This vibrant Chinese Chicken Salad brings together an array of fresh vegetables, tender chicken, and a mouthwatering dressing that elevates the dish to new heights. The combination of crunchy textures and delightful flavors creates a unique salad experience that you’ll want to make again and again. Perfect for meal prepping or serving as a quick lunch or dinner, this Chinese chicken salad is as versatile as it is tasty. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it also offers a refreshing break from your everyday salad routine.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick Preparation: Ideal for a fast, yet fulfilling meal option.
  • Nutritious and Light: Packed with fresh cabbage, carrots, and greens, it’s a nourishing choice for any meal.
  • Unique Dressing: The homemade dressing, with flavors of ginger and sesame, elevates the salad.
  • Versatile Toppings: Customize with various toppings like mandarin oranges or chow mein noodles.
Extreme close up view of Chinese chicken salad.

Craving a light, nutritious, and delicious meal? Try our Chinese Chicken Salad, packed with vibrant flavors and a satisfying crunch. Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner!

Chinese Chicken Salad, while popular in American Chinese cuisine, doesn’t have roots in traditional Chinese cooking. It’s more of a fusion dish, originating from California in the 1930s. The salad blends Asian-inspired flavors with ingredients more commonly found in American salads. Its creation is often attributed to chefs in California who combined elements from Chinese cooking with more Western-style salads, resulting in this unique and flavorful dish. Despite its name, it’s not considered an authentic dish from China, but rather a delightful example of culinary creativity and fusion.

Ingredient Breakdown and Substitutes

Chicken: Grilled chicken breasts are the protein base. Substitution: Baked tofu or shrimp for a variation.

Cabbage: Green cabbage adds crunch. Substitution: Red cabbage or a mix of both.

Carrots: Shredded for a sweet, earthy taste. Substitution: Use bell peppers for a different flavor profile.

Almonds: Toasted for a nutty crunch. Substitution: Sunflower seeds or cashews.

Dressing Ingredients: A combination of ginger, sesame oil, and other seasonings for an Asian-inspired flavor. Substitution: Use peanut oil for a different nutty taste, or add a bit of honey for sweetness.


If you have a nut allergy or simply prefer not to include almonds in your salad, feel free to omit them. The salad will still be delicious and full of flavor without the nuts. Alternatively, you can replace the almonds with another crunchy topping, such as sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

You can also substitute the almonds with other nuts like peanuts, cashews, or even seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the salad ahead of time, just note that this salad is best served the same day. We recommend storing the dressing and crunchy toppings separately until you’re ready to serve. This will help maintain the freshness and crispness of the ingredients.

What type of chicken should I use?

You can use any cooked chicken, such as grilled, baked, or even leftover rotisserie chicken. Just be sure to shred or cube it before adding it to the salad. You can also use canned chicken. Just make sure to drain it well before adding it to the salad.

Can I use a different kind of cabbage?

Yes, you can use any type of cabbage you like or have on hand. However, Napa or green cabbage tend to be softer and milder in flavor.

Can I add other vegetables to this salad?

Absolutely! This salad is very versatile. You could add sliced bell peppers, bean sprouts, snap peas, or cucumbers for added crunch and color.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Chinese Chicken Salad as a main dish for lunch or dinner. It pairs well with a variety of sides, such as steamed rice, quinoa, or a light soup. If you’re planning to serve this salad for a larger gathering, consider offering it as part of a buffet-style spread alongside other Asian-inspired dishes.

Looking into a bowl of Chinese chicken salad.

Storage Instructions

The salad is best eaten the day it is made. If you have leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, but note that the won ton strips or chow mein noodles will become soggy over time. Keep the dressing and crunchy toppings separate to maintain the salad’s freshness and texture. When you’re ready to enjoy the leftovers, simply toss the salad with the dressing and add the toppings just before serving.

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Watch the Video

Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.