We first discovered fried chicken salads at a barbecue joint in the South, where they were served by the pound. We loved this dish so much that we made it at home, and now it’s one of our favorite weeknight dinners. It’s fast to make but still feels fancy enough to serve when guests are over—and they’ll love how much flavor they get in every bite!
1 cup buttermilk
To make the buttermilk, you’ll need to combine 1 cup of whole milk with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a small bowl. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature, until the consistency thickens and becomes curdled. You can also use lemon juice instead of vinegar if desired!
1 cup buttermilk is equal to: 0 ounces fat, 0 grams trans fat, 6 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams protein (Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet)
2 teaspoons salt
Salt is one of the most common ingredients in cooking. It’s an essential part of our diet and can be found in many foods, from bread to pickles. Salt can also be added during processing, making it a common preservative.
3/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked if possible
- Pepper is a spice with a long history and a great many uses, but if you’re just dipping your toes into the world of pepper, I’d recommend starting with freshly cracked pepper (or ground pepper that hasn’t been sitting around for months).
- A pepper mill allows you to grind whole peppercorns into powder as needed. It can be used on fresh or pre-ground peppercorns, allowing you to control exactly how much heat and flavor you want for each dish. In my personal opinion this makes for better flavor; I also find it easier to get an even grind when using whole seeds rather than pre-ground powders.
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes if you like it spicy. If you don’t have any on hand, use black pepper instead.
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
To cut your chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, use a sharp knife and a cutting board. First, lay the boneless, skinless chicken breast flat on the cutting board. Then, with the tip of your sharp knife parallel to one side of your chicken breast (as if you were going to cut it in half), slice through the meat horizontally until it is almost entirely separated into two halves. Holding onto both pieces of meat together with one hand so that they don’t move around too much as you work with them, continue slicing vertically down along one side of each piece until you’ve reached the middle. Then lay down another piece of plastic wrap over both halves so that they’re completely covered by it. Using this new layer of protection from any messes or drips from cutting up raw poultry makes it significantly easier when handling food in general!
Cutting boards are an important part of cooking because they provide an easy surface for cutting up raw meat and vegetables without having them fall off onto dirty floors/countertops/etcetera which could lead someone else getting sick if eaten later…
2 cups self-rising flour
Self-rising flour is a mixture of all-purpose flour, salt and leavening. It is used in many southern recipes to make things like biscuits, cornbread and dumplings. I’ve seen it for sale at the grocery store, but you can also order it online if you don’t have an easy way to get your hands on it locally.
1 quart peanut oil
Pour 1 quart peanut oil into a large pot. The size of the pot you need depends on how many pieces of chicken you’re frying, but the general rule of thumb is that it should be at least 2 inches deep.
Measure out 1 quart of peanut oil with a measuring cup and pour into your pot. (If you don’t have a measuring cup handy, use another container as long as it holds exactly one quart.) You can also measure by using an empty can—just fill up your small containers all at once!
Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 180°C). The best way to accomplish this is by dropping in a piece of bread or tortilla; if it turns golden brown after about 30 seconds, your oil has reached temperature!
2 cups mixed greens (bagged or prewashed)
- 2 cups mixed greens (bagged or prewashed)
- 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
- 2 tablespoons bacon bits, optional (I like the kind with no sugar added)
- 1 small tomato, cut into chunks
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
To prepare the tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise. Use a paring knife to remove the seeds and gel from inside each tomato half. You can discard these (or snack on them as a delicious treat).
The leftover tomato halves are great for snacking! Store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
To shred the cheese: Shred your block of cheddar using a box grater or food processor. You can also use pre-shredded cheese if you prefer.
How to store the cheese: Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, this will keep for up to 5 days.
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
To cook the bacon, we recommend a skillet. Set the burner on medium and wait until the pan is hot enough to sizzle when you drop some water on it. Then place your bacon strips in the pan and flip them after about 5 minutes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until crispy then remove from heat.
If you don’t have a skillet, you can also cook your bacon in a microwave! Place two paper towels on a plate and lay out 4-6 pieces of bacon with no overlap (this will prevent sticking), then cover with another two paper towels. Cook on high for 3-5 minutes depending on how done you like your bacon (we like ours crispy). Remove from microwave and let sit covered for 2 minutes before serving with salad dressing or sauce as desired
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (see recipe below) or the dressing of your choice
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp ranch dressing mix (or use your favorite from the store)
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. Add a dash of dill if desired.
- Mix buttermilk, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.
- Add chicken to the buttermilk mixture and marinate at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess flour.
- Fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels
While chicken is frying, combine honey and chili sauce in a small bowl. Add the fried chicken to a large serving plate and drizzle with the honey chili sauce. Garnish with green onion and serve immediately.
Fried chicken salads are popular in the South, but this is the best one we’ve found.
Southern-style fried chicken salads are popular in the South, but this is the best one we’ve found. The ingredients are easy to find, and the salad is tasty and filling. It also comes with a delicious dressing that you can make ahead of time if you’d like (you will).
The recipe below uses boneless skinless chicken thighs because they’re less expensive than breasts, but either works well here. If you’re using breasts instead of thighs, increase your cooking time by about three minutes for each side for a total cooking time of 20 minutes (or until cooked through).
And that’s it! You’ve got yourself a delicious, crispy fried chicken salad. It’s perfect for any occasion: lunch or dinner with friends, a potluck or picnic, or even just an easy weeknight meal. We hope you enjoy!