The Cozy Cook

Crispy Chicken Salad

This Crispy Chicken Salad is so easy to make at home and tastes just like the version from Friendly’s! Serve it with my homemade honey mustard and crispy chicken strips over a bed of lettuce with tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and crunchy tortilla strips!

While you’re at it, try my recipe for homemade croutons!

Crispy Chicken Salad with breaded chicken strips, lettuce, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and crispy tortilla crisps.

Crispy Chicken Salad

Is anyone else out there a bit obsessed with the Crispy Chicken Salad from Friendly’s? I can’t be alone in that, can I? Well our local Friendly’s just went out of business, so I felt the need to call upon my own culinary skills ASAP.

This is a perfect replica for how the restaurant makes their salad, but there is plenty of room for variation! We all know that the best part of this salad is the crispy chicken, so I’ll walk you through that part step-by-step. Learn how to keep your breading intact while it fries, and how to get it super-duper golden and crispy like the restaurants do!

Let’s do it.

Ingredients

See bottom of post for the recipe card with ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Salad

  • Iceberg Lettuce Ideally a mix that contains carrots and red cabbage.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Eggs– see below for perfect hard boil instructions
  • Tri-Colored Tortilla Strips
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Honey Mustard

Chicken Strips

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Breadcrumbs Italian or Panko
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Black Pepper
  • Vegetable OilOr Canola

See below for other optional additions to this salad.

Making the Chicken Strips

Prep Work: Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the flour, breadcrumbs, and seasonings on a plate and set aside.

Cut the chicken breast in half to create 2 thinner pieces of equal size. Slice each half into strips about ½ inch thick. Note that they will plump up slightly when cooked.
Cutting chicken breast into strips to make crispy chicken strips for salad.

Pat the strips completely dry and dip them in the whisked egg. Use your fingers to slide off the excess, if it’s too wet it will leak through the breading. Coat generously in the breading mixture.

Coating a chicken strip in eggs and a flour breadcrumb mix before frying.

Frying: Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. If possible, use an oil thermometer to wait until the oil reaches 350 degrees.

Once the oil is heated, carefully add the chicken strips, leaving space around each one so that they don’t touch each other. You’ll need to fry in batches. Use kitchen tongs to carefully turn the chicken over once the first side is golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.

Frying chicken strips in a cast iron skillet to make crispy chicken salad.

Set fried chicken aside on a cooling rack to keep it crispy underneath. Add more chicken to the pan as soon as you take some out. Slice them into bite-sized pieces once cool enough to handle and place them on the salad just before serving.

Chicken strips on a cooling rack next to chicken strips on top of a crispy chicken salad.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

As I’ve learned from Martha Stewart, if you make your eggs this way, they’ll come out perfect every time!

  • Submerge the eggs in 2 inches of cool water in a pot on the stove-top.
  • Gradually bring them to a boil.
  • Once the boil is reached, cover the pot and remove them from the heat.
  • Let them sit for 12 minutes.
  • Peel, and serve!

PRO TIP: Spin your hard boiled eggs on a hard surface. If they wobble when you spin them, the yolk isn’t cooked yet. If they spin nice and fast, they’re done!

What To Add to Crispy Chicken Salad

This recipe contains the same ingredients used in Friendly’s crispy chicken salad. Here are some delicious optional additions:

  • Avocado, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Onions, Olives, Parmesan Cheese, Bacon, and Homemade Croutons.

Pro Tips

  • Bread the chicken right before you fry them for crispiest results. Otherwise the moisture from the chicken/egg will leak through the breading. This will make them soggy and can cause your breading to fall off when frying.
  • Adjust the heat as needed throughout the cooking process. The oil gets hotter as the chicken browns and cooks, don’t be afraid to turn it down a little. Making slight temperature adjustments throughout will ensure everything cooks evenly. If your oil gets too dirty, add a little more oil to clarify it a bit. (Note that this will temporarily cool the oil down.)

Storage

  • This salad is best enjoyed fresh, although any extra strips can be stored in an airtight container and reheated until warmed through in a 350° oven or in a 375° air fryer.
  • Let the chicken sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes first, if possible.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

A spoon drizzling honey mustard over a crispy chicken salad.

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Crispy Chicken Salad

5 from 2 votes
This Crispy Chicken Salad is so easy to make at home and tastes just like the version from Friendly's! Serve it with honey mustard and fried chicken strips over lettuce with tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and crispy tortilla strips!

Ingredients

Chicken Strips

  • 1 small boneless skinless Chicken Breast, see notes
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons breadcrumbs, Italian or Panko
  • ¾ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, or canola

Salad

  • 5 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 ½ cups Iceberg Lettuce, preferably a mix with carrots and red cabbage
  • ¼ cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • ¼ Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons honey mustard
  • 1/3 cup Tri-Colored Tortilla Strips

Instructions

Chicken Strips

  • Prep Work: Whisk 1 egg in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Combine the flour, breadcrumbs, and seasonings on a plate and set aside.
  • Cut the chicken breast in half to create 2 thinner pieces of equal size. Slice each half into strips about ½ inch thick. Note that they will plump up slightly when cooked.
  • Bread the Chicken: Pat the strips completely dry and dip them in the whisked egg. Use your fingers to slide off the excess, if it’s too wet it will leak through the breading. Transfer to the breading mixture and coat generously. Give each one an extra dip in the breading right before frying.
  • Frying: Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. If possible, use an oil thermometer to wait until the oil reaches 350 degrees.
  • Once the oil is heated, carefully add the chicken strips, leaving space around each one so that they don’t touch each other. You’ll need to fry in batches. Use kitchen tongs to carefully turn the chicken over once the first side is golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Set fried chicken aside on a cooling rack to keep it crispy underneath. Add more chicken to the pan as soon as you take some out.

Hard Boil the Eggs:

  • Submerge the eggs in 2 inches of cool water in a pot on the stove-top. Gradually bring them to a boil.
  • Once the boil is reached, cover the pot and remove them from the heat. Let them sit for 12 minutes.
  • Peel, and slice in half or in fourths.

Assemble the Salad

  • Add the lettuce to a large plate or salad bowl. Top with tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and cheese.
  • Slice the chicken strips into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle them on top.
  • Drizzle with honey mustard, top with tortilla strips, and serve!

Notes

This recipe makes enough for 1 salad. To adjust the servings: hover over the number of servings at the top of the recipe card. A slider will appear, drag it right to increase the serving size and the ingredients will automatically update.

1 small boneless/skinless chicken breast is equal to about ½ pound and makes approximately 6 strips.

What To Add to Crispy Chicken Salad

This recipe contains the same ingredients used in Friendly's crispy chicken salad. Here are some delicious optional additions:
  • Avocado, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Onions, Olives, Parmesan Cheese, Bacon.
  • While you're at it, try my recipe for homemade croutons!

Pro Tips

  • Bread the chicken right before you fry them for crispiest results. Otherwise the moisture from the chicken/egg will leak through the breading. This will make them soggy and can cause your breading to fall off when frying.
  • Adjust the heat as needed throughout the cooking process. The oil gets hotter as the chicken browns and cooks, don’t be afraid to turn it down a little. Making slightly temperature adjustments throughout will ensure everything cooks evenly. If your oil gets too dirty, add a little more oil to clarify it a bit. (Note that this will temporarily cool the oil down.)

Nutrition

Calories: 691kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 51g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 403mg, Sodium: 920mg, Potassium: 947mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1755IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 285mg, Iron: 4mg

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6 comments on “Crispy Chicken Salad”

  1. We made this last night and it was so good, I am so happy to have a recipe like this to make at home, I will be making this often, thank you!

  2. I was so sad when Friendly’s announced they were closing! Their crispy chicken salad was so good, and my son would get the fried chicken platter. Luckily this recipe allowed us to experience Friendly’s right in our house! Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Hi Jayne! I totally feel your pain, I was sooo bummed when Friendly’s by us closed. My daughter and I used to go there and it was so much fun. I’m happy to hear you were able to relive some of the magic at home!😊 Thanks so much for the review!

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