Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe

4.99 from 51 votes

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Looking for a scrumptious salad bursting with bold Southwest flavors? Look no further than this easy Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe! Packed with juicy chicken, crisp veggies, and a creamy dressing, it’s a perfect addition to your meal rotation.

A colorful southwest chicken salad with avocado, corn, and tomatoes on a blue plate.

Why You’ll Love this Southwest Chicken Salad

The other day I thought I’d experiment with some leftover black beans and leftover chicken I had in my fridge. Best decision ever. The results are a tasty Southwest Salad with a little something for everyone! Plus, there was no cooking involved! BONUS.

If you’re looking for other salads, don’t look far, here are a couple of favorites: macaroni saladcucumber saladseafood salad, chicken salad with grapes or broccoli salad.

Various ingredients for a southwest salad arranged neatly on a marble countertop.

Ingredients Needed For Chicken Southwest Salad

You should expect 20 minutes of work time, I’d say. Besides that, you should be good to go. This is a really straight forward Southwest Salad recipe that will impress your taste buds with all these bold flavors brought together. All very simple ingredients…here’s what you’ll need:

For the salad:

  • Sweet Corn, Avocado, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, and Romaine Lettuce – all of these fresh veggies makes up the filling of this salad and help make it a southwestern chicken salad. Consider using grilled corn for an added layer of flavor.
  • Chicken – think rotisserie, or leftover chicken! Or, feel free to cook your own chicken and use that.
  • Black Beans – feel free to substitute any bean of your choice.
  • Scallions (aka green onion) and Fresh Cilantro – these make the salad so much more flavorful!
  • Tortilla Chips – pick your favorite brand and add them in. They give the most wonderful crunch to this chopped salad.

For the creamy salad dressing:

  • ranch seasoning– adds some savory flavor.
  • taco seasoning– use my homemade taco seasoning, or a packet of store-bought seasoning is great too.
  • sour cream– adds tanginess.
  • mayo– use a good real mayonnaise like Duke’s for a smooth and creamy dressing.
  • pantry staples: lime juice, salt and black pepper


  • Swap rotisserie chicken for grilled chicken breasts (boneless skinless chicken breasts).
  • Substitute black beans with kidney beans or pinto beans.
  • Use different colored bell peppers for added visual appeal.
  • Replace mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt for a lighter dressing.
  • Add red onion instead of scallions.
Various condiments and ingredients for a southwest salad arranged neatly on a marble surface.

How to Make Southwest Chicken Salad

This simple chicken salad combined with all the southwestern flavors is my favorite summer salad! It’s a healthy and hearty salad that comes together in about 20 minutes! For full recipe details, including ingredient measurements see the printable recipe card down below. Here are step-by-step directions for making this salad.

1. Prep the Chicken + Veggies

In a large bowl, combine diced chicken, green pepper, black beans, sweet yellow corn, diced tomatoes, sliced scallions, chopped romaine heart, and cilantro.

2. Make the Creamy Salad Dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, ranch seasoning, taco seasoning, lime juice, salt, and pepper until smooth.

3. Toss Salad with Dressing + Add Toppings

Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss until well combined.

Note: Pour *just enough* dressing over the salad to moisten everything and toss.

Gently stir in fresh avocado (diced) and crushed tortilla chips. Serve immediately and enjoy!

A plate of colorful southwest salad with avocado and chips on a marbled surface, accompanied by a fork, a napkin, a salt shaker, and a slice of lime.

Make-Ahead + Storage Directions for Southwest Chicken Salad

Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. After that things tend to get soggy and gross.

I don’t recommend freezing salad due to the avocado and lettuce, but you can prep the salad ingredients ahead of time and assemble when ready to serve.

To Make Ahead– simply chop and combine everything except the avocados, tortilla chips, and dressing. Refrigerate the dressing and salad in separate containers, then when ready to serve, top with the dressing and stir in some crushed tortilla chips with that ripe avocados.

If you let the salad, tortilla chips, and dressing mingle too long together in the fridge things tend to get soggy, that’s why it’s best to wait until you’re ready to devour this salad.

A plate of creamy southwest salad garnished with fresh herbs, served with a pair of gold-colored utensils on a marble tabletop.

What to Serve with Southwest Chicken Salad

While this easy chicken salad has enough components in it to be a main dish salad, sometimes you just want a little more to serve with it. Here are a few ideas:

More Salads To Try!

Whether you’re meal prepping for the week ahead or craving a satisfying lunch, this Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe is sure to become your new favorite salad! I hope you like this one, guys! The printable recipe card is below! Have a great day!

