Chinese Chicken Salad

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This Chinese chicken salad is a colorful and tasty way to use up some leftover chicken and makes for a light lunch. I experimented with few different dressings and ultimately settled on this one which I think is just the right balance of soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Do you have a favorite Chinese chicken salad dressing? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut, grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce or Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 scallions, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • Chow mein noodles, to taste (skip for gluten-free option)


  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free option)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup peanut, grapeseed or canola oil


1 Heat both oils over high heat in a large saute pan for 1 minute, then add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle chicken strips with a little salt and add them to the pan. Stir-fry the chicken over high heat until cooked through, 3-6 minutes depending on how hot your burner gets. Drain and set aside to cool.

2 In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Adjust to taste. In a large bowl, toss the chicken and salad ingredients together. Just before serving, toss with dressin and top with the chow mein noodles.

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Showing 4 of 19 Comments

  • verena

    I was looking for something not too heavy, with chicken, to make tonight. This was amazing! The dressing was perfect. I substituted fried wonton chips for the chow mein noodles.

  • Nicole

    I have been using this dressing recipe for 15 years and I love it :)

    Salad Dressing:
    3 Tbsp. peanut oil
    1/4 cup vinegar
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine all salad dressing ingredients.
    Microwave on high 2 to 3 minutes or until boiling; stirring halfway through cooking.
    Chill well.

  • Rose

    Mmmm… I made a variation of this for dinner tonight. I used thinly sliced romaine and added snow peas, cilantro, toasted almonds instead of peanuts, and orange slices. I also used the chicken method from “Martha’s Chinese Chicken Salad” (also on this site) and poached, then shredded and marinated, then stirfried the chicken. At the end of the stir-frying I added some sesame seeds to the pan.

    I don’t have a meal “rotation,” but if I did this would be in it!

  • Erin M.

    Wow! I often buy the chinese chicken salad from trader joe’s and it’s very good, but I wanted a way to make my own… as usual this recipe was delicious. I really enjoyed the dressing and the cilantro added a kick. I added bean sprouts and wonton strips because I greatly enjoyed them in the trader’s salad. My boyfriend who normally doesn’t enjoy this type of salad (he calls it “girly salad”) ate 2 bowls of this :] Thanks Elise!

  • Mark

    I Really liked it!
    Dressing was good, I didnt have Napa and used cut up Romaine instead and topped off with some Crunchy chow main noodles.

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