Best Chinese Chicken Salad – This classic fusion recipe combines shredded chicken, crunchy veggies, a tangy ginger dressing, and crispy wonton strips to make everyone’s favorite refreshing and hearty Asian chicken salad.

Chinese chicken salad with colorful cabbage, carrots, and crispy wontons tossed in a homemade ginger dressing in a large white bowl.

Why We Love This Recipe

I have always been a big fan of classic fusion dishes – those terrifically creative recipes that combine flavors from two (or more) different countries to create one unique yet familiar food. Think Szechuan beef burgers, Mexican caprese salad, apple pie cream cheese wontons, and buffalo ahi tuna tacos… They are all crazy-good enough to work!

This vintage Chinese Chicken Salad recipe is a favorite Chinese-American wonder for potlucks, easy lunches, and make-ahead meals. It combines tons of fresh shredded vegetables with pre-cooked shredded chicken and crunchy Chinese noodles or wonton strips, tossed in an easy homemade ginger dressing. 

The recipe is perfection on its own, but feel free to mix things up with optional ingredients! (Check out our list of suggestions below.)

Because we use cooked chicken, the whole salad only takes about 15 minutes to put together! You can even prep it a day ahead (but hold off on the dressing) for a super quick and easy salad.

Top down view of Chinese chicken salad with colorful cabbage, carrots, and crispy wontons tossed in a ginger dressing in a large white bowl.

Ingredients You Need

For the Salad –

  • Shredded cooked chicken – leftovers or rotisserie chicken breast or thighs
  • Nappa cabbage – shredded, or romaine lettuce
  • Red cabbage – shredded
  • Carrots – shredded
  • Sugar snap peas – chopped, or snow peas
  • Scallions – chopped green onions
  • Chinese chow mein noodles – or wonton strips for crunch

For the Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing –

Serving of salad on a small white plate.

How to Make Chinese Chicken Salad

First, shred the pre-cooked chicken into bite-size pieces. Then shred and chop all the fresh produce.

On a cutting board are groups of shredded green and purple cabbage, and green sugar snap peas.

Set out a large bowl. Add Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, snap peas, and scallions.

Shredded green and purple cabbage, carrots, and green sugar snap peas in a white mixing bowl.

Add the cooked chopped chicken to the bowl.

Adding cooked shredded chicken from a bowl into the salad

Make the ginger dressing recipe: Set out a small bowl, or measuring pitcher, for the dressing. Combine the rice vinegar, sesame oil, vegetable oil, honey, garlic paste, ginger paste, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Whisk well until smooth.

Pro Tip: If making ahead, cover the salad and the dressing in separate containers, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Right before serving, pour the ginger dressing over the salad.

Adding ginger dressing from a clear measuring cup onto the salad.

Toss well to coat. Then sprinkle on the Chinese crunchy noodles.

Get the Complete (Printable) Retro Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Adding crispy wontons on top of the salad.

Toss again and serve.

Hand with two salad forks tossing the ingredients together in the white bowl.

Optional Salad Add-Ins

  • Mandarin orange segments – canned and drained
  • Almonds – toasted slices
  • Cashews – raw and whole or chopped
  • Edamame – shelled, lightly cooked, and cooled
  • Sesame seeds – a nice bit of light texture
  • Fresh cilantro or mint – chopped
  • Bell peppers – your choice of color, seeded and sliced

Serving Suggestions

Hearty but not heavy, this refreshing chicken salad is great to enjoy as a main or side dish! It’s wonderful to pair with other Asian-inspired dishes like potstickers, wonton soup, or egg drop soup.

Load a generous portion of the salad into tortillas, rice pancakes, or butter lettuce for satisfying lunch or dinner wraps.

The recipe is fabulous to make for dinner and meal prep for the next day’s lunch!

Chinese chicken salad with colorful cabbage, carrots, and crispy wontons  tossed in a ginger dressing, in a large white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of Chinese chicken salad?

It is believed this retro dish was developed in America in the mid-1900s at a popular Chinese restaurant, Madam Wu’s, in California. From there it was featured in numerous magazines, and soon became a staple at many chain restaurants across the country.

Is Chinese chicken salad gluten-free?

Traditional wonton wrappers are made with flour, and therefore have gluten in them. However, you can use Chinese rice noodles or your preferred GF wonton strips for a gluten-free salad.

Is this salad healthy?

Yes, this recipe for Chinese chicken salad with ginger dressing is very healthy! It’s loaded with protein from the chicken, plus all kinds of fresh veggie goodness and a simple light vinaigrette. Overall the dish is low calorie and low carb; feel free to leave off the crunchy wontons for an even healthier salad.

Can this recipe be made ahead?

All of the chopping and prep work can be done ahead of time. You can combine the salad ingredients like chicken and veggies and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. But it’s best to hold off adding the dressing and wontons until ready to serve.

How long do leftovers last?

After the full salad has been made it will keep well in the fridge for a day or so. Longer than that and the wontons and fresh veggies will lose their crispness.

Serving of salad with ginger dressing on a small white plate.

Looking for More Easy Salad Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:

Top down view of Chinese chicken salad with colorful cabbage, carrots, and crispy wontons in a large white bowl.
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Retro Chinese Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This classic fusion recipe combines shredded chicken, crunchy veggies, a tangy ginger dressing, and crispy wonton strips to make everyone's favorite refreshing and hearty Chinese chicken salad.
Servings: 10 – 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Chinese Chicken Salad –

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken from leftovers or rotisserie chicken
  • 5 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup Chinese crunchy noodles or wonton strips

For the Ginger Dressing –

Instructions

  • Shred pre-cooked chicken into bite-size pieces. Then shred and chop all the fresh produce.
  • Set out a large salad bowl. Combine the shredded chicken, Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, snap peas, and scallions.
  • Set out a small bowl, or measuring pitcher, for the dressing. Combine the rice vinegar, sesame oil, vegetable oil, honey, garlic paste, ginger paste, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Whisk well until smooth.
  • If making ahead, cover the salad, and the dressing, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Right before serving, pour the ginger dressing over the salad. Toss well to coat. Then sprinkle on the Chinese crunchy noodles. Toss and serve.

Notes

Optional Add-Ins: mandarin orange segments, toasted almonds, cashews, shelled edamame, sesame seeds, fresh chopped cilantro or mint, and sliced bell peppers.
Store the salad, dressing, and crunchy noodles separately until ready to serve. Can be made up to 4 days in advance.
After all of the ingredients have been combined the salad will keep well in the fridge for a day or so. Longer than that and the wontons and fresh veggies will lose their crispness.

Nutrition

Serving: 6oz, Calories: 143kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 44mg, Potassium: 237mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2526IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Chinese, Fusion
Author: Brittany Ervin
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