Whether it’s a family barbecue, a potluck with friends, or you just want to have a side dish that feeds a crowd, take a look at these chicken noodle salad recipes.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
One of my recipes for a summer bbq is a cold noodle salad. They’re refreshing, filling, and let’s face it – they’re always a hit. When the party is over, you can bring home the leftovers and serve it as a light dinner the next night or as a side for the family.
- Large mixing bowl (seriously, even if you think you have a large enough bowl – size up. Serving is one thing, but mixing it all together always requires a large bowl. Every single time.)
- Serving spoons
- Saran wrap or a lid to keep it covered in the fridge. If you’re looking for a greener option than plastic wrap, try these beeswax wraps.
Cooking Tips for Cold Noodle Salads
When it comes to cooking the pasta, make sure you rinse it with cold water after straining. This stops the cooking process and prevents the noodles from going mushy.
I also recommend cooking the noodles al dente for the same reasoning. Remember, the noodles will absorb some of the sauce or oils you add.
Food Safety Tips
If it’s a cold pasta salad that includes mayo, peanut sauce (or any creamy pasta salad), make sure you keep it refrigerated before serving. You don’t want it sitting at room temperature too long.
If it’s being served outdoors, don’t let it sit in the sun for too long. You can buy neat serving bowls like this one that keeps it cool with ice under near (or you can simply place a serving bowl under a bowl of ice).
Other food safety tips at a bbq would be to keep the serving spoon in each bowl for the specific dish (don’t use the spoon for the chicken salad to scoop up the roasted vegetables and vice versa.
Toppings for Chicken Noodle Salads
You can jazz up your dish and create festive salads with a variety of garnishes and toppings to make your dish pop out at the party. Obviously not every topping would suit every salad but you’ll be able to mix and match most of them.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- green onions
- sesame seeds
- lime wedges
- nuts (like peanuts, cashews, almonds)
- bean sprouts
- fresh mint
Gluten Free Pasta Salad Options
If you’re looking for a gluten free alternative for your cold noodle salad, you can try these:
- Rice noodles (these go great in Asian noodle salads
- Rice ramen noodles (I like the Lotus brown rice and ramen variety)
- Gluten free spaghetti noodles (they’re available at most grocery stores)
- Gluten free elbow macaroni noodles
- Soba noodles (made from buckwheat)
Most gluten free alternatives taste like the real deal. Long gone are the days when gluten-free meant tasting like cardboard. In Canada, Catelli has great gluten free options and Barilla has great options in both the US and Canada.
You can also use chickpea-based pasta for a high protein noodle salad (although chickpea pasta tends to be a little grittier).
Another option is to use vegetables as noodles as Randa Nutrition did with this Thai Chicken Veggie Noodle Salad.
Variaties of Cold Pasta Salad Recipes
There’s a told of chicken noodle salad recipes out there, but if you feel like whipping something up yourself. Here are a couple of great recipe ideas to start as a base. Feel free to play around and use whatever remaining ingredients you have on hand.
Asian Noodle Salads
These salads are often Thai noodle salads, Chinese mandarin salads, or anything that has a sweet, nutty, flavor that can leave you with a kick (thanks to many of them having a medium heat). It’s my favorite summer pasta salad.
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
- green onions
- brown sugar
- garlic powder
- peanut dressing
- fish sauce
- hoisin sauce
- noodles (rice, soba, ramen)
- lime juice
- boneless chicken breasts
- red pepper, bok choy, peas, and other crunchy veggies.
Macaroni Chicken Salads
This noodle salad typically replaces the ham with chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken works perfectly for this) in the creamy base. It’s a classic summertime meal.
- mayo (or Miracle Whip)
- white vinegar
- shelled peas
- cubes of cheddar cheese
- sweet pickle relish
Zesty Salad Noodle Salad Recipe
This is a great dish that has so much flavor and can be customized to work to your tastes.
- your favorite acid (apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, etc)
- olive oil
- herbs and spices like oregano, basil, garlic (and I mean multiple cloves of garlic – that is if you love it as much as I do), etc
- yellow onion
- peppers, cucumber, or any vegetable of choice
- leftover chicken (skinless chicken breast is my go to but you can use chicken thigh meat too)
Chicken Noodle Salad Recipes
Here are some easy recipes I put together from the top bloggers on the web. These dishes are tried and true fan favorites. Whether you use them as the main dish (aka star of the show) or as a side you bring to a friend’s special occasion – you will definitely find something for your tastes.
Add in plenty of fresh veggies, like red bell pepper, green bell peppers, English cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, broccoli, etc to give it a burst of color (and a ton of nutritional value).
You’ll find these delicious recipes are great options, even for last minute invitations, or surprise guests.
I hope all these tips helped you craft the best chicken noodle salad. Enjoy the recipes below.
Also, we would love to hear what your go-to noodle salad is in the comments.
Don’t forget to join the Party Food Favorites community on Facebook. We would love to have you join and share your favorite recipes (and get inspired by others).
If you’re looking for another dish to bring to a celebration check out these 18 Unique Charcuterie Board Ideas That aren’t Meat and Cheese.