Smoky Chipotle Chicken Salad

Smoky Chipotle Chicken Salad
Katie Workman /
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 to 5 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
263 Calories
15g Fat
5g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 263
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 237mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 33mg 163%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 377mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

To make your own poached chicken breasts for this recipe, see the Note below the recipe. Otherwise, if you shred the breasts and thighs of a purchased rotisserie chicken you should end up with about the right amount for this recipe. If we use rotisserie chicken for a chicken salad, we simmer the bones, skin, and wings in some less-sodium chicken broth to make an enriched stock to use later in a soup.

This chicken salad is great in a deli roll or piled on top of a salad. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.


  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon pureed chipotles in adobo

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery

  • 1/2 cup chopped onions, such as Vidalia

  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, white or dark meat, or a combination

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, pureed chipotles, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in the celery, onions, pepper, and chicken until the chicken salad is well combined. Serve chilled.


  • 1 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

  • Add-ins for additional flavor: smashed garlic, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, sliced ginger, fresh herbs, halved lemons, thinly sliced onions, or any other seasonings you like

  • 1 cup white wine (optional)


  • 2- to 4-quart sauce pot with lid, large enough to hold the chicken breasts in a single layer

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Cutting board

  • Knife

  1. Place the chicken and add-ins in a pot: Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. It's fine if they overlap a little, but they cook more evenly if they are in a single layer. Scatter the salt and seasonings over top.

  2. Cover the chicken with water: If using wine, pour this over the chicken first. Pour in enough cool water to cover the chicken by an inch or so.

  3. Bring the water to a boil: Place the pot of chicken on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil. You'll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the water comes to a boil—if you'll be using the poaching liquid for a soup or other recipe, you can skim this off; otherwise, it's fine to leave it.

  4. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook: As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. Begin checking the chicken after 8 minutes: it is done when opaque through the middle and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 165 F. Chicken will typically finish cooking in 10 to 14 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.

  5. Remove from the poaching liquid: Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and place it on a cutting board.


  • To make pureed chipotles in adobo sauce just dump a can of them into a food processor and bend until combined. This will keep for week in a covered container in the refrigerator. Scoop out teaspoons or more to bring a bit of smoky heat to all kind of soups, stews, sauces, casseroles and dressings.
  • How to Poach Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, adapted from The Kitchn:
    If you want to use low-sodium chicken broth instead of water you will end up with a rich stock that can be used in soups and other recipes, and the chicken will have even more flavor. Pick seasonings to cook the chicken that will complement the finished dish. 
  • Serve or store the chicken: Poached chicken can be served hot, room temperature, or cool. It can also be served whole, or it can be sliced or shredded as per your recipe.