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

A colorful bowl of mixed southwest vegetable salad on a white surface.
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4.99 from 51 votes

Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe

This Southwest Chicken Salad Recipe is a crunchy, fresh, salty, sweet, and creamy salad perfect for dinner, parties or by itself!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup black beans or pinto
  • 1 cup sweet yellow corn canned, fresh, or frozen and defrosted
  • 2 roma tomatoes diced
  • 4 scallions washed and sliced, white and green parts
  • 1 large romaine heart washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro washed and chopped
  • 2 avocados perfectly ripe, diced
  • 2 cups tortilla chips crushed

for the dressing-


  • In a large bowl, stir all salad ingredients together, excluding the tortilla chips and avocado.
    A fresh southwest salad with lettuce, corn, black beans, avocado, and diced tomatoes being tossed with wooden salad servers.
  • In a small bowl, stir all dressing ingredients together until smooth.
    A bowl of creamy sauce on a wooden board with a lime and southwest salad herbs nearby.
  • When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing then gently stir in avocado and tortilla chips.
    A colorful bowl of mixed southwest vegetable salad on a white surface.



Calories: 905kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 795mg | Potassium: 1324mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4330IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Southwestern
Keyword: southwest chicken salad, southwest salad, southwest salad recipe

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Recipe Rating

112 Responses
  1. Rozlyn

    5 stars
    This was really really good. I just used what I had on hand but I dont think it matters because its the dressing that really does it. I didnt have cilantro, beans, or corn (which I thought I had when I started and will definitely add next time) but I followed everything else in your recipe! SO happy I found your blog.

  2. Tina

    5 stars
    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad recipes…I am certainly glad that I did! We made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! Only difference is that we grilled chicken breast with a spice rub, then chopped the chicken. Also, of course, had to add shredded cheese to the final product. My husband LOVED IT, and we will definitely have this in our regular rotation. Chopped salads are our FAVORITE and we make them every night during the week; I agree with you that the worst part is all that chopping! Ugh. But totally worth it. 🙂

  3. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity: Now available in new bite-sized portions! (I have no idea what that means, either)

    […] Southwest chicken chop salad. (via The Kitchn) (Do you have any idea how hungry I get doing these posts?!) […]

  4. Southwest Chicken Chop Salad «

    […] Have you ever paid Lauren, of Lauren’s Latest a visit? She has some reallyreally fantastic recipes, and she does NOT help my new recipe […]

  5. Anne

    5 stars
    I made this salad for our Memorial Day BBQ yesterday! It was wonderful and a big hit with everyone! It made a lot- I didn’t measure my chicken or lettuce, just kind of eyeballed it. So, I’m having leftovers for lunch and dinner 🙂 I used the Hint of Lime tortilla chips for fun and that was a great addition. Just the mayo, sour cream and ranch (without the taco seasoning) is a delicious dip or dressing!

  6. Southwest Chicken Chop Salad » Strands of My Life

    […] found this salad at and couldn’t resist the strange combinations. I’ve never added black beans to a salad […]

  7. Velma

    Hi Laura,
    I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and served it when we went camping with family several weeks ago. It was a big hit!! Absolutely delicious. I wanted you to know that I am sharing this recipe on my blog today.

  8. Amanda Stanley

    5 stars
    Just made this for lunch. DELICIOUS!!!! One suggestion is to go a little lighter on the cilantro. Other than that, what a perfect salad!!

  9. Kayla

    5 stars
    Okayyyyyyy. This was awesome. Seriously, so delicious! Even le husband ate it all up. And, bonus, it was a perfect “pantry/fridge clean out” recipe! We’re moving in a few weeks and were looking for something tasty to use up stuff we had, and this hit the spot. Subbed in plain greek yogurt for sour cream (again, fridge clean out!) and it was great.

    Thank you thank you thank you for a delicious, husband friendly salad! I’m sure we’ll be making it again a few times before we move, and I don’t hate it. 🙂

  10. Leslie

    Found your recipe on Pintrest…I love CPK’s barbeque chicken salad, too, and you nailed it with this recipe. Will be great for light suppers in the hot summertime!

  11. Southwest Chicken Chop Salad | Home Is Where The Cookies Are

    […] out on their doorstep on occasion. Waiting. . . for someone to serve me food like this. Thanks to Lauren, for sharing her own version, so all of us who can’t camp out on pizza kitchen doorsteps can […]

  12. Suzanne

    5 stars
    This salad is wonderful. I made it last night for our dinner exchange. Yum! Thanks for another super great recipe, Lauren!

  13. Dina

    5 stars
    Lauren I finally made this last night and my whole family LOVED it! I liked that it was healthy too! We ate it all up.Thanks for the great recipe and I’d be interested in a Chinese version of a chop salad also. Keep up the awesome recipes!

  14. Kathy E.

    5 stars
    After finding this on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. Well, we had it for lunch today and it was fabulous!! The only thing I added was a small handful of 2% cheddar cheese and I omitted the avocado (ick). We will enjoy this many times. Thanks, Lauren.

  15. Tara Lazar

    Oh, and I will gladly share with you my rice/black bean/corn salad with lime vinaigrette which is always a huge hit at barbeques–just email me.

