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CPK BBQ Chicken Salad Copycat Recipe

The CPK BBQ Chicken Salad is one of the most popular menu items at California Pizza Kitchen, second to the BBQ Chicken Pizza - which inspired this dish to be created. This salad is hearty and filling with a variety of textures from crispy and crunchy toppings, to the creaminess of the avocados and ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. You will adore making this at home for a fraction of the price!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Total Time42 mins
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Barbecue Chicken, Copycat Recipe, CPK, Salad
Servings: 2 Entrée Salad Portions
Calories: 1050kcal
Author: Mallory Austin
Cost: $13.40


  • 8 chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts sliced or diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided I use Bull’s Eye
  • 2/3 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 4 cups romaine hearts lettuce thick part of stem removed
  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce or green cabbage for a firmer texture
  • 2/3 cup canned black beans rinsed
  • 2/3 cup diced jicama sub with diced granny smith apple – skin removed
  • 2/3 cup sweet corn fresh or frozen
  • 2/3 cup chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
  • 3 green onions mostly green parts
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • Ranch dressing I used Lighthouse squeeze bottle
  • Optional: Avocado and Bacon
  • 1 Lime, cut into wedges


BBQ Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep tenders and place into a baking dish. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika. Add two tablespoons olive oil and massage into chicken. Set aside for 15 minutes while prepping toppings.
  • Baste chicken with barbecue sauce and cook for about 12 minutes, flip chicken, and re-baste opposite side. Cook additional 10 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes in pan on counter than slice. If using bacon, cook in a frying pan until crispy while chicken is in the oven.

Prep Toppings

  • In a cast iron skillet or pan, sear corn cobbs over medium-high for a few minutes on each side until some kernels have blackened. Set aside to cool then shave off kernels using a serrated knife. Chop and prep all other toppings.

For Tossed Salad Assembly:

  • Combine all toppings in a mixing bowl, drizzle with barbecue sauce and ranch dressing ¼ cup at a time and toss the salad using tongs. Add more dressing as needed and divide into two large dinner bowl or deep plates.

For Plated Salad Assembly:

  • For a prettier presentation, divide salad among the large plates or deep bowls and arrange the toppings atop the bed of lettuces. Drizzle BBQ sauce and ranch dressing as shown.