Fried Chicken Salad with Basil-Buttermilk Dressing

Fried chicken and buttermilk come together for the ultimate Southern salad.

Fried Chicken Salad with Basil-Buttermilk Dressing
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins

Our Test Kitchen wanted to create a lightened-up version of one of the South's most beloved dishes (fried chicken). The solution? Toss it on a salad. While a weeknight salad has the potential to be bland and boring, it doesn't get much more fun and playful than our Fried Chicken Salad with Basil-Buttermilk Dressing. This new Southern staple will be your quick dinner go-to again and again.

Adding basil leaves into the buttermilk dressing not only turns it a lovely light green color, but also adds a pop of freshness to a dressing that could be heavy otherwise. The dressing comes together easily in your food processor (as an alternative, use a blender) and upgrades this to a main course-worthy salad. Pro tip: We also love this dressing as a condiment on sandwiches.

Did we mention that this entire meal comes together in just 10 minutes? Thanks to prepared chicken tenders (store-bought or leftover both work great), all that's left to do is to blend the dressing and mix it all up. Bump up the color (and health factor) by adding extra vegetables to this flexible recipe. We like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and corn kernels.


  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • cup whole buttermilk

  • 1 medium garlic clove, coarsely chopped (1 tsp.)

  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 6 cups packed mixed greens (8 oz.)

  • 8 ounces fried chicken tenders, cooled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces (about 2 ½ cups)

  • 2 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)


  1. Place basil, mayonnaise, buttermilk, garlic, sugar, onion powder, and ¾ teaspoon of the salt in a food processor. Process until completely combined and smooth, 15 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

  2. Place greens, fried chicken, cheese, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Drizzle ½ cup dressing over mixture; gently toss to coat. Divide evenly among 4 plates; drizzle with remaining ½ cup dressing.

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