Side dish

Spicy Chicken Taco Salad

Dive into this spicy chicken taco salad recipe, a perfect blend of zesty flavors and fresh ingredients that will liven up your mealtime!

To recipe
Taco Salad
Recipe insights & TIPS
tacos salad

There's something incredibly satisfying about crafting a spicy chicken taco salad that not only tickles the taste buds with its zest and heat but also brings a touch of nostalgia to the table. This salad, with its vibrant mix of crunchy lettuce, juicy spiced chicken, and robust toppings, reminds me of summer cookouts and family gatherings where the grill was the centerpiece of the event.

Spicy chicken taco salad is not just a dish; it's a celebration of fresh, bold flavors that dance on your palate. In my kitchen, I love to amp up the spice levels to really capture the essence of a festive taco party. Each bite is a delightful crunch of lettuce, a savory taste of marinated chicken, and a burst of salsa and beans.

To make this taco salad recipe more inclusive for different dietary needs, I like to offer a variety of toppings so everyone can customize their plate. Options like dairy-free sour cream or vegan cheese allow friends and family who are lactose intolerant or vegan to indulge without compromise.

This salad also allows for creativity in using leftovers. If there's any grilled chicken left from previous meals, it can be sliced and added to the salad, making it a new and exciting dish. Similarly, any extra veggies in the fridge can find their way into the salad, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

taco salad


Can I prepare the chicken ahead of time for this taco salad recipe?
Absolutely! You can grill the chicken in advance and simply reheat it when ready to serve. This makes your meal prep even easier.

What can I serve with spicy chicken taco salad?
While this taco salad is a fulfilling meal on its own, it pairs wonderfully with sides like tortilla chips, a bowl of guacamole, or a refreshing citrus-infused drink.

Can I use different types of meat for this taco salad recipe?
Yes, you can! While chicken is the meat of choice for this recipe, feel free to substitute with beef, pork, or even shrimp for a different flavor profile. Each type of meat brings its unique taste that can enhance the overall flavor of the salad.

Is there a vegetarian option for this spicy chicken taco salad?
Definitely. For a vegetarian version, you can replace the chicken with grilled tofu, tempeh, or a hearty mix of beans and quinoa to keep the protein levels high and maintain the salad's satisfying nature.

How spicy is this taco salad, and can I adjust the heat level?
The spiciness of this taco salad can easily be adjusted to suit your taste. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper used in the marinade. Conversely, if you enjoy extra heat, add more chili powder or even some diced jalapeños to the salad for an added kick.

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Spicy Chicken Taco Salad is a flavorful and hearty dish featuring seasoned chicken, fresh vegetables, and a tangy dressing, perfect for those who enjoy a zesty touch with their greens. This easy recipe makes a nutritious meal that's rich in taste.

Side dish
20 minutes
Total TIME:
50 minutes
30 minutes


For the Spicy Chicken:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup medium-hot salsa
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced (Optional)
  • ¼ cup sour cream (Optional)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (Optional)

Ingredient Swaps


Prepare the Chicken:

  1. In a bowl, mix chili powder, cumin, coriander, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and olive oil until smooth. Rub this mixture over the chicken breasts.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Grill the chicken until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 10 to 12 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
  4. Transfer chicken to the cutting board, slice into long thin strips, and set aside.

Prepare the Salad:

  1. Use the salad spinner to wash and dry the lettuce. Place the shredded lettuce in the large serving bowl.
  2. Add the black beans, salsa, and half of the cilantro. Toss to combine with a spoon.
  3. Top the salad with sliced chicken, avocado slices, and the remaining cilantro. 
  4. Optional: Add sour cream and lime wedges for garnish.
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