Hot Honey Chicken Salad – Fit Foodie Finds


Hot honey is all the rage these days! And our Hot Honey Chicken Salad brings this food trend to its maximum potential. Cornflake-coated chicken breasts are air-fried until golden brown and then tossed in an easy homemade hot honey. 

Serve it over romaine lettuce and fresh veggies before topping it off with our delicious creamy feta cheese dressing for a salad experience like no other!

A colorful salad bowl with quinoa, mixed greens, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and topped with crumbled cheese and breaded chicken pieces, accompanied by two small bowls.

I will confess: I’ve been obsessed with this salad to the point of having it every day for lunch for an entire week at the Fit Foodie studio. It’s that good! The combination of flavors and textures is ELITE. And honestly, what’s not to love about crispy chicken coated in sweet and spicy hot honey sauce?

To make it, just prepare your salad base and make the easy dressing and hot honey sauce. Then cut and coat your chicken before air frying to perfection. All that’s left to do from here is toss your chicken in hot honey, assemble, and serve!

What’s In Hot Honey Chicken Salad

  • Romaine lettuce mix: We used a big pile of fresh romaine lettuce as the base for this honey hot chicken salad. 
  • Fresh veggies: We used a ton of fresh chopped veggies like carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and avocado to add some color and flavor to the salad.
  • Feta cheese: The perfect tangy, salty cheese to balance out the sweetness of the hot honey.
  • 2% Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is used as the base of the dressing, providing a creamy and tangy element to the salad.
  • Apple cider vinegar: A good salad dressing always has an element of acidity to it!
  • Honey: Make sure you don’t use raw honey, as it has a lower moisture content. This can cause it to brown more quickly.
  • Red pepper flakes: The “hot” in hot honey! Feel free to adjust the amount based on your spice preference.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast: We used chicken breast for a lean protein option.
  • Corn flakes: The secret to the crispy coating on the chicken. It’s sweet and crunchy, making it the perfect match for the hot honey sauce.
Assorted healthy food ingredients with breaded chicken pieces, bowls of fresh vegetables, mixed greens, avocado, and dips arranged on a light surface.

Equipment You’ll Need

For this hot honey chicken salad recipe, you’ll need a food processor to mix the cornflake bread crumb mixture so that it has a finer texture. You’ll also need an air fryer to cook the chicken so that it comes out nice and crispy.

ninja air fryer on white background.

Easy Ingredient Swaps

We are huge advocates for allowing space for creativity and using what we have on hand when it comes to cooking. Here are a few variations you can try with this recipe:

Swap the chicken breast for thighs: If you prefer dark meat or have some on hand, swap out the chicken breasts for thighs! Just make sure to adjust the cooking time in the air fryer accordingly.

Use different veggies: Feel free to use any veggies you have on hand or prefer. Bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, and corn would all be great additions to this salad.

Change up the heat: Swap the red pepper flakes for 6 Thai chiles minced with seeds for a spicier hot honey sauce.

Go gluten-free: You’re welcome to use gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour and gluten-free corn flakes instead of regular.

Tasty additions: Try adding some additional toppings to the salad, like diced bacon, tortilla strips, or dried cranberries, for some extra crunch and flavor. 

Pro Tips for an Amazing Hot Honey Chicken Salad

  • Layer this salad however you would like! If we are serving this salad immediately, we like to have all of our vegetables on the bottom of a large bowl (except the avocado). Then, we dress the lettuce and top it all with chicken and chunks of avocado. 
  • The double dredge is important if you want to end up with very crispy chicken.
  • Keep in mind that everybody dredges differently. If you run out of the egg mixture, it could be because you used a different-sized egg or didn’t allow the egg to drip off for long enough. If you run out of egg mixture, just whisk up another egg. If you run out of cornflake mixture, you can also make more cornflake mixture!
  • How large or small you cut your chicken will determine how long it needs to cook in the air fryer. Feel free to cut your chicken into larger chunks. It will just take a bit longer.
  • Air fryers and air fryer users can vary greatly. Some air fryers are stronger, have different temperature settings, etc. Get your temperature as close as you can to 370-375ºF.
  • Don’t skip the oil in this recipe. The oil is an essential ingredient to air fry as it circulates in the air fryer and fries the chicken.
A bowl filled with crispy fried chicken, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and crumbled cheese, presenting a colorful and appetizing mixed meal.

Storage + Make Ahead Directions

This hot honey chicken salad is best enjoyed immediately after assembling. However, if you need to store it for later, make sure to store the components separately. The hot honey sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks

The chicken and dressing can also be stored in separate containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. When ready to eat, reheat the chicken in the air fryer for a few minutes and assemble your salad with fresh veggies and dressing as desired.

If you are making this salad ahead of time or making it for meal prep, we recommend keeping the salad, dressing, and chicken all separate until right before serving. 

Salad dressing being poured over a bowl of salad with crispy chicken, avocado, tomatoes, and greens.

What to Serve with Hot Honey Chicken Salad

This hot honey chicken salad was made to be a complete meal on its own, but if you’re looking to minimize the portion size and serve something on the side, we’ve got plenty of options for you:

A bowl containing fried chicken, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, carrots, and leafy greens, topped with crumbled cheese.

Hot Honey Chicken Salad Recipe

Enjoy hot honey at its finest with this hot honey chicken salad recipe! It checks all the boxes: crispy, sweet, spicy, and creamy. After trying it, you may find yourself craving it every day, just like we do!

Prep:40 minutes

Cook:20 minutes

Total:1 hour

Fat 27

Carbs 58

Protein 36

Ingredients

Salad

  • 4 oz. romaine lettuce mix
  • 1 large carrot peeled and sliced into thin half-moons
  • ½ medium cucumber sliced into half-moons
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 large avocados pitted and sliced

Hot Honey Chicken

  • 1/2 cup honey not raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes or 6 Thai chiles minced with seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 cups corn flakes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten-free
  • 2.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2.5 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1.5 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3-4 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil

Instructions 

  • Add all of the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and toss. Set aside.

  • Prepare the dressing by adding all of the dressing ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. Use the back of a spoon or fork to smash the feta into small pieces, if needed. Set aside.

  • Make the hot honey sauce. Add the honey, red pepper flakes or chiles, apple cider vinegar, and garlic to a small saucepan and mix. Heat the honey over medium/high heat and bring to a gentle boil.

  • Remove the honey from the heat and pour the honey into a mason jar. Set aside to cool.

  • Preheat the air fryer to 370-375ºF.

  • Now, prep the chicken. Slice the chicken into 1.5-2-inch pieces and set it aside.

  • Place the cornflakes, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and paprika into a food processor and pulse on low until the mixture has turned into the consistency of bread crumbs. Pour the cornflake mixture into a medium-sized bowl.

  • Crack the eggs into another medium-sized bowl and add the water. Whisk the two ingredients together until combined.

  • Coating the chicken is going to be a double-dredge process. Dredge a piece of chicken through the egg mixture. Let the egg drip from the chicken, and then dredge the chicken through the cornflake mixture until the chicken is coated. Next, dredge the chicken through the egg and cornflake mixture one more time and set the chicken on a plate. Repeat this step until all the chicken is coated.

  • Air fry the chicken. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or oil. Place as many chicken pieces in your air fryer as you can manage without crowding the basket. We could fit about 11 small pieces of chicken in our air fryer. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over the chicken and cook chicken for 4 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. The second cook time could vary based on what air fryer you use. Repeat this step until all the chicken is cooked.

  • Place the crispy chicken into a large mixing bowl, drizzle ½ cup of hot honey over the chicken, and gently toss the chicken with the honey. If you would like more hot honey, add more honey!

  • Top the salad with the dressing and then the hot honey chicken and serve.

Tips & Notes

  • Layer this salad however you would like! If we are serving this salad immediately, we like to have all of our vegetables on the bottom of a large bowl (except the avocado). Then, we dress the lettuce and top it all with chicken and chunks of avocado.
  • If we are serving this salad later or making it for meal prep, we keep the salad, dressing, and chicken all separate until right before serving.
  • The double dredge is important if you want to end up with very crispy chicken.
  • Keep in mind that everybody dredges differently. If you run out of the egg mixture, it could be because you used a different-sized egg or didn’t allow the egg to drip off for long enough. If you run out of egg mixture, just whisk up another egg. If you run out of cornflake mixture, you can also make more cornflake mixture!
  • How large or small you cut your chicken will determine how long it needs to cook in the air fryer. Feel free to cut your chicken into larger chunks, it will just take a bit longer.
  • Air fryers and air fryer users can vary greatly. Some air fryers are stronger, have different temperature settings, etc. Get your temperature as close as you can to 370-375ºF.
  • Don’t skip the oil in this recipe. The oil is an essential ingredient to air fry as it circulates in the air fryer and fries the chicken.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 598kcal Carbohydrates: 58g Protein: 36g Fat: 27g Fiber: 8g Sugar: 29g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.



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