This 15 minute Thai Chicken Salad recipe is bright and full of flavor with a creamy dressing and lots of fresh, crunchy veggies. It is a perfect year-round healthy salad!

We also love this classic chicken salad, curry chicken salad and healthy chicken salad.

Thai chicken salad recipe served in white bowl and blue towel nearby.

I love Thai cuisine and its fresh, fun flavor combinations. This Thai chicken salad is a perfect example of it with the combination of sweet, savory, tangy, and spicy.

With a combination of tender chicken, crunchy fresh red cabbage and bell peppers, a savory bite of peanuts, and creamy dressing with a dash of spice, this healthy salad is truly satisfying!

Unlike other Thai chicken salad recipes, I’ve used a creamy yogurt-based salad dressing rather than a peanut butter dressing with soy sauce. This provides richness while remaining light and healthy.

Ingredients for Thai Chicken Salad

To make Thai chicken salad, all you need is a combination of simple ingredients for the salad and its dressing.

For the Salad:

  • Chicken breast: Use leftover cooked crock pot shredded chicken or Instant Pot shredded chicken. Read below for more chicken recommendations and check the FAQs for chicken substitutes. 
  • Red cabbage: I love the color that red cabbage provides. However, you can use green cabbage or savoy cabbage instead. Shred the cabbage using a mandoline or knife.
  • Bell pepper: Use thinly sliced sweet red bell pepper, orange bell pepper or yellow bell pepper. If you love a bit bitter taste of green bell pepper, use that.
  • Cilantro: If you’re not a fan, you could experiment with using fresh mint, fresh parsley or fresh basil instead.
  • Green onion: To add zing.
  • Peanuts: I use roasted unsalted peanuts for this Thai chicken salad recipe. Feel free to substitute them with roasted, unsalted cashews or almonds.

For the Dressing:

  • Yogurt: You can use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat content. Avoid 0% yogurt as it will lack flavor and creaminess.
  • Mayo: I’ve made this Thai chicken salad recipe healthier by almost entirely omitting the mayo from the healthy salad dressing, but just a couple of spoonfuls really help to pack in that extra rich creaminess. Omit it if you prefer, though.
  • Maple syrup: The slight sweetness balances the tang of the yogurt and vinegar well. Feel free to use sugar or any other sweetener.
  • Rice vinegar: Provides a wonderful tangy flavor not to be missed. 
  • Lime: Please use fresh lime juice, not bottled lime juice, for the best flavor!
  • Seasonings: A combination of salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes.

What Chicken Can I Use?

The key to making this Thai chicken salad in 15 minutes is using leftover shredded chicken.

If you’re running short on time then feel free to use a rotisserie chicken. However, they can be fairly packed with sodium so it’s not usually my first choice.

Instead, I love to prepare some cooked chicken in advance, ready for a week’s worth of meals. Best of all, you can prepare your chicken in one of several ways based on your schedule and preferred cooking method:

How to Make Thai Chicken Salad

Here is a quick overview how to make Thai chicken salad with just 15 minutes of prep time. Please find full recipe card below.

Shredded chicken, bell pepper, green onion, peanuts, cabbage, cilantro, yogurt and seasonings in white bowl.
  • Prepare the salad dressing: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, maple syrup, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Whisk well to combine and then set aside
  • Assemble the salad: Prepare all of the ingredients. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining salad ingredients, add the dressing on top, and then toss the salad well to combine thoroughly.

Tips for Best Results

Here are my top tips for the best Thai chicken salad from the first try!

  • Keep the peanuts crunchy: If you plan on storing salad for longer than a day, the peanuts can soften over time and lose their crunch. To avoid this, store peanuts in airtight container in a cool dry place and add some before serving.
  • Salad dressing with thin out: Though the salad dressing might seem a little thick when you first add it to the salad, it will thin from the vegetable juices as Thai chicken salad sits.
  • Make dressing separately: Although photos show all salad ingredients in one bowl, it will be much easier to make dressing separately and incorporate with salad after.
Thai chicken salad garnished with lime and hot pepper flakes in a bowl.


