Buffalo Ranch Pretzel Chicken Caesar Salad. Spicy, saucy buffalo chicken fingers, breaded in salty pretzel crumbs, oven-baked and tossed together with fresh greens, avocado, and crispy bacon. Add a creamy Caesar salad dressing and lots of parmesan for a colorful salad that’s anything but boring. Beyond delicious. It’s that salty, spicy pretzel chicken and creamy dressing. The combo is hard to beat.
If my family had a “house” salad, this would be it. It’s a dinner-style “house” salad, but one I could (and will) easily make on repeat.
We love buffalo chicken. Many of you have already heard this story (sorry). Buffalo chicken really was one of the very first dinners I made for my family that they become obsessed with. So much so that in the early, early days, I would make it once or twice a week. They LOVED my baked buffalo chicken.
I used to make 2 sheet pans worth of chicken. Anything leftover I would turn into quesadillas for the boy’s lunch the following day. I’m not joking, they were truly obsessed with buffalo chicken.
It was my dad who would take the leftover chicken and toss it into his salad. My dad was (and is) a big salad guy. When we lived in Cleveland he would eat a salad for dinner every night. But the thing about his salads – they were different – very different. He’d take whatever greens he had in the fridge and mix them with whatever leftovers he had in the fridge. Literally more of a leftovers with a side of greens kind of situation. French fries? Yup, he would toss them in too. Taco meat? Sure thing. Leftover pasta? Why not. It didn’t matter what it was, he’d throw it in. And add half a bottle of ranch dressing too (fortunately, that’s a thing of the past).
Yes, certainly not your typical salad. But those salads inspired many of my recipes.
What I love about this fun salad is that even though it has a lot going on, it’s actually really easy. But it does have some steps.
Start with the chicken. Finely crush the pretzels into crumbs to bread the chicken. The finely crushed pretzels are key. They flavor the chicken with the perfect amount of salt and add a nice crunch. I season the crumbs with a blend of homemade ranch seasonings – chives, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne. These crumbs are delicious.
If you have a food processor, pulse the pretzels in the food processor to really break them down into a fine crumb. If you don’t have a food processor, just add the pretzels to a ziplock bag. Then step on the bag with your feet to finely crush them.
Bake the chicken in the oven until it crisps all over. My secret is to lightly drizzle the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven.
For the salad, I do a short-cut Caesar dressing and toss it with some shredded romaine lettuce, homemade croutons, celery, cubed avocado, and bacon.
The dressing is obviously key, it adds creaminess plus flavor.
Once you have the salad tossed, all that’s left is to add the chicken. Also, while I use a mix of parmesan and blue cheese, if you don’t enjoy blue cheese you can use cubes of cheddar or simply add more parmesan.
When everything comes together – the greens, croutons, avocado, bacon, cheese, dressing, and chicken -wow, this salad is SO GOOD!
Crunchy ranch seasoned chicken, buffalo sauce, salty bacon, creamy avocado, and a creamy caesar dressing that really completes the salad. Every bite is special. Exactly how all of our salads should be.
Looking for other dinner salad recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make this Buffalo Ranch Pretzel Chicken Caesar Salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Buffalo Ranch Pretzel Chicken Caesar Salad
Calories Per Serving: 1135 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 pound boneless chicken tenders
- 1 cup finely crushed salted pretzel twists
- 1 tablespoon dried chives
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
- 1 cup torn ciabatta bread
- 6 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 4 slices cooked thick cut bacon, crumbled
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Combine the pretzels, chives, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of pepper in a bowl.3. Dredge the chicken through the crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.4. Toss the hot chicken in buffalo sauce.5. To make the salad. Combine the greens, breadcrumbs, blue cheese (or use cheddar or parmesan), avocados, and bacon in a salad bowl.6. To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing, saving some for serving. 7. Toss the chicken in with the salad. Add a little more of the dressing and extra buffalo sauce. Enjoy!
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Homemade Breadcrumbs: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 1 cup torn ciabatta bread and cook until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add 1 clove grated garlic. Season with salt.