  16. Tara Lazar

    This is seriously DANGEROUS because I could eat the entire bowl myself. I omitted green pepper because my husband does not care for it, plus I used Tostitos with Lime tortilla chips (also addictive on their own) which gave it a little extra zing. Thanks for the great recipe. Just started following your blog.

    If you have young kids and like picture books, you should check out my blog.

    Nice to “meet” you!

  17. Lisa Herzlich

    This sounds amazing!!!! Cannot wait to try it. 🙂 Thank you for sharing…..I’ll let you know once I make it, how it turns out. Mmmmm.

  18. Sandra

    5 stars
    I decided to make this even though I didn’t have sour cream, avocado, cilantro, or green pepper. I added cucumber and boiled shredded chicken breast instead of roasted. Made my own taco seasoning from a little chili, cumin and oregano powders mixed with ready made ranch dressing and a little mayo and chopped jalapeno. What makes it so tasty, colorful with texture and HEALTHY is the black beans and corn drained straight from the can and the dressing. This salad is brilliant! You simply can’t mess it up. The perfect hot weather meal! Can’t wait to try it again.Thank you 🙂

  19. bridget {bake at 350}

    5 stars
    Made this tonight….except *someone* forgot to buy the chicken. Oops! Very yummy without it, too! 😉 Thank you!

  20. Robby

    This looks wonderful and will be made soon. Just thought I would add that I made something similar (although I might have missed 1 or 2 of your goodies) and simply squeezed a generous amount of lime juice over it and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That was also quite nice if you’re watching calories.

  21. NanaBread (Jeanne)

    I just kept scrolling down, yelling “YES…. YES…. YES!” You lured me in with that first photo, and it just kept getting better and better. This is the next salad on my “to do” list now. Thanks, Lauren!

  22. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Your daughter sounds like an adventure to be around!

    As for your salad – wow. It’s chockfull of fun goodies. Will have to try it soon! 🙂

  23. Jolene (

    I am going to make this very soon … but I might have to add a couple extra handfuls of cilantro to my portion and leave it out for the hubby 🙂

  24. Baking Serendipity

    The two year old across the street is constantly running around naked, yelling “Naked Party!” Clearly she’s in on the naked trend too. I think I’ll go the chop salad route. This looks delicious!

  25. Megan Pence

    This sounds fantastic, especially when an outrageously hot summer decides to make an appearance this year. No cooking – always a win.

  26. Anna @ hiddenponies

    Hooo boy, naked is all the rage here too, with my 3 year old and her copycat 1 year old brother! This salad looks like a fantastic distraction…head to the kitchen and leave ’em to it?

  27. Kathryn

    I love chopped salads because I’m ridiculously lazy and don’t have to cut anything up – bonus! Great combo of flavours here.

  28. Anna

    You TOTALLY read my mind and I love it. Not sure why but I was definitely craving a southwesty chopped salad the last couple days and planning on making it for dinner some time this week. I wasn’t really sure what to put in it though except I knew I wanted avocado, so Thank You for reading my mind and posting this Delicious looking recipe!! 🙂

  29. Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin

    My favorite is the chop salad at Cheesecake Factory. And this looks just like it! Can’t wait to make this 🙂

  30. Suzanne

    This is definitely a keeper. I have printed it out for dinner during the week. I need these quick simple meals for my family after a hard day at work.

  31. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser

    Wow that salad looks incredibly delicious and incredibly easy to make! Can’t wait to try it out.

    PS Your daughter sounds hilarious and adorable. Isn’t is fantastic when they have that much energy? Hahaha I’m sure she keeps you busy.

  32. Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are}

    Yum! This looks perfect! I love that you can make it up ahead and have it ready to go during the dinner rush – and it’s cold – so no individually re-heating dinner for everyone. Perfect.
    Ah, only to have the inhibitions of a three year old . . . .

  33. Aimee Berrett

    This one looks absolutely amazing. Unfortunately the hubs never likes salad, so I guess I’ll need to make it for just me. Yum!

  34. From Valerie's Kitchen

    Lauren, I’m convinced we were separated at birth! I am crazy for CPK’s salads, especially the Thai Crunch which I just happened to post yesterday! I also love the BBQ Chicken Salad and have had it more times than I’d like to admit! Great job on the dressing – looks great!

  35. Julie @ Table for Two

    Oh my goshhhhhhhhh…I LOVE THIS SALAD like I love youuuuuuu..this looks sooo good and it reminds me a lot of the Cheesecake Factory’s salad dressing they use for their bbq ranch chicken salad and this other mexican flavored one jason loves..i’m definitely puttin this on my menu!

  36. Cassie

    This is awesome, chopped salads are definitely all the rage. And as much as I like making homemade taco seasoning, I really love TJ’s. This is perfect!