This chopped Thai chicken salad is also super customizable. Here are a few ideas how to do that:

  • Add more vegetables: Veggies that work well in this Thai chicken salad are shredded carrots, sliced raw zucchini, de-seeded and chopped cucumber.
  • Add noodles: Cooked and chilled rice noodles work amazingly within Thai salads for a complete lunch.
  • Bump up the heat: With thinly sliced red chili peppers, grated fresh ginger or simply add more red pepper flakes to the salad dressing. Also fresh garlic would pair well.
  • Add fruit: Like green papaya or mango.
  • Chopped cooked hard boiled eggs to boost up the protein
  • Peanut dressing: I have peanut sauce recipe that will also work well as a peanut dressing for this Thai chicken salad.
  • A nut-free option: I understand that not everyone can enjoy nuts due to allergies. In that case, omit the peanuts and add toasted sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds instead to provide crunch. 

What to Serve Thai Chicken Salad with?

This Thai chicken salad is already practically a full meal. To bulk it up slightly further, add in some cooked cold rice noodles and you have a complete meal.

I love to enjoy it with a slice of crusty bread or make chicken lettuce wraps with some salad scooped up in romaine lettuce leaves.

Another low calorie light dinner option is to serve salad with some spaghetti squash noodles.

How to Store It

Store any leftover Thai chicken salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. That’s lunch sorted for a week!

However, vegetables in the salad will begin to lose their crunch as salad sits. So if you know you want to save some, feel free to dress portion of the salad now and store some separately from the dressing.

I don’t recommend freezing Thai chicken salad as freezing can affect the texture of fresh crunchy veggies.


Can you make Thai chicken salad ahead?

You sure can! If you want to prepare Thai chicken salad 2-3 days in advance, it’s best to prepare the salad and dressing separately and then combine 20-30 minutes before serving (to marinate slightly) or even just before serving.

Can I substitute the chicken?

Yes. Feel free to substitute the chicken with cooked turkey breast, oven baked salmon, grilled shrimp skewers or even pan fried tofu. Cooked quinoa or brown rice would also add protein and fiber.

Can I eat That chicken salad warm?

This might sound a little weird (and some people won’t be fans), but you could quickly stir fry Thai chicken salad ingredients with a little sesame oil in a wok for just a couple of minutes first. Then add the dressing and serve salad warm. The goal is to retain crunch in the vegetables, so just 2-3 minutes should be more than enough.

More Thai Inspired Recipes

More Salad Recipes to Try

Closeup of Thai chicken salad garnished with lime.
Thai chicken salad recipe served in white bowl and blue towel nearby.

Thai Chicken Salad Recipe

This 15 minute Thai Chicken Salad recipe is bright and full of flavor with a creamy dressing and lots of fresh, crunchy veggies.
4.95 from 17 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 163
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


For the Salad:

For the Dressing:


  • In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayo, maple syrup, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes; whisk well to combine. Set aside.
  • In a large salad bowl, add chicken, cabbage, bell pepper, cilantro, green onion and peanuts. Add previously prepared dressing and mix salad with large spoon until well combined.
  • Serve cold on its own, with a slice of bread or in lettuce wraps.



  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It is also best to add peanuts right before serving to help them retain the crunch.
  • How to cook chicken: Here is how to bake chicken breast, make Instant Pot chicken breast or use Instant Pot frozen whole chicken leftovers. Or use rotisserie chicken if short on time.
  • Make sure not to use 0% yogurt: It can be Greek or regular but look for 2% and higher. Non-fat yogurt lacks flavor and creaminess.
  • A bit of mayo: Is optional and depends on personal preference to “seal the deal” with creamy chicken salad.
Recipe updated March 2021. Therefore, older video will reflect a bit different dressing ingredients.


Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 310mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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  1. 5 stars
    Holy Moly!!! This exceeded my expectations, big time!! It was a last minute throw together meal, and I wasn’t expecting it to be so darn amazing!!! :). I served it on half of an avocado with a baguette on the side. Yummy!!! If I have a mid-day get together with friends or a picnic style lunch – there’s no doubt people will be in love with your recipe after one bite!

  2. 5 stars
    Amazing Flavor! Wow! Ka-Pow! I will definitely be making this again and again! Beautiful, exciting, flavor combinations!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Have made this a bunch. I add more peanuts, cabbage and I also substitute non-dairy plan yogurt. Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    Amazing flavor and fullness!! Started with day Two of week one, only because it was little warm here. This is the first recipe I have done in this series. My husband ate it on the seeded bread (added a little mayo), and I ate it on the wheat wrap (added a little ranch). Mine came our a little dry, but I think I measured the greek yogurt wrong, and I only had white wine vinegar so substituted lemon juice for the vinegar, so this could’ve made a difference. Looked it up the day after..only 69 calories per serving ?.

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