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This Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing is the perfect quick and easy dinner salad for any night of the week. Grilled chicken tossed with a tangy bacon-herb dressing, greens, grilled chicken, peppers, corn, tomatoes, creamy avocado, and crumbled cheese! It’s colorful and so delicious. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch – it’s always good. Or serve this up at your next backyard dinner with friends.

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

With the start of summer 2022 just days away I’m in full-on summer cooking mode and really loving the recipes I’m working on! And this salad is a real highlight. So many yummy flavors, textures, and colors in this quick-to-make dinner salad.

My motto this summer is super flavorful dinners that have a lot happening, but don’t require too much time in the kitchen or too much cooking. It’s kind of a tricky recipe formula to figure out. But for the recipes where I’m able to get it right, it’s perfection!

I’m excited to share that I hit my mark.

Growing up, summertime dinner salads were on a weekly rotation at our house. My dad would do big pasta salads or salads filled with the leftovers in the fridge.

This salad is loosely inspired by dad’s summer salads – just taken up a notch!

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

Here are the details

To start, this recipe requires pre-cooked chicken, peppers, and corn. The idea is that you already have the leftovers in the fridge. If you’re like my family, we always have some grilled or roasted chicken on hand. And I have roasted peppers in the pantry!

Of course, if you need to grill up chicken the day of, I’m giving you my recipe for herb grilled chicken in the notes. It’s my go-to grilled chicken. Simple, but great tossed up in salads. Just a mix of olive oil, grainy dijon, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and garlic.

When you have all the salad ingredients together, make the dressing. The dressing really is the heart of this salad. Crisp up some bacon, then toss it with olive oil, vinegar, shallots, garlic, thyme, and the secret – a small number of fig preserves. The preserves add a touch of sweetness that compliments the salty bacon.

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

Next, the croutons. A last-minute addition on my end, but one that’s so delicious! The torn ciabatta bread gets crisped up in the bacon grease, then tossed with garlic and sea salt. They add a crunch to every bite and are totally addicting.

Now, assemble everything. The salad base is mixed greens and or romaine. Whatever you prefer. I use mixed greens – spinach, arugula, spring mix, and romaine are all good for a balance of flavor and crunch. Then, grilled chicken, peppers, corn, sweet cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado.

The final layer is the cheese. I LOVE to use crumbled blue cheese, but I know this isn’t for everyone. You can certainly use feta, goat cheese, or cubes of cheddar, all would be delicious.

Everything together is SO GOOD! Grilled chicken, crunchy garlic croutons, salty bacon, creamy avocado, and a savory, tangy dressing that really completes the salad and makes every bite special.

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other summer salad recipes? Here are a few ideas:

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad

Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad

Melon Basil Burrata Salad

Marinated Tomato Feta Orzo Salad Jars

Pesto Chicken and Avocado Bacon Salad Wraps

Lastly, if you make this Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing, 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!

Summer Chicken Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 483 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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Ingredients

Dressing

Salad

Instructions

  • 1. To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients except the bacon in a glass jar and whisk until smooth.
    2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain onto a paper towel. Stir the bacon into the dressing.
    3. To make the croutons. Heat the same skillet used to cook the bacon over medium heat. Add the bread and toss in the bacon grease. If needed add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Cook until toasted, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, then remove from the heat and season with salt.
    4. To assemble the salad. In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, chicken, peppers, corn, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and croutons. Toss well with the dressing. Enjoy!

Notes

Herb Grilled Chicken: In a large bowl, toss 1 pound of chicken tenders with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons grainy dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, kosher salt and black pepper. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes. 
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Comments

    1. Hey Krista,
      I love to hear that this salad will be a summer repeat for you, thanks for making it! Have a great Wednesday! xx

  1. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic salad! Our daughter made it for our family last week and we all loved it. I’m making it tonight! You did hit the mark, Tieghan!

    1. Hey Debra,
      That’s awesome!! So glad your family enjoyed this recipe, I hope you continue to make it throughout the summer:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Susan,
      Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xx

    1. Hey there,
      Fantastic!! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! 🌸Tieghan

    1. Hey Libby,
      Perfect!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for trying it out!! Have the best Monday:) xx

      1. If I make this dressing ahead of time .. should I heat it up before serving??
        Or serve it a room temp..
        did not know from recipe title ..
        Hot Bacon Dressing..

        1. Hey Becky,
          I would warm it up:) Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! Served for Father’s Day and loved by everyone! The dressing made this! OMG!!!

    1. Hi Connie,
      Amazing!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for trying it out! Have the best Monday:)

    1. Hi Kerri,
      Yup, one thinly sliced shallot used in step 1:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love the recipe! xx

  3. Sounds delish! Can you recommend anything to substitute the fig preserves? Can’t wait to try! Love all your recipes.

    1. I would also like to know a substitution for the fig preserves since u can’t fathom buying something we don’t normally use that’ll most likely sit in the fridge until we do a clean out.
      I love most recipes Tieghan comes up with!

    2. Hey Kelsey,
      Honey would be great to use in place of the fig preserves. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope it turns out amazing for you! xx

    1. Hey Kay,
      Amazing!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it:) Hope you had a great weekend! xx

    1. Hey Kate,
      Happy Sunday!! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback!! I love to hear that it was enjoyed:) xxT

  4. 5 stars
    I made this salad last night and it was a hit with my whole family! I loved picking out so many different bites to combine different flavors 😍 I added some sliced roasted potatoes to the salad. I also used some leftover everything bagels in place of ciabatta for the croutons. Excellent 🌟 ❤️

    1. Hey Emily,
      Happy Saturday!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it:) Have a great weekend! xx

  5. 5 stars
    This salad was delicious! My husband always knows when I make one of your recipes & tonight’s salad was his favorite! Your recipes make me look like a good cook!! Looking forward to some more summer salads! Yum!

    1. Hi Tammy,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! Have a great weekend:) xx

  6. 5 stars
    We LOVED this salad. I used rotisserie chicken. My husband couldn’t believe how good it was and said to put it to the top of the list. This is an easy recipe to play with because the dressing and croutons are perfection. I used an everything bagel instead of ciabatta bread (idea stolen another favorite salad recipe from your Super Simple cookbook p. 80).

    1. Hey Gillian,
      Love using an everything bagel for the croutons, so good!! Thanks for making the recipe:) Happy Friday! xT

  7. Any dressing substitution for the bacon that you can suggest for someone who doesn’t eat red meat

    1. Hey Wendy,
      Turkey bacon would be a great option. Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Loved this salad! Dressing was delicious. Thanks for the creative ways to make eating healthy and delicious!

    1. Hey Wendi,
      Happy to share:) Thanks for making this recipe, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have a great Friday:) xTieghan