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Home » Cuisines » American » Crispy Chicken Salad with Honey Tarragon Dressing

Crispy Chicken Salad with Honey Tarragon Dressing

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Our Crispy Chicken Salad recipe features incredible textures and complementing flavors that will thrill your taste buds! A bed of fresh greens, homemade crispy chicken strips and a flavorful honey tarragon salad dressing is a healthy and delicious combination the whole family can get behind. Enjoy this salad as a main meal that works any time of day!

Plated serving of crispy chicken salad.

There’s something special about what crispy chicken tenders can do to a bowl of greens and fresh vegetables. And this recipe is no different!

It takes the salad game up a notch- from the crunchy and golden brown Panko breadcrumbs crust to the flavor-packed vinaigrette. Serve this as a main course for a lunch or light dinner, or pair it as a side dish with soup and stew recipes or sandwiches and pizzas.

​Why This Chicken Salad Recipe Works

Great flavors and textures shine in crispy fried chicken salad. Inspired by our Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich and our Panko Baked Chicken Tenders, this delightful salad might just become one of your new favorite ways to eat fresh veggies! 

It’s superb paired with a light honey tarragon vinaigrette but you can always use your favorite dressing, too!

Some other great options include our Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, a homemade honey mustard dressing, a blue cheese dressing or even a buffalo dressing if you’re craving a crispy buffalo chicken salad. 

That’s one of the reasons we love this hearty salad recipe so much! The fresh vegetables and crispy Panko chicken tenders offer you a flavor canvas that you can use to create an assortment of delicious salad recipes. 

Our crispy chicken salad is:

  • a healthy option for lunch and dinner that comes together with ease
  • simple to make and just as easy to modify to your own taste preference
  • packed with flavor, from the salad base to the tender chicken and sweet-savory vinaigrette!

Ingredients Needed

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this yummy salad. As always, you can scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Tarragon Vinaigrette. A combination of fresh lemon juice, fresh tarragon leaves, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, black pepper and your choice of avocado oil, grape seed oil or a light olive oil. 
  • Chicken breasts. ​Use boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally. 
  • Breading mixture. ​You will need a combination of all-purpose flour, cornstarch, salt and Panko breadcrumbs. 
  • Egg whites. From two large eggs (save the yolks for another use!). 
  • Vegetable oil. This will be your frying oil. We estimate you’ll only use about 2-4 tablespoons but feel free to use more if needed. 
  • Salad ingredients. The base of the salad is a medley of mixed salad greens, grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, chopped cucumber, sliced red onion and diced red bell pepper. 
Ingredients for the crispy chicken.

How to Make Crispy Chicken Salad

Here’s a quick overview of the steps required to prepare this recipe. Make sure to refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page for the full details. 

Make the Tarragon Vinaigrette

Combine the lemon juice, tarragon, honey, mustard and garlic in a mini food processor. Process.

While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Process until the leaves are broken up and the vinaigrette is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl or pitcher.

Prepare the Crispy Chicken

Add the flour, cornstarch and salt in one bowl. In a second shallow large bowl, whisk together the egg whites. In a third shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs. Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. 

using a fork to dredging a chicken cutet in a mixture of flour, corn starch and salt.
A serving fork holding a chicken cutlet and dipping it into a dish of egg whites.

Dredge one cutlet at a time in the flour, then dip into the whisked egg whites, turning to coat both sides. 

​Coat each piece with the bread crumbs and press lightly so they stick to the chicken. 

A dish of panko bread crumbs, a chicken breast cutlet and a spoon covering the chicken with bread crumbs. A serving fork alongside.
Two chicken cutlets in a skillet.

Transfer each coated chicken piece to a parchment-lined platter. Repeat with remaining boneless chicken pieces. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, place two of the breaded cutlets in the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes, flip and cook another 3 minutes on the other side. 

Four chicken cutlets on a wire cooling rack.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a cooling rack and cook the rest of the cutlets. let the chicken cool a little bit before cutting them into small pieces and transfer to a plate. 

Assemble the Salad

Add all of the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl. Pour 1/4 of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.

Serve into salad bowls and distribute the chicken bites on top of the salad. Serve immediately with extra dressing on the side. 

Salad in wooden bowl ready to be tossed. Salad utensils in the background.
Pouring tarragon vinaigrette over the tossed salad.
Crispy chicken cut into bite size pieces.
Plated serving of crispy chicken salad.

​Recipe Tips for Success

​preparing the dressing

You can also use a stick blender or immersion blender instead of a mini food processor. Use a food jar with a wide mouth or a similar type of container. 

​for crispy chicken

The secret ingredients that help make this crispy chicken even extra crispy and crunchy are cornstarch and egg whites. Cornstarch mixed into the flour makes the crust crispier since it prevents gluten development. Egg whites have no fat which adds to an extra crispy crust. Make sure to cool the chicken on a wire rack and not a plate to keep that crust nice and crispy even after it cooks!

dredging the chicken 

Use a fork for dipping and dredging the chicken. This is a much easier and cleaner method than using your hands, which will most certainly get goopy from the egg, flour and breadcrumbs. 

pan-frying

Don’t move the chicken cutlets after placing them in the hot skillet. Instead, let them sit until you can see a golden edge forming on the bottom. When it is ready to turn, it will easily release from the skillet. If it’s sticking, it is too soon and the chicken crust isn’t quite ready yet. 

salad assembly tips

  • Use your choice of salad greens and vegetables as well as cheese, hard boiled eggs, crispy bacon bits or whatever you like in your salads.
  • When tossing the salad, use only enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. Start with a small amount and add more if desired. Do not drown the greens.
  • Do not toss the chicken cubes with the bowl of dressed salad mixture as the moisture from the vinaigrette will make the crispy chicken soggy. Add the smaller pieces of chicken directly to each salad portion.
A serving of crispy chicken salad in a dish with a fork.

What to Serve with Crispy Chicken Salad

There are so many ways you can enjoy this, and countless other sides and dishes that pair wonderfully with it! Here are a few tasty suggestions:

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Lettuce Salad with Shrimp is a fresh combination of crispy lettuce, succulent shrimp and dill with a lemony dressing you just can’t get enough of! This light and nutritious salad is great for summertime gatherings and dinner parties!

Cranberry Chicken Salad is one of those dishes you’ll return to again and again! Perfect for picnics and barbecues, this delicious chicken salad is a sweet and savory combination of shredded chicken, crunchy celery, fresh chives, roasted pecans and dried cranberries.

Cast Iron Chicken Quarters with Vegetables is an easy, one-pan meal perfect for busy nights and family dinners! Both the chicken and vegetables are seasoned and baked until tender. From prep to cleanup, this recipe is a breeze!

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A serving of crispy chicken salad in a dish with a fork.

Crispy Chicken Salad

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Our crispy chicken salad is tossed with a flavor-packed tarragon vinaigrette. The crunchy, Panko breaded chicken cutlets are the star of this salad. This is a full-meal option! for either lunch or a light dinner and the salad itself can be customized to fit your taste preference.

Ingredients

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¾ cup avocado, grape seed or light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Crispy Chicken:

  • 2 6 oz. chicken breasts, skinless, boneless and sliced horizontally
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-½ cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites (from large eggs )
  • 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (more if needed)

For the Salad:

  • 5 oz. pkg. washed/dry mixed salad greens
  • 8 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3-4 red radishes
  • 1 Persian cucumber or ½ of an English cucumber
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced

Instructions

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:

  1. Add the lemon juice, tarragon leaves, honey, mustard and garlic to a mini food processor and process. Slowly drizzle the oil in while the machine is running.  Process until the tarragon leaves break up into bits and the vinaigrette becomes smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. Pour the vinaigrette into a jar or pitcher and reserve.

For the Crispy Chicken:

  1. Set up a 3-bowl breading station. Stir the flour, cornstarch and salt together in one bowl; whisk only the egg whites in the second bowl, add the breadcrumbs to the third bowl.  
  2. Pat the chicken breast cutlets with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, then dip into the whisked egg whites, turning to coat both sides.
  3. Place the chicken into the dish of bread crumbs and spoon bread crumbs over the top of the chicken cutlet, pressing to adhere.
  4. Transfer the coated chicken cutlet to a parchment-lined platter and repeat with the remaining chicken cutlets.  
  5. Place a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, add enough of the oil to lightly cover the bottom of the skillet and when it is hot place two of the breaded cutlets into the skillet.  Cook for 4 minutes on the first side, do not move the chicken. After 4 minutes, gently nudge the chicken and if it moves flip it to the other side and cook for an additional 3 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the chicken cutlets to a wire cooling rack and proceed with the remaining chicken cutlets. Allow the chicken to cool on the rack then cut into bite size pieces and reserve on a plate.

Assemble the Salad:

  1. Add the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl, pour ¼ of the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss to combine. Add additional vinaigrette if desired. Portion the salad into four chilled salad bowls and distribute chicken bites on each portion.  

Notes

  • When preparing the vinaigrette a stick blender/immersion blender is another option.  Use a food jar with a wide mouth or a similar type of container that the stick blender fits in comfortably.
  • Cornstarch and egg whites are the secret ingredients necessary for crisp, crunchy chicken, Cornstarch helps prevent gluten formation in the flour making the crust crisper.
  • Egg whites contain no fat and adds to a crisper crust.
  • Use your choice of salad greens and vegetables as well as cheese, hard boiled eggs or whatever you like in your salads.
  • When tossing the salad us only enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. Start with a small amount and add more if desired.  Do not drown the greens.
  • Do not toss the chicken cubes with the bowl of dressed salad mixture as the moisture from the vinaigrette will make the crispy chicken soggy.  Add the chicken cubes directly to each salad portion.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 609Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 921mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 35g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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