Copycat Recipes | June 23, 2014

Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

Have you tried Panera’s most popular salad? According to the girl who helped me last time I was there, it’s the Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. She promised I’d love it. She was right.
I loved all of the fruit in this salad: fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges. As I was eating the salad, I knew it was going to end up on ABK…

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

If you’re a Panerapurist, you’re probably wondering if a homemade salad is really going to taste like Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. This recipe comes via Panera’s website. They demonstrate the recipe online throughvideo (as far as I could find, only the dressing is in print). I followed the recipe for their dressing (tweaked it just a bit reducing the Stevia and Dijon mustard) and made a note of the salad ingredients. They didn’t disclose the recipe for their chicken, but it seems to have an herb/citrus type flavor. I came up with a version that has a nice herb crust that is flavorful, moist and easy to prepare in a home kitchen.

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

5 from 1 vote

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

A Bountiful Kitchen



  • 3 chicken breast halves about 1 1/2 lb total skinless, boneless
  • salt
  • *Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • olive oil

Poppyseed Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon stevia sweetener or two additional tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • 1 large head romaine lettuce washed, chopped
  • 1- 6 oz bag spinach or spring mix
  • greens combined should equal about 15 cups total
  • 1 can mandarin oranges drained well
  • 1/2 lb strawberries washed and sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries washed and patted dry
  • 1 cup pineapple sliced into chunks, then thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a medium size pineapple)
  • 1 cup pecans toasted and cut in half


For the chicken:

  1. Lay the chicken on a plate. Generously salt and season one side of the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
  2. Heat a heavy pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour the olive oil in the pan while it's heating up and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the pan and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, season the side facing upward. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan when turning chicken. After the chicken has cooked for a total of ten minutes ( 5 minutes on each side), remove the pan from heat and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes in pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool completely on a cutting board.
  3. Slice thin and set aside for salad. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Poppyseed Dressing:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, stevia, vinegar, orange juice, salt, mustard, and onion, and process for 20 seconds. With the blender on high, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Remove from the blender and stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using on salad.

For the salad:

  1. Using a large bowl or platter, arrange the greens on the platter. Sprinkle with a few pieces of fruit. Layer additional greens. Place the remaining fruits and chopped pecans on the greens. Top with sliced chicken. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad. Toss before serving. you may also plate the salad individually. In this case, toss the greens with the dressing and place on plates. Top each plate with fruit, nuts and chicken. Serve immediately.
  2. Yields about 15 generous side servings.

Recipe Notes

Mrs. Dash is found in most grocery stores near the spices.

Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

58 thoughts on “Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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Recipe Rating

  1. Yum!! My parents live in Farmington and every time they cone visit me in Seattle we have to make a stop at panera….???? Thanks for dinner tonight!! I am pregnant and cant plan meals ahead right now to save my life….this looks good and I don't need to hit the g. store!!! Love everything you share!!! Have a good one!

    1. Thanks Jen! I wish we had Panera here, Im a big fan of their breads. Such a fun lunch spot! Hope all is well with your pregnancy. It is hard to stay motivated to cook when you're dealing with being pregnant!

    1. Hi Christine,
      I have not shared that recipe yet, but will make sure to do it soon. I tis really simple and one I throw together when I'm in a hurry. Thanks for the reminder!
      Happy cooking 🙂

    1. I think this recipe will work with frozen broccoli, not as good as fresh, I would chop the pieces small. Let us know if you try it with frozen!

      1. I made it tonight with Costco’s frozen broccoli and it was incredible. I let the broccoli thaw and then cut it up and added it after the carrots had cooked for a bit. Everyone loved the soup!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this soup for this first time and it’s delicious!!
    Definitely will be making it again. My kids were fighting over who had more 🙂 Thank you!!

  3. 5 stars
    I whipped this up for quick dinner and it really hit the spot for my family. I was out of baby carrots so I added celery. It’s just the right amount of cheese and the chicken broth gives it a delicious flavor. We loved that the broccoli was still crunchy and delicious too. Thanks for the great idea. As usual.

    1. You’re welcome, Emily! I love this recipe too, especially on colder days. Great idea to use celery! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Someone asked about frozen broccoli….I had frozen some roasted broccoli a few weeks ago and used it. I just added it (I gave it an extra chop, but it was still slightly frozen)after the carrots and onions were softened. It worked great!

    And, just a reminder…don’t let boil after you add the milk or it can funny.

    We will definitely make again!!

  5. 5 stars
    My whole family loves this soup! I love that all of my picky eaters will fill up their bowls. We especially love dipping the twisted breadsticks in it. This recipe is so quick and simple to make. I usually have the ingredients on hand, so it is one of our go-to hearty meals in a pinch! Thank you!!

    1. That’s why I love this soup too, Emily. I usually have most of the ingredients and everyone loves it. Great idea to serve it with twisted breadsticks. Sounds so yummy! Thanks for sharing,

  6. 5 stars
    We love love love this soup!!! My picky 3 year old asks for it daily! It’s one of the only things he will eat. We make it weekly and love how quick and easy it is. I always have the things needed on hand. Thank You Si!!!

