Crispy Cobb Salad With Breaded Chicken is a new twist on a traditional recipe. Juicy pan-fried chicken in seasonings and with crunchy panko crust, mixed into an incredibly loaded salad with eggs, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, avocados, and creamy Honey Dijon dressing.
This salad can be served as a complete main course or in smaller portions as a side dish. The choice is yours!
Why It's Yummy
- This crispy chicken salad is quick and EASY! You are less than 30 minutes away from fresh, nutrient-rich, and juicy breaded chicken filets.
- Great flavors. Creamy honey dijon dressing basically melts on top of the chicken and is one of the best condiments to serve with this hearty salad.
- Easy recipe. The recipe has simple ingredients, and no deep-frying is required to achieve crispy fried chicken!
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Chicken - Skinless boneless chicken breast, thighs (these will look darker in color than chicken breast once cooked), or chicken tenderloins. We make our crusted chicken that I've also used in my popular Crispy Chicken Wrap. But as with many salads, you can use grilled, boiled, or roasted chicken, rotisserie chicken from the store instead. Freshly cooked is better but any leftovers from previous dinner work just fine (but in this case you'll have to skip the breading).
- Blue cheese - your preferred blue cheese variety. I've used Roquefort cheese which is very strong in flavor and scent. If visibly moldy cheese is not your cup of tea, I’d recommend sharp cheddar cubes, crumbled feta cheese, or grated parmesan cheese instead.
- Lettuce - I used half butter and half large Romaine lettuce (How to cut romaine lettuce for a salad? See video). Want the salad to be super crunchy? Iceberg lettuce is the way to go.
- Salt - 8 cups of mixed lettuce need a generous amount of salt (you can use a Low sodium salt here). That’s why I like to salt the leaves separately and also add some salt to the dressing itself. I cut the lettuce into large chunks first, sprinkle generously with salt, and massage the leaves well (I do this with regular cabbage too when making a cabbage salad). Then I left them to sit for 10-30 minutes until the leaves soften and become flavorful.
- Whisked egg - usually 1 egg was enough for me but sometimes I've needed a little extra. Usually, it's enough for 2 small to medium chicken fillets.
- Honey Dijon Dressing - traditional cobb salad uses red wine vinegar but I’m in love with my Honey Dijon Dressing with two types of mustard. You'll be pleasantly surprised how well it goes with this salad. A must-try definitely. If you want to have a really light dressing I highly recommend using a simple Lemon Vinaigrette instead.
- Olive oil - a good quality olive oil goes along the way! It will give extra creaminess to the dressing. You need to make sure to whisk vigorously to avoid the separation in the dressing. The dressing has the perfect texture - thin enough to pour over the chicken and creamy enough to incorporate it into salad leaves.
- Seasonings - I used paprika, onion and garlic powder for chicken but you can use your favorite chicken seasoning such as cajun or barbecue.
- Chill - after combining dressing ingredients, I recommend to chill for 15 minutes as it helps all the flavors blend nicely.
Lettuce. Add the chopped lettuce into a large bowl, and season with some salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of lemon or lime juice. Massage the leaves well for 3-5 minutes.
Let stand for 10 minutes. (Optional but does help the lettuce soften and soak up some flavors).
Honey Dijon Dressing. Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl or mason jar. Stir or shake like crazy and let chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Chicken. Wash and dry the chicken. Pound it just a little bit to ensure even cooking. Prepare three plates or shallow dishes. One by one, dip each chicken breast first in flour, beaten egg, and then panko with seasonings.
Warm up cooking oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 4 minutes on both sides or until golden brown and crispy. Make sure to keep an eye on the heat so the panko doesn’t get burn way quickly.
To ensure chicken doneness, use a kitchen thermometer to register 165 degrees Fahrenheit inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Slice chicken into smaller strips or just cubes in bite-size pieces.
Cobb Salad Assembly. Arrange all the vegetables in a serving bowl or platter.
On top of the salad add crispy chicken strips and drizzle with honey mustard dressing (this dressing is highly recommended but you can use your favorite dressing here).
Season with salt and black pepper if needed. Serve while the chicken is still warm.
- Chicken cooking tips. It is common sense, but don't overcook the chicken. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer for poultry and meat (chicken doneness is 165 degrees Fahrenheit). If you don't have a thermometer, the easiest way for you is to cut the chicken into small strips or the chicken breast in half lengthwise. This way it will cook even faster and you can taste test a small part to see the doneness level. For even cooking pound each breast lightly before cooking.
- Cobb salad has many ingredients, but the beauty of it is that many things can be prepared in advance and stored separately before assembling the salad. The only thing I recommend is cooking the chicken as close to serving as possible, other than that you’re good to follow your own rhythm!
- If you feel Honey Dijon Dressing is too much, I’d recommend simple olive oil-based dressing, store-bought salad dressings such as Italian dressing, Ranch Dressing, Blue cheese dressing, or Balsamic Vinegar with olive oil.
