Chicken and Rice Salad

5 from 8 votes

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A very flexible salad recipe meant to get you poking around in your fridge and pantry and a perfect way to use up leftover chicken and rice.

Chicken and Rice Salad

A chicken and rice salad is such a satisfying meal and quite comforting in nature. Tender little pieces of cooked chicken, soothing rice, and then just a bit of excitement from some well-chosen add-ins and seasonings. The best part is that if you have a rotisserie chicken or other simply cooked chicken on hand, this is a no-cook meal, so it’s worth keeping in mind for warm summer nights. It’s really a one-dish main course salad, with lots of veggies, but you could also pair it with Asparagus with Remoulade and Egg or Simple Sautéed Garlic Broccoli.

This is a template recipe, meant to get you poking around in your fridge and pantry. If you lean into what you have on hand, at no point will you ever feel like you’re making the same salad twice!

All summer long, we eat salads for lunch and dinner, many of them featuring leftover cooked chicken. All. Summer. Long. I know some people are not of the mind that salads equal a substantial meal, but luckily my boys have been well-trained in the salad-for-dinner arena. Some other favorites are Chicken Taco Salad, Chicken Satay Salad, and Indonesian Chicken Salad.

Chicken and Rice Salad in a white serving bowl.

Chicken and Rice Salad: A very flexible recipe, meant to get you poking around in your fridge and pantry, and a perfect way to use up leftover chicken.

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Ingredients

This is not a rigid recipe by any means, either in the ingredients called for (use diced bell peppers in addition to or instead of the zucchini, for instance) or suggested sizes of the various vegetables (dice your ingredients small or keep them in larger cubes).

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest
  • Cooked chicken – The chicken can be cooked in any way you can think of (poached, grilled, roasted, and so on), and therefore any simply cooked leftover chicken is fair game. You can use white or dark meat, whichever you like best.
  • Cooked, cooled rice – Leftover rice is perfect for this salad! Use white rice, brown rice, or try jasmine, basmati, or even wild rice. 
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Red onion
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley
Chicken and Rice Salad in a serving bowl with two glasses of white wine and celeriac salad.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Salad

  1. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
  2. Make the salad: Add the cooked chicken, rice, celery, zucchini, onion, and parsley. Toss to combine well.
  3. Serve at room temperature.

Make Ahead and Storage

This salad can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator, though the vegetables will soften a bit and might lose some of their vibrant colors.

What to Serve With Chicken and Rice Salad

Chicken and Rice Salad in white dish on white table.

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5 from 8 votes

Chicken and Rice Salad

A very flexible salad recipe meant to get you poking around in your fridge and pantry and a perfect way to use up leftover chicken and rice.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 People

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 cups cooked rice (any kind)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the cooked chicken, rice, celery, zucchini, onion, and parsley. Toss to combine well. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

This salad can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, though the vegetables will soften a bit and might lost some of their vibrant color.  

Nutrition

Calories: 334kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 81mg, Potassium: 414mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 837IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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7 Comments

  1. Love this recipe, especially the inclusion of celery which gives a lovely crisp addition to the textures. People should be careful when using their pre-cooked refridgerated rice as it should be eaten or discarded within 3-4 days (especially brown rice) because of the danger of mycotoxins esp Bacillus cereus. I suggest you give a warning about that so that food poisoning doesn’t occur.

  2. This is perfect. I make chicken leg quarters with veggies and seasonings in the pressure cooker every week. I mix it in my dog’s soaked kibble and give her her twice a day meds in it. She’s 15 yeasr old and has a heart problem. I get so save the wonderful stock.

    I always save one leg quarter for myself and make a chicken salad with it. This is different than my normal chicken salad. I was ready for a change. I will have to use a white onion because it’s all I have on hand. I’ll use squash instead of zucchini because my garden is gifting me with more than I can use. Mine won’t be a colorful as yours and might have more of a bite to it because of the white onion but it will be good. I know. I have taste buds in my mind as well as in my mough