Light and refreshing and completely delicious, this scrumptious chicken and mandarin orange salad is simple to make and perfect for summer!

Even though I know many of you live in 100+ temps consistently and happily, I have to tell you, my cold-blooded bones are not cut out for the heat wave we are getting here in southwestern Idaho.

It’s supposed to be ridiculously hot for the next seven days and I kind of feel like if I can’t drive the three miles from the grocery store to home without my chocolate chips melting in the backseat even with the a/c cranking, there’s a serious {albeit very 1st world} problem.

Tongs taking a serving of mandarin orange chicken salad out of a white bowl.

Since I already heart salad for dinner in a big way (do you?), this quick and delicious mandarin orange chicken salad fits right into the category of fabulous meals to make when the heat is sucking the life out of me.

It doesn’t require an oven. It’s super fast to throw together. It’s wonderfully light and refreshing. It has the perfect amount of crunch and sweetness and flavor.

A white plate of mandarin orange chicken salad.

And it is healthy (but still filling!) enough to give me license to finish up the meal with about 42 scoops of ice cream to cool things off even more.

I’ve been playing around with versions of this salad for a while now because I believe wholeheartedly that everyone needs a really great oriental-style mandarin orange salad in their go-to files.

It may not be the most commonly made or requested salad but it certainly should be in the running. It’s a keeper.

So tasty, it’s one of those salads I find myself craving nearly 99.3% of the time even if I’ve just eaten it minutes before. It never gets old. And if you ask me, that’s a sign of a really, really good salad.

A white platter full of mandarin orange chicken salad with tongs on the side.

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Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad

4.61 stars (41 ratings)



  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce (see note)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 3-4 cups shredded cabbage, can use coleslaw mix
  • 3-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cans (11-ounces each) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 3 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 cups chow mein noodles or toasted, chopped almonds (or both)


  • For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use (it can be made several days in advance and refrigerated).
  • In a large bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients except for the chow mein noodles.
  • When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine (add the dressing gradually if you like less dressing – you may not need to add it all). Sprinkle the chow mein noodles or almonds on top and serve immediately.


Chicken: rotisserie chicken works great or this simple stovetop method. 
Ginger: I freeze 1-inch segments of fresh ginger (unpeeled) and pull them out to grate on my microplane or the small holes of a box grater for recipes like this. Works like a charm.
Chile-Garlic Sauce: also, the chile-garlic sauce adds great flavor to the dressing – add more if you want a touch of heat and just a tad if you want to enhance flavor without a lot of spice.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 273kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 345mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 14g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe