A bold and flavorful restaurant style Buffalo Chicken Salad is totally achievable from the comfort of your own kitchen. Perfectly seasoned boneless buffalo wings are nestled over a crunchy, creamy, and tangy salad. It’s totally satisfying while still pulling off that “light and fresh, I had a salad for dinner” happy dance feeling. Score a new win for dinner salad lovers everywhere!
I’ve got some pretty simple culinary math for you today. No fractions or common core strategies required. Ready?
It goes something like this: kickin’ buffalo chicken bites + creamy avocado + crunchy salad/slaw situation = your new favorite dinner salad.
Let’s Dish – Key Salad Ingredients
Buffalo Chicken Salad brings ALL of the flavors and textures to your table. Best of all? It’s SO easy to make this five-star salad from the comfort of your own kitchen.
- Boneless Buffalo Bites. A restaurant-style buffalo chicken salad isn’t happening without crispy boneless wings. You don’t need a deep fryer, nor do you need to settle for grilled chicken breast with a dash of buffalo sauce (homemade or otherwise).
- Crunchy Salad Base. Crisp romaine lettuce and shredded red cabbage are tossed with celery and carrots to create a crunchy, colorful base for spicy buffalo chicken.
- Creamy Garnish. Diced avocado and blue cheese (AKA buffalo chicken’s favorite flavor companions) perfectly complement the salad base and boneless wings.
- Tangy Finish. A zippy vinaigrette ties every element together! If you’re not a fan of vinaigrettes, try homemade ranch dressing (ours is dairy free), or skip the blue cheese crumbles and use your favorite blue cheese dressing.
For a condensed post, click to view the web story for this dinner salad recipe!
Watch: Buffalo Chicken Salad Recipe Video
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Salad
You don’t need a reservation to enjoy a crave-worthy, restaurant quality dinner salad. Crisp boneless buffalo wings are nestled atop a crunchy salad base tossed with 2-ingredient vinaigrette, blue cheese crumbles, and creamy avocado. This buffalo chicken salad is a quick 30-minute meal packed with protein and vegetables.
- Make the buffalo chicken bites. Toss diced chicken breast in a cornstarch breading, saute until golden brown, then toss in my mom’s signature buffalo sauce. Simmer the boneless wings in the sauce until they’re cooked through, and the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Make the salad base. Toss chopped romaine lettuce with shredded cabbage, thinly sliced celery, shredded carrots, and blue cheese crumbles.
- Dress the salad. Whisk red wine vinegar and olive oil until emulsified, drizzle over the salad base, then gently toss.
- The big finish. Top the salad with cucumber, avocado, and boneless buffalo wings.
What’s the Best Hot Sauce to Use?
First tip: don’t use bottled “wing sauce” or buffalo sauce! It’s so much easier to make your own with a few pantry staples, including hot sauce, good quality butter, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
This second tip comes from my mom, who gets RAVE reviews of her buffalo wings – use not one, but TWO hot sauces to make the best spicy buffalo sauce! She swears by the more complex flavor profile of two hot sauces, and I agree. We use Frank’s RedHot and Texas Petes.
What’s the Best Dressing to Use?
Red. Wine. Vinaigrette. I said what I said.
Vinaigrette? On a buffalo chicken salad?
Oh yes my friends, I’m going there – no ranch or blue cheese dressing is going to drag this salad down. We’re going for light, fresh, and tangy – some might even call it piquant. Fancy, eh?
There’s already an ideal dose of creaminess thanks to blue cheese crumbles and avocado, and personally I found the addition of ranch dressing too heavy. Tangy vinegar cuts through and complements all the creamy-spicy action happening in this salad.
That being said, of course you can top your salad with blue cheese or ranch dressing. Go for it!
Is Buffalo Chicken Salad Healthy?
Instead of tossing around the word healthy like it means anything specific, let’s instead break down the nutritional value and dietary accommodations instead. One serving is going to give you:
- Loads of protein, about 30g
- Over half a dose of daily recommended Vitamin A
- Big contributions towards your Vitamin C, potassium (more than 1 banana!), and calcium
On the not-so-great-for-you side of the equation, this recipe is heavy on the sodium due to the bottled hot sauces. If you’re concerned about sodium intake, this article about low sodium hot sauces options is really informative.
In terms of dietary accommodations, this dinner salad is definitely on the low carb spectrum (12g net carbs per serving), is naturally gluten free, and easily accommodates to a paleo lifestyle.
Make it Paleo
- Use the paleo version of my buffalo chicken bites – you can find all of the details here.
- Omit the blue cheese.
- Serve with Whole30 Ranch dressing if desired.
More Buffalo Chicken Recipes
- Boneless Buffalo Wings
- Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
Did you make this Buffalo Chicken Salad? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
Restaurant-style Buffalo Chicken SaladPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
Boneless Buffalo Wings
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- ¼ c cornstarch, or arrowroot powder for paleo
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter, or ghee for paleo
- ¼ c Frank's RedHot
- ¼ c Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce, exas Pete Original Hot Sauce
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- ½ c shredded carrots
- ½ c shredded red cabbage
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- ⅓ c crumbled blue cheese
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ english cucumber, diced
Simple Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- pinch kosher salt
- pinch ground pepper
Boneless Buffalo Wings
- Combine the cornstarch, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the chicken to the cornstarch mixture; toss until evenly coated.
- Heat a 12" non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the battered chicken to the skillet in a single layer. Sautee 5 minutes until the breading is lightly golden brown, flip the pieces, and sautee 5 minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
- Add the butter to the skillet and melt, scraping up browned bits as it cooks. Add the buffalo sauces to the melted butter and whisk until combined. Add the cooked chicken to the buffalo sauce. Toss to coat all pieces in sauce, then cook an addition 3-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce slightly thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
- While the chicken bites are browning, prepare the salad base. Toss the romaine lettuce, carrots, cabbage, celery, and blue cheese in a large bowl.
- Combine the red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (start with ¼ tsp each) in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Whisk until emulsified. Pour half the vinaigrette over the salad base and toss. Divide the salad base between four plates.
- Layer the diced avocado, diced cucumber, and boneless buffalo chicken bites over the salad base. Serve immediately with additional dressing on the side.