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Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

An easy chicken salad recipe spiced up with chili powder and made simple with ingredients I already had on hand. This is a perfect last minute recipe you can whip up in less than five minutes.

Spicy Chicken Salad in white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.

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I am always up for a traditional chicken salad recipe but sometimes I want a little more something. Chicken salad is a culinary blank canvas. You can add whatever flavor profile you like.

I made this super easy by using canned chicken that I had in my pantry collecting dust. Rotisserie chicken from the market works well too. Cook your own chicken if you want to. Boiled, shredded chicken breast works well for this.

Spicy Chicken Salad in white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.

A note about the mayo. I use Kewpie Japanese mayo because I believe it’s the best hands-down. It’s easy to find in and Asian market but you could also order it online. There’s a link in the recipe card below. Do you have to use mayo? No. You can substitute plain yogurt, salad dressing or any sauce that fancies you.

I always feel guilty wasting fruits and vegetables. My father-in-law was a farmer. I saw how much work went into bringing fruit to market. This recipe is very versatile so you can clean out your crisper drawer for this recipe and not waste them.

You can make a traditional chicken salad recipe but add curry powder or cajun seasonings. Want a Southwestern-style dish? Use American chili powder, corn and black beans and now you have a Southwest chicken salad. Do you like buffalo hot wings? Add Frank’s Buffalo Sauce and celery to your creation. See below for some more Inspo.

Chicken Salad Tips & Variations

Spicy Chicken Salad in white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.
  • Healthy – Substitute plain yogurt or tahini for mayo.
  • Simple – Just use mayo, mustard and relish.
  • Easy – Use canned or rotisserie chicken for easy recipe.
  • Flavor Variations – Use sauces such as salad dressings or Asian sauces.
  • Chinese Chicken Salad – Cabbage, shredded carrots, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar.
  • Chicken Salad Sandwich – avocado, sprouts, tomato, red onion.
  • Hot and Spicy Add-ins – Cayenne, hot paprika, Aleppo chili powder, Kashmiri chili powder, sriracha sauce, Texas Pete, Tobasco, Cholula. Read What is Chili Powder for more info.
  • Texture – If you want it crunchy, be sure to add crunchy vegetables like onions, carrot, cabbage etc. or crunchy diced apples.
  • Various Salads – You can use this same recipe with hard boiled eggs or canned fish too!

What to Serve With Chicken Salad

Another opportunity for creativity is what you choose to serve this with. This salad is protein rich so I prefer to serve with veggies and crackers, especially thin crackers. I just scoop some of the chicken onto the crackers or dunk them right in like a chip-and-dip. I also love to eat chicken salad rolled up in a crunchy lettuce leaf. Fruit on the side would be a nice, light, sweet touch. You can also make a sandwich out of it by serving it on toasted bread.

Party Idea

Make an appetizer platter. On a serving tray, add a bowl of this spicy chicken salad, a bowl of Muhammara, and sprinkle various chips and crackers in the tray around the two bowls. Muhammara is a robust red pepper dip that whips up in five minutes also.

CONFUSED ABOUT THE DIFFERENT CHILI POWDERS? I’ve got the details in my article What is Chili Powder?


HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

Ingredients for spicy chicken salad.
Gather your chosen ingredients.
Spicy chicken salad ingredients in glass bowl.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl.
Spicy chicken salad ingredients stirred in a glass bowl.
Stir until well combined.
Spicy Chicken Salad in white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.
Taste for seasoning. You may want to add salt or more chili powder at this point.

Spicy Chicken Salad in white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.

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Spicy Chicken Salad in white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.

Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

An easy chicken salad recipe spiced up with chili powder and made simple with ingredients I already had on hand. This is a perfect last minute recipe you can whip up in less than five minutes.

Ingredients

  • 12.5 oz canned chicken
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (try Kewpie if you can find it)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pickled banana peppers
  • 2 Tbs deli mustard (yellow mustard works fine also)
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickles (your choice on type)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • chili powder to taste (depends on how hot you like it)
  • GARNISH - fresh herbs of your choice

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Check for seasoning. Add more salt or chili powder if needed.
  2. See below for serving suggestions.

Notes

  1. Serve with crackers, pita chips or bagel crisps.
  2. Smother on toasted sourdough for a spicy sandwich.
  3. Make a wrap out of it by adding to a spinach tortilla along with some cunchy veggies such as cabbage, lettuce, carrots and onions.
  4. Serve in a bowl on top of salad greens.
  5. Roll up in a leafy green such as Romaine, Iceberg, Collards, Asian cabbage.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 997mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 24g

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