BBQ Chicken Salad- a Panera Copycat Recipe (2024)

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posted by TidyMomon January 8, 2018 (updated Jun 27, 2024) 7 comments »

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This BBQ Chicken Salad is a flavorful dinner salad recipe that’s off the hook delicious! It’s super easy to make but tastes like it’s straight from a restaurant. It’s sure to become a favorite salad recipe at your house too!

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Panera Bread is hands down one of my favorite restaurants. I’ve been known to eat there more than once a day on several occasions. Their food is wholesome,fresh and delicious. It’s one of the few restaurants that I have several favorites on their menu.

From the first time I had BBQ Chicken Salad at Panera, I was obsessed! There’s something about the savory aspect of the lettuce, veggies, and chicken with the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

If you were a fan ofPanera’s BBQ Chicken Salad too (it’s no longer on their menu), you’re in luck! You can make a copycat salad in 15 minutes or less! I think you’ll agree that it’s even better than the original.

I just can’t get enough of this salad! I’ve made it several timessince last spring, and I realized the other day, I took pictures, and never shared the recipe here with you.

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Table of Contents


I first made this salad last spring, after we grilled BBQ chicken and corn on the cob for dinner. The next day I was inspired to use the leftovers to re-create one of my favorite salads.

It took less than 5 minutes to throw it all together, but even if you have to grill the chicken (indoors or out) it only takes 6-8 minutes to cook. Chop all the ingredients while the chicken cooks, and if you have time, make the lime crema and dinner will still be on the table in 15 minutes.

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If you can grill the corn, do it! But if you can’t no worries, it’s just as good with canned corn. It’s reallya simple and delicious salad no matter how you make it.

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The homemade lime crema is so simple to make with only a few ingredients. It completes this incredible BBQ Chicken Salad! Greek yogurt with lime juice seasoned with garlic, cumin,and salt is all it takes. It’s really simple to mix together and will keepin the refrigerator for several days.

It’s best if you can make the dressing ahead of time – I like to mix it in a jar so I can shake it up before pouring it on my salad.

Feel free to use ranch dressing instead of the lime crema………but I will say, the lime crema really makes this salad sing!

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This copycat BBQ Chicken Salad immediately satisfies my need for one of my restaurant favorites that I can no longer get. Plus my need to have BBQ chicken in every way imaginable, like BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup and BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad Sandwich.

Looking for more great Panera copycat recipes? Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is one that I have to make at least a few times every winter!Panera Bread Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup recipe(also retired from theirmenu) and Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese recipe are both on my list to try as well!


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BBQ Chicken Salad

Yield: 2 large servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Additional Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Don't let the long recipe scare you, after you grill the chicken, the rest it just adding all the ingredient to the bowl for one heck of a good salad!



  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • seasoned salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (divided)
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup canned corn, drained (or grilled corn, cut off the cob)
  • 3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer Bush's Black Beans)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup lime crema (recipe below) or ranch dressing
  • tortilla strips

Lime Crema

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • juice of one large lime (about 1.5 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • a pinch of sea salt


  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even ½-inch thickness. Coat chicken with olive oil, and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.
  2. Brush some olive oil on the grill grates (or use grilling spray). Preheat grill to medium-high indirect heat.Alternatively, you can use a grill pan, heat on medium high heat. Place chicken on grill (or grill pan). Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side (check with thermometer for doneness, about 150 degrees).About 1 minute before chicken is done, brush each side with barbecue sauce. Remove from heat, cover with foil to rest and continue cooking 5-10 minutes before cutting into bite-size pieces.
  3. To assemble the salad place lettuce in bowl; top with chicken, tomatoes, corn, beans, onion, and cheeses. Drizzle remaining BBQ sauce and lime crema (recipe below) or ranch dressing on top of the salad and toss to combine.
  4. Serve with tortilla strips and a fork!! 😉 enjoy!

for Lime Crema:

  1. Using a small bowl,combine yogurt, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and cumin. Stir well and add sea salt to taste. If you want crema a little thinner, you can add 1/2 tablespoon of water.
  2. Best if refrigerated at least 30 minutesbefore serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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Hi there, I'm Cheryl!

As a wife, mom, and caffeine enthusiast, my journey has taken me from bustling mornings with my family to sharing delicious recipes, home care tips, and heartfelt decorating insights with wonderful readers like you. My love for baking, photography, and tidiness shines through every post I craft. Dive into my world and discover the art of homemaking, one tidy moment at a time. Read more...

Tidymom is a participant in the amazon services llc associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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originally published on January 8, 2018 (last updated Jun 27, 2024)

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7 comments on “BBQ Chicken Salad a Panera Copycat Recipe”

  1. Stephanie Manley Reply

    This is perfect for this time of year! Trying to cut back on calories and still enjoy something filling. Pinning!

  2. Tina Bostic Reply

    I really like to try your recipes.
    I’m always looking for new dishes to try

  3. Deanna Reply

    Just printed and pinned this recipe. I never had it at Panera, but it sounds delicious! Will pick up the ingredients at the market tomorrow! Can’t wait to try this!

  4. Kathy Reply

    I just found this recipe through Pinterest and gave it a try. We used a rotisserie chicken bc stores were out of chicken breasts and tenders. We made the lime crema and this salad was SO good! The dressing mixed perfectly with the sauce and everything together! Thank you! We will definitely be doing this again!

    • TidyMom Reply

      yay! glad you enjoyed it as much as we do!

  5. Randi Reply

    I was a manager at Panera through college and let me tell you, this salad was my absolute favorite! Your recipe is so good!!! Thank you for sharing!!

    • TidyMom Reply

      Thanks so much!! It’s one of my favorites too!!

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BBQ Chicken Salad- a Panera Copycat Recipe (2024)
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