Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing

from 15 votes

Ditch the deli counter and whip up a homemade recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing.

A white plate containing Chinese Chicken Salad ingredients

That big bowl of flavor and crunch up there is my dinner at least once a week. Fast, fresh and figure-friendly, my mom’s recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad has become my go-to alternative to all things DoorDash, Uber Eats and GrubHub.

Small glass bowls containing lettuce, red cabbage, chicken, scallions and almonds

This colorful mix features a plethora of tastes and textures, from shredded purple cabbage and tender chicken to crunchy almonds, crisp cucumber batons, and yes, those classic Mandarin oranges. All that goodness is tossed in a homemade sesame dressing that’s sweet, tangy and a touch sour.

A large glass bowl containing chopped lettuce, cucumbers, scallions and chicken

This Chinese Chicken Salad is ideal for meal prep and lunches on-the-go. Simply layer the ingredients into mason jars and stash the dressing in a plastic bag. When you’re ready to dig in, pour the dressing into the jar, seal it, shake it and get your salad on!

If you’re looking for more ways to ditch the delivery and still satisfy those takeout cravings, don’t miss recipes for Baked Orange Chicken, Chicken Egg Rolls with Ginger-Soy Dip, and Sticky Pineapple Chicken.

A white plate containing Chinese Chicken Salad

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Main Course

Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing

Fast, fresh and figure-friendly, my mom’s recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad has become my go-to alternative to takeout.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.80 from 15 votes
A white plate containing Chinese Chicken Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings


For the salad:

  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (See Kelly's Notes)
  • 3 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced into batons
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup crispy chow mein noodles
  • 1 cup Mandarin oranges

For the dressing:

  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper


  • In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, tossing until well mixed.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and then pour over the salad, tossing to coat.

Kelly's Notes:

  • I buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat (discarding the skin). It's fast, fresh and just enough meat for 4 to 6 servings.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 351kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 660mg, Potassium: 469mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2485IU, Vitamin C: 20.2mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 1.3mg


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  1. 5 stars
    I made it first with baked salmon and added a few thinly-sliced carrots as well. It’s a beautiful salad to look at. I am searching for a better rice wine vinegar, as there are some poor imitations that are not very nutritious. The next day, with chicken, I crisped-up the skin and added it on as a quick sub for the chow-mien noodles. A few sesame seeds on top looks pretty good too. Thanks for this recipe, it’s really crunchy and interesting! Perhaps you can recommend a rice wine vinegar? Thank again, really enjoyed it and added it to my go-salads.

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this. Also made a spinach wrap out of it and added peanut dressing. Could eat this several times a week.

  3. 3 stars
    I made the dressing with more sesame oil, no salt or pepper and no salad oil. It came out just like what I have had in restaurants with just the sesame oil, a bit of sugar and the rice vinegar. I also like the grilled chicken strips that are sold at Costco, not rotisserie chicken.

  4. 5 stars
    Excellent! We’ve made it 4 times and it’s easy enough for my teenagers to prepare before I get home from work!!!!!!

  5. Good recipe for bought cooked chicken except years ago for dressing we used a little soya sauce instead of salt and coated shredded chicken and let sit. Fry Mai Fun rice sticks and strips of won ton skins instead of bought noodles and add cilantro to lettuce. Otherwise almost the same as 50 years ago learned from Asian neighbors in PTA

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! I live in Japan, so I always have to sub certain things. I used regular cabbage and leaf lettuce since that’s what I had access to, and added a shredded carrot. Also added sesame seeds and peanuts to the top. So so good. My kids gobbled it up. I call that a win! Thank you!

  7. Hi Kelly! I just discovered your blog/site and there are SO many yummy looking recipes. I am definitely going to try this one soon.

    I do have one question thought – I am only one person, so do you know what the portions would be then? Its always hard to determine how to make a recipe properly when its for 6 servings.

    It would be much, much appreciated! Thank you!

    1. Hi Vanessa! Welcome to Just a Taste! You can adjust the ingredient measurements by hovering your cursor over the SERVINGS above and sliding the bar right or left.

  8. Made a slightly different version of this tonight. Used a mixture of spiral and thin egg noodles. Par boiled carrots broccoli red cabbage, capsicum ( el dente), Chopped grilled bacon and added shallot sliced fine, cooked pasta and veg, Chicken poached in chicken stock, all tossed in dressing as per recipe. Family very impressed, came back for seconds.

  9. Baaaabay! This. Was. On. Point! Refreshing, delightful and perfect for my low carb venture. Added prawns instead of chicken. Family LOVED!

  10. 5 stars
    This is the BEST Salad and the recipe is requested by everyone I make it for! BUT, this is a different version – the one I’ve always used didn’t have soy sauce in the dressing (or mandarin oranges).
    Can you confirm that the dressing for the older version is the same ingredient and ratio just minus the soy sauce? From memory, that’s what I recall but want to be sure before I make it tonight. Thank you for an AWESOME SALAD recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Tanya! I just updated it to reflect the original :) And you are correct. Exact same proportions, just minus the soy sauce. Mandarin oranges are optional!

    1. They also come in small cans and small fruit cups – like jello or pudding cups. They are sweeter and I prefer them in this recipe.

  11. 5 stars
    Mmhmmm good. I used to get a prepackaged Chinese chicken salad from a large wholesaler very similar to this. I am no longer near that type of place and was looking for a duplicate recipe, and I am not disappointed! AWESOME AND THANKS!

  12. 5 stars
    I have made this salad three times in a row now and it is my new favourite salad. I’ve made it with and without chicken and Romaine lettuce and its great any which way! Since I can’t have almonds I toasted sunflower seeds instead. I’ve been using the seasoned rice vinegar and since you mentioned it has more flavour I just used 1/8 cup and it’s perfect! Thanks again for this great recipe!

