Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad


Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad is chicken slathered in homemade chipotle-mango BBQ sauce.

If you’re anything like me, you’re always searching for a way to spice up plain ‘ol chicken breasts for dinner. Well look no further my friends, as I’ve got a doozie of a recipe for you, just in time for the start of grilling season.

Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken Salad – aka the end of boring chicken as we know it!


Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad features a smoky-sweet homemade BBQ sauce that not only serves as something you’ll want to spoon drink, but also as a flavor-packed marinade for the anything but ho-hum grilled chicken sliced on top, and as an ingredient in the cooling salad dressing drizzle.


The sweet heat of the sauce is accented by pops of charred sweet corn, bursts of garden-fresh tomato, and tastes of herby chopped cilantro. All. The. Things!


Start the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad by making the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce. I adore how simple this recipe is, the fact that it’s made with pretty much all pantry staples, and that it can be made ahead of time. Who knew making homemade BBQ sauce would be so easy?

The Cast:

  • Ketchup
  • Apple juice
  • Rice vinegar
  • Onion
  • Mango
  • Lemon
  • Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Canola oil


First add 1 chopped mango to a small saucepan over medium heat.


BTW, there are several different ways you can peel and chop a mango. Here’s one technique, or a different one is to cut the stem end off the mango, then peel it using a good vegetable peeler.


Cut the mango”cheeks” off the wide, flat pit running through the center, then chop the cheeks up. Look for a mango that has a little red in it, and gives pretty easily when you push in with your thumb.

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To the mango, add 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, and 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are smoked, dried jalapenos packed in a thick, quasi-spicy sauce. Chipotle peppers aren’t as hot as fresh jalapenos, rather they have a milder smoky heat. So yum.

You can find chipotles in adobo sauce in cans in the ethnic foods aisle of the grocery store. I usually only use 1 or 2 peppers per recipe (there’s like 8 in a can,) so I stash the rest in the freezer and pull one out when I need it.


Add the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan, then give ’em a good stir.


Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes until it’s thick and luscious. Your kitchen will smell AWESOME!

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Turn the heat off and allow the sauce to cool for 15 minutes or so, then transfer it to a food processor or blender.


If you are worried that the chipotle pepper will make the BBQ sauce too hot, take it out, then blend the sauce until smooth. I am a weenie when it comes to heat, and this wasn’t too hot, but you might want to take it out if you have small children.

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That’s it! Next, marinate 2 chicken breasts in some of the sauce to be grilled anywhere from 15 minutes, to a couple hours later.


Now, not only is this mouthwatering Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce acting as a marinade for the grilled chicken going on top of the salad, but it’s also making up part of the salad dressing.


Oh yes. Simply combine 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce with 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, then add in a little lime juice, and season with salt & pepper. Stir, taste, and adjust the lime juice and/or seasonings if necessary.


I am SO obsessed with this stuff!!! A little spicy, a little sweet, a little tart, a lot tasty.


To finish the salad up, grill the marinated chicken breasts for 5-6 minutes a side, or until they’re no longer pink in the center.


Love that orange color from the chipotle pepper and paprika in the BBQ sauce.


Add a couple shucked ears of sweet corn on the grill (no butter or oil needed!) to char up next to the chicken. Just roll the ears every couple of minutes to get them evenly charred on all sides.


Finally, pile crispy romaine lettuce on a plate, top with chopped cilantro, tomato wedges, the grilled corn, and chicken, then drizzle with the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce laced dressing!


Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad

Serves 2


Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad is chicken slathered in homemade chipotle-mango BBQ sauce.


  • For the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce (makes 2-1/4 cups):
    • 1 mango, chopped
    • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1/2 cup apple juice
    • 1/4 onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
    • Juice from 1/2 lemon
    • 2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the dressing:
    • 2 Tablespoons prepared Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
    • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice (maybe more, maybe less)
    • salt & pepper
  • For the salad:
    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 2 ears sweet corn, shucked
    • 1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 bag Dole Romaine Salad mix


  1. For the Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce: Combine all ingredients for Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Let cool then transfer to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth.
  2. For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste, then add more lime juice, salt and/or pepper if necessary.
  3. For the salad: Marinate chicken breasts in some of the prepared Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce for at least 15 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Grill over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes per side until no longer pink in the middle. Allow to rest for 5 minutes off the grill before slicing. Grill corn alongside the chicken, rotating every few minutes until charred on all sides. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut kernels off the cob.
  4. Divide lettuce between two plates, then top with grilled corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and grilled chicken. Drizzle with prepared dressing.


BBQ Sauce adapted from Tofu-N-Sprouts

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


So good! So freaking good! I can’t get over the smokey Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce which, despite having both mango and brown sugar in the ingredient list, is definitely not too sweet.


I may never buy BBQ sauce again!


Now, I enjoyed my Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken on a salad, but Ben requested that I stick one of the grilled breasts slathered with sauce on a bun for his dinner, which he decided he liked on the high side of almost a lot.


