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 thanks to a shortcut, 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. It’s a cinch to make and the ingredients are easy to find.
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.
Chicken Tips for Making Peanut Salad
For the fried chicken component of this salad, there are a few ways to go:
- I used a pound of crispy fried chicken tenders that I got from my grocery store deli counter. Quick, easy, no-brainer if you’re in a hurry! 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.
- For a true homemade fried chicken, I suggest my Fried Chicken that I used in my fried chicken sandwich. It’s crispy, crunchy, and everything fried chicken should be.
- For the air fryer fans, my Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Breast recipe is a reader favorite because it really replicates the taste and texture of actual fried chicken.
- If you’d like to try a baked but breaded option, my Baked Chicken Nuggets recipe is a great one. Make as directed, slice them in half over the salad and you’re ready to go.
- You could also use frozen store-bought chicken tenders and bake them.
- 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 at home
- 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.
Chicken: If you want to make your own scratch fried chicken, feel free. Use my Crispy Fried Chicken recipe. If you want to use baked chicken tenders that imitate the taste of fried chicken, I recommend using Baked Chicken Nuggets. If you have an air fryer, my Air Fryer Breaded Chicken is great. 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!
Originally posted September 16, 2019 and reposted July 14, 2023 with updated text.