Lemon Chicken and Rice Salad

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This Lemon Chicken and Rice Salad features cooked rice, chicken, and fresh veggies tossed with a lemon olive oil dressing. Hearty, vibrant, and full of flavor, it’s a great way to use up leftovers and comes together in minutes! 

Overhead photo of a cold rice salad with diced chicken, vegetables with a lemon sauce.

Your New Go-To Salad Recipe

Are you a salad lover? They’re pretty much all we eat when the weather gets warm. There’s just something so satisfying about the crisp crunch of fresh veggies and the tang of a homemade dressing. We just can’t get enough! 

Contrary to popular belief, salads don’t have to be bland, and our recipes certainly aren’t boring. Our Thai slaw chicken salad and southwestern quinoa salad prove it. 

However, this lemon chicken and rice salad might be our favorite option yet. It’s loaded with zesty, citrus flavor, and is packed with good-for-you ingredients to keep you full. 

It’s tasty enough to convince even the strongest salad objector to give it a shot! Prepare a fresh salad in minutes, or make it in advance to enjoy for several days. We promise you won’t regret it! 


Salad Ingredients

White rice, colorful bell peppers, diced chicken, cucumber and red onion in a white bowl.
  • Rice – We use cooked white rice, but brown rice will also work.  To make this super easy, buy microwave packages or cups! 
  • Veggies – Chopped bell pepper, diced red onion, and cucumber add lots of color, nutrients, and crunch. 
  • Chicken – Use pre-made cooked chicken breasts or shredded chicken, or pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home from the store! 
  • Basil – Technically optional, this adds a vibrant, slightly sweet taste. 

Dressing Ingredients

Photo of a small bowl with lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic and black pepper.
  • Olive Oil – Make sure to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the base of your dressing. 
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed is best! This adds a vibrant flavor that infuses the whole salad with a delicious refreshing taste. 
  • Garlic – Use whole garlic cloves, and mince them yourself. 
  • Salt and Pepper – Adjust to taste. 

How to Make the Best Lemon Chicken and Rice Salad

  1. Combine. Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. 
Overhead photo of all the ingredients for a rice salad layered in white bowl.
  1. Create the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. 
  2. Assemble the salad. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Adjust the seasonings to taste, and enjoy! 
Overhead photo of a spoon in a rice salad mixed with chicken and garden vegetables.

Flavor Variations 

Think of the ingredients for this chicken and rice salad as a starting point or suggestion. Then, mix and match everything you like best to make it your own! Some great variations include: 

  • Grains – Swap the rice with quinoa, orzo, rice noodles, farro, or any grains you like best. 
  • Veggies – Add to or swap the veggies with any you have on hand. Tomatoes and mushrooms make great additions. 
  • Protein – Replace the chicken with cooked shrimp, fish, ground turkey, or steak. 
  • Dressings – Use any store-bought or homemade salad dressing you like best. 
  • Toppings and Mix-Ins – Kalamata olives, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, or croutons are a fun way to add flavor and crunch. 
Up close photo of a chicken and rice salad with fresh basil and lemon slices.

Common Questions

Can I make this recipe ahead of time? 

Yes! Cook the chicken and rice separately, dice up the veggies, and whisk the dressing. Store all the ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to three days. When you’re ready to serve, toss all the ingredients together, and enjoy! 

How should I store leftovers? 

Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Just give it a quick stir to redistribute the ingredients before serving. 

What should I serve with this chicken and rice salad? 

This recipe is plenty filling on its own. However, we love to add a side of crusty bread to make it even more filling. 

Lemon Chicken and Rice Salad Recipe

Make this lemon chicken and rice salad with cooked rice, tender chicken, crisp veggies, and a simple lemon dressing for a quick, nutritious lunch or dinner!
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken and rice salad
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 375kcal
Cost: $7.00




  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup cucumber peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 10 basil leaves finely chopped 1/4 cup



  • Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl. Set aside.
    2 cups cooked white rice, 1 cup chopped bell pepper, 1/3 cup diced red onion, 1 cup cucumber, 2 cups cooked chicken breasts, 10 basil leaves finely chopped
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad.
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon minced garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Mix well and add more seasoning, if needed.
  • Serve immediately or cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.



Substitute Tips – Orzo or couscous can be substituted for the rice. Use what vegetables you have on hand or more or less of the vegetables listed in the recipe.
Flavor Tips – Feel free to add Kalamata olives or feta cheese to a salad.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 375kcal

More Delicious Chicken Recipes

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