Whatever that means!?

Hope you’ll give this one a try!

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  1. Hope 05.08.2012

    This looks so delicious! I’ve never tried making homemade barbecue sauce, but I’m looking forward to trying this over the summer :)

  2. Claire 05.08.2012

    Looks amazing! I always need yummy chicken recipes, because my hubby HATES “plain old grilled chicken.” Can’t wait to try!

  3. Can’t wait to make this soon!! I’ve had a can of chipotles in adobo for a while, and now I know exactly what to do with it :)

  4. Juan Navarro 05.08.2012

    Now that looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it.

  5. Lauren 05.08.2012

    Okay so this does look a little intensive to prepare but OH SO WORTH IT! Yum!

  6. Looks like another winner from IGE!

  7. j3nn 05.08.2012

    Goodness gracious, that looks SO GOOD!

  8. shandy 05.08.2012

    Looks tasty!! I just got home from a new Des Moines store I think you should definitely check out some tme. It’s over in the Shops at Roosevelt and sells vinegars and oils of all different kinds…and they give you tastes (awesome!). It’s called Vom Fass. I can give you more info if you want, but didn’t want to come off as some spammy advertisement with links in here. :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 05.11.2012

      Is that in the old La Mie space? I heard it was really good too!

      • Sandi 08.05.2014

        This looks delicious. I was wondering if it would be as good if I made everything up one night and then next day mix everything and add to lettuce wrap?

  9. kelly 05.08.2012

    Oh, boy, this looks good.

  10. beth 05.08.2012

    my house is all packed up, including the grill, ready to re-locate to a new state. I think this will be the first thing I make in my new house/new grill/new deck/new state….new recipe to drool over!!!!

  11. SWR 05.08.2012

    Everything in this sounds amazing except for the fact that… Seriously. I can taste a mango from a mile away and it is no good. Do you think that this would work with peach instead of mango?

  12. You had me at homemade bbq sauce. Definitely trying this one, and the dressing with the greek yogurt. Thanks!

  13. This looks AMAZING! I’ve never really tried cooking with mango, so I can’t wait to try it!

  14. […] post: Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad aka The End of Boring Chicken … ← The Chubby Vegetarian: Tropical Waffles Crude Oil Trader: EIA Publishes Monthly […]

  15. Janna 05.08.2012

    YUM!Trying this recipe soon. It looks delicious! I recently made a mango-avacado salsa and served it over chicken and quinoa, and am on a mango kick!
    Just found and started following you, I’m an Iowa girl now too! Loving all your healthy recipes and awesome pictures too!

  16. the sauce sounds amazing!! this is totally on the menu for next week :D

    i’ve been in a rut with salad dressings… i can’t stand buying it when it’s SO good to make it at home, but i’m in need of some new flavas!! chipotle-lime it is!!


  17. If my salads looked like this, I’d definitely be making them more often!

  18. Nothing makes me happier than seeing fun chicken recipes on food blogs. It’s the truth that we are all looking for new and creative ways to cook those chicken breasts!

  19. LOVE the idea of using the BBQ sauce in the dressing too! The mango and chipotle sounds like a great combo!

  20. Hahah of course you would eat it on a salad and your hubby would have it on a bun. All guys are the same!! Anyway, this looks so delicious and I really want to try that BBQ sauce! Yummmm!

  21. Anna 05.09.2012

    Can´t wait to make this one… been looking for some “fresh” salad recipes. Thanks!

  22. Erin 05.09.2012

    I think this sounds amazing! Unfortunately I can’t just serve salad at my house. I am thinking quinoa as a side..any suggestions?

  23. That’s one sassy salad! Yum!

  24. Julie 05.09.2012

    Ben cracks me up! :P

  25. Ern 05.09.2012

    Looks delicious, this is definitely going on next week’s menu! How long will the extra BBQ sauce keep?

  26. Natalie 05.09.2012

    Can’t wait to try this! I just went to 3 grocery stores to find those chipotle peppers, but I’m sure it will be worth the trip!

  27. Karen 05.09.2012

    Just made this for dinner…very tasty! I am not a mango fan but it added just the right amount of sweetness without being able to taste it! Used white grape juice instead of apple since I had it on hand. Added cukes and extra onions to the salad and topped with dressing and hot sauce..YUM!

  28. Amanda Johnson 05.10.2012

    I was looking for something light, and to make on the grill for dinner. I came across this recipe, and was exactly what I was looking for. It was AMAZING! Loved the sweet-smokey-spicy combo. I forgot to buy a mango so subbed pineapple, and didn’t want to buy an entire bottle of apple juice that I wouldn’t drink otherwise so subbed orange juice. My husband and I loooovved it! Also made a salad for me, and threw his on a bun cause he doesn’t do salad. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

  29. This is like my husband’s dream dinner: chipotle + mango + BBQ = awesomesauce. Can’t wait to try this!

  30. Kelly 05.10.2012

    Just found your site, which is totally cute! I love!

