Mexican Chicken Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Mexican Chicken Sala in a large brown bowl.

Skip going out and make a delicious, restaurant quality Mexican Chicken Salad at home with easy to find ingredients and some simple prep work.

**This post (including photos, text and recipe) has been updated since its original post date in 2012 to include more helpful information and to improve the ease of preparation.

Ok, so why do salads taste better when you’re out at restaurants? I think it has something to do with the ratio of all the ingredients. This Mexican Chicken Salad tastes like it was ordered out somewhere but it’ll cost you way less money and is quicker than going out too.

Close up shot of Mexican Chicken Salad in a medium brown bowl.

Ingredients for Mexican Chicken Salad

Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this salad at home:

  • Limes
  • Fresh garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Boneless chicken breast: You can also use boneless chicken thighs for this recipe.
  • Romaine lettuce: I prefer to use romaine but you can use whatever leafy green you love.
  • Avocado
  • Frozen or canned corn: If you’re using frozen corn, make sure to thaw it before assembling the salad.
  • Black beans: Drain and rinse a can of black beans.
  • Pico de gallo
  • Ranch: this is optional but a drizzle alongside the homemade vinaigrette is pretty magical.
  • Shredded cheese: Use whatever kind you prefer. I usually grab a bag shredded Mexican blend to keep it easy.
  • Tortilla strips: If your grocery store doesn’t carry tortilla strips (find them with the croutons) you can just add a handful of crushed tortilla chips instead.
A bowl of lettuce, bowl of tortilla strips, bowl of corn, bowl of black beans, bowl of pico de gallo, plate of diced chicken and jar of vinaigrette.

Make the Vinaigrette

For me, the vinaigrette is the star of this salad. It’s tangy and spicy and SO easy to make.

All you need to do is combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar, put on the lid and shake. You can also whisk it really well in a bowl.

If you have time, make this a few hours ahead of time or even the night before to allow the flavors to blend together. It’ll taste even better!

Cook the Chicken

Start by seasoning both sides of the chicken generously. I chose to grill my chicken since that’s my favorite way for salad.

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees F. Cook chicken about six minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Once done, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into bite-size pieces.

If you don’t have a grill or the weather isn’t cooperating, you can cook it in a skillet or even bake it in the oven.

Straight down shot of Mexican Chicken Salad.

Assemble the Mexican Chicken Salad

To assemble the salads, start by dividing the romaine evenly between 4 shallow salad bowls.

Top each salad with diced chicken, avocado, corn, black beans, pico de gallo, cheese, vinaigrette, a drizzle of ranch if you desire and tortilla strips.

More Salad Recipes to Try

Mexican Chicken Sala in a large brown bowl.
No ratings yet

Mexican Chicken Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Make this simple, filling and refreshing Mexican Chicken Salad for dinner.
Prep Time15 minutes
Active Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: Mexican Chicken Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Meghan Payne-Hensley


For the Vinaigrette

  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the Salad

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 cups chopped romaine
  • 1 large avocado, mashed
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn (or canned)
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained black beans
  • pico de gallo
  • Mexican cheese
  • ranch dressing
  • crispy tortilla strips


  • Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a mason jar. Seal and shake well. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Give it a good shake before pouring.
  • Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with chili powder, cumin and salt. Place on grill and cook for six to seven minutes per side. Once cooked through, remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minues before cutting into bite-size pieces.
  • Divide lettuce evenly among four bowls. Top each with grilled chicken, mashed avocado, corn, black beans, pico de gallo and shredded cheese. Drizzle with desired amount of ranch and chili lime vinaigrette. Top with tortilla strips and enjoy.


  1. Thanks for sharing this delicious salad!!!! It IS perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

  2. This looks much better than McDonald’s version. Please share this on my foodie friday party today.

  3. Thanks for linking to Tasty Tuesdays! You will be featured at this weeks party. Come by and grab a featured button.

  4. […] Sweet Cornbread Cheesy Bread Whole Lemon Blueberry Walnut Muffins Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes Mexican Chicken Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette Salted Pretzel Caramel Bark Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp Lasagna […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating