Chicken Taco Salad

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings

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This Chicken Taco Salad is a fresh and healthy dinner idea that’s loaded with flavor. It’s packed with crunchy iceberg lettuce, tender chicken, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and all the best taco toppings!

Make the chicken on the stove, in the instant pot, or in the slow cooker.

overhead image of bowl of chicken taco salad
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As some of you know, I am not a big salad eater. But I’m going to be honest…I could eat this chicken taco salad every single day of my life and never get tired of it.

It’s light, fresh, cheesy, a little spicy, and loaded with all of your favorite taco toppings. I mean, what’s not to love?!

Chicken Taco Salad ingredients and substitutions:

The great thing about salads is that they are super customizable. You can add or subtract anything you want. It’s all up to you and your tastebuds!

Taco Chicken

For the taco chicken, you have a few different options. I’ve included a quick stovetop method in the recipe, but you can also use the chicken from my slow cooker chicken tacos or my instant pot chicken tacos. They are all delicious!

  • Chicken Broth: I use low sodium chicken broth so it’s not overly salty.
  • Chicken Breasts: I use boneless and skinless chicken breasts since that’s usually what I have around, but feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if that’s what you have.
  • Taco Seasoning: I like to use a low sodium taco seasoning as well so that I can control the amount of salt going into my salad. You can always add more to taste but you can’t take any out!

Chicken Taco Salad

  • Lettuce: I love the crunch of iceberg lettuce, but romaine or green leaf would work as well. Feel free to also throw in some spinach or chopped kale too!
  • Mix-Ins: I like to keep it simple with chopped tomatoes and avocado, but you can really use any toppings your heart desires. Try it with sweet corn, black beans, diced onion, you name it.
  • Dressing: I’m not a huge fan of salad dressings so I usually douse my chicken taco salad in somehomemade salsa or mango salsa. I’ve also even used store-bought Catalina dressing before!
  • Cheddar Cheese: cheddar is a classic but you can mix it up and use any other cheese, if preferred. Try Cojitta, feta, a Mexican cheese blend, you name it.
  • Tortilla Strips: I found some Sante Fe-style tortilla strips that are delicious (and ultra crunchy), but regular tortilla chips work as well. You can also use Doritos, nacho chips, or even mild-flavored Takis.
  • Optional Toppings: sprinkle on some corn, chopped red onion, black beans, sour cream or any of your favorite taco toppings. The possibilities are endless!
close up image of chicken taco salad

How to make Chicken Taco Salad

Taco Chicken

  1. Pour chicken broth into a medium skillet, then add in chicken breasts. Sprinkle on taco seasoning.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove, then let rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Chicken Taco Salad

  1. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheddar.
  2. Top with ¼ of the chicken and serve with salsa, tortilla trips, corn, red onion, black beans, and sour cream!

Should taco salad be warm or cold?

Most ingredients in this taco salad are fresh so all-in-all it should be served cold. However, you can top it with warm or cold chicken.

Can chicken taco salad be made ahead of time?

Pretty much! One of the best things about this chicken taco salad is that you can prep almost everything in advance—and if you make a large enough batch, you can have lunch or dinner for the week ready to go in the fridge! Here’s how:

  • Make your chicken ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. If it’s frozen, thaw it in the fridge overnight so it’s ready to go when you want to assemble your salad. You can heat it up but I usually prefer cold meat on salad anyway.
  • Shred your cheese in advance or keep a bag of pre-shredded cheese on hand.
  • Chop your lettuce in advance and store it in a large container or ziploc baggie with some paper towels to prevent it from getting soggy. The lettuce will start to get brown after a day or two so I recommend doing little bits at a time.
  • Chop your tomatoes and any other toppings you like to store in containers in the fridge. That way you can just pull out all your options and assemble whenever!

Serving suggestions

I recommend serving your assembled taco salad right away so it’s extra fresh and the tortilla strips are extra crunchy!

Fill out your meal by serving this taco salad next to my fajita turkey burgers, classic tacos, or chicken fajitas!

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Chicken Taco Salad

5 from 5 votes
This Chicken Taco Salad is a healthy dinner idea that is loaded with flavor! Make the chicken stove top, in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Cuisine American, Mexican
Course Main Course, Salad
Servings 4 servings
Calories 353cal

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chicken broth low sodium
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning low sodium
  • 1 head lettuce small, chopped or torn
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 avocado sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups jarred tomato salsa mild or spicy, to your preference
  • 1 cup tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • corn, chopped red onion, black beans, sour cream optional, as desired

Instructions

  • In a medium skillet, pour in chicken broth and add chicken breasts. Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the thickest part of chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F (or use my slow cooker or Instant Pot methods listed above).
  • Remove from skillet and let rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Slice chicken and place back in skillet with liquid for maximum flavor and moisture.
  • Add desired amount of lettuce, tomato, avocado and cheese to a large plate or shallow bowl. Top with ¼ of the chicken, and serve with ½ cup salsa and ¼ cup tortilla strips, plus additional toppings listed as desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

Making Ahead of Time:
  • Make your chicken ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. If it’s frozen, thaw it in the fridge overnight so it’s ready to go when you want to assemble your salad. You can heat it up but I usually prefer cold meat on salad anyway.
  • Shred your cheese in advance or keep a bag of pre-shredded cheese on hand.
  • Chop your lettuce in advance and store it in a large container or ziploc baggie with some paper towels to prevent it from getting soggy. The lettuce will start to get brown after a day or two so I recommend doing little bits at a time.
  • Chop your tomatoes and any other toppings you like to store in containers in the fridge. That way you can just pull out all your options and assemble whenever!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 353cal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 1329mg | Potassium: 1114mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1990IU | Vitamin C: 16.4mg | Calcium: 279mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Keywords chicken recipe, chicken taco salad

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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