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An overhead shot of a chicken and rice salad in a white bowl
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5 from 2 votes

Southern Chicken and Rice Salad

This light Southern Chicken and Rice Salad is a satisfying dish that's perfect for easy summer dinners or a fancier lunch with the ladies. The marinated chicken, sweet fruit, crunchy almonds, and hearty brown rice, offer a variety of flavors and textures for the ultimate crowd-pleasing dish!
Course Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine Southern
Keyword chicken and rice, Rice Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 298.1kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


For the Chicken:*

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (about 3 cups cooked and diced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (or additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or sub with white or cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

For the Salad:

  • 3 cups cooked brown rice**
  • 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mandarin orange slices, drained
  • 1 cup halved red grapes
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise***
  • ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley


Prepare the chicken at least 1 hour in advance (or overnight):

  • In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and orange juice. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place chicken in a large zip-top bag. Pour marinade into the bag and gently toss to coat chicken. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  • Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in the skillet and allow the chicken to cook on one side, undisturbed, for at least 4-5 minutes. Flip, and cook the chicken for about 5 more minutes, or until it is nicely browned on both sides and cooked through.
  • The chicken is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F, or when juices run clear.
  • When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the skillet and place it on a cutting board to rest.
  • Once chicken has cooled to the touch, diced into bite-sized pieces.

Prepare the salad:

  • Place diced chicken in a large bowl. Add pineapple, oranges, celery, and grapes. Fold in cooked rice. Add mayonnaise and sour cream; season with salt and pepper, to taste. You can stir in additional mayonnaise, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
  • Stir in almonds just before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.


*For a shortcut, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can skip the marinating and cooking, and just use 3 cups of cooked, diced chicken!
**For another shortcut, I used microwaveable cups of Minute Rice.
***I used light mayonnaise and non-fat plain Greek yogurt for purposes of nutritional information. Any type of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or sour cream will work fine!
Cooking Just for Two? You can cut the ingredients in half to prepare a smaller salad for a smaller group! Cooking instructions remain the same.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 298.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.5g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 8.8g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 52.1mg | Sodium: 139.8mg | Potassium: 441.7mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 10.7g