stir Before Serving: Give the salad a good stir before serving again, as the ingredients may settle or separate.
  • Check for Spoilage: Before consuming leftovers, always check for any signs of spoilage.
Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment List

  • Mixing Bowls: Various sizes for mixing ingredients and dressings.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate measurement of ingredients.
  • Kitchen Knife: A sharp knife for chopping vegetables and herbs.
  • Cutting Board: Preferably separate boards for vegetables and canned chicken.
  • Can Opener: Essential for opening canned chicken.
  • Colander: To drain and rinse canned chicken, if necessary.
  • Whisk: For emulsifying dressings and sauces.
  • Spatula or Mixing Spoon: To mix the salad ingredients thoroughly.
  • Peeler: If using fresh vegetables that need peeling.
  • Citrus Juicer: Useful if using fresh lemon or lime in the dressing.
  • Salad Spinner: To dry lettuce leaves or other greens.
  • Refrigerator: Essential for chilling the salad before serving.
  • Serving Utensils: For serving the salad neatly.
  • Airtight Containers: For storing leftovers.
  • Garnish Tweezers (optional): For precise placement of herbs or other garnishes.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Fresh Chicken Instead Of Canned Chicken?

Yes, fresh chicken can be used instead of canned. To do so, cook the chicken breast until entirely done, then shred or chop it into small pieces. 

Using fresh chicken can enhance the flavor and texture of the salad. Remember to let the chicken cool down before adding it to the salad. 

This option is excellent for those who prefer a less processed ingredient or want to control the chicken’s seasoning more precisely.

Is This Recipe Suitable For A Low-Carb Diet?

This Spicy Chicken Salad is quite suitable for a low-carb diet. The primary ingredients are protein-rich chicken and low-carb vegetables. Most of the carbs come from the pickles and a small amount in the sauces and dressing

By choosing low-sugar pickles and watching the quantities of dressings, you can easily make this salad fit within a low-carb dietary plan.

How Can I Make This Salad Vegetarian Or Vegan?

To make a vegetarian or vegan version:

  • Substitute the chicken with plant-based alternatives like tofu, tempeh, or a meat substitute.
  • Ensure these are well-seasoned and cooked to mimic the texture and flavor of chicken.
  • For a vegan version, use a vegan mayonnaise or a yogurt alternative.

This adaptation allows vegetarians and vegans to enjoy the same spicy, flavorful experience of the original recipe.

Can The Spicy Chicken Salad Be Made Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can prepare this salad ahead of time. Letting it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours can enhance the flavors as they meld together. 

However, if you add crunchy elements like croutons or crispy tortilla strips, add these just before serving to maintain their texture. 

Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge and consume it within 1-2 days for the best quality.

What Are Some Serving Suggestions For The Spicy Chicken Salad?

The Spicy Chicken Salad is versatile and can be served in various ways. It’s delicious as a light meal, or you can serve it as a sandwich filling in a wrap, baguette, or between slices of bread. 

It also pairs well as a topping for a bed of mixed greens or stuffed in a pita pocket. For a fancier presentation, serve it in avocado halves or as a filling in endive leaves. 

Each serving method offers a different dining experience with the same flavorful salad.

15-Minutes Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe (Zesty And Refreshing)

15-Minutes Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe (Zesty And Refreshing)

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Salads


Prep time





The Spicy Chicken Salad is a delightful blend of zesty flavors and refreshing crispness. This salad combines tender, spicy chicken with a mix of crunchy vegetables and is dressed in a tangy, homemade dressing. It’s perfect for a quick lunch, a light dinner, or as a vibrant side dish. The balance of spice from the chili powder and the coolness of the fresh greens make it an appealing meal for any season.


  • 12.5 Oz 12.5 Canned Chicken

  • 1/4 Cup 1/4 Mayonnaise (Kewpie Recommended)

  • 1/4 Tsp 1/4 Salt

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Chopped Pickled Banana Peppers

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Deli Mustard (or Yellow Mustard)

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Worcestershire Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 Chopped Pickles (Any Type)

  • 1/4 Tsp 1/4 Black Pepper

  • Chili Powder (To Taste)

  • Garnish (Fresh Herbs of Your Choice)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Prepare The Ingredients: Begin by gathering all your ingredients. Ensure the canned chicken is drained well, chop the pickled banana peppers and pickles, and measure out your mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and chili powder.
  • Combine Chicken And Vegetables: Add the drained canned chicken in a medium mixing bowl. Follow by adding the chopped pickled banana peppers and chopped pickles.
  • Add Wet Ingredients: To the same bowl, add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of deli mustard, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Season The Salad: Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. If you like it spicy, start by adding a small amount of chili powder, keeping in mind you can always add more later.
  • Mix Thoroughly: Using a spoon or spatula, mix all the ingredients until they are well combined. Ensure that the chicken is evenly coated with the dressing and spices.
  • Taste And Adjust Seasonings: Once everything is mixed, taste the salad. If it needs more salt or heat, add additional salt or chili powder according to your preference.
  • Chill (Optional): Cover the bowl and chill the salad in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes for the best flavor. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve: Serve the salad chilled. You can garnish it with fresh herbs of your choice just before serving.
  • Store Leftovers: If there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days.

Recipe Video


  • For a less spicy version, reduce the chili powder.
  • The salad can be customized with additional vegetables like bell peppers or avocado.
  • If using fresh chicken, ensure it’s fully cooked before shredding.
  • Leftovers store well in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
  • Consider serving this salad in a wrap or as a sandwich filling for a hearty meal.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs just before serving to maintain their flavor and appearance.
  • This Spicy Chicken Salad is a versatile dish that can be tweaked to suit various tastes while remaining healthy and satisfying.

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