Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

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A quick and delicious Chicken Pasta Salad with spinach and teriyaki dressing. This Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad is packed with fresh flavor and so easy to make!

Need a few new salad recipes to add to your table? Everyone raves over our Broccoli Salad and this Spinach and Bacon Salad recipe too.

White salad bowl with spinach and pasta with chicken, mandarin oranges, and dressing being drizzled over the top.

Why This Salad Recipe is Best

You’ve probably tasted chicken pasta salad before. But this is not your ordinary chicken or pasta salad recipe!

  • This salad has the perfect combo of crisp and crunchy textures.
  • Savory chicken meets juicy mandarin oranges.
  • Sweet tangy teriyaki dressing ties it all together.
  • A colorful and easy salad for lunch, dinner or your next potluck.

A word of warning: the homemade teriyaki dressing is addictive. You’ll want to eat it on anything and everything!

White salad bowl with chicken pasta salad and mandarin oranges.

How to make Chicken Pasta Spinach Salad

Noodles. Start by cooking your pasta according to the package directions.

I used bowtie noodles as I think they make a great addition to salad, but elbow macaroni or penne would work wonderful too!

Chicken. While your pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. If you want a more flavorful chicken, you can marinate it overnight.

Most days I am lucky enough to pull the chicken out of the freezer in the morning for dinner, let alone take it out the day before. 

Marinade. For the chicken, cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. If you do this while it’s raw, it makes the cook time much faster! Place in a ziploc bag with 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce. Shake bag.

If you prepare ahead of time, marinate the chicken for one hour-24 hours. If you’re flying by the seat of your pants, shake bag and cook it immediately, haha!

Cook. Heat skillet and cook chicken cubes about 5-7 minutes, until no longer pink inside. Remove from heat and set aside.

Dressing. Prepare the dressing by combining teriyaki sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, minced onion, salt, pepper, granulated sugar, and olive oil in a mason jar.

Cover and shake to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve salad (up to 48 hours ahead of time).

To assemble salad. In a large salad bowl, toss together the cooked pasta, spinach, craisins, pine nuts, mandarin oranges, cilantro, and cooked chicken. 

When serving, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to serve. Or, serve dressing on the side. ENJOY.

Clear glass salad bowl with wooden tongs and a scoop of salad served into a small white bowl.

Tips and Tricks

  • Short on time? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Just slice the meat into pieces and you can add it right to the recipe.
  • Any kind of small pasta shape works in this salad. It doesn’t have to be bowtie!
  • Once assembled, this salad tastes best served right away. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within one day.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this salad without spinach?

You can substitute any other leafy salad greens you like for the spinach such as romaine lettuce or spring mix.

Can I make the chicken ahead of time?

Yes, you can cook the chicken up to 24 hours in advance and keep refrigerated until you’re ready to assemble the chicken pasta salad.
I think the salad tastes better when the chicken is warm. The warm chicken and chilled vegetables are a great contrast. But it tastes good with cold chicken too!

Can I make salad dressing ahead of time?

You can make the teriyaki dressing up to several days ahead of time. Keep it sealed and refrigerated until it’s time to add it to the chicken pasta salad.

Why did my dressing separate?

All dressings made with oil and vinegar will separate as they set. Since oil and water (vinegar) don’t mix, the oil will rise to the top.
This is completely normal and expected. Just give the dressing a vigorous shake to reincorporate the oil before drizzling over your salad.

Can I substitute fresh oranges instead of canned?

We don’t recommend using fresh oranges in this recipe. The mandarin oranges in a can are juicier and have all the bitter parts of the orange removed for a sweet, perfect taste.

Mandarin Pasta Salad in a white bowl with a fork.

More Salads

Serving up a salad as a meal or a side dish is a great way to throw some vegetables in your diet. Add a protein like chicken or leftover turkey and you’ve got a hearty meal!

  • Kick up the pasta salad a notch by serving this Shrimp Pasta Salad. It’s got a homemade Italian Dressing on it too!
  • This Strawberry Pecan Salad is loaded with fresh berries and candied pecans. It’s also topped with a sweet, homemade lemon poppy seed dressing.
  • Salad can be dinner with this delicious Southwest Chicken Salad. The creamy Avocado dressing is the perfect topping too!
  • Need an impressive looking salad for a picnic this weekend? Try making a Layered Chicken Taco Salad. Kid and adult friendly!!
  • Cozy up to this Harvest Salad recipe with it’s delicious Lemon Poppy Seed dressing. You’ll love the flavors of apples, pears, cashews, and swiss cheese in this hearty salad recipe!
  • This tasty, Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Salad sandwich is made with breaded chicken, pickle relish, celery, eggs, and mayo. What’s not to love about this iconic salad?

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Chicken Pasta Salad

5 from 5 votes
By: Aimee
Quick and delicious Chicken Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing. This Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad is ridiculously good, and the teriyaki vinaigrette is addictive!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 pound chicken breasts or use already cooked chicken, like Rotisserie chicken
  • ½ pound bowtie pasta noodles
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup Craisins
  • cup Cashews or Pine Nuts
  • 1 can Mandarin Oranges 14 ounce
  • ¼ cup Cilantro snipped
  • ¾ cup Teriyaki Sauce divided
  • cup Rice Wine Vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Onion
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
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  • Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking, dice raw chicken into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl or ziploc bag with 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce. You can marinate for up to 24 hours, or immediately cook in a skillet or grill pan for 5-7 minutes until no longer pink. Set aside.
  • In a mason jar, shake together the remaining 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, vinegar, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, sugar, and oil. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
  • To assemble salad, toss together the spinach, chicken, pasta, craisins, nuts, mandarin oranges, and cilantro. Just before serving drizzle dressing over salad, or serve dressing on the side. ENJOY.


  • Short on time? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Just slice the meat into pieces and you can add it right to the recipe.
  • Any kind of small pasta shape works in this salad. It doesn’t have to be bowtie!
  • Once assembled, this salad tastes best served right away. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within one day.


Calories: 529kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 64mg, Sodium: 1555mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 22g
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

The best Chicken Pasta Salad has mandarin oranges, a homemade Teriyaki dressing and plenty of fresh spinach!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on January 6, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. I laughed at your use of the term “flying by the seat of your pants”! That is actually a term pilots generated for times when they were flying in a zero visibility situation like in a cloud or sudden rain or snow storm. You couldn’t see the horizon to tell the attitude of your plane, up/down/tilted/slipping sideways… so your only point of reference was how gravity was affecting your butt’s stability in the seat! 😀 Hence, “flying by the seat of your pants”!. I’ve often referred to “Cooking by the seat of my pants”… 😉 when just pulling stuff from the cupboards, canisters, fridge & freezer, intuitively thinking about how it will all taste and throwing it all together to make a meal. It usually works! The trick is to try and keep track of what I tossed in there so I can try to replicate it or even share my “recipe” with whomever was my “guinea pig”. 😉 By the way, this is also a practice of not measuring anything, which DOES NOT work in baking!

  2. This is just the type of salad I love! Easy to prepare last minute and all the ingredients that put it over the top – craisins, pine nuts and mandarin oranges. Totally going to make this soon.

  3. This is one of my favorite salads. I could eat it every day for an entire year and not get tired of it! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!!

  4. i get a pop up, for this web page, everytime i start up my computer very annoying. How do i make that stop. has something to do with Google. thank you in advance. Sandy

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