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Lemon Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

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Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing

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 Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing is one of my most requested recipes ~ the tender crispy chicken on top of a fresh salad and drenched in creamy buttermilk dressing is hard to beat!

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.

Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing

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!

Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing ~ the perfect family meal!!

Love chicken salad?  Me too, here are some more wonderful chicken salads to try ~

THIS Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing is one of my most requested recipes ~ the tender crispy chicken on top of a fresh salad and drenched in creamy buttermilk dressing is hard to beat!
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4 from 9 votes

Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing

This Lemon Chicken with Buttermilk Dressing is one of my most requested recipes ~ the tender crispy chicken on top of a fresh salad and drenched in creamy buttermilk dressing is hard to beat!
Course dinner, Salad
Cuisine American


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
  • salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • a handful of finely snipped chives

the chicken

  • 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.


The cooking time does not include the marinating time for the chicken, which can be an hour or even overnight if you like.

 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.


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  • Reply
    May 14, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    I made this for supper today and was it ever good. Love your recipe for the buttermilk dressing. The only thing that I did different was add panko crumbs to the flour mixture to dredge the chicken in. They just added texture. This will be a keeper recipe.

    • Reply
      May 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Diane, I love panko crumbs too, I always have them in the cupboard.

  • Reply
    Teena McElroy
    July 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I was craving this last night.

    • Reply
      July 16, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      I love this one too Teena 🙂 Welcome in to tvfgi!

  • Reply
    Barbara Blue
    March 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    This is going to work for absolutely everyone in the family!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser, Barb!

  • Reply
    Teena McElroy
    July 6, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I finally made this for dinner. It was so good and satisfying. I will be making it again. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde / sunnycovechef
    June 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Buttermilk adds a great flavor to almost anything. This looks like a wonderful tasty salad, such a treat for a summer day.

  • Reply
    Jacquelyn Grandy
    July 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I need to make this salad, like tonight. I usually reserve chicken cutlets for the fall and winter but you have inspired me to make them in the summer and top them on a salad. We actually ate pretty healthy on the 4th, believe it or not (that’s Marin for you). We met friends at the pool and did pot luck. We brought curry chicken, my kale salad and homemade hummus with fresh cut veggies. My kids did overload on candy at the parade though!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    chicken cutlets are my go-to summer pleasure…i throw a tomato basil salad on top which is yummy…BUT…i like the idea of buttermilk dressing and a bit of lemon much better! i have cutlets in the fridge, so for tonight we will have the buttermilk salad…but next time i am going to try your lemon chicken recipe too! YUM!!!

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch)
    July 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I think this sounds fantastic. It will be on my menu next week!

  • Reply
    Ellen B Cookery
    July 7, 2012 at 4:38 am

    This chicken looks so awesome. Love the buttermilk dressing!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I agree with the “Hostess”,
    There’s not a photo you take that doesn’t make me want to try the recipe!
    I am SO glad you have made a DUDLESS recipe resource for me…. well, for all of us 😉

  • Reply
    July 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I love the chicken, so juicy and tender. And I am making this dressing for dinner today – I bet it will go well with any salad :-). Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
    By the way, did you hear about RecipeNewZ (with Z)? We’re a new photo based recipe sharing community. We publish photos submitted by food bloggers with links back to their websites. Hundreds have already joined us in only 2 months since our launch. I hope you also get a chance to visit and share some of your recipes 🙂

  • Reply
    hostess of the humble bungalow
    July 7, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Gosh everything you make looks so delicious…
    your blog should come with a calorie warning as I am so hungry by the time I finish reading your posts!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Sue, this looks amazing! I love that you made your own buttermilk dressing instead of using a packet of ranch. My family will love this!!!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    July 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    This looks so appealing! We usually do grilled chicken Caesar salads but this sounds like a wonderful change of pace.

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    July 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    What a delicious summer dish, your chicken looks so moist and tender, and the veggies look crisp! Did you know that today is “National Fried Chicken Day” too!

    Have a lovely weekend!

  • Reply
    Anne Klein
    July 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Oh my. With it being so hot, this looks devine.