This ensalada de pollo (creamy chicken potato salad) is made with simple ingredients to enjoy in your summer picnics and outdoor trips or as a side dish for grilled veggies.
This is the classic Mexican ensalada de pollo with the nice touch of pickled jalapenos!
What is ensalada de pollo?
Ensalada de pollo is a simple, budget-friendly potato and chicken salad very popular in Mexico and other Latin American countries. It features shredded chicken tossed with various vegetables and coated with Mexican crema and mayonnaise.
When I was a kid, my mother used to prepare this salad for the birthday of every-family-member. Always. It was like the ultimate dish to any birthday party or gathering.
For example, a traditional birthday plate will have a portion of the main dish (most likely, pozole), a portion of this chicken potato salad, mosaic jello, and of course, a slice of birthday cake. All in the same plate.
Also, this mexican chicken potato salad will make it to almost all picnic and outdoor trips we did. It was always served in a plastic plate with salty crackers or tostadas. Then the next day the leftovers will become a sandwich that I had to bring to school for lunch. Every-single-time.
So no wonder why this salad brings so many memories to me and why I am here sharing this simple yet delicious dish.
MEAT – Chicken and ham is what traditionally is used in this salad, but sometimes you’ll see that also crispy bacon or hot dog sausages are thrown into the mix.
POTATOES – Make sure they’re not overcooked. Rinse them with cold water as soon as you see they’re ready.
VEGGIES – Carrots, peas, corn and iceberg lettuce for a crunchy touch. Sometimes also green beans are thrown to the mix or even apples!
FOR COATING – Only mayonnaise and sour cream for the authentic mexican version. But of course, if you want it more rich in flavour, add also 1 tablespoon of mustard.
CHILLIES – What kind of mexican salad this would be without a little bit of hot chillies?. Pickled jalapenos are a must-have here.
How to make ‘Ensalada de pollo’
Cook chicken breast in boiling water with salt, garlic and bay leaves until tender. Let it cool slightly then shred it using two forks. Place chicken in a large bowl and set aside.
Peel and cut potatoes in cubes then peel and do same with carrots. Place a medium sauce pan with water over high heat and bring to boil. When the water starts boiling add potatoes and set the heat to medium.
Simmer until potatoes are tender then remove them and give them a quick rinse with cold water. Drain well and place them on to the bowl with chicken, then proceed to do same with carrots. Add corn, peas and shredded lettuce to the bowl.
Mix in mayonnaise, sour cream and pickled jalapeno. Mix to coat evenly, season with salt to taste and cover the bowl.
Chill the salad for at least one hour before serving, in order to let flavours blend all together. I also like to add a little bit of vinegar from the pickled jalapeños but that’s totally optional.
How to serve
- On top of tostadas – Deliciously crunchy. You can even make your own tortillas if you want and then fry them or bake them in the oven until crunchy.
- Make a sandwich – to bring anywhere, use any kind of white bread for sandwiches or a whole grain bread for a healthy choice. I like to use Japanese bread rolls!
- With salty crackers – for a quick snack in the afternoon. Maybe while sipping a cool agua fresca de chia.
- As a side dish – For roasted or grilled veggies.
More summer salads you might enjoy
How to store
If you ended with some leftovers, place them into a air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Actually, this ensalada de pollo can be ahead of time and enjoy the next day aswell!
Ensalada de pollo
For the chicken
- 2 small chicken breasts (about 3 cups once cooked and shredded)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 bay leaves
For the salad
- 3 medium potatoes
- 2 small carrots
- 1 can peas (4 oz)
- 1 can sweet corn (7 oz)
- 2 cups lettuce (shredded)
- ½ cup mayonaisse
- 1 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
- 2 Tbsp pickled jalapeño (diced)
- Cook chicken breast in boiling water with salt, garlic and bay leaves until tender. Let it cool sightly then shred it using two forks. Place chicken in a large bowl and set aside.
- Peel and cut potatoes and carrots into small cubes.
- Place a medium sauce with water and 1 tablespoon of salt over high heat and bring to boil. When the water starts boiling add potatoes and lower the heat to medium.
- Simmer until tender (about 8 minutes) then take them off with a colander and give them a quick rinse with cold water.
- Drain well and place them on to the bowl with chicken, then proceed to do same with carrots (about 4 minutes cooking time).
- Add corn, peas and shredded lettuce to the bowl.
- Mix in mayonnaise, sour cream and jalapeno. Coat evenly, season with salt to taste and cover the bowl.
- Chill the salad for at least one hour before serving, in order to let flavours blend all together.
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