Cooking Guide

4 Best Chicken For Salads: What Kinds Of Chicken Go Best With A Salad?

A light and refreshing salad will be even better if there is some protein from chicken.

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In this post, we are going to cover some of the best cuts of chicken that are perfect to add to your salad to create a delicious and nutritious dish.

Let’s get started!

How to choose chicken for salads?

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Chicken salad is an easy, delicious, and healthy idea for any meal of the day.

When adding chicken to your regular veggie salad, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure that you won’t ruin your dish.

Check out the following tips to help you choose the best chicken for salads:

1.    Buy fresh free-range chicken if possible

Fresh chicken is the top choice for making salads or any other dish.

Fresh meat has a firmer and juicy texture instead of soaky, and it is also sweeter and more flavorful.

It is even better if you can buy organic or free-range chicken because the chicken that is raised without the cage, antibiotics, and hormones will produce higher quality meat compared to commercial factory-raised chicken.

2.    Choose bone-in, skin-on chicken for a more flavorful taste

Another tip to choose the best chicken for salad is to buy bone-in, skin-on chicken.

Although a salad dish typically calls for boneless chicken meat, it is better to start cooking with a bone-in, skin-on cut of chicken.

The reason is that the bones and skin will help add flavor and moisture to your meat.

After the chicken is cooked, you can easily pull it apart or dice it into pieces to add to your salad.

3.    Both white meat and dark meat chicken can work with their own advantages

There are no fixed recipes for a chicken salad.

That means you can use either dark meat chicken or white meat chicken per your preference.

White meat chicken (chicken breast) is considered healthier because it contains less saturated fats, but it is more expensive and has a milder taste.

Meanwhile, dark meat chicken like chicken legs is more flavorful, juicier, and also more affordable, but it is packed with higher fat content.

Best chicken for salads

Here are some cuts of chicken that can work great in a salad recipe:

1.    A whole chicken

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A whole chicken turns out to be the most economical tastiest way to make salads.

Although it has a larger size than what your chicken salad recipe calls for, you can use just a small cut for making salads whereas the rest can be used for other dishes.

Cooking the whole bird can also help keep the meat juicier and more flavorful.

2.    Chicken breast

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Chicken breast is one of the most common choices for salad.

This is the leanest cut of chicken that is perfect for those who want to lose some weight without sacrificing flavors.

You should choose a bone-in chicken breast to cook for a more flavorful taste, but it will be fine to work with a boneless, skinless cut, which seems to be more popular on the market.

3.    Chicken thighs

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If white meat chicken is too mild in flavor, you can opt for dark meat chicken like chicken thighs for your salads.

Chicken thighs are more affordable and taste more flavorful than chicken breast thanks to their higher fat content.

This cut is also juicier and firmer in texture, and you don’t have to worry about drying it out when cooked.

4.    Chicken drumsticks

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Chicken drumsticks are another choice for making salads.

They come from the bottom part of the leg, right below the chicken thighs.

Chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs share the same flavor and texture because they are both dark meat chicken.

The good news is that it is easy to take the meat from these cuts with some little bones that are easy to be removed.

The bottom line

Chicken is a healthy and delicious additional ingredient for your salad.

You can use either white meat chicken or dark meat chicken with or without the skin depending on your personal preference.

As long as your favorite cut of chicken is cooked and seasoned well before tossing into your salad, you will have a mouth-watering dish that is healthy too.

So which cut of chicken are you going to try first?

Let us know in the comment below.

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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