This bacon chicken ranch salad is amazingly versatile, and just bursting with flavors. Great stuffed into lettuce leaves for a light but filling lunchbox option, or in a wrap or sandwich for something more substantial. Make a big batch at the start of the week and use it in so many different ways, either for a quick lunch, or a main dish salad. No more boring salads here!
🥗 Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad
Before jumping to the recipe please note that the below information contains HOT TIPS for this recipe. We try and answer all your questions to guarantee a perfect lunchbox recipe every time.
If you need a treat to add to your lunchbox to go with your bacon chicken salad then try out these two-bite chocolate brownie muffins. The perfect little bite of sweetness to satisfy that afternoon craving.
You are going to LOVE this bacon chicken ranch salad recipe. It is so easy to make and is super versatile. I love to make a big batch at the start of the week and use it in everything from lettuce wraps, actual wraps, chicken pasta salad, and chicken bacon sliders. Even the kiddos love it, making it perfect for the entire family.
🧂 Ingredients You Need
There’s nothing fancy about this savory chicken salad recipe unless you follow a whole30 diet, in which case you will want to track down some specialty ingredients I have listed for you below.
You will need:
- boneless skinless chicken breasts: these can be organic and free range/RSPCA approved if that is something that is important to you. Look for chicken breasts that are similar in size so that they cook evenly. Alternatively, you can use leftover chicken breasts, leftover rotisserie chicken, or chicken thighs cooked in a similar fashion.
- bacon: Here in Australia, I tend to use the short-cut bacon rounds which come without the added fat. If you are in the US you might want to look for Canadian bacon. The aim is to have super crispy bacon that can be crumbled in with the rest of the ingredients, so choose appropriately.
- creamy Greek yogurt: you will want full-fat Greek yogurt to make sure this salad is super creamy. Alternatively, you can use a mayonnaise of preference, or some ranch dressing.
- chicken broth: this is used to deglaze the pan, so only a little is needed.
- celery ribs: try to cut these into smallish pieces to ensure the salad is easy to eat.
- ranch seasoning
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Butter or gem lettuce, for serving: this is completely optional, but my favorite way to serve this yummy salad.
📋 How To Make This Chicken Salad
This salad is super easy to put together and will be ready in no time at all.
To start with you will want to cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally. This is an important step as it helps to reduce the cooking time and ensures the chicken all cooks evenly.
Set the chicken aside and cook the bacon until nice and crispy.
Now for another important step. We are going to cook the chicken over medium heat in the bacon fat. You do not want to toss that fat and use some oil instead, as using the bacon fat is the perfect way to add extra flavor to the chicken. Trust me on this one.
Another important step: deglaze the pan with some chicken broth after you have removed the cooked chicken. This is crucial as it adds so much extra flavor to the chicken salad. Do not miss this step!
Once everything is cooked and you have cold bacon and cold chicken, it’s just a matter of crumbling the bacon, chopping the chicken, and tossing them into a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
For more detailed instructions please see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
💭 Important Teaching Tips
Pro tip: slicing the chicken breasts in half reduces the cooking time in half and makes sure that the chicken breasts cook evenly. Try to make sure the breasts are cut to similar sizes as well.
The best method for checking the doneness of the chicken is by using a meat thermometer. It should reach 165F (80C) when cooked through. Remove the chicken just before it reaches this temperature as the internal temperature of the chicken will continue to rise once it has been removed from the heat. This will help to keep it nice and moist and prevent it from drying out.
📖 Optional Extras
I use this recipe as a base and make additions depending on what I have in the fridge. Why not try adding:
- finely chopped red onion
- finely sliced green onions
- grated cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese
- chopped bell pepper
- chopped fresh veggies like cooked sweet corn for a bit of sweetness and crunch
- steamed and chopped broccoli florets
- a little bit of sour cream replacing some of the mayonnaise for a flavor twist
- a squirt of lemon juice
- some chopped fresh herbs
Use what you have on hand to make yourself a delicious lunch that ticks all of your boxes.
👩🏻🍳 Meal Prep Tips
This chicken ranch salad can be meal prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 3-5 days if the salad and the lettuce leaves are stored properly in separate airtight containers.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
There are so many different options when it comes to using this bacon ranch chicken salad recipe! My personal favorite is stuffing the chicken salad into a lettuce wrap to keep it nice and light, however, you can also try it:
- on top of a bed of salad greens
- on top of some tortilla chips for bacon chicken ranch nachos
- on top of a pizza for some chicken bacon ranch pizza or flatbread
- loaded on top of some wild rice and shredded lettuce for a fun chicken bacon ranch bowl
- in some mini buns for chicken bacon ranch sliders, or
- stuffed between some bread or in a wrap for something more traditional
🍱 What Else To Include In The Lunchbox
Alongside this chicken bacon salad, I would add some fresh fruit, a little baked treat (like the Ultimate Two Bite Chocolate Brownie Muffins), a handful of cashews, and a little chia pudding like this lemon and vanilla chia pudding.
Lunchbox perfection if you ask me!
👪 Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken salad should last about 3-5 days in the fridge if stored correctly.
If not a super hot day then chicken salad should last about 2 hours without refrigeration. If you will be taking this to work or school you will only want to be doing this if you have access to a fridge once you get there. In warmer weather adding an ice pack to the lunchbox would be a good idea while traveling to work or school to maintain a cool temperature.
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The Best Bacon Chicken Ranch Salad
- 1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced in half horizontally
- 6 slices bacon
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup Greek yogurt (see notes)
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 2 teaspoons ranch seasoning
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- butter or gem lettuce to serve
- Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the cooked bacon and place it on a plate lined with paper towels.6 slices bacon
- Keeping the pan on the heat, add in the chicken and season with salt and pepper whilst cooking. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked through to 165F or 80C.1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the chicken from the pan and allow it to cool.
- While the pan is still hot, add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan, using a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the chicken bits on the bottom of the pan.¼ cup chicken broth
- Chop the cooled chiken into bite-sized pieces and crumble the bacon or chop the bacon into small pieces.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the chicken, bacon, broth mixture, Greek yogurt, ranch seasoning, and celery. Give everything a good stir until it is all combined and the chicken is coated in the yogurt mixture.½ cup Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons ranch seasoning, 2 celery ribs
- Season with salt and pepper to your liking and serve on top of butter lettuce leaves.kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper