Ensalada de Pollo is a Mexican recipe that’s a party favorite – a fiesta for your mouth and your guests as well. It consists of chicken and vegetables dressed in a creamy mayonnaise dressing. It’s easy, delicious, and perfect for any gathering.
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Every birthday party. Every quinceañera. Every gathering that involves half a dozen Mexicans and a good mariachi, you will find Ensalada de Pollo.
It is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and comes together in a snap.
A little kitchen magic at your fingertips. What is not to love about that!
This salad is a great way to use up what you already have in the fridge.
You will need leftover chicken. You can also use a rotisserie chicken but remove the skin.
Then chop it up into tiny pieces or shred it. Whatever method you prefer.
Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe. It is the BEST dish to take to potlucks.
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From here, the Ensalada de Pollo varies.
You can add peas, carrots, green beans, potato, or corn. You can add a few of these ingredients or all of them, then combine.
Again, it depends on you, your imagination and what you have hanging out in your kitchen.
I have even seen people add pickled cauliflower and pickled carrots in the Ensalada de Pollo. It was very tasty!
This recipe is very forgiving and very adaptable.
You can add as much sour cream or mayo as you like.
I personally like to do equal parts sour cream and mayo, but if you are not a mayo fan, you can also use more sour cream, or swap it out for crema mexicana or plain yogurt.
A mixture or use just one. It really depends on you, your taste, and what you have in the fridge. Speaking of fridge…
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How Long Can Ensalada de Pollo Last without Refrigeration?
I’ve been to parties in Mexico where things were left out for hours… Please don’t do that.
If it has been out at room temperature for more than two hours, don’t eat it. You can get sick.
If it has been a hot day (we’re talking 90 degrees F and up), you should only let it out for 1 hour.
You really want to dress the chicken (not for a red carpet appearance). 🙂 So, start by mixing the chicken and the dressing first.
I like the chicken to be fully coated with the dressing. That is why I do this first.
You can use chicken breast, chicken legs, chicken thighs. Whatever part of the chicken you have is good to use.
The other thing: please notice the container. I am not transferring to a fancy container for serving.
This is literally the bowl that I took to my potluck party.
Then add your veggies and mix well.
Origins of Ensalada de Pollo:
My gringo husband said Ensalada de Pollo reminded him of his grandmother’s cooking, and potlucks where little old ladies meet to play bridge, gossip and drink urns full of coffee.
His comment made me look up the history of this “traditional” Mexican recipe.
It turns out to be American! Say what?!! Yup! We adopted it from our amigos in the north.
The chicken salad using homemade mayonnaise was published in 1847. It can be found in the 19th-century Southern cookbooks, The Carolina Housewife: Or, House and Home. First noted author was someone named Sarah Rutledge.
Well, every culture takes a dish or two from other cultures and make them their own.
That’s the same situation here. Somehow, we heard about it in Mexico and have been making it ever since.
You also can’t forget a few pickled jalapeño slices. Something about that brine and spice that is sooooo yummy. It’s a perfect topping for the Ensalada de Pollo.
Some people will even put them or the jalapeño juice from the container into the dressing itself.
If you are serving this dish to a large crowd, you do NOT know who doesn’t like spicy food… best to leave it as a topping for people to add on their own as I have here with this recipe.
Hope you enjoy!
Watch Video How To Make Ensalada de Pollo
Ensalada de Pollo
- In a container, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon, salt.
- Mix until combined.
- Add the chicken and mix well.
- Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Taste for salt.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve along with saltine cracker, tostada, or lettuce and top with jalapeños.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
More Mexican Chicken Recipes:
Entomatadas de Pollo (Chicken Entomatadas)
Enmoladas de Pollo (Chicken Mole Enchiladas)
Chicken in Creamy Poblano Sauce (or Pollo en Crema de Chile Poblano)
Chicken Tinga Tostadas
Mexican Deviled Chicken, or Pollo a la Diabla
Chicken Drumsticks in Tamarind Chile Sauce
Mexican Chicken Torta
Chicken in Creamy Chipotle Sauce, or Pollo al Chipotle
Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup
Milanesa de Pollo (Chicken Milanese)
Pollo Adobado (Chicken in Adobo Sauce)
Pozole Blanco, or White Chicken Pozole
Pollo en Crema
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.