Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

6 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Refrigerate Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad is a tasty spin on a classic deli side! Pasta, chicken, mandarin oranges, and veggies with a tangy sesame orange vinaigrette.

The next time you sign up to bring a potluck Side Dish, skip the deli counter and bring one of our delicious and Easy Pasta Salad recipes instead!

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad ingredients in white bowl


Is there a more classic picnic side dish than pasta salad? Whether you make it with Italian dressing or load it up with mayo for for a creamy Mac Salad, this deli favorite is a party must all year long! This Asian pasta salad brings a refreshing citrus twist to a traditional potluck side and is sure to be a crowdpleaser!

You’ll love how quickly this Mandarin Pasta Salad with Chicken comes together with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry already. The special ingredient in this salad is Mandarin oranges, which are canned orange segments you can get in any grocery store. These sweet bite-sized kid favorite oranges make this salad is perfect for kid parties and you can enjoy leftovers for days, if there are any leftovers.

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad is a great, easy recipe for leftover Rotisserie Chicken or Grilled Chicken Breasts. You can serve Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad as a light lunch with a cup of your favorite Soup. You can use leftover Baked Pork Chops instead of chicken, or make it without chicken for a Vegan Mandarin Pasta Salad.


How to Make Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad Ahead

Deli salads like this Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad are great for making ahead because the flavors get better as they chill. Make Mandarin Pasta Salad ahead of time without the oranges and almonds and refrigerate up to 3 days. Garnish with oranges and almonds until serving. You can make the dressing, pasta, and chicken ahead and keep refrigerated separately until you are ready to make this pasta salad.

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad with ingredients mixed together


  • Meat: Instead of cubed chicken, you can add ground chicken, turkey, or pork to your Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad. For a vegetarian pasta salad, use baked tofu and marinate it in the dressing for 30 minutes before adding.
  • Pasta: Use any small pasta in place of the rotini pasta like penne, macaroni, or bowtie pasta. You could also use a long noodle like linguini, fettuccini, or thin spaghetti.
  • Mandarin Oranges: Did you know you can replace canned mandarins with fresh clementines aka Lil’ Cuties or Halos? You could also use fresh tangerines too, or add other fresh fruit like sliced grapes!
  • Veggies: Other fresh veggies you can add are chopped mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, or broccoli florets. Try canned water chestnuts for crunch or roasted red bell peppers instead of fresh, crunchy peppers.


FAQs for Mandarin Pasta Salad with Chicken

  • How much chicken is 2 cups cooked chicken? One pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts) is about 2 cups diced chicken. If you use bone-in chicken, you will need more since the bones count towards the overall weight.
  • How do you cook chicken for pasta salad? Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Season chicken breasts and cook 8 minutes per side, until golden and cooked through. Rest for 10 minutes before chopping for salad.
  • Can I double this pasta salad recipe? This is a great recipe to double or triple the servings for a crowd. Hover over the servings amount on the recipe card until a slider bar appears. Slide to adjust serving size and the ingredients will automatically adjust!



  • Serve: Refrigerate at least an hour before serving your Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad. You can keep this pasta salad at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be chilled.
  • Store: Cover your Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days. If you make this pasta salad without chicken, you can keep it up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: It’s not recommended to freeze Mandarin Pasta Salad, it’s much better fresh. Freezing pasta salad changes the texture of the dressing since the oil separates and you can’t whisk it back to normal.

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

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Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad is a tasty spin on a classic deli side! Pasta, chicken, mandarin oranges, and veggies with a tangy sweet orange vinaigrette.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Chinese-American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Mandarin Dressing

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta , cooked and drained
  • 1 cup cucumber , peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced
  • 1/4 red onion , minced
  • 1 medium carrot , shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 cups chicken breast , cooked and diced
  • 11 ounce can mandarin orange segments , drained
  • ½ cup sliced almonds , toasted


  • To make the dressing, whisk together rice vinegar, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame oil, sugar, ground ginger, garlic powder and onion powder until smooth.
  • In a large bowl add the pasta, cucumber, red bell pepper, onion, carrot, garlic and chicken.
  • Toss well with the dressing until well coated.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
  • Garnish with mandarin oranges and sliced almonds.


Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3053IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Mandarin Chicken Pasta Salad

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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