Thai Chicken Salad – Healthy Recipes Blog

An easy main-dish salad that you make in advance, this Thai chicken salad with peanut dressing is wonderfully flavorful.

Serve it in bowls or stuff it inside lettuce wraps for a very satisfying Thai-inspired meal!

Thai chicken salad served in a dark bowl with a spoon.

Much like this Thai chicken curry, the flavors and textures of this salad are magnificent.

Crunchy cabbage, fresh-flavored scallions, and aromatic cilantro combine with shredded chicken to create a tasty base that’s further enhanced by the flavorful dressing.

I love the ease of main-dish salads such as Cobb salad, taco salad, and no-mayo chicken salad.

This Thai chicken salad is incredibly good and has quickly become one of my family’s favorite main-dish salads. I especially like to make it the day before I anticipate being too busy to cook. Needless to say, it’s the perfect meal-prep dish.

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You’ll need ten ingredients to make this tasty salad. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:

  • For the dressing: Creamy peanut butter plus water to thin it out, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Thai red curry paste, garlic, and ginger.
  • Chicken: I use shredded baked chicken breasts. For ultimate ease, you can use shredded rotisserie chicken, leaving the skin out.
  • Coleslaw mix: Rather than shred vegetables (green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots) by myself, I find it easier to use a bagged coleslaw mix.
  • Green onions: I use the green parts only, and I slice them thinly.
  • Cilantro: It adds so much flavor to this salad! In some recipes, you can substitute it with parsley, but in this one, I don’t recommend it.
The ingredients needed to make Thai chicken  salad.


I LOVE this salad and I adore the peanut dressing. So I rarely make any changes to it. But if you’d like to try, a few possible variations that I tried and liked include:

  • Use boiled and cooled shrimp instead of chicken.
  • Replace the green onions with chives or diced shallots.
  • Use tahini paste (sesame seed paste) instead of peanut butter and add a tablespoon of sesame oil to the dressing.


Making this Thai chicken salad is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:

  • You start by mixing up the dressing. I mix it right in the salad bowl. First, mix the peanut butter with water, soy sauce, and vinegar (photo 1).
  • It takes a few minutes to reach a smooth consistency, so keep whisking! Then you add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger, and whisk them in (photo 1).
  • Now add your salad ingredients – shredded chicken, coleslaw, scallions, and cilantro – to the same salad bowl, mixing after each addition. Mix everything well, until all the ingredients are well-coated in the tasty dressing (photos 2-6).
A six-photo collage showing the steps for making a Thai chicken salad.

Expert Tip

While you can serve the salad immediately, I recommend covering it and refrigerating it for an hour or so to allow the flavors to meld. Mix it one more time before serving.

Thai chicken salad served on lettuce wraps.

Recipe FAQs

What is a Thai chicken salad?

It’s a main-dish salad that typically contains shredded chicken, shredded cabbage, and a Thai-style dressing which I like to make with soy sauce, peanut butter, and red curry paste.

What peanut butter should I use in the dressing?

I use a no-stir peanut butter spread in the dressing. It contains palm oil, sugar and salt in addition to peanuts. Some would object to those added ingredients, but I don’t.

Although I haven’t tried that, I assume it’s fine to use natural peanut butter – the kind that contains just ground peanuts and that you need to stir. Depending on its thickness you might need less or perhaps more water to achieve a salad dressing consistency.

You might also want to add a touch of sweetener if you go that route – perhaps a teaspoon of honey (real or sugar-free).

Is peanut butter used in Thai cuisine?

No. This is an Americanized version. According to Thai Table, if peanuts are used in Thai cooking, they’re used in the form of ground peanuts. Peanut butter is an American food product.

But it does work very well to make an effortless, smooth, and tasty peanut dressing.

Serving Suggestions

This is a main-dish salad and it’s a full meal that includes meat and veggies, so you can simply serve it as is on a plate, and that’s what I normally do.

You can also serve it in a lettuce wrap or on top of shredded lettuce or baby spinach leaves. If you eat bread, you can stuff it inside tortillas, creating a very tasty and filling wrap.

Thai chicken salad served in a dark bowl with a spoon.

Storing Leftovers

That’s the beauty of this salad – you SHOULD make it ahead of time, and it keeps well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.

Just remember that if you’ve used leftover chicken to make it, you should count those 4 days from the day the chicken was cooked.

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Recipe Card

Thai chicken salad served in a bowl.

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Thai Chicken Salad

An easy main-dish salad that you can make in advance, this Thai chicken salad with peanut dressing is wonderfully crunchy and very flavorful.

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time20 minutes

Rest time1 hour

Total Time1 hour 40 minutes

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Asian

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 281kcal

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Make the dressing:

  • In a large salad bowl, whisk the peanut butter, water, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Whisk for a few minutes until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice.

  • Whisk in the red curry paste, the garlic, and the ginger. Check the mixture’s consistency and add a bit more water if needed (try a tablespoon). Your goal is to achieve dressing consistency. Take a look at the video to see the consistency I get with my ingredients. Not too thick, not too runny.

Make the salad:

  • To the same bowl, add the shredded chicken, the coleslaw mix, the green onions, and the chopped cilantro. Mix after each addition.

  • Mix the salad for a few more minutes, slowly and thoroughly, until all salad components are well-coated in the dressing and there’s no excess dressing pooling on the bottom.

  • Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Mix one more time, then serve.


*If you need to cook the chicken breasts, place them in a rimmed baking dish, lightly spray them with oil, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then bake them in a 450F oven until cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let them rest until cool enough to handle, then shred them. Here’s a detailed recipe for baked chicken breasts

Add Your Own Notes

Nutrition per Serving

Serving: 0.25recipe | Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 821mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

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