Chicken Salad is a classic chilled salad recipe fill of great flavors, creamy dressing that’s a satisfying dish. Put this easy recipe on a sandwich, salad greens or eat it as is! Great for picnics and potlucks.
A freshly made chicken salad sandwich or just a scoop of this easy chicken salad recipe on fresh, crisp greens is a perfect summer recipe.
It’s cool and refreshing. Full of great flavor and textures too.
An easy dish for hot weather dinners or a satisfying sandwich all year long!
- Chicken – white or dark meat can be used. See ideas below.
- Red onion
- Red cabbage (optional) – adds some color and crunch! Can be left out if preferred.
- Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed is recommended. Perks up the chicken and creamy mayo combo.
- Dijon mustard
- fresh Dill or Italian Parsley
- Kosher Salt
- Ground pepper
What Type of Chicken to Use
It needs to be Cooked
Cooked chicken breast, chicken thigh meat or a mixture can be used.
The chicken will need to be chilled or cooled at least to room temperature before making the salad.
Chicken breast meat is lighter in color and flavor.
Chicken thigh meat has more full flavor and tends to be moister.
Ways to Prepare it
Leftover chicken is a great option as long as it doesn’t have a strong flavor that conflicts with the salad ingredients.
Rotisserie chicken is perfect for this recipe. It’s already cooked for you, usually moist and ready to be chopped.
The other method I love is the cooking method I use for shredded chicken recipes.
There is a secret in the cooking (you won’t do the secondary shredding) that ALWAYS makes moist, juicy chicken that’s full of great flavor.
I don’t recommend canned chicken. Though it CAN be used the flavor won’t be as good.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Combine the salad ingredients in a medium mixing bowl: chilled chopped chicken, celery, red onion, red cabbage (if using) (photo 1).
STEP 2: In a small mixing bowl combine the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, fresh dill or parsley, salt and pepper (photos 2-3).
STEP 3: Add the chicken salad dressing to the salad ingredients (photo 4) and mix to fully combine (photo below).
Use Chilled Chicken
If the chicken is not chilled before adding the dressing it will soak into the chicken instead of coating the ingredients.
Adding More Mayonnaise
To freshen up the chicken salad after it has been in the refrigerator OR to make it creamier, more mayonnaise can be added as desired.
Keep the Salad Chilled
If the salad is left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature it should be thrown out.
Salads with mayonnaise in the dressing must be kept chilled for food safety.
For tips on keep the chicken salad cold read this Party Dips post.
This classic recipe is perfect as is but feel free to change it up too!
Bacon – makes everything better, right? Chop a few slices or use prepared real chopped bacon for a shortcut.
Chopped tart apple
Dried Cranberries or raisins
Slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans – adds even more crunch and flavor.
Cubed avocado – adds a creamy texture.
Pickled Red Onions – for some tang swap in some easy pickled red onions instead of using regular red onion.
Add Curry Powder – around a teaspoon. Leave out the dill and parsley and add one of the sweet fruits listed above.
Make a Healthy or Lighter version by swapping the mayonnaise with a light mayonnaise.
Swap the red onion for sliced green onions.
Add chopped cucumber or bell pepper!
Swap in some Green Goddess Dressing or sour cream with the mayonnaise for a fresh, tangy twist.
How to Eat it
As a Sandwich
Use a hearty roll or some whole grain bread with fresh lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
Roll it into a wrap or stuff it into a pita pocket.
On Salad Greens
It’s refreshing and delicious on top of cool fresh lettuce.
Eat it As Is!
Eat it just out of a bowl!
How Long Does it Last?
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Do not freeze this salad.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
- 2 cups cooked, chopped chilled Chicken
- ¼ cup Red onion diced
- ½ cup Celery diced
- ¼ cup finely shredded Red Cabbage optional
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Dill or Italian Parsley
- Ground pepper to taste
- In a medium sized bowl, stir together chopped chicken, red onion, celery, red cabbage if using.
- In a second small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and fresh dill or parsley.
- Stir the dressing into the salad ingredients. Salt and pepper as needed to taste. Garnish with chopped dill or parsley if desired.