This Thai inspired peanut chicken salad is the perfect mix of textures and fresh flavors! Crunchy cabbage and peanuts, chicken breasts, creamy peanut dressing, and a surprise guest - peaches. This delicious recipe will be on rotation all summer long.
The key to making an appetizing salad is to mix up the textures. This salad does just that with crunchy, creamy, and tender ingredients. It is great for a complete meal, filling dinner, side salad, or quick lunch.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Fast and ready in 15 minutes!
- Easy salad to prepare and also great to make ahead of time. Try it for meal prep!
- Great for entertaining - doesn’t get soggy when made in advance.
- It's versatile! Swapping out some ingredients to fit your tastes still makes for a delicious salad.
- Lots of crunchy vegetables make for a healthy dinner.
Dana’s note: I love making this Thai peanut salad in the summer time. It’s the perfect vehicle for my favorite summer fruit, peaches. Or make it with apples or oranges during the other seasons. It’s a great salad to prepare ahead of time and for entertaining. The cabbage in this Thai chicken salad holds up and can sit out on a buffet for a while without getting soggy. The recipe is also flexible and easy to customize to certain tastes and dietary needs.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Peanut butter - It is best to use unsweetened natural peanut butter. Stir well before measuring.
- Soy sauce or tamari - I like using low sodium to control salt levels.
- Rice vinegar - Can substitute with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar if needed.
- Lime juice - Freshly squeezed is always better. It will be about ½ a lime.
- Fish sauce - You can substitute for oyster sauce if needed, although it is a little sweeter. Or the dressing will be just fine if you don't have any and leave it out.
- Shredded green cabbage - Make it easy and buy pre-shredded, or shred 1 small head yourself. Napa cabbage is fabulous in this salad too. Coleslaw mix makes a handy shortcut.
- Chicken breasts - Cook them ahead of time. You can also substitute with store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Peaches or nectarines - Stone fruit adds a fresh summer feel to this salad! In the winter, you can substitute with papaya, apple, orange, or tangerine.
- Cilantro - A great alternative to cilantro for this salad is Thai basil.
- Chopped peanuts - Crunchy peanuts add a great texture to this salad. Cashews or slivered almonds are good substitutes.
- Green onions - Use the white and light green parts. Can substitute with chopped fresh chives.
- Variations - You can add in your favorite crunchy veggies here too. Try red bell pepper or snap peas.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
To make the Thai peanut dressing, add peanut butter and water in a jar. Secure a lid tightly and shake vigorously until smooth. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and shake until combined. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the Thai chicken salad, layer all the chopped salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour about ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss. Add more dressing if desired. Serve immediately.
- Save time by using leftover chicken breasts or use store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Use pre-shredded cabbage or salad mixes to make prep even easier.
- Make the dressing ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
Most of the ingredients of this Thai peanut salad can be prepared the day before and kept in the refrigerator. Make salad dressing as directed and keep in a separate container. Chop and assemble the salad the day before EXCEPT for the peaches and cilantro. An hour before serving, chop the peaches and cilantro. Just before serving, assemble all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with dressing.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2 days. If possible, store the Thai peanut sauce separately.
How to freeze: It is not recommended to freeze this salad.
More Asian inspired recipes
- Sushi Salad
- Chicken Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce
- Homestyle Udon Noodle Soup
- Chinese Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry
- Korean BBQ Beef
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can swap out peanut butter for any nut butter you choose.
Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Large serving bowl
- Jar for dressing
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice from half of a lime
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or any neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
For the salad
- 10 ounces shredded green or Napa cabbage 1 bag of ready-to-use from Trader Joe's (or 1 small cabbage shredded)
- 2 medium carrots grated (½ cup)
- 1 large cooked chicken breast diced (2 cups)
- 2 medium peaches or nectarines diced (or 2 apples)
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped (or Thai basil)
- 1 green onion white and light green parts only, sliced thin (or 2 tablespoons sliced chives)
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
To make the dressing
- Place peanut butter and warm water in a well-sealed jar and shake vigorously until the peanut butter is incorporated with the water. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and shake until combined. Chill in refrigerator. Can be made a day ahead. Shake again before use.
To make the dish
- Layer all the chopped salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour about ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss. Add more dressing if desired. Serve immediately.
Make ahead directions
- Most of the ingredients can be prepared the day before and kept in the refrigerator. Make dressing as directed and keep separate. Chop and assemble the salad the day before EXCEPT for the peaches and cilantro. An hour before serving, chop the peaches and cilantro. Just before serving, assemble all the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing.