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Can You Use Fried Chicken to Make Chicken Salad?

Chicken salad is a classic dish that can be made in endless variations. While many recipes call for boiling or baking chicken breast or thighs, fried chicken can also make a tasty and unique chicken salad. Here are some tips for using fried chicken in your next chicken salad recipe.

Can You Use Fried Chicken to Make Chicken Salad?

Absolutely, fried chicken can be used to make delicious chicken salad. The key is to allow the fried chicken to cool completely before mixing it into the chicken salad ingredients. Hot fried chicken will cause the lettuce and tomatoes to wilt quickly.

Once cooled, the crispy, crunchy breading on the fried chicken provides great textural contrast against the creamy mayonnaise-based dressing and the soft chopped lettuce or cabbage typically used in chicken salads. The juicy fried chicken also gives tons of flavor to balance out the cool creaminess of the salad.

When substituting fried chicken for cooked chicken in any chicken salad recipe, simply use an equal amount of fried chicken pieces in place of the boiled, baked, or rotisserie chicken called for. Take care to remove any bones, then chop, shred, or dice the fried chicken to match the desired size and shape.

Related post: Can you use fried chicken bones for bone broth?

Fried chicken tenders, nuggets, or any other cut of fried chicken will work wonderfully. For an even easier shortcut, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli. The rotisserie method makes the skin extra crispy and infuses flavor throughout the meat similar to fried chicken.

Feel free to get creative with your fried chicken salad by adding crunchy veggies, fruits, nuts, or other mix-in ingredients. Creamy dressings like ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard, or vinaigrettes pair particularly well with the crispy chicken. With the right balance of flavors and textures, fried chicken can absolutely take your chicken salad recipe to the next level.

Should You Use Hot or Cold Fried Chicken?

Fried chicken can be used either hot straight from the fryer or cold straight from the fridge. Hot fried chicken will wilt the lettuce and tomatoes faster, so it’s best to let it cool before mixing it into chicken salad. Cold fried chicken is ideal for chicken salads. The crispy coating adds great texture contrast against the creamy dressing and soft lettuce.

How to Substitute Fried Chicken in Any Recipe

In any chicken salad recipe, simply replace the cooked chicken breast or thighs with an equal amount of your favorite fried chicken. Fried chicken tenders, nuggets, or any other cut of fried chicken will work well. Just remove any bones, then chop, shred, or dice the fried chicken to the desired size.

To make the substitution even easier, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli and simply remove and chop the skin and meat. The rotisserie chicken gives a similar flavor to fried chicken thanks to the seasonings and crispy skin.

Crispy Chicken vs Fried Chicken

While the terms are often used interchangeably, fried chicken and crispy chicken can refer to slightly different cooking methods. Fried chicken is coated in batter or breadcrumbs then fried in oil. The coating soaks up the oil, becoming crunchy on the outside yet moist on the inside. Crispy chicken is most often pan-fried or baked until the skin becomes super crispy. Both work great in chicken salads!

Building the Best Fried Chicken Salad

When using fried chicken in the salad, balance is key. Cut the chicken into smaller pieces so it doesn’t overwhelm the salad. To add color and crunch, mix in chopped veggies like celery, shredded cabbage or carrot, diced apple, and your favorite greens.

Make it a meal by serving the salad over a bed of greens or on top of bread, toast, or a waffle. Drizzle with your desired dressing like ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard, or vinaigrette. Top with crispy bacon bits, shredded cheese, roasted nuts, or dried cranberries for even more flavor and texture excitement.

The crispy, juicy chicken pairs perfectly with cool and creamy ingredients. So don’t be afraid to get creative with your next chicken salad recipe using leftover or freshly fried chicken. It adds a fun twist to a classic.

FAQs
How can I substitute fried chicken?

To substitute fried chicken in any chicken salad recipe, simply use equal amounts of your favorite fried chicken pieces in place of the chicken called for. Chicken nuggets, tenders, or any fried chicken works. Remove bones, then chop or shred the meat to match the recipe. The crispy coating adds a great crunch to balance the creamy dressing.

Is Crispy Chicken the same as Fried Chicken?

Crispy and fried chicken are similar but not identical. Fried chicken is dipped in batter or crumbs then fried to a crispy coating. Crispy chicken is pan-fried or baked until the skin gets super crispy. Both work for chicken salad, but fried has more coating.

Should the chicken in chicken salad be hot or cold?

For chicken salad, cold chicken is best. Hot fried chicken will wilt the lettuce and veggies. Allow fried chicken to cool fully before mixing into the salad for the best texture and flavor contrast.

What is chicken salad Chick chicken salad made of?

Chicken Salad Chick is a popular chicken salad franchise. Their classic salad contains chopped chicken breast, mayonnaise, seasonings, relish, eggs, and celery. Customers can add pecans, craisins, bacon, cheeses and more. It’s served on greens, bread, or crackers.

Can I use store-bought fried chicken?

Yes, packaged fried chicken like fried chicken strips, nuggets, or rotisserie chicken work great. Just dice or shred to the desired size.

What about the skin and breading?

The skin and breading add a nice crunch and flavor. Feel free to use them in your salad. Simply dice or mince the skin to mix in.

 

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