Everyone knows that grilled chicken salad is a go-to summer recipe.
But what about the dressings?
Which ones are going to give your meal that extra flavor and zing?
With different kinds of salads, comes different kinds of dressings – but which one should you be using for grilled chicken salad?
We’re breaking down 12 dressings, as well as creamy versus vinaigrette, what the ingredients mean, and how to choose the one that works best for you.
From ranch to blue cheese to honey mustard; read on for everything you need to know about dressing your grilled chicken salad.
Why Use a Dressing For Grilled Chicken Salad?
A salad dressing can truly elevate a salad, and grilled chicken salads are no exception.
Whether you’re cooking up the chicken on your own grill or purchased a precooked version from the store, there’s nothing quite like adding a delicious dressing to take your meal over the top.
With the right combination of flavors, dressings have everything it takes to bring out the best in grilled chicken salads: they provide moisture, texture, and flavor.
Using dressings can add visual appeal and make any simple dish more interesting.
A good dressing should also bind all components of a salad together harmoniously.
Dressings bring out different flavors in every layer of ingredients and help you create balanced flavor profiles for salads that just scream deliciousness.
By mixing distinctive flavors from herbs, spices, and other ingredients like lemon juice or yogurt with some fat (like oil), you can easily craft an outstanding dressing for your grilled chicken salad that will leave guests wanting seconds.
The 12 Best Dressings for Grilled Chicken Salad
A plate of grilled chicken salad can be a creative, delicious and healthy meal option with the right dressing.
The secret is finding one that enhances the flavors of the ingredients and meshes well with the texture of your salad.
Here are 12 dressings you should consider to top off your grilled chicken salad:
1. Lemon Garlic Dressing
This light, fresh dressing provides a refreshing flavor for a grilled chicken salad.
The combination of garlic and lemon adds an acidic and tart taste that perfectly complements the savory grilled chicken.
This dressing is easy to make in only a few minutes and will keep in your refrigerator for up to five days.
To make this delightful dressing, mix together two parts extra virgin olive oil to one part freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus minced garlic, freshly-ground black pepper, salt to taste, and a tablespoon of honey for sweetness (feel free to adjust the amount of honey according to your personal preference).
You can also add herbs (such as parsley or basil) if you’d like.
Shake or stir vigorously until blended before pouring over your grilled chicken salad.
2. Orange Ginger Vinaigrette
Orange Ginger Vinaigrette is a tart, flavorful dressing that adds interesting depth to this simple, classic dish.
The zesty and slightly spicy flavor of the orange and ginger work together in perfect harmony to create an amazingly diverse and tasty dressing.
The ingredients are easily blended together right before you serve and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week before use.
To make it even more delicious, sprinkle some pine nuts or crushed almonds over the top of the salad.
Your family will love it.
3. Avocado Lime Dressing
This creamy, tangy dressing adds a touch of heat to your classic grilled chicken salad.
It’s made with ripe avocados and freshly squeezed limes, combined with olive oil and seasonings.
Serve this Avocado Lime Dressing over grilled chicken, poached salmon or steamed vegetables.
Avocado is packed with healthy fats and important nutrients like vitamins B6, C, E, K and folate.
The limes provide an extra boost of vitamin C to help boost your immune system as well as a burst of flavor.
To make this dressing simply add the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor: 1 ripe avocado; juice from 2-3 limes; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 teaspoon minced garlic; ½ teaspoon sea salt & ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
Blend until smooth and creamy.
This delicious dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
4. Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette makes a sweet and tart addition to your grilled chicken salad.
Pomegranate molasses is made from reduced pomegranate juice, combining the sweet and tart flavors of the fruit with a hint of acidity.
This vinaigrette can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to one week.
To make, whisk together pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic cloves, honey, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl until incorporated and emulsified.
Then pour over your grilled chicken salad and enjoy.
5. Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
Roasted red pepper dressing brings a smoky, mellow flavor to grilled chicken salads.
It is made from roasted peppers, crushed tomatoes and spices, and can vary depending on regional styles.
Your standard roasted pepper dressing will have a bit of garlic or onion mixed in, as well as olive oil and fresh herbs such as basil or oregano.
For an extra kick, try adding some hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
The rich flavor of this type of dressing pairs exceptionally well with grilled chicken to give your salad great depth and complexity.