    I made this recipe last night, but I live in Australia, so it was impossible to find chipotle pepper in adobo sauce! (Mexican food is no where near as popular here, miss USA :( )

    I looked for what you could substitute and found someone describe the ingredients listed on the sauce tin, and someone else describe Tabasco sauce mixed with a Steak sauce, so I literally mixed Tabasco sauce with American Steakhouse seasoning.

    It turned out amazing, and I served my chicken with
    Spanish/Mexican rice by Uncle Ben’s because I’m lazy. Totally awesome, thank-you!

  31. Jill 05.10.2012

    This looks amazing!

  32. This is a tasty sounding salad and BBQ sauce!

  33. Susan 05.11.2012

    This sounds absolutely amazing! I have been in the NYC area for the past year and a half and no one knows what good BBQ tastes like – a mix of spicy and sweet! They also can’t handle much of any heat ^^;; I will have to try this recipe and see what my husband thinks :)

    Budget Earth – Shopping List for Healthy Eating

  34. Sheila Thompson 05.12.2012

    I am making this tonight to take to my mother-in-law’s tomorrow for mother’s day….my house smells so yummy! Not sure if you are a fan of Mustard’s BBQ but this sauce smells exactly like it!

    • Sheila Thompson 05.12.2012

      UPDATE! The sauce and the dressing are AMAZING!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  35. Jess R 05.13.2012

    Made this for lunch with friends this afternoon – it was a hit! Thanks for posting!

  36. Michelle 05.13.2012

    We’ve been on a huge ‘meat and salad’ kick lately and always looking for ways to make it new and fresh. Can’t wait to try this!

  37. erin 05.14.2012

    tried this for a mother’s day dinner, and it is a thumbs up all the way. even my husband liked it and he doesn’t like spicy, or crazy flavors, and this he really liked! i’m ready to try this on salmon or some sort of fish. and i would NOT recommend blending the pepper up with everything else, it’s plenty spicy!

  38. Denise 05.19.2012

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was excellent and I will definitely make it again! The BBQ sauce was great and made plenty to use for other dinners. Daughter and I had it as a salad with fresh green, yellow and red bell peppers from the Farmers Market (and fresh corn), husband and son has their chicken with cooked corn on the cob and small potatoes. All loved it. Oh, and WATERMELON too LOL!!! Thanks for sharing.

  39. Anna 05.25.2012

    I made this couple of days ago and it´s THAT good. The dressing is just FAB!

  40. Sarah 06.10.2012

    Made this tonight for myself. AMAZING! Such a fresh, tasty and aromatic combinations of flavours! Thank you!

  41. Dietitian girl 06.17.2012

    I’m making Mango-Chipotle chicken for my dad today (father’s day!) and I’m THIS excited!!!

    Question – do you have any other recipes for the remaining chipotles in adobo sauce?

  42. Allie Hawthorn 06.24.2012

    I made this for dinner tonight – great summer Sunday meal! Thanks!!

  43. Karen4Gators 07.03.2012

    I LOVE THESE! I’ve made them three times – twice with peaches and once with a mango. I think I prefer the peaches. The first time I made it, I didn’t have any yogurt for the dressing so I used mayo and it was still incredible. I also sprinkled chopped green onions over the top of the salad. Next time I try this, I’m going to add avacado. Yummmmmmm.

    Thanks for the recipe! I love your site.

  44. […] Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad aka The End of Boring Chicken …May 8, 2012 … If you’re anything like me, you’re always searching for a way to spice up plain ‘ol chicken breasts for dinner. Well look no further my friends, … […]

  45. Debbie 07.18.2012

    This is simmering on my stove top now. Smells delicious. Do you know how long the left over sauce lasts in the fridge?

  46. Zakia 07.25.2012

    do you think the leftover sauce can be frozen?

  47. […] from Iowa Girl Eats) Pin […]

  48. Elizabeth 08.07.2012

    My husband and I made this last night- it was SO tasty! We actually cut up an additional mango and added it to the salad- delish! Thanks for the recipe!

  49. Hannah 08.28.2012

    Tried this last night!
    It was very good! The BBQ sauce had a strange texture… almost like apple sauce.. maybe I just didnt process it long enough? Anyways.. overall really good! My husband loved the chicken.. but not the dressing. If your lover and kiddos don’t like greek yogurt, plain ole ranch is a nice substitute! Just add a little adobo sauce for an extra kick!

  50. Tricia 09.24.2012

    Made this on Friday night and absolutely loved it. Two things: I’m not a wuss, but next time I will only use one chipotle pepper (hot! but BF loved it that way); and, I don’t recommend grilling the chicken breasts in the dark lol. Other that than, won’t change a thing. (sidenote: I cut up extra mango and made your mango salsa recipe to have the next day…one of my faves)

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