    1. This recipe is perfect, even for the pickiest of eaters. I love how easy it is to make too, MJ. Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK!

  7. 5 stars
    I made this last night for my husband whose favorite soup is Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar and it was a hit! I made it exactly as directed and it was so creamy and delicious and a crowd pleaser… even the kids loved it. Thank you so much for the recipe. This will be one of our go-tos from now on.

    1. I’m so glad your family enjoyed it, Marlene. It’s one of our favorite soups to make too. Thanks for sharing!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this the first time, for a friend, and it turned out perfectly! So perfect that she told me her daughter’s favorite restaurant was Bread Co. (Panera to everyone outside of St. Louis) and her daughter said it was even better. I was pleasantly surprised. 🙂 I made it the next night for my family and let it sit just a tad too long with after the cream/half&half was added and it flopped so I learned that part of the instructions were really important. Third time’s a charm as I’ll be making this over and over again! Thanks Si!

    1. Hi Amy, sometimes the little details are what makes this soup so good. I’m glad you and your family enjoyed it, it’s definitely one of my favorite soups to make. It will only get better the more you make it! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  9. 5 stars
    I doubled this recipe for our family of 10. I cooked it in the Instant Pot on sauté mode and we ended up toasting some Grandma Sycamore bread to go with it and had a green salad. Fabulous dinner! No leftovers whatsoever! Thank you for the recipe-I’ll add it to our regular rotation! I love finding food that’s a hit with our gang of teenagers, middles, and littles!

    1. That sounds delicious, Sarah! I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup as much as our family has. Thanks for sharing,

  10. 5 stars
    Made this recipe last night, and it was easy and delicious! Our whole family loved it, including my picky toddler. Thanks for sharing it!

  11. 5 stars
    I have never tried Panera’s version of this soup but I really enjoyed this recipe. I thought it was very simple and all the ingredients were normal household ingredients that most people have in their home. I made a few adjustments: I used 3 C chicken broth and 1 C water. I still felt like there was plenty of flavor and a bit healthier. I didn’t have Tabasco sauce so I used a few drops of Tapatio hot sauce. Overall, 5 STAR rating!

    1. Thank you, Megan! I’m glad you were able to make some healthier substitutions that worked for you. I know this is especially helpful for anyone looking to cut out a few calories and still enjoy this yummy soup.

    1. Hi Jules, I usually let it simmer until it thickens up in consistency. The end result is a fairly thick soup. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!

  12. 5 stars
    Made this soup today for company that was over. So delicious! Perfect for a cold, rainy day. Thanks for sharing! Also, I’m gushing over your pots – where are they from?!

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe WOWS both adults and children alike every time I make it. My 3 and 4 year olds beg for ‘Vegetable Soup’ anytime I let them choose what’s for dinner. I add as many veggies as I have on hand. The mustard and hot sauce give a subtle depth of flavor fit for a fancy restaurant—but it’s not anything that throws off my in-laws who don’t believe in any kind of spice or flavoring outside of salt and pepper. It’s just a win all around.

  14. 5 stars
    Very very good, would probably just add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard instead of a full 1 teaspoon. Was a little too much for my taste. Didn’t have any hot sauce so just threw some red pepper flakes in and it turned out great!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe Jillian, it’s perfect for altering to your own preferences. Thank you for sharing and for reading ABK!

  15. 5 stars
    Favorite broccoli cheddar soup! Even my 2yo loves it! It’s so easy and I love that it’s made with real cheese. Better than Panera‘s I think 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! If you make this, you’re going to really want to make the garlic twisted breadsticks! I only had mild cheddar cheese on hand, so I added a little bit of Swiss cheese as well in an effort to add a bit more flavor. I also used frozen broccoli, but it turned out great! Hopefully I’ll be able to use the sharp cheddar next time.

  17. 4 stars
    This was easy to prep and cook as directed and was received by the rest of the Family as a reminder of a famous Restaurant soup. I had to tell them.
    Except for the temperatures and time details with each step, I was a little lost. The vegetables will be slightly steamed before adding to the pot next time to soften more. Will enjoy leftovers even better tomorrow. Following as directed, this made more than four servings; two ladles per bowl. Very filling, comforting, and delicious.

    1. Hi McKenna, the hot sauce gives the soup a little bit of vinegar that really makes the flavor profile amazing.
      Thanks for reading ABK,

  18. Love love love this soup! I made a big pot for dinner one night, and it lasted my husband so long to have for lunch throughout the week! We didn’t have any hot sauce, but it still turned out super yummy. I definitely want to try it with Tabasco next time! Also need to try the bread sticks with it! I loved how fast it was to make though!

    1. Hi Allie, yes you need to try this soup with the breadsticks! I LOVE making this during the fall because it’s so easy and filling.
      Thank you for sharing and for reading ABK,