To make it even heartier, consider adding some crumbled feta cheese or fresh mozzarella pearls to your salad.
6. Sesame Soy Dressing
A combination of light sesame oil and low-sodium soy sauce, this light and tangy dressing will add a savory flavor to any grilled chicken salad.
Sesame oil has an unmistakable nutty and slightly sweet flavor that gives the dressing depth and pairs perfectly with the bold taste of garlic, ginger, and lime juice.
This flavorful dressing will also work wonders over roasted vegetables or tossed with cold noodles in a salad.
To make this dressing, simply whisk 1/4 cup of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, 1 clove garlic (minced) 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar and sprinkle with freshly chopped scallions (optional).
7. Chipotle Lime Dressing
For those who love a little spice, the Chipotle Lime Dressing is an ideal choice.
Made with freshly squeezed lime juice, chipotle pepper powder, extra-virgin olive oil and honey, this dressing has a smoky flavor that goes well with grilled chicken.
To make it even more flavorful, adding garlic and ground cumin can really bring out the flavors.
Just blend all the ingredients until smooth then toss it over your salad for a delicious meal.
8. Herb Buttermilk Dressing
This very easy-to-prepare herb buttermilk dressing adds a delicious finish to grilled chicken salads.
It’s the perfect combination of lightly acidic and creamy, with a touch of sweetness; it pairs perfectly with the smoky flavor of grilled chicken.
To make it, use ½ cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon honey or sugar substitute, 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill or parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Just stir all ingredients together until combined and serve over your grilled chicken salad.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
9. Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Apple Cider Vinaigrette is a versatile dressing that pairs perfectly with grilled chicken salads.
It contains a blend of apple cider vinegar, an acidic ingredient with complex flavor notes, that is perfectly balanced by honey for sweetness.
Dijon mustard helps to bring additional depth of flavor, as garlic and olive oil provide an overall savory base.
Adding a pinch of ground turmeric rounds out the flavors, creating a bold yet smooth vinaigrette for any grilled chicken salad.
10. Tahini Dressing
Tahini dressing is a flavorful and creamy addition to grilled chicken salads.
The nuttiness of tahini, which is made from sesame seed paste, pairs perfectly with the grilled chicken.
This dressing can be prepared in minutes and makes a great alternative to heavier, creamier dressings that often overpower the delicate flavors of grilled chicken salads.
If you want to add an extra kick to this family-favorite dressing, experiment with different herbs and spices such as cumin, garlic powder or chili powder.
Creamy tahini also makes for a great substitute for mayonnaise or other creamy dressings when preparing chicken salad wraps.
11. Maple Mustard Dressing
The eleventh best dressing for grilled chicken salad is the Maple Mustard Dressing.
This tangy, delicious recipe combines the sweetness of maple syrup with the rich texture and taste of dijon mustard.
Combined they give a delightful and flavorful taste to your grilled chicken salad.
Simply whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
Whisk together until all the ingredients have been completely combined.
Add to your grilled chicken salad for a delightful flavor that will bring your salad to life.
12. Cumin Lime Dressing
This south of the border inspired dressing brings together classic Mexican flavors for a dresssing that pairs perfectly with grilled chicken and a bed of fresh, crisp greens, tomatoes and shredded cheese.
The combination of lime juice, cumin and olive oil creates a smooth, creamy texture with a unique flavor.
This dressing is easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Enjoy this zesty twist anytime you’re craving salads.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Juice from 1 lime.
- 1 teaspoon cumin.
- Salt & pepper to taste.
- Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl or container until combined.
- Pour over salad or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
When it comes to finding the perfect dressing to complement your grilled chicken salad, there is no shortage of options.
From creamy Caesar and savory ranch to lighter vinaigrettes and zesty Greek, each dressing brings its own unique flavor and texture to enhance this delicious meal.
Whether you are looking for a classic combination or something a little unexpected, there is a dressing out there that can really help you upgrade your next grilled chicken salad.
By using bold ingredients like garlic, roasted red peppers and feta cheese, you not only create amazing flavor profiles but also make your salad that much more nutritious.
No matter what kind of lunch or dinner you’re planning on serving up, the right dressing can transform an ordinary plate into extraordinary—and with these 12 picks as inspiration, you can create flavorful dishes in minutes with minimal effort.