The best chicken salad recipe made with simple ingredients! Tender chicken pieces are combined with crunchy fresh vegetables and a creamy dressing. Serve with fresh greens or as a sandwich for a quick and easy meal.
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This delicious chicken salad recipe is quick and easy to prepare. Made with simple, fresh ingredients and a few pantry staples, you’ll have lunch ready in no time! It’s also a great way to transform leftover chicken into a delicious new dish.
Try my poached or shredded chicken recipes if cooking poultry from scratch. Chop or dice into bite-sized pieces, then toss with crunchy vegetables and a mayonnaise dressing. Refrigerate for meal prep, or add to your favorite bread or salad to make it a hearty meal.
- Chicken: Use small pieces of shredded chicken. Leftover rotisserie chicken, cooked chicken breasts, or thighs are great options. The pieces can also be chopped or diced.
- Vegetables: Diced celery, red onions, and green onions add flavor and crunch.
- Dressing: For a creamy sauce, combine mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Make the chicken salad
Combine the shredded meat, mayonnaise, diced celery, chopped onions, sliced green onions, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. The more that mixture is stirred, the finer the pieces of meat will become.
I recommend serving it immediately or storing it in the refrigerator for up to five days. It’s one of my family’s favorite lunches that I meal prep at the beginning of the week.
This recipe is versatile and can be customized differently. Here are some tasty ideas to personalize the flavor:
- Add in fruit like sliced red or green grapes or diced apples.
- Add dried cranberries, apricots, cherries, or raisins.
- Herbs like fresh dill, rosemary, thyme, basil, chives, parsley, or tarragon.
- Crunchy nuts like sliced almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
- Add sour cream or Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, or use a combination to lighten the dressing.
- Add some heat with cajun seasoning, buffalo sauce, or diced jalapenos.
- Add more vegetables like chopped bell peppers, carrots, or cucumbers.
- Make an easy chicken salad sandwich with toasted sourdough, white bread, wheat, bread, or a croissant.
- Serve on a bed of lettuce with tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado for a low-carb meal.
- Add to a tortilla or make it a lettuce wrap.
- Serve inside avocado halves or tomatoes.
Frequently asked questions
Add in vegetables like celery, onions, or carrots. Fruits like grapes, apples, dried cranberries, or raisins. Chopped nuts for crunch, like pecans or almonds.
Pair with crisp greens, fruit salad, sweet potato fries or wedges, coleslaw, kale slaw, or soup like tomato or butternut squash.
If not eaten the same day, you may notice that the salad may release some liquid. This is just the juice from fresh vegetables like celery and onion or fruit like apples or grapes. The salt in the salad draws out the moisture over time. Just mix before using.
How do you keep the chicken salad from getting soggy?
The more fresh vegetables or fruits added to the salad, the higher chance that the salad will become watery if not eaten the same day. Once the cell walls of the plants are cut, the exposed areas, when combined with salt, will release more moisture. Don’t add fresh veggies or fruit if you want to make the chicken salad in advance. Store in a separate container and add right before serving or within 2 hours.
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Classic Chicken Salad
- 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup diced celery, ¼" dice
- ⅓ cup diced red onion, or shallots, ⅛ dice
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, or chives
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Make the Salad – In a large bowl add the mayonnaise, celery, onion, green onions, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, mixing well until the desired consistency is reached.
- To Serve – Season with more salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Recipe Yield: About 4 cups
- Serving Size: About ½ cup
- Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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3 Comments Leave a comment or review
Jowdy Andy says
This chicken salad recipe is easy and quick and produces an excellent chicken salad, light and zesty. The lemon juice provides that zest. Way to go Jessica on a simple but delicious recipe.
How much pickle relish do I put in? It just says to add but not how much.
Jessica Gavin says
Sorry for the confusion! There is no pickle relish. I’ve updated the recipe.