Barbecue ranch chicken salad is the most flavorful salad you’ll ever eat, complete with a smoky and sweet dressing, grilled chicken, avocado, tomato, corn, romaine, and a whole lot of other vibrant veggies.

Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad

Confession #1: I tried BBQ ranch for the first time just a few years ago. The combo sounded gross to me… Why would you ever put barbecue sauce on a salad? I tried a bite of my cousin’s salad while we were out and loved it, and my mind was forever changed. The sweet-smoky of the dressing with all that cool goodness of vegetables paired much better than I expected. How had I been living without this for so long?

Confession #2: I have never served a salad as a main dish to my family for dinner before this very recipe graced our table. My kids don’t eat lettuce super well, and it wasn’t something I grew up eating as a main course. Salad for dinner was a bit foreign to me, I guess. As healthy as we eat, salad as a main dish just didn’t sound like it would fly at my house. I mean, can you really get full off of only veggies and protein? Yes, yes you can! And you’ll love it.

This recipe is wonderful. My kids eat it so well, which I attribute to the divine dressing, and no one complained about it as a main dish because the beans, corn, and chicken really make it a satisfying meal. I hope you try it because it is delicious and could very well change your mind about salad for dinner, too!

How do you store leftover barbecue ranch chicken salad?

Dressed salad really doesn’t keep very well because it often gets soggy sitting in the dressing overnight. If you have leftovers that are undressed, I recommend placing the veggies in a container lined with a paper towel to absorb liquid. They’ll keep for up to 2 days. Store the chicken and dressing separately, in their own containers. Each will keep for up to 5 to 7 days stored in the fridge.

What else can you use the dressing on?

This dressing is just divine and goes well on literally everything. I love it as a dip for fries, a topping for nachos, or over top eggs, roasted potatoes, and pretty much anything else! I might even be tempted to eat it plain, it’s that good.

Can you change up parts of this salad if someone doesn’t eat certain components?

You sure can! These ingredients are typical of a Southwestern salad, but take out any that don’t suit your palate (or your family’s). You can also add in other components that you like, including radishes, bell pepper, or jalapeno! To add a bit more protein to the dressing, you can always swap out sour cream for plain Greek yogurt.


Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess


Barbecue ranch chicken salad is the most flavorful salad you’ll ever eat, complete with a smoky and sweet dressing, grilled chicken, avocado, tomato, corn, romaine, and a whole lot of other vibrant veggies.



For the barbecue ranch dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 23 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn, thawed or drained
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 12 cups grilled chicken, sliced thin
  • Additional barbecue sauce for serving


  1. For the dressing, simply add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, and whisk until smooth.
  2. For the salad, just add all of the veggies and beans to a large bowl, and toss to combine. Add the chicken on top. Lightly dress and toss right before serving.
  3. Serve with additional dressing and barbecue sauce to fit individual tastes.


  • To quickly thaw frozen corn, just rinse it in a sieve under warm water until it is thawed, about 30 seconds.
  • I used original-style Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce and loved the level of sweet it had. Plus, it was on sale.
  • The leftover dressing is amazing as fry sauce and on about anything else you can think to put it on.

So delicious that even my kids adore it, this barbecue ranch chicken salad is packed with colorful veggies and topped with the most irresistible savory and slightly sweet BBQ ranch dressing!

This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and rephotographed in July 2019.

38 Recipes for Busy Moms
35 Responses
  1. I want to eat this right now! I hear you about salad as a main dish. I have only tried it a few times and every time I think Richard just chokes it down and then heads to McDondald’s while I sleep.

  2. This looks amazing… I LOVE salads as the main dish (I do have to do a good hearty bread as a side or the kids don’t do so well… :P) and this just looks too yummy. I’ll have to break it out soon!

  3. Natasha

    Salad bar is one of my favorite dinners (my kids probably wouldn’t agree…) and so I was so excited to try this, it was amazing! I loved it! It was so satisfying and Max said it was his favorite salad ever! Thanks!

  4. Elizabeth

    Do you suppose using greek yogurt in place of the mayo and sour cream would work fine? I’ve convinced my crew plain greek yogurt tastes as good as sour cream on tacos and baked potatoes.

    1. I have done it before with plain greek yogurt. Not quiet as good but still tasty. I’d make the switch if it meant trying the rest of the salad or not!

  5. Jacqueline

    The first time I ate this salad was at Red Robin restaurant, about 15 years ago…I loved it and ordered it every time we went…they discontinued it after a while. I found the recipe online a few months ago. It is perfect for dinner in the hot desert. We eat cold salads a lot here in AZ…you do your hot cooking during the cool mornings…that way you don’t have a hot kitchen in the evenings. This recipe will go into my Mastercook. Thank You…sometimes I serve it with a cheese bread or Texas Toast.

  6. Tiffany Warren

    This is so good! My four kids ages 2,5,7, and 8 all loved it. Thank you for sharing the recipe, the dressing is so much better then simply putting bbq in ranch, and it really didn’t take much time to make. Officially a family fave 🙂

  7. Lisa Williams

    Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful recipes. Planning dinner every night is such a chore for me, and I have vowed to do a better job for my family. Your recipes are helping me do just that. The fact that these recipes are “clean eating” recipes makes me feel even better! Thank you again for your kindness and generosity!

  8. Caitlin

    This looks incredible! I am grilling your honey lime chicken tonight, and planning on this salad tomorrow. I never have buttermilk on hand, however. What would be a good substitute?

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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