  13. Comes together quickly and is a tasty salad. Even better, a great way to use up my leftover chicken fingers/cutlets. Thank you!!!!

  14. 5 stars
    Tried the salad tonight for dinner. Loved it! My daughter calculated the WW points which is 8/serving. Definitely worth it! Sooo satisfying! Thank you!

  15. 4 stars

    The dressing was lovely other than i dont think it needs the vegetable oil.

    Its oily enough with the sesame oil.

    A touch of soy sauce with it is nice too.

  16. 5 stars
    Wow! Wow wow WOW!!!This is an awesome idea! I love learning how to make things. Thank you for this recipe! Thanks for Sharing !

    1. Hi Patricia! If you don’t add the dressing, the ingredients could last a day or two if tossed together and stored in an airtight container :)

  17. This salad was amazing!!! Its super light and full of flavor!! We had it as a side dish to our dinner meal and omitted the chicken since we were eating a chicken dish! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  18. I have opted for nappa cabbage and a mix of kale and Brussel sprouts power blend salad greens as that is what I have on hand as well as peanuts in place of almonds. So excited to try tomorrow for lunch.

  19. I really liked your recipe. I didn’t have some cucumber. But next time will try it with cucumber. Thanks for recipe!!

  20. I made this as is – and it was awesome! Looking forward to trying it with some other greens as mentioned by others! Gotta keep the purple cabbage though for the nice color contrast!

  21. I pinned Vicki Gunvalson’s recipe and then I found this one. I am going to make today. Love the kale and Brussels sprout substitution.

  22. Kelly,
    What about substituting Napa (Chinese) Cabbage for the romaine??? I love Napa Cabbage.

  23. Instead of the romaine & lettuce, I use a big bag of the kale & brussel sprout salad mix. It definitely holds up better for next day leftovers without having to keep everything separate. Little extra nutrition in there too. My whole family loves this!

  24. I saw this recipe this morning, got dressed and got all of the ingredients. You know you can just tell when a recipe is going to be good! Not only good but GREAT!!! Its just my husband and I so I cut up the veg and put in a bowl then just took out a portion for lunch and added all the other ingredients. Tomorrow we can have the rest for lunch and it will be fresh. Great recipe!!!!

  25. Made this and it was absolutely amazing. I used Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Asian Sesame w/ Ginger & Soy dressing and it was perfect with this salad. Instead of chow mein noodles I bought fried wonton strips in the salad section. I also used the breasts from a rotisserie chicken for this recipe which made it so quick and easy.

  26. Thanks for the wonderful recipe! My husband even cleaned his plate! My only suggestion is for those who like it spicy: I removed the veggie oil all together, added a dash of soy sauce, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and garlic powder, and cut out the sugar. It made for a much more tangy salad dressing with a kick. Overall, it was a great recipe and going into the monthly rotation!

  27. I made this today and it was a big hit for the entire family and my father -in- law. I just added mandarin oranges and julienned carrots. Even the kids loved it.

  28. Hi Kelly,
    thanx for your reply:) I have tried a few of your recipes, and I am NEVER disappointed – Thank you so much!! Now i have to watch the waistline.LOL

  29. Hi Kelly,this looks absolutely divine and i am going to try it,but how do i get chow mein noodles crispy? please advise.
    thanx Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda – The Crispy chow mein noodles are sold in most major grocery stores and can usually be found in the Asian products section.

  30. I made this for a Superbowl party and it was a HUGH hit. I have made it for my family and it is a big hit at the Haeg house..

  31. Haven’t made this in years! Happy to see your site. Making this tonight and a ton of it! When I use to make it, instead of chow mein noodles, I broke up Top Ramen, added sesame seeds and toasted them in the oven till lightly browned. I think I might add some brocolli slaw to this recipe!

  32. This salad really looks so fresh and healthy. I am on a diet so this would just be perfect! I do love how the purple cabbage adds so much life to this dish! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  33. I made this for lunch today – it is really, really good! I used napa cabbage instead of romaine, but other than that stuck to the recipe as written. A great dieter’s salad, with one caveat; that dressing is over a thousand calories if you use up all of it! 1 tablespoon, though, is just 78. Yay!

  34. I made this, tonight, and loved it. I also added mandarin oranges and grated carrots. I used unseasoned rice vinegar,and the dressing was perfect. Delicious, clean eating– especially after all the Christmas sugar.
    PS: I bought your book, “Food Blogging for Dummies” and am gearing up to start reading it. It looks great.

  35. Just found your blog and love it. The salad is just exactly what I want for lunch, and maybe dinner too! I’m out of romaine but nappa might work. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  36. THIS IS AMAZING. Everytime I travel I get the chinese chicken salad from Wolfgang Puck to-go at LAX. It’s never great, and I should totally just make this when I get a craving!

  37. So funny – I made the same salad this week for lunch and was so sad to be out of chow mein noodles!! So good!!

  38. gorgeous photos, kelly! this sounds like such a flavorful salad, i wouldn’t even miss the fattening calories of some other salad!

  39. OMG I love this recipe. This is fabulous.YOU are fabulous and this is SO going to be my dinner tomorrow night.

  40. Yum! I love trying new salads, and this one looks awesome. I feel like I always get into a salad rut…so I’ll definitely be making this soon. I’m obsessed with chinese chicken salad, so I’m sure I’ll love it!

  41. This awesome! I totally saw it on Instagram, and thought wow that looks so good and healthy. Then I saw the preview, and now it is here! I love how simple, and crunchy this is. I am so making this. I usually buy cabbage every week, and am looking for ways to change it up. This is a great way! Plus there’s apple pie next week:).