Ranch Chicken Salad has lots of fresh, crispy romaine lettuce, tender chicken, and crunchy cucumbers dressed in a tangy dill dressing and topped with savory croutons.
This chopped chicken salad is the perfect recipe on its own, or it can be transformed into other delicious sides and even entire entrees. Everyone loves a cold, crisp chicken salad recipe made with ranch dressing, but this one has a dill dressing alternative that we think makes it unique and a crowd favorite!
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We Love This Salad
Who doesn’t love a freshly prepared, chilled salad with only 5 ingredients and two easy steps? A chicken salad made with ranch dressing can be a quick side dish, or it can be loaded with other ingredients to make it an entrée.
Make extra to take to a picnic or a potluck and let the compliments fly! Serve with a slice of freshly baked no knead bread and make a ranch chicken salad sandwich.
Ingredients and Variations
CHICKEN is obviously the first ingredient, but we tried it with grilled turkey and it was amazing! We also like to add bacon bits for extra protein and flavor.
DRESSING We think the best dressing for chicken salad is either dill or ranch, but a bright vinaigrette will work in a pinch as well! Or, make a chicken curry salad by mixing plain yogurt with yellow curry powder. Add some cashews and raisins for a fancy, Indian inspired dish!
OTHER VARIATIONS Use leftover Thanksgiving turkey or rotisserie chicken for another fresh take! This recipe as a turkey salad is just divine, or make a turkey cobb salad with hard-boiled eggs or even smoked eggs! Why not add in some diced avocados or even pasta like macaroni shells or penne!
How to Make Ranch Chicken Salad
This is the easy part!
- Simply mix all of the ingredients together and add half the dressing.
- Add extra dressing as desired.
- Season with pepper and serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks for Salad Perfection
- The key to the best salad is to always start with fresh, crispy, clean lettuce.
- Rinse whole heads of romaine and hold the stem end in one hand on a cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, slice lengthwise from the base all the way to the top of the bunch. Rotate a quarter turn and slice from the bottom to the ends.
- Rotate and cut twice more and then cut from the top in 2-inch increments until you reach the bottom. This ensures even-sized pieces.
- Place cut pieces into a salad spinner until pieces are ready to use.
- Meat should be cold and cut uniformly as should the cucumber.
- Even using cold dressing will keep all the ingredients crispy and crunchy!
Make Ahead Options
To keep chicken salad super fresh when making ahead, follow these steps:
- Prep the lettuce, chicken, and cucumber and keep it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- Add the dressing and croutons and mix just before serving.
Leftovers and Storage
- Keep chicken salad made with ranch dressing or dill dressing covered in the refrigerator and it will last about two days (if you use romaine lettuce).
- Make it new again by adding freshly prepared lettuce, extra dressing, a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper, and no one will ever know it was leftovers!
- To keep the salad longer than a couple of days, add dressing to the portion of the salad you’ll eat that day. Store dressing separately from the remaining salad ingredients, and refrigerate for about five days.
Ranch Chicken Salad
- Add lettuce, chicken, cucumber, and croutons to a large bowl. Add about ½ cup of dressing and toss the salad. Add additional dressing as desired.
- Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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