Chinese Chicken Salad

Are you looking for a fresh and flavorful salad recipe to add to your meal rotation? Look no further than this delicious Chinese Chicken Salad! With tender chicken, crisp greens, mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, almonds, and a zesty dressing, this healthy salad is great for lunch or dinner.

Overhead view of Chinese chicken salad.

What Makes This Chinese Chicken Salad So Good? 

Wendy’s was one of the first fast-food restaurants to introduce salad bars way back in 1979, but the chain didn’t add composed salads to its menu until the early 90s. Today the salad bars are gone, but Wendy’s still serves a variety of grab-and-go salad bowls.

One of the more creative salads was the Mandarin Chicken Salad, made with chicken, slivered almonds, crispy chow mein noodles, and juicy mandarin segments on top of a bed of lettuce tossed with an Asian-inspired dressing. The combination of textures and flavors made this dish extremely popular, but sadly Mandarin Chicken Salad is no longer available. 

Why You Should Try This Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe 

Although you can’t buy Mandarin Chicken Salad at Wendy’s, you can still make it at home. This copycat recipe is a healthy Chinese Chicken Salad with way less sugar than the restaurant version, but it doesn’t make any sacrifice when it comes to taste!

Don’t get put off by the long list of ingredients for the salad dressing. It’s easy to make and much better than anything you can buy in a bottle.

Chinese Chicken Salad Ingredients

For the Chinese Chicken Salad dressing, you’ll need:

  • Sugar-free apricot jam
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Pineapple juice
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Light soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Splenda granular
  • Splenda brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Canola oil
  • Black sesame seeds

Peanut butter can have a lot of extra sugar, so look for a jar labeled “No Added Sugar” to ensure you are eating healthier. 

For the rest of the Chinese Chopped Chicken Salad, you’ll need:

  • Boneless chicken breast, cooked
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Mandarin orange segments
  • Fried chow mein noodles
  • Roasted slivered almonds

Use your favorite method to cook the chicken for this recipe. The healthiest option is poaching the chicken in water flavored with a bit of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce for additional flavor. You can also use rotisserie chicken.

You can use fresh or canned mandarin oranges, but Mandarin oranges from the can are usually in a sugary syrup. 

Chinese chicken salad ingredients on a tray.

How to Make Chinese Chicken Salad With Noodles

To make the dressing in a blender:

  1. Add all the ingredients for the salad dressing except the canola oil and black sesame seeds to the jar of the blender
  2. Start blending on a low setting, and slowly drizzle in the canola oil while the blender is running. 
  3. Once all the oil is incorporated, turn off the blender.
  4. Add the black sesame seeds and pulse once or twice. The goal is to break the seeds into smaller pieces without pureeing them. 
  5. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container and store it in the fridge until needed. 

To make the dressing by hand:

  1. Place all ingredients except the oil and sesame seeds in a small bowl or mason jar.
  2. Whisk or shake until the mixture is combined and smooth.
  3. Slowly add the oil to the bowl, whisking while pouring it in. If using a jar, add the oil and shake vigorously.
Chinese chicken salad dressing mixture in a bowl.
  1. Add the sesame seeds and stir or shake to combine.
Adding sesame seeds and oil to Chinese chicken salad dressing mixture.

To assemble healthy Chinese Chicken Salad:

  1. Shred the chicken or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Pieces of cooked chicken in a bowl.
  1. Chop the iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces. 
  2. In a large bowl, toss the chopped lettuce with the salad dressing.
  3. Plate the dressed lettuce on a platter or in a shallow bowl. 
  4. Sprinkle the fried chow mein noodles on the lettuce.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded chicken on top.
  6. Garnish with the mandarin orange segments and slivered almonds.
Chinese chicken salad on a white platter.

Recipe Variations

It’s easy to change up this salad for additional flavor or taste preferences. Here are some ideas:

  • Lettuce – Use romaine lettuce or Napa cabbage instead of the iceberg (or a combination of them). You can also use some red cabbage for color.
  • Veggies – Add shredded carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, or scallions.
  • Noodles – Use ramen noodles or wonton strips instead of chow mein noodles.
  • Herbs – Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley.

What to Serve With It 

This one-dish meal is perfect on its own, but if you don’t care about cutting calories, adding a carb-based side will make it more filling. This salad would go great with a slice of bread or Cream Cheese Rangoons

You may want to try turning this salad into a wrap or stuffing it inside pita bread. 

How to Store the Leftovers 

Keep each component of this dish separate in the fridge in airtight containers. To prevent the chopped lettuce from wilting overnight, ensure it is as dry as possible. Store it in a sealed plastic bag with a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture. 

How Long Will Leftover Salad Last?

Eat any dressed salad as soon as possible, but you can keep separated salad ingredients much longer. 

The salad dressing will keep in the fridge for four or five days, but it will separate. Make sure to whisk the dressing well before using it. The chicken will stay good for two to three days. A head of lettuce will stay fresh for a week or more, but it is best to use chopped lettuce as soon as possible. 

Chinese chicken salad and salad tongs.

Love Salads with Chicken? Try These Recipes!

Favorite Chinese Noodle Recipes

Check out more of my easy salad recipes and the best Chinese food recipes on CopyKat!

Thanks to Columbamio for sharing this healthy salad recipe.

Overhead view of Chinese chicken salad.

Chinese Chicken Salad

This chicken salad is packed with fruit and more. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 682kcal



  • 1/2 cup sugar-free apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 7 tablespoons Splenda Granulated Sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 6 ounces chicken cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 16 mandarin orange segments optional
  • 1 cup dried chow mein noodles
  • 1 cup roasted sliced almonds



  • Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender, except for the vegetable oil and black sesame seeds. Blend on high speed. While blending, SLOWLY add the vegetable oil to the mixture to create an emulsion.
  • Add the sesame seeds and blend for just a few seconds.
  • Pour the dressing into an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.


  • Build 4 salads by arranging about 1 cup of iceberg lettuce in the bottom of each salad bowl or plate.
  • Sprinkle about 1 1/2 ounces of chicken over the lettuce in each bowl.
  • Arrange about 4 mandarin orange wedges on each salad, if desired.
  • Add some dressing to each salad.
  • Sprinkle about 1/4 cup dried chow mein noodles and 1/4 cup roasted sliced almonds on top of each salad and serve.


Calories: 682kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 1007mg | Potassium: 697mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 800IU | Vitamin C: 6.2mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 3.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Pam

    I, too am a Diabetic. The Mandarin Chinese Salad is too high in calories, fat, sugar and
    carbs for a Diabetic. I really dont feel this is a light salad, at all. My apologies if I am wrong.

  2. mom24boyz

    Where does the peanut butter come into play? It is listed below the 2 ingredients that are withheld until the finishing touches of the dressing. Is it supposed to be part of the initial dressing ingredients or part of the chicken and below ingredients?

  3. Liz Nelson

    5 stars
    I love Wendy’s Mandarin orange Salad! This looks so good! I’m also diabetic to this will be good for me as well! Thanks for sharing this.

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