Looking for the perfect recipe for grilled chicken for salad? This is it. A simple marinade and quick grilling makes this boneless chicken breast ideal for topping any type of salad.
Grilled Chicken makes any salad a meal
Whether you are looking to top a Caesar salad, taco or any other type, the addition of a lean protein turns your salad into a healthy meal. This recipe was formulated especially to be versatile for complementing any salad variety beautifully.
Just a few ingredients that most of us have in our pantry and fridges are needed for the marinade. If you want to marinade and cook the chicken a day or two ahead of making your salad that’s fine! Then, whenever you’re ready, lunch or dinner can be ready in a snap.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast – you could make this recipe with chicken thighs, but just keep in mind they take longer to cook than breasts
- Soy sauce – the low sodium type is fine if that’s what you prefer
- Worcestershire sauce – our preferred brand is Lea & Perrins
- Vegetable oil – our standard is canola, but any kind is fine
- White wine vinegar
- Brown sugar – either light or dark is good. The light sweetness it brings to the chicken is the main way this recipe differs from our other favorite – Preacher Chicken.
- Black pepper – freshly ground is always best
- Lemon Juice – For most recipes like Mini Lemon Tarts or Cajun Cream Sauce we recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice, but in this case bottled juice is just fine.
How to make it
This recipe is super easy y’all!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on an affiliate link and buy something, we may receive a very small commission. It does NOT result in additional charges to you or cost you anything extra. Click here for our full privacy and disclosure policy. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
- Stir the marinade ingredients until the brown sugar is dissolved.
- Pound the chicken to a uniform ½ inch (approximately) thickness with a meat mallet. (First put it in a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap).
- Marinade the chicken for 4-12 hours in refrigerator. We like to do this in a plastic bag too. That way the meat is totally covered.
- Grill over medium high heat about 4 minutes per side, checking for doneness at 3 minutes on the second side.
Tips and Tricks
The uniform thickness of the chicken breasts are the most important tip for consistently cooked meat. We use this same method in our spicier recipe – Grilled Blackened Chicken.
You can check for doneness with a digital meat thermometer set for 165 degrees. This is the one we have and use all the time! You can also check by piercing the chicken and checking the color of the juices that run. If it’s pink you’re not quite there. If the juices run clear it should be perfect!
Storing/Freezing your grilled chicken for salad
Store it tightly wrapped in the fridge 5-6 days with no diminishing of flavor.
You can freeze cooked chicken up to 6 months if it has been well sealed like with a Food Saver. If you don’t have one of these you should definitely consider it. So many foods freeze better when vacuum sealed.
Salad suggestions for topping with grilled chicken
Whatever your favorite salads are will be perfect. A few specific salad recipe ideas:
- Summer Salad with Peaches and Blackberries
- Fall Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Salad with Grapefruit and Champagne Vinaigrette
- Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
- Pasta Salad with Asparagus
- Clementine Salad with Tangy Vinaigrette
- Barbecue Salad Dressing is especially good on salads with grilled chicken
Heck, you could even use this chicken to make Chicken Salad with Apples and Pecans. That would be awesome!
Grilled Chicken for Salad
- Pound washed and dried chicken to approximately ½ inch thickeness.
- Mix all remaining ingredients until brown sugar dissolves.
- Place chicken in a plastic bag and pour marinade over, sealing tightly and marinating in refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
- Cook over medium high grilled about 3 minutes one one side and then turn.
- Check for doneness after 3 minutes on second side. If needed cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until juices run clear or meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165 degrees.
- Let cool slightly before slicing and topping salads with chicken.
- Nutrititional information has been estimated based on an estimate of the amount of marinade that will be absorbed by each serving of chicken.
- Regular or low sodium soy sauce are acceptable.
- Light or dark brown sugar work fine with this recipe.
- Cooking time is estimated based on ½ inch thick pieces of chicken. Variation in thickness will change cooking time accordingly.