If you love BBQ Chicken Salad, you’ll go crazy over these BBQ Chicken Salad Bowls with Cilantro Lime Rice. Quick and so delicious, they make the perfect lunch or dinner!

If you’ve made and loved my most favorite BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing, you are going to do some serious cartwheels over today’s recipe.

A spin-off on that much-adored salad, today’s BBQ chicken salad bowls are filled with all the good things that make BBQ chicken salad worthy of all day, every day summer eating.

Top view of a BBQ chicken, black bean, and vegetable salad drizzled with dressing.

Plus these pretty little salad and rice bowls get a healthy dose of extra yumminess thanks to the scoop of cilantro lime rice and healthy drizzle of new and improved BBQ cilantro lime dressing (thank you, buttermilk).

Of course, the salad bowl won’t stay pretty forever; eventually you’re going to have to dig in and toss it all together. However, I promise the ensuing ingredient mayhem is all deliciousness.

A BBQ chicken veggie and rice salad bowl.

If you were to open my refrigerator right now, you’d see all the ingredients for this salad ready to go. I’m an absolute sucker for lunches and dinners that take seconds to throw together.

Ok, actually, I’m lying to you right now.

On the heels of returning from vacation, my refrigerator is positively scary with its wilty bag of 2-week old cilantro and a carton of sour milk (coming home from vacation is hard in the food department).

A chicken, rice, black bean, and veggie mixture served over lettuce in a white bowl.

But, before vacation, BBQ chicken salad bowls were happening daily (best lunch ever). Give me a few days to tackle the 34 loads of laundry, and I’ll be back in BBQ chicken salad bowl business.

That cilantro lime rice is pretty much the best thing ever.

Have you made it? The recipe has been on my site forever.

Throw it in there with all those fresh, crisp, flavorful ingredients and you’ve got some serious lunch and dinner magic.

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Three Years Ago: Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing


BBQ Chicken Salad Cilantro Lime Rice Bowls

4.86 stars (41 ratings)


Salad Bowl:

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked chopped chicken, (rotisserie chicken works great here)
  • 1 to 2 cups BBQ sauce, homemade version
  • 6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • Cilantro lime rice, homemade version here
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed if frozen
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded or cubed Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, or a combo
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 avocados, pitted and diced

Cilantro Lime BBQ Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise, light or regular
  • cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch black pepper
  • cup BBQ sauce, homemade version


  • Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use (can be made and refrigerated up to several weeks ahead of time).
  • Toss the chicken and BBQ sauce together until the chicken is well coated.
  • Assemble the salad bowls by placing lettuce in the bottom of each bowl (or plate). Top with cilantro lime rice, corn, black beans, red onion, BBQ chicken, cheese, tomatoes and avocados.
  • Drizzle with dressing and serve.


InstantPot: I often make the cilantro lime rice in the InstantPot. Use the saute function and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 1/4 cups white, jasmine or basmati rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, juice and zest of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Stir. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Naturally release pressure.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 706kcal, Carbohydrates: 93g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 1185mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 28g

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe