Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

5 from 5 votes
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Make restaurant-quality chicken Caesar salad with delicious baked or grilled chicken, crisp romaine, parmesan, creamy dressing, & crunchy garlic croutons. A super simple yet satisfying light lunch or dinner!

Homemade chicken Caesar salad in a serving bowl

I’ve already shared a simple, classic Caesar salad recipe, but now it’s the turn of my favorite and most-enjoyed version – this chicken Caesar salad recipe. Adding baked, grilled, or air-fried chicken transforms this salad from an appetizer or side to a light yet satisfying main meal you can enjoy during the summer and all year long.

Even better, making a Caesar salad with chicken at home is much more affordable than getting it at a café/restaurant. There are even several ways to customize it to your liking – whether that’s adding juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, or crispy bacon. Keep reading for my favorite variations below.

Plus, while it may seem like many elements to pull together (the chicken plus dressing, plus croutons, plus veg prep), all the elements are fairly meal-prep friendly, so you can prep several portions in one go! In fact, I encourage you to make the dressing well ahead, as the flavor only gets better the longer it sits.

Homemade chicken Caesar salad in a serving bowl

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Ingredients in Chicken Caesar Salad

Only a few simple Caesar salad ingredients are required to pull together the BEST Caesar salad recipe.

  • Chicken: You can use baked, air-fried, or grilled chicken as the Caesar chicken. I prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts as they’re leaner meat, though chicken thighs will work too. To save time, use rotisserie chicken (just watch the sodium levels).

It’s easy to adjust the flavor profile of the chicken for this recipe. Keep it simple with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, or use my favorite poultry seasoning, add spice with a Cajun seasoning, try lemon pepper for a bright, citrusy flavor, etc.

  • Romaine lettuce: Use fresh, crisp romaine lettuce (or iceberg). Keep it chilled in the refrigerator until time to use for the best texture. Kale also works.
  • Caesar dressing: My 7-ingredient homemade Caesar dressing ditches raw eggs for pre-made mayonnaise. It’s mixed with garlic, parmesan, Worcestershire sauce (and/or fresh lemon juice), anchovies (whole or anchovy paste – just enough to add indescribably delicious depth but no fishy flavor to take it from “yum” to “lick the bowl clean” delicious), extra-virgin olive oil, and salt & black pepper. It’s super rich, creamy, tangy, and loaded with heaps of umami.
  • Parmesan cheese: It’s best to use a good-quality parmesan, like Parmigiano Reggiano, straight from the block rather than pre-grated/shaved.
  • Croutons: Homemade garlic croutons are infinitely better than the rock-solid store-bought croutons and so easy to make with just a handful of ingredients and very little effort. However, store-bought work in a pinch, or even homemade parmesan crisps.
Ingredients for chicken Caesar salad

How to Make Chicken Caesar Salad

Cook the Chicken

You can cook the chicken with your preferred method, though I usually grill or bake it. To bake boneless, skinless chicken breasts (click here for the full recipe method):

  1. Optionally brine the chicken.
  2. Season the chicken with oil and your preferred seasonings.
  3. Bake them in a pre-heat oven at 375ºF/190ºC for 18-22 minutes, depending on their size (up to 30 minutes for very large chicken breasts).

To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the mat. It should read 165ºF/75ºC.

  1. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing it and allowing it to cool.
Cooked chicken slices in a bowl

Prepare the Croutons

You can bake the Caesar salad croutons in the oven at the same time as the chicken. To do so:

  1. Toss the oil and seasonings in a large bowl, mixing well.
  2. Cube the bread into ½-¾ inch pieces, then throw them in the bowl with the oil mixture and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Spread the bread cubes across a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway. They’re ready when they’re golden brown and crisp.
Homemade coutons on a baking tray

How to Make the Salad Dressing

Add all the ingredients except the water to a food processor (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth and creamy.

Slowly add in the water, a little at a time, to a consistency that slowly flows off a spoon. Set aside to meld, then taste and adjust any seasonings/flavors before serving.

Homemade caesar dressing in a jar

How to Assemble a Chicken Caesar Salad

  1. First, prepare the croutons, dressing, and chicken. Remember to leave time (about an hour) for the chicken and croutons to cool down and the dressing flavors to meld.
  2. Then, rinse and slice the romaine lettuce into 1-inch strips, using paper towels or a salad spinner to remove all excess liquid.
  3. Use a vegetable/potato peeler to shave the parmesan.
  4. Transfer the lettuce to a large salad bowl and add the dressing, using tongs to thoroughly toss them so the leaves are evenly coated.
  5. Add the parmesan, croutons, and sliced chicken and toss again. Enjoy!
Steps for making chicken Caesar salad

Enjoy this chicken Caesar salad as a main meal or in smaller portions alongside soup (like tomato soup or minestrone), pasta (like garlic pasta or a lasagna), and garlic bread/focaccia. You can also enjoy it alongside a baked potato or fries.

Can I Make Chicken Caesar Salad Ahead of Time?

