Crunchy Peanut Salad with Chicken — Crispy fried chicken with crunchy cabbage, carrots, peanuts, cilantro and the EASIEST and BEST homemade peanut sauce that coats every bite!! A salad that you’ll CRAVE over and over!!
Easiest Fried Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
This peanut salad is so easy, ready in 10 minutes, and filled with amazing crunch and so many textures and flavors in every bite.
The base of the salad consists of cole slaw mix — which is green cabbage with shredded carrots and a bit of red cabbage — and I added extra red cabbage for good measure along with salted peanuts and cilantro.
The two stars of the show are the crispy fried chicken and the homemade peanut sauce.
I have quite the collection of peanut sauce recipes, which just goes to show how much I love it, and this easy peanut butter salad dressing pairs with so many things. You’ll likely have extra peanut sauce so check out these recipes for other recipes and ways to use it. Extra sauce keeps for at least 10 days in the fridge.
What’s in the Peanut Salad?
This is a fried chicken salad that’s drizzled with homemade peanut butter salad dressing. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Coleslaw mix
- Red cabbage
- Fried chicken (see my notes in the “Tips” section below)
- Salted peanuts
- Fresh cilantro
- Creamy peanut butter
- Sesame oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Ground ginger
- Cayenne pepper
- Coconut milk (optional)
How to Make the Peanut Salad
Simply add the salad ingredients to a large bowl, then stir together the peanut salad dressing.
It’s is so easy to make peanut dressing at home, takes two minutes to whisk together, is far more cost-effective than small store-bought jars, and you control the ingredients.
The peanut salad dressing ingredients include: peanut butter, sesame oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and I like to add a pinch of cayenne pepper. It doesn’t make the sauce spicy, but just gives it rounded out flavor.
I don’t tend to usually add coconut milk to peanut sauce and it’s optional in this recipe, but if you like a thinner sauce, incorporate it. However, if you like your peanut sauce on the thicker, omit the coconut milk.
Can I Prep This Recipe in Advance?
Once assembled, the salad is best enjoyed immediately. However, you can make the dressing days in advance. You can also prep the veggies and store them in separate containers until you’re ready to use them.
Tips for Making Peanut Salad
I used a pound of crispy fried chicken tenders that I got from my grocery store deli counter.
This saves time, makes my life a whole lot easier, makes this salad much faster to simpler to assemble for lunch or on busy weeknights. Plus since I’m not the one doing the frying, my house doesn’t stink for days, but feel free to use your own favorite fried chicken recipe rather than store bought.
Fried chicken is just so good once in awhile but if you want to go the baked and/or make the chicken from scratch route, I recommend jumping off from this Baked Chicken Nuggets recipe.
You could also use frozen store-bought chicken tenders and bake them.
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Crunchy Peanut Salad with Chicken
Crispy fried chicken with crunchy cabbage, carrots, peanuts, cilantro and the EASIEST and BEST homemade peanut sauce that coats every bite!! A salad that you'll CRAVE over and over!!
- 10 ounces coleslaw mix
- 2 cups red cabbage, chopped
- 1 pound fried chicken breast tenders (use grocery store deli counter to save time), sliced into bite-sized pieces; or see notes for more options
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts
- 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely minced
- heaping 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed, optional
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 1/4 cup coconut milk, optional and only to thin it out if desired
- To a large plate or bowl, add the cole slaw mix, red cabbage, chicken, peanuts, cilantro, and stir to combine.
- To a medium bowl, add all ingredients, whisk to combine, taste to check for seasoning and flavor balance, and make any necessary adjustments (i.e. more honey, more peanut butter, more salt, more sesame oil, etc.). If you like your sauce on the thicker side you may want to omit the coconut milk.
- Drizzle over the salad as desired; you will likely have extra peanut sauce. Extra peanut sauce will keep airtight for up to 10 days in the fridge. Salad is best fresh.
Fried chicken: If you want to make your own scratch fried chicken, feel free. If you want to use baked chicken tenders that imitate the taste of fried chicken, I recommend following this recipe. You could also use frozen store bought chicken tenders and bake them.
The nutritional info is on the high side because it takes into account all the peanut sauce, including the optional coconut milk, but it's unlikely you will use all the peanut sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 946Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 1862mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 8gSugar: 31gProtein: 33g
The nutrition info for this recipe takes into account ALL of the peanut sauce and it's not likely you will use all of it for the salad which would dramatically reduce the stats.
More Peanut Chicken Recipes:
Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, healthy, and the peanut sauce is the best! Great flavors and textures in every bite of these irresistible wraps!
Thai Peanut Chicken Salad – Eat the Rainbow with this easy, healthy salad that’s ready in 20 minutes! Juicy chicken and crisp vegetables are tossed in the best peanut sauce!
Easy Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce — Look no further from this FAST and EASY recipe for authentic-tasting Thai chicken satay. The chicken is so tender and juicy and there’s plenty of homemade PEANUT SAUCE to dip it into!
Peanut Chicken with Peanut Noodles – Easy, ready in 20 minutes, tastes better, and way healthier than takeout! Peanut sauce automatically makes everything taste amazing!
Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken – The easiest peanut chicken ever and your slow cooker does all the work! Topped with crunchy peanuts, cilantro, green onions, and the peanut sauce is irresistible!
Do you use canned coconut milk or is it the boxed or bottled type? Thank you. This sounds delicious!
For this purpose, to thin out a salad dressing, it really wouldn’t matter too terribly much but I would always lean towards canned.
This salad was delicious! The dressing was so flavorful – I used vegan “chicken” strips and added some leftover roasted beets. Thank for another terrific and easy recipe!
I’m glad you loved the salad and the dressing and that the vegan chicken strips worked well! I love beets and am sure they were great in here!
I am unable to pin this receipe.
Sounds so good-I want to save it!!
It’s easy to pin – there are hover-over floating Pin It buttons on the top right hand corner of every photo. Move your cursor over the R-hand corner and it will show up.
I remember trying your peanut sauce recipes from way back when you started blogging. I was hooked from my first taste! This salad looks awesome…and I love the idea of using some coconut milk to thin out the sauce a bit. I always make extra and it can really thicken up when it sits in the fridge.
Yes it definitely can thicken up and the coconut milk trick is great to thin it out as needed. Thanks for remembering my peanut sauce from way way back. I would say a good 9+ years ago was my very first peanut sauce recipe because I’ve been blogging 10 1/2 years at this point…wow.
This salad was so good. The cabbage crunch, with the greasy/salt/fatty crunch of the fried deli chicken, and the peanut sauce, I could eat it every day :)