Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Spicy chicken salad is creamy, crunchy, and a little bit spicy. The perfect combination for a delicious chicken salad! Made with shredded chicken, colorful crunchy vegetables, and a simple creamy dressing.

Quick lunch recipes are always helpful, especially for meal prep. Some of my other favorites are this snack box, tuna salad, chicken salad with fruit, and salmon salad.

Sandwich on a table.


A good salad like this grinder salad and seven layer salad, is always a great go-to meal, especially for lunch. I especially love this protein packed chicken salad that has just a hint of spice. It’s so simple to make and great to make for meal prep for the week.

Want more chicken salad? Try this copycat recipe for Chicken Salad Chick’s Fruity Fran and Buffalo Barclay.

Ingredients needed for spicy chicken salad

You can make this spicy chicken salad recipe with some simple ingredients.

Shredded chicken, water chestnuts, red onion, bell peppers and celery in a bowl
  • Chicken – This is a great recipe to use rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breasts.
  • Bell pepper – Choose your favorite color bell pepper like red, yellow, or green bell pepper.
  • Onions – Red onion works great and adds beautiful color. You can substitute with diced green onion or sweet onion.
  • Water chestnuts – Diced water chestnuts add a nice crunch.
  • Celery – Another great vegetable to add crunch to this chicken salad.
  • Mayonnaise – Use real mayonnaise for the best flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper – A little bit of cayenne pepper adds the spicy heat. You could also substitute with a pinch of dried red pepper flakes or even a splash of hot sauce.
  • Salt – Helps to season the chicken salad.

How to make spicy chicken salad

Scroll to the bottom for full printable recipe and ingredient list. 

Step one – In a large bowl, combine chicken, diced bell peppers, diced water chestnuts, diced celery, and diced onion.

Step two – In another bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, and salt.

Step three – Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Spicy chicken salad mixed up in a glass bowl with spoon

How to serve

Spicy chicken salad can be served as a main meal or a side dish. A few ways I like to serve this chicken salad include:

  • Bread – Serve on whole wheat bread, a croissant, a bagel, or your favorite hearty bread.
  • Wrap – Make this into a delicious tortilla wrap by adding lettuce leaves and spicy chicken salad to a tortilla.
  • Salad – Scoop the chicken salad on a bed of greens or serve in a lettuce cup.
  • Crackers – This can even be served as a hearty dip with crackers or wavy potato chips.

How to store

Store any leftover spicy chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last 3-4 days.

I would not recommend freezing this salad. They mayonnaise doesn’t hold up well after thawing.

Sandwich on parchment paper on a cutting board

Tips for success

  • Try adding smashed avocados for extra creaminess.
  • Don’t want the spice? You can leave out the cayenne pepper.
  • You can use shredded rotisserie chicken, baked chicken, or air fryer chicken. If you are in a hurry, you can use canned chicken.
  • You can substitute mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.

Meal prep

This recipe is also great to use for meal prep. Divide the spicy chicken salad mixture into meal prep containers and store in the refrigerator. Add your favorite greens, veggies, or fruit for a nice lunch.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

If you made this spicy chicken salad recipe, please feel free to leave a comment and star rating.

Sandwich on a table.
5 from 1 vote

Spicy Chicken Salad Recipe

By Heather Seeley
Spicy chicken salad is creamy, crunchy and a little bit spicy. The perfect combination for a delicious chicken salad.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 cup chopped celery about 3-4 stalks
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper


  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, water chestnuts, red and yellow pepper and onion.
  • In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  • Combine mayonnaise mixture and chicken mixture and chill in refrigerator.


You can serve the chicken salad on bread or on top of salad greens.
Also, the recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, if you like things a little more spicy, 1/2 teaspoon works great.
You may also substitute Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise if you prefer.


Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 873mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 825IU | Vitamin C: 59.2mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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