Chow Mein Noodle Chicken Salad

This easy chow mein noodle chicken salad with greens gets tossed with a bright, gingery dressing. Makes a great make-ahead salad for a backyard party or a weekday lunch.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Elise Bauer

This Chinese chicken salad is a colorful and tasty way to use up some leftover chicken and makes for a quick and easy light lunch.

How To Make the Salad Dressing

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 (or rice wine vinegar; they’re the same), ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.

Whisk everything together, taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking, then toss with the salad. The dressing stored on its own will also keep for at least a week or longer.

Make-Ahead Tips

If you’d like to make this salad ahead for a party or to take for lunch, cook the chicken and assemble all the salad ingredients in a storage container, except for the chow mein noodles. Combine the ingredients for the salad dressing in a separate jam jar. Store everything in the fridge until ready to serve.

Just before serving, shake the jam jar to combine the dressing, then toss with the salad. Top with chow mein noodles and serve.

Do you have a favorite Chinese chicken salad dressing? Please let us know about it in the comments.

More Easy Salad Recipes for Parties and Lunches!

Chinese Chicken Salad, An American Dish

This is not a traditional Chinese dish, but rather an American salad that uses some traditional Asian ingredients in the dressing plus chow mein noodles to give the salad some great crunch.

The dish began to show up frequently on American menus in the mid-1900s. Wolfgang Puck sometimes gets the credit for the dish because he put something similar on the menu at his famous restaurant Chinois in the 1980s, but versions of salads with the name, or other names with Asian descriptors, can be found dating back to the 1930s.

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Chow Mein Noodle Chicken Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings


For the salad:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into short strips

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce or Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 sweet pepper bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 3 to 4 scallions, sliced

  • 1 carrot, julienned

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

  • Chow mein noodles, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free option)

  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned 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 tablespoon dark sesame oil

  • 1/4 cup peanut or canola oil


  1. Sauté the chicken:

    Heat both oils over high heat in a large sauté pan for 1 minute, then add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.

    Pat dry the chicken strips, sprinkle them with a little salt, and add them to the pan. Stir-fry the chicken over high heat until cooked through, 3 to 6 minutes depending on how hot your burner gets. Remove and set aside to cool.

  2. Make the dressing:

    In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste.

  3. Toss salad to serve:

    In a large bowl, toss the chicken and salad ingredients together. Just before serving, toss with dressing and top with the chow mein noodles.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
397 Calories
26g Fat
14g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 397
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 64mg 21%
Sodium 380mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 33mg 166%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 532mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.