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Shredded BBQ Chicken Salad

This Shredded BBQ Chicken Salad is a great twist on classic chicken salad that’s served cold. Put it in a sandwich, on top of a chopped salad or as a dip with crackers and vegetables for a healthy meal or snack in minutes.  

bowl of shredded bbq chicken salad

Recently, my husband came home way too excited about a food idea someone had at work. Someone mixed canned tuna with BBQ sauce and put it on a sandwich… 🥴

Something about canned tuna and BBQ sauce together just does not sit right with me. However, if it was shredded chicken then I would be totally on board! 🙌

That said, I created this cold shredded BBQ chicken salad with the tuna-BBQ concoction in mind, and it turned out GREAT.  We always see classic chicken salad, buffalo chicken salad and even curry chicken salad. Why not give BBQ sauce a shot?

💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This salad is SO easy and SO quick – great for weekday lunches and busy weeknights.

It’s versatile -you can use any cooked chicken you have on hand and it’s great in sandwiches, on top of salads, in wraps, etc.

Chicken salad is traditionally served cold but this variation is delicious hot or cold. It’s seriously the best keto BBQ salad with chicken!

🍗 Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Shredded Chicken Breast – You can use any cooked chicken breast you have on hand.
  • Celery – adds crunch and flavor.
  • Red Onion – adds texture and subtle sweet onion flavor.
  • Mayonnaise – is a necessity in a good chicken salad for making it creamy and holding everything together.
  • BBQ Sauce – For Whole30 and keto purposes make sure you use a sugar-free BBQ sauce. Otherwise, use your favorite!

📖 How To Make Pulled BBQ Chicken Salad

1️⃣ Prep vegetables. Small dice both the celery and the onion.

2️⃣ Make salad. In a large bowl, add shredded chicken, diced celery and onion, homemade mayo and BBQ sauce. Stir everything together until fully combined. Adjust BBQ sauce to taste. Enjoy!

🔪How To Shred Chicken For Chicken Salad

In order to make perfectly shredded chicken for chicken salads, you have a few options.

You can boil chicken breasts until fully cooked and then shred with 2 forks OR you can cook chicken (even from frozen) in your instant pot OR you can also cook chicken breasts in a slow cooker or Crockpot.

Check out my guide for making all purpose shredded chicken where I explain all three methods.

Another option and there is absolute nothing wrong with it is to purchase a rotisserie chicken! Yep, let someone else do the work. Simply remove the meat and skin and shred with 2 forks or a stand mixer.  Don’t forget to save the bones for easy bone broth

🍽️ Ways To Serve BBQ Chicken Salad

This simple and delicious BBQ shredded chicken salad is a star on it’s own, but it’s also great served:

  • topped on a southwest-inspired chopped salad.
  • spread between sliced bread as a classic sandwich.
  • rolled up in a wrap with lettuce, tomato, corn, black beans, ranch and tortilla stips.
  • in lettuce wraps to keep things keto-friendly and low carb.
  • hot on a bun -pulled chicken style.

🔁 Storing Leftover Chicken Salad

Leftover chicken salad has a pretty good shelf-life. If stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge it will last 5 to 7 days. While technically you could freeze leftover chicken salad, mayo freezes terribly, so do not freeze.


What BBQ sauce is best for chicken?

There are SO many to choose from or you can make your own! If you’re looking for a sugar-free BBQ sauce, look no further than this Classic BBQ Sauce made by the New Primal. Their Carolina Style Mustard BBQ Sauce is also great (try with Carolina Boneless Wings).

What is a good substitute for mayo in chicken salad?

Smashed avocado and Greek yogurt are great alternatives.

Why is my chicken salad dry?

You either started with dry chicken breasts or you just need to add more moisture. Add in mayo 1 tablespoon at a time until chicken salad is smooth and creamy.

More Healthy Chicken Salad Recipes

Sonoma Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad with Apples and Walnuts
15 Whole30 Chicken Salads
Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad

shredded bbq chicken salad in a bowl
shredded bbq chicken salad in a bowl

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shredded bbq chicken salad in a bowl

Shredded BBQ Chicken Salad

This shredded BBQ chicken salad is a great twist on classic chicken salad. Put it in a sandwich, on top of a salad or use as a dip with crackers and vegetables for a healthy meal that is easily meal prepped. 
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Calories: 228kcal


  • 2 cups Shredded Chicken Breast
  • ½ cup Celery small dice
  • ¼ cup Red Onion small dice
  • ½ cup [Mayonnaise]
  • ½ cup [BBQ Sauce]


  • Dice up a half cup of celery and a quarter cup of onion.
  • Add to a large bowl along with 2 cups of shredded chicken.
  • Add in 1/2 cup of homemade mayo and 1/2 cup BBQ sauce.
  • Stir everything together until fully combined.  Adjust BBQ sauce to taste.


  • Serve cold.
  • Will last in fridge in a sealed container for up to one week.


Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g

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