This Mexican Ranch Chicken Salad is full of tender meat, crunchy tortilla chips, beans, cheese, and fresh vegetables — all tossed together in a creamy and zesty Salsa Ranch dressing. It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser on a warm summer evening, and you can even prepare the chicken in your slow cooker or pressure cooker!
Heads up! This post was originally published in July, 2014. It was updated in May, 2018.
If you have a potluck or cookout to go to this season, I highly recommend that you bring this salad along. Everyone seems to love Mexican flavors, and this dish is no exception. It’s easy to prepare, it’s packed full of texture and color, and it’s filling enough to serve as a main course on a hot summer night.
When the weather is warmer, I find salads to be very appealing at the end of a hot day. To please the men in my house, I also serve cheese quesadillas alongside this dish. They’re the perfect vehicle for scooping up those last little bits of tortilla chips and Salsa Ranch dressing!
I have made the salad sooooo many times over the years, in a variety of ways. It’s a flexible “recipe” that can be adapted to suit your personal taste.
Here are a few of my tips for creating the Mexican Ranch Chicken Salad of your dreams:
- Adjust the quantities and types of the ingredients to suit your personal preferences. Throw in some diced avocado or guacamole, garnish with fresh cilantro, or load your bowl with more cheese and crispy tortilla chips.
- Swap black beans for the red beans, or omit the beans entirely!
- Make it vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and doubling up on the beans!
- Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken for a shortcut, or prepare a batch of our favorite Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker Ranch Chicken for the ultimate flavorful punch!
- Lighten up the Salsa Ranch dressing by using a yogurt-based Ranch dressing or a homemade Ranch dressing instead of a full-fat store-bought Ranch dressing. Whatever floats your boat!
You’ll find the quick and easy recipe for my Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Ranch Chicken, as well as the instructions for the 2-ingredient creamy Salsa Ranch dressing below.
Mexican Ranch Chicken Salad
This Mexican Ranch Chicken Salad is full of tender meat, crunchy tortilla chips, beans, cheese, and fresh vegetables -- all tossed together in a creamy and zesty Salsa Ranch dressing. It's the perfect crowd-pleaser on a warm summer evening!
- ½ cup Ranch salad dressing (I used Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Salad Dressing, but any brand will work fine)
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 large head Romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (I like to use Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Ranch Chicken, which is included in recipe below)
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can red beans, rinsed and drained (black beans are a nice option, too)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup fresh, canned, or frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup diced green onion
- Optional additional toppings: sliced avocado; fresh cilantro
For the Salsa-Ranch Dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together Ranch salad dressing and salsa. Set aside and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Ranch Chicken (use rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled chicken, or the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Ranch Chicken below):
- Place 2-3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.
- Use 2 packets (1 ounce each) of dry Ranch dressing seasoning mix to season the chicken on all sides. Pour 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup of chicken broth over top.
- Cover and cook in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on LOW (or 2-3 hours on HIGH). In the pressure cooker, use the "poultry" or "high pressure" setting to cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes (or 20 minutes for frozen chicken breasts).
- Allow chicken to rest and cool slightly before shredding with a fork. Leftovers freeze really well!
Assemble the Salads:
Divide lettuce evenly among four serving bowls.
Top with tortilla chips, shredded chicken, beans, cheese, corn, tomatoes, and green onions.
Drizzle each salad with about 2 tablespoons of Salsa Ranch dressing, or more to taste. Garnish with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro, if desired.
Cooking Just for Two? Cut the ingredients in half and assemble two salads instead of 4!
This recipe for Mexican Ranch Chicken Salad was originally published in July, 2014. The photos were updated in April, 2018.