Taco Chicken Salad

Taco Chicken Salad is a fun twist to a cold chicken salad you are used to. This recipe offers that south of the border flavor in a creamy sauce. Serve on crackers, bread, and enjoy. 

Chicken salad is one of those recipes that’s easy to change up to suit your tastes. I’ve made it the traditional way and with a few modifications like these recipes for Famous Curried Chicken Salad and Chicken BLT Salad. How about we kick it up a notch with a spicier version? Yes, please! You have got to try this Taco Chicken Salad!

Taco Chicken Salad - This salad recipe is full of fresh (and hot!) ingredients like jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and more.

Taco Chicken Salad

This Taco Chicken Salad recipe is full of fresh (and hot!) ingredients like jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and more. I’m craving a bowl right now.

Can I Tame The Heat on this Taco Chicken Salad

Can’t take the heat? You can follow these tips to tame the heat down so you can enjoy it vs looking for a tall glass of water. 

  • Jalapeno | Simply de-seed the jalapeno beforehand so you get the flavor and not the heat. Just make sure to wear gloves as the jalapeno oil can be hot. Rinse the cleaned jalapeno in cold water to help remove the heat factor. 
  • Cumin | You can use less cumin and even chili powder to help tame down the heat as well. 

Taco Chicken Salad - This salad recipe is full of fresh (and hot!) ingredients like jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and more.

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How to Eat Taco Chicken Salad

Eat a bowl for lunch on its own or add it to a tortilla for a wrap. You can’t go wrong with a chicken salad sandwich! I often serve mine on a bed of greens so I can get my daily veggies into me. Or pair with crackers and enjoy. 

  • Wrap
  • Sandwich 
  • Lettuce Wrap
  • Side of Crackers 
  • Or plain!

Taco Chicken Salad - This salad recipe is full of fresh (and hot!) ingredients like jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and more.

Can I Use Leftover Chicken for this Chicken Salad Recipe 

This Taco Chicken Salad is a great way to use up leftover chicken. I will sometimes cook extra chicken just so I can use it in recipes like this one. It saves a step and anything that saves time is a good thing in my books. I use boneless chicken because the worst thing you can find in a chicken salad is a stray bone. It gives me the chills just thinking about it. Blech.

If you have a rotisserie chicken that has minimal seasoning, it is a great option to shred up leftovers and use for this recipe. 

Ways to Top Taco Chicken Salad

Garnish it up with some cilantro, Greek yogurt, cheese, avocado or whatever you like. I used cilantro in the photos to give it a pop of color. However, I’m not a big fan of the taste. I find it tastes like soap! My mom, on the other hand, eats cilantro like it’s going out of style. I must have inherited the soap tasting gene from my dad.

You might also like this Regal Chicken Salad or Waldorf Salad.

Taco Chicken Salad - This salad recipe is full of fresh (and hot!) ingredients like jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and more.

Best Way to Store Taco Chicken Salad

This salad needs to be stored in the fridge. If not, it will spoil and go bad. The key is to never have this salad out for serving longer than two hours, or you risk bacteria growing. This salad will store in the fridge for up to three days. After that use your best judgment on if it needs to be tossed. 

Could I Use Shredded Turkey Instead of Chicken 

Of course! This is a great recipe to shred up leftover holiday turkey and use in replace of the chicken. They are both lighter meat so it won’t change the flavor that much. You can chop up the turkey if shredding doesn’t work well. 

How to Make Taco Chicken Salad 

Start by cooking your chicken in a large pot with your broth, water, peppercorns, celery, carrots, jalapeno, onions, and garlic. This will add flavor to your chicken as it cooks. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove and allow to cool down. Then shred and set aside. 

In a small bowl add all your spices and cilantro, and add chicken. Mix and then add in the cream cheese chunks, and mix well. Then top how you would like and serve!  

What to Do with Liquid from Cooked Chicken 

Since you add in veggies it will make an incredible broth for soups and such. We freeze the leftover in 1 cup servings that way I can grab what I need and then toss in to cook. 

Can Chicken Salad be Frozen 

Because of the cream cheese in the recipe, you will find that it separates once it thaws from being frozen. So for that reason, I do not recommend freezing this. You could prep the chicken and shred it, then freeze it to later be whipped into a salad though.

Craving more Chicken Recipes 

  • Chicken Fajita Foil Packets | Super quick and easy to make for those no-mess weeknight meals. You can cook in the oven or even the grill for your summer entertaining. 
  • Sticky Chicken | Love drumsticks? Give this recipe a try, sticky and finger-licking good. We make this a lot when I want simple and easy. 
  • Russian Chicken | If you have never tried Russian Chicken! We serve it over rice and let me tell you it is moist, tender chicken that is loaded with incredible flavor. 

Taco Chicken Salad is a quick and easy recipe that is perfect for a quick lunch, meal prepping for the week or a light dinner. Give it a try, and switch things up from the classic chicken salad recipe. 

Taco Chicken Salad - This salad recipe is full of fresh (and hot!) ingredients like jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and more.

How do you like to eat your chicken salad?

Yield: 4

Taco Chicken Salad

Great served alone, with crackers or chips, or as a wrap in a tortilla!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, cut in half
  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarters
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 4 ounces low fat cream cheese, very soft, cut into small chunks
  • Optional garnishes: cheese, sour cream, greek yogurt, hot sauce, avocado

Directions:

  1. Combine water, broth, peppercorns, garlic, celery, carrot, jalapeno, and onion in a large pot over medium heat. Place chicken into pot with other ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and shred chicken using 2 forks; set aside. Discard liquid or save for later use as chicken broth (freezes well).
  2. In a large bowl, mix chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Add shredded chicken and mix to coat chicken in spice mix.
  3. Add cream cheese chunks into mixtures, and cut into the chicken until fully mixed.
  4. Top with optional cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, hot sauce, or avocado.