We eat tacos every single week in our house (to the collective horror of the internet, we usually have Taco Wednesday, not Tuesday). And after our taco dinner each week, I put all the leftover taco fillings into a mason jar salad—my Thursday lunches are the best!
This Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar is a spin-off from my taco night salads—but you can make it anytime! The base of that salad? Spicy, flavorful ranch chicken. I love to use rotisserie chicken for these salads. Rotisserie chicken makes it SO simple to get these salads ready to go in just a few minutes.
What is a salad in a jar?
Mason jar salads are meal prepped fresh salads that you can stash in your fridge until lunchtime. They are a great meal prep option since the flavor varieties are endless, you’ll never get bored. If you want to know more, we have a comprehensive post with all the information you need to build a perfect salad in a jar.
But wait, won’t the lettuce get all limp if I pack it ahead of time?
Nope, that’s the glorious beauty of mason jar salads, and that’s why I’ve been eating them for well over a decade! The key to this Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salad staying fresh and crisp is to keep the liquid ingredients away from the greens. As long as you keep the jar upright until you are ready to eat, your lettuce should stay nice and fresh! We talk a lot more about properly packing mason jar salads in our big Salad in a Jar 101 post.
This sounds great, but how do you actually eat a mason jar salad?
I prefer the dump and enjoy method! Some people try to shake the salad and eat it as is, but I don’t think the ingredients get distributed well enough that way. When I was working in an office, I kept a bowl for my mason jar salads right in my desk! When lunch was over, I’d just rinse it out in the office kitchen and pack it away in my desk drawer for tomorrow.
Can I use leftover rotisserie chicken for this salad?
This salad is a wonderful use for any chicken you have leftover from a rotisserie chicken—in fact, I’ve been known to buy a rotisserie chicken just to meal prep these salads!
Can I add avocado to this salad?
Avocado is delicious on this salad! If you are making this salad for short-term use (like for lunch the same day or even the next), you can get by with treating the avocado with Fruit Fresh and then packing it in the jar. I wouldn’t try to push it past 24 hours though. Any longer than that, and the avocado will get brown, mushy, and not super appealing. Instead, I recommend bringing an avocado with you and cutting it fresh right before serving.
Can I make this a vegetarian or vegan taco salad in a jar?
You sure can! I recommend swapping in chickpeas for the chicken, and you’re on your way to a meatless lunch! To make this completely plant-based, swap out our Greek Yogurt Ranch dressing for either our Cashew Ranch Dressing or Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing.
How long do these salads last in the fridge?
Because of the meat in this salad, you’ll get between 3-5 days in the fridge without issue. If you make these meatless (using chickpeas), you can push it to a week, easy. Enjoy.