Mexican chicken salad is tender shredded chicken tossed in a creamy sauce with mixed veggies, fresh cilantro, and jalapeños… Tons of flavor! One of my favorites from my time in Texas and California, this is a great dish to serve at any potluck, cookout, or BBQ and will be gone in no time. Delicious on tostadas, with saltines for dipping, as a sandwich, or even eaten straight with a fork!
🌶️ What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Mexican chicken salad is one of my very favorite dishes from my time in Texas and California, and I’m so happy it’s so easy to recreate literally anywhere. There’s practically no prep, and if you use precooked rotisserie chicken, there’s not even any need for cooking. Just dump it all in a bowl and stir!
- There’s SO MUCH amazing flavor in this simple chicken salad recipe. The mayo and sour cream make it super tangy, with bursts of peas, carrots, corn, and green beans in every bite. All of that is made even better with fresh cilantro, diced jalapeños, and bright jalapeño brine for extra zest.
- This is a great dish for potlucks, cookouts, tailgates, meal prep, light lunches, easy dinners – you name it! Serve it dip-style with chips or crackers, or sandwich-style on a croissant or roll, or even just by the scoop with a side of Mexican rice and refried beans.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- If you plan to use frozen mixed vegetables in your Mexican chicken salad, be sure to defrost them overnight first! If you add them to the salad while they’re frozen, they’ll give off a lot of liquid as they thaw. That liquid will make your salad dressing super runny, and can make the mayo and sour cream separate.
- For canned mixed veggies, drain and rinse them really well before using them. Canned produce usually contains added salt, and all that extra salt can throw off the flavor of the dish. Rinsing the vegetables removes most of it, which lets you control how much salt you end up with in your dish.
- If you’ve made any of our other creamy dips or salads, you’ve heard me say this plenty of times already. What?! It makes a difference! Let the prepared salad rest at least 15 minutes (though an hour in the fridge would be even better!). Letting it rest gives the ingredients time to meld, which makes the flavors way more vibrant and deep.
Mexican chicken salad (or ensalada de pollo) is honestly really flexible. I love it like it is, but you can absolutely make it your own!
- If you want to go flavor crazy, you can add in a little chicken taco seasoning.
- Replace some of the mayo with my cilantro lime dressing or even just a mashed avocado.
- Chop up some boiled yellow potatoes and add them in with the veggies.
- Use fresh vegetables, or frozen peas and carrots along with green beans and grilled corn or air fryer roasted corn.
🌮 More Mexican-Style Chicken Recipes We Love
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Burrito Suizo with Shredded Chicken and Pinto Beans
- Baked Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Fajita Casserole
- Instant Pot Salsa Chicken (Only 3 Ingredients)
- Achiote Chicken
- Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
- Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
- Easy Cheesy Salsa Chicken
For the Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed
- 1 32-ounce carton low-sodium chicken broth
For the Mexican Chicken Salad
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
- 3 cups mixed vegetables peas, carrots, corn, green beans; defrosted if frozen
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup diced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
- ¼ cup jalapeño brine plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- fresh lime juice optional
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- lime wedges
- saltine crackers
- tortilla chips
- 8-inch flour tortillas
- Large skillet with lid
- Large mixing bowl with lid or plastic wrap to cover if needed
- internal meat thermometer
- 2 forks or hand mixer, or stand mixer; to shred chicken
- Silicone spatula
- serving bowl
To Cook the Chicken
- Place 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts in large skillet and set skillet on stovetop. Pour 1 32-ounce carton low-sodium chicken broth into skillet, covering chicken. Set heat under skillet to medium-high and bring liquid to boil.
- Once chicken broth begins to boil, immediately reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and cover skillet with lid.
- Simmer chicken, covered, on medium-low heat 20 minutes, then check doneness. To check doneness, remove one chicken breast from skillet and place in large mixing bowl. Insert internal meat thermometer into thick area of chicken. Chicken is ready when thermometer reads 160° Fahrenheit. Return chicken to skillet and continue simmering, covered, as needed until target temperature is reached. Check temperature often to avoid over-cooking.
- Once target temperature is achieved, transfer chicken breasts to mixing bowl and set aside to rest 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, shred chicken breasts with two forks, hand mixer, or stand mixer. See Notes.
To Make the Mexican Chicken Salad
- When chicken is shredded as desired, add 1 cup mayonnaise, ½ cup full-fat sour cream, 3 cups mixed vegetables, ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, ¼ cup diced jalapeños, ¼ cup jalapeño brine, and 1 teaspoon salt to mixing bowl. Gently stir together all ingredients until well incorporated.
- Taste chicken salad. Add additional jalapeño brine if needed to brighten flavor. Add additional salt as needed.
- If desired, add squeezes of fresh lime juice, tasting salad after each addition, until desired flavor is achieved.
- Transfer prepared chicken salad to serving bowl and serve immediately. Alternately, cover bowl with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.
- Chicken: Instead of cooking chicken specifically for this recipe, you’re welcome to use 2 ¼ pounds shredded rotisserie chicken from Costco or another store. You can also use leftover salsa chicken, or any leftover chicken that was seasoned lightly.
- Make it Gluten Free: Make sure your chicken broth doesn’t contain any hidden gluten.
To Shred the Chicken
- Shred by Hand (Pulled Chicken): Using your hands/fingers, pull the chicken apart until completely shredded. Pieces can be as big or as small as you like.
- Shred with Two Forks: Use one fork to steady the chicken while shredding the chicken with another fork. Work in small, short strokes, moving forks away from each other.
- Shred with Hand Mixer: Break the chicken into manageable chunks and place them in a large bowl. Use the standard attachments on your mixer and set mixer to a medium speed. Mix until chicken is completely shredded.
- Shred with Stand Mixer: Use the standard paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until chicken chunks are completely shredded.
- Shred with Food Processor: Break up the cooked chicken breasts into chunks first, and work in multiple batches. Add chicken to food processor and use the plastic dough blade attachment to avoid your chicken turning to mush. Process for 30 seconds or until uniformly shredded. Repeat until all chicken is shredded.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.