Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

These oven-baked pecan-and-panko crusted chicken tenders have fabulous fried chicken flavor with much less grease and mess. As the chicken cooks, the rest of this family-friendly recipe comes together in minutes. Grilled romaine lettuce gives this salad a smoky flavor. Instead of using a grill pan, you can cook the veggies on a charcoal or gas grill outside.

Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
6 serves


  • 1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders

  • Olive oil cooking spray

  • 3 romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half lengthwise

  • 3 (1⁄2-inch-thick) red onion slices (from 1 small onion)

  • 1 ear fresh corn, shucked

  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

  • 1 cup garlic-butter seasoned croutons

  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a lightly greased wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Stir together panko, pecans, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites just until foamy. Place flour in another bowl.

  2. Sprinkle chicken with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg whites, and dredge in panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Coat chicken on each side with cooking spray; place on rack. Bake in preheated oven until done, 20 minutes, turning after 12 minutes. Slice chicken.

  3. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high. Coat cut sides of lettuce with cooking spray. Place lettuce, cut side down, on pan. Grill until marks appear, 3 minutes. Chop lettuce; place in a large bowl. Coat onion slices and corn with cooking spray. Grill onion until marks appear, 3 minutes per side. Grill corn, turning, until charred, 5 minutes. Cut kernels from cob; discard cob.

  4. Whisk together buttermilk, next 4 ingredients, and remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper.

  5. Toss together lettuce, tomatoes, and 1⁄4 cup dressing; arrange on a large platter. Top with onion, corn, chicken, bacon, croutons, and avocados. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

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