- Substitute. While this recipe does call for the use of chicken, you can substitute it with turkey or any cooked leftover poultry. This recipe is versatile and perfect for using up any leftover baked, pan-fried meats, or any deli meat that you have in the refrigerator. Panko crust however will stick only with raw poultry as directed in the instructions.
- Breaded chicken. Be sure to add plenty of seasoning and thoroughly coat and dip the chicken in each step, especially the last one, the breadcrumbs. Don't overuse the paprika as the panko crust may become too dark. If you are doing this for the first time, add the paprika only to the flour mixture.
- Cook the chicken in batches, to allow the oil to be absorbed evenly and not too quickly which will result in soggy chicken breasts.
As far as the presentation goes, this crispy chicken cobb salad is a perfect side dish for a lighter dinner dish. I’d serve this for 5-6 people as a side dish and for about 3-4 as a main course along with some gluten free crusty bread on the side.
More ideas that we have served this chicken salad with:
- Healing Carrot Ginger Turmeric Soup - The perfect combination that we have loved for YEARS. Vegetarian main course dish with a heavier salad with chicken.
- Easy Asparagus With Cheese and Tomatoes - skip the main course prep and enjoy a bunch of side dishes along with the cobb salad such as this oven roasted juicy asparagus.
- Homemade Parmesan Truffle Fries- more side dish pairings! Whether you go for truffles or not, these fries are delicious and healthy without any deep frying.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
- Make the crispy fried chicken salad for 3-4 bigger portions or about 5-6 side salad servings. Make as much as you’d consume as this salad (in particular the panko chicken) doesn’t store well. The chicken will become soggy very quickly and lose its texture and crispiness.
- Make ahead. Salad ingredients can be arranged on a platter 1-2 hours in advance and kept covered and separate from the dressing and the chicken. Cook the chicken once you are ready to sit down to have dinner.
- Although I don’t recommend cooking the chicken in advance, this is an option too. Once cooked keep refrigerated and consume it within 2-3 days. For easier meal prep, season the raw chicken breast with spices, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 days. Or use your favorite chicken marinade instead. On the day, pan-fry as described in the recipe instructions.
Which oil is best for frying? I’d definitely recommend using your favorite one such as peanut or canola oil. They have a neutral flavor and smell and have a high smoke point which is essential.
There can be a few reasons why your fried chicken didn't turn crispy. The most common mistake is when the temperature is too low or not high enough and also not using enough oil for frying. In this recipe, you don’t need a deep fryer or that amount of oil but when frying the chicken in a pan, I’d recommend having at least 2-3 inches of oil in the pan.
For the best-fried chicken, I recommend using enough seasonings, and salt. If you want to use a marinade, it will give plenty of flavor to the chicken and will make the texture very tender. Marinate at least for 1 hour in the fridge.
To make sure your chicken stays crispy and not soggy, you'll want to use enough oil and the correct temperature. Add the chicken into the oil once the oil is properly hot and sizzling (Usually at least 325 degrees Fahrenheit). Don’t make the chicken too far in advance and consume it right away after frying.
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Crispy Cobb Salad With Breaded Chicken
- ½ head of butter lettuce or a store-bought salad mix (roughly chopped)
- 3-4 cups Romaine lettuce (washed and roughly chopped)
- 2 oz blue cheese
- 7-10 bacon slices (cooked and crumbled)
- 2-3 hard-boiled eggs
- 2 medium avocados (sliced)
- 1 cup sweet corn or freshly boiled or grilled corn kernels
- alt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 small cucumber (sliced)
- 1 medium red onion (sliced thin)
- 1 cup gluten-free panko
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ -1 teaspoon salt
- and pepper to taste
- 2 medium skinless boneless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (you only need to coat the chicken breast, so may end up using less)
- 1-2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- Nut or Vegetable Oil for cooking
Honey Dijon Dressing
- ¼ cup honey (liquid)
- 2 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Lettuce. Add the chopped lettuce into a large bowl, and season with some salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of lemon or lime juice. Massage the leaves well for 3-5 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. (Optional but does help the lettuce soften and soak up some flavors).
- Dressing. Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl or mason jar. Stir or shake like crazy and let chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
- Chicken. Wash and dry the chicken. Pound it just a little bit to ensure even cooking. Prepare three plates or shallow dishes. One by one, dip each chicken breast first in flour, beaten egg, and then panko with seasonings.
- Warm up cooking oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 4 minutes on both sides or until golden brown and crispy. Make sure to keep an eye on the heat so the panko doesn’t get burn way quickly. To ensure chicken doneness, use a kitchen thermometer to register 165 degrees Fahrenheit inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Slice chicken into smaller strips or just cubes in bite-size pieces.
- Cobb Salad Assembly. Arrange all the vegetables in a serving bowl or platter. On top of the salad add crispy chicken strips and drizzle with honey mustard dressing (this dressing is highly recommended but you can use your favorite dressing here). Season with salt and black pepper if needed. Serve while the chicken is still warm.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)