This easy Lemon Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing is one of my most requested recipes ~ the tender crispy chicken on top of fresh greens and drenched in creamy buttermilk dressing is a healthy main course salad the whole family loves!
This wonderful chicken salad is a staple in our house. It’s probably the most requested recipe I make.
There’s something about the warm chicken paired with a crisp salad that’s irresistible. It feels light and healthy, yet super satisfying. It’s a perfect transition meal when winter has dragged on and everybody’s starting to crave something lighter.
Use any salad you like as the base, but I say keep it simple. I like to use a sturdy lettuce like romaine that can stand up to the heat of the chicken without wilting. And you can’t top that epic crunch factor, no other lettuce comes close!
The chicken is inspired by Ina Garten’s Parmesan Chicken. I’ve simplified it, added lemon, and an unbelievably easy and delicious buttermilk dressing. The dressing can be used as a dip for raw veggies, too.
You can vary up this lemon chicken salad with different dressings, but I highly recommend taking the few minutes to make homemade…it makes all the difference. I think my Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing would be great on this salad. Or if you like things extra rich and creamy, try my Authentic Caesar Dressing, I mix that up with an immersion blender in just seconds!
Love chicken salad? Me too, here are some more wonderful chicken salads to try ~
- How to Make the Best Chinese Chicken Salad
- Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Mayo
- Curried Chicken Waldorf Salad
Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing
buttermilk dressing (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- juice of 1 lemon
- fresh cracked pepper
- a handful of finely snipped chives
- about 6 medium chicken tenders
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 to mato
- Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- To make the dressing, put the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a small food processor and process until finely minced.
- Add the buttermilk, sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, and chives. Process until well blended.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust any of the ingredients if you like. Pour into a jar and refrigerate till needed.
- For the chicken, pour the buttermilk into a pie dish or square baking dish. Add the chicken and coat completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook. This can be done way in advance, if you like. Or not, your choice.
- Prepare two dinner plates with chopped lettuce and tomato. Sprinkle generously with the cheese.
- Mix the flour, cheese, salt, pepper and lemon zest in another pie plate or baking dish.
- Coat the bottom of a saute pan with olive oil and heat until quite hot but not smoking.
- Take the tenders out of the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture, making sure to coat all surfaces. Saute in the oil until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Squeeze the lemon juice into the hot pan and swirl around. Most of the liquid will evaporate immediately.
- Serve the hot chicken over the salad, and drizzle lots of buttermilk dressing over all.
Chef Notes for Lemon Chicken Salad:
- I love a thick cultured buttermilk, and you can find it in most stores. But if you’re stuck you can make it yourself using a cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Let it sit for 15 minutes before using.