While I only recommend assembling the salad just before serving, you can prepare all the elements in advance:

  • Dressing: Can be prepared 5-7 days in advance and stored in a clean jar in the fridge.
  • Croutons: Can be stored in an airtight jar at room temperature for 7-10 days. However, they’re best within 5.
  • Chicken: Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Lettuce: Chop, wash, and pat it thoroughly dry before storing it in a paper towel-lined container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Once assembled, enjoy it immediately for the best texture and flavor. However, any leftover dressed salad will store for an extra day or two in an airtight container in the fridge (minus the croutons, which become soggy if left to sit in the salad).

Homemade chicken Caesar salad in a serving bowl

More Salad Recipes

If you try this easy chicken Caesar salad recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

5 from 5 votes
By: Samira
Make restaurant-quality chicken Caesar salad with delicious baked or grilled chicken, crisp romaine, parmesan, creamy dressing, & crunchy garlic croutons. A super simple yet satisfying light lunch or dinner!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce or Iceberg
  • 1/2 cup Caesar dressing see below for homemade
  • 1/2 cup croutons see below for homemade
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese Parmigiano Reggiano works best
  • 1 chicken breast baked, grilled, or air fried

For the Caesar dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise full-fat works best
  • 0.7 oz parmesan cheese 1/3 cups grated; Parmigiano Reggiano works best OR a 50/50 Parmesan and Pecorino Romano
  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil or another neutral oil
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 anchovy filet or 1/4 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • water 1 Tbsp or so to thin the sauce
  • sea salt only if needed since the anchovies are salty

For the croutons

  • 1/4 baguette only needed about 1/2 cup cubed pieces, OR ciabatta, or sourdough/other bread
  • 2 tsp olive oil or another neutral oil
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano, thyme, or rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 0.2 oz parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp or so grated, optional; OR nutritional yeast

Instructions 

Cook the chicken

  • You can cook the chicken with your preferred method, though I usually grill or bake it. To bake boneless, skinless chicken breasts (click here for full recipe):
    Optionally, brine the chicken.
  • Season the chicken with oil and your preferred seasonings.
  • Bake them in a pre-heat oven at 375ºF/190ºC for 18-22 minutes, depending on their size (up to 30 minutes for very large chicken breasts).
    To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the mat. It should read 165ºF/75ºC.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing it and allowing it to cool.

Prepare the croutons

  • You can bake them in the oven at the same time as the chicken. First, toss the oil and seasonings in a large bowl, mixing well.
  • Cube the bread into ½-¾ inch pieces, then throw them in the bowl with the oil mixture, and toss to evenly coat.
  • Spread the bread cubes across a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway. They’re ready when they’re golden brown and crisp.
  • Remove them from the oven, optionally toss with parmesan, then leave to cool – they will firm up further while they cool.

Make the Caesar salad dressing

  • Prepare the dressing as soon as the chicken/croutons are in the oven to allow time for the flavors to meld.
    Add all the ingredients except the water to a food processor (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add in the water, a little at a time, to a consistency that slowly flows off a spoon.
  • Set aside to meld, then taste and adjust any seasonings/flavors before serving.

Assemble the salad

  • You can assemble the salad once the croutons, dressing, and chicken. But it's best to first leave time (about an hour) for the chicken and croutons to cool down and the dressing flavors to meld.
  • Rinse and slice the romaine lettuce into 1-inch strips, using paper towels or a salad spinner to remove all excess liquid.
  • Use a vegetable/potato peeler to shave the parmesan.
  • Transfer the lettuce to a large salad bowl and add the dressing, using tongs to thoroughly toss them so the leaves are evenly coated.
  • Add the parmesan, croutons, and sliced chicken and toss again. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For the crispest salad: Use the inner romaine lettuce leaves and leave it to chill in the refrigerator until it comes time to assemble the salad.
  • Prepare the elements in advance: Plan for the fact that the croutons and chicken require cooling down, and the dressing needs time to meld.
  • Add croutons when serving: They’ll become soggy when left in the salad.
  • Use other proteins: Swap the chicken with a salmon fillet or shrimp.
  • For a lighter dressing: Try swapping some of the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt. 
Optional add-ins and variations:
  • Egg: Double up on protein with a poached, fried, or boiled egg.
  • Bacon: Crispy and finely chopped to throw in with the chicken.
  • Avocado: Adds a creamy element with lots of antioxidants and healthy fats.
  • Cherry tomatoes: (or grape tomatoes) Halved to add color and juicy flavor.
  • Cucumber: To add another fresh and crisp veggie for extra nutrients.
  • To garnish: i.e., more freshly cracked black pepper, lemon slices, etc.
  • Make a chicken Caesar wrap: Wrap it up in a tortilla wrap. 
Check the blog post for how to make this chicken salad in advance.
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: American
Shelf life: 2-3 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 639kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 43g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 104mg, Sodium: 1159mg, Potassium: 2003mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 54678IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 397mg, Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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