Rating: 4.5 stars 4.6
765 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 508
  • 4 star values: 221
  • 3 star values: 30
  • 2 star values: 5
  • 1 star values: 1

This basic chicken salad is a family favorite. I like to use baked thighs or breasts that have been sprinkled with basil or rosemary.

Recipe Summary

prep:
5 mins
cook:
5 mins
total:
10 mins
Servings:
2
Yield:
2 servings
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Everyone needs a good, basic chicken salad recipe in their collection of fool-proof dishes. Homemade chicken salad is quick and easy to make with just a handful of everyday ingredients, and is perfect for warm weather picnics, potlucks, lunches, or light dinners. You can add or substitute chicken salad ingredients to suit your preferences, and it's genius at using up leftovers. I'll show you how to make tasty chicken salad using this top-rated recipe for Basic Chicken Salad, and share plenty of tips and ideas along the way.

How to Make Chicken Salad

This recipe for Basic Chicken Salad uses six simple ingredients and takes only 10 minutes to make from start to finish. After that, you can serve it up on salad greens, scoop it into pita bread or half an avocado, roll it up in a tortilla for a wrap, or serve it hot in a quesadilla or chicken melt.

Chicken Salad Ingredients

Chicken
Cooked chicken: chopped or shredded. If you have leftover roast chicken, grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken, chicken salad is a great way to use it all up. You can also use canned chicken to make chicken salad (drain it first), or you can cook chicken for chicken salad. Use white or dark meat, or a combination of both if you prefer.

Mayonnaise
Creamy mayonnaise binds together all the separate ingredients for chicken salad into a satisfying mixture of flavors and textures. Use your choice of regular or reduced fat mayonnaise. In this chicken salad recipe, the mayonnaise is enhanced with a tablespoon of lemon juice for brightness and a ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Taste the dressing before mixing it with the chicken; you may find it needs a little salt or other flavor-booster from your spice collection.

Celery
Fresh, crisp celery adds both flavor and crunch. Be sure to chop the celery into small, uniform pieces so it's easier to eat.

Almonds
Here's the secret ingredient that makes this chicken salad recipe stand apart. Blanched slivered almonds (available at any grocery store) are quickly pan-toasted to bring out their nutty flavor, and then added to the chicken salad mixture.

Chicken Salad Recipe Add-Ins

There's a lot you can do with a good basic recipe for chicken salad. Add minced fresh herbs like parsley, chives, basil, or tarragon. Add fresh grapes for juicy little bursts of flavor. Add cooked pasta to stretch the chicken salad into a larger meal. (You'll have to increase the amount of mayonnaise mixture to cover the pasta.) Add chopped apples and walnuts to make it a Chicken Waldorf Salad. Experiment with add-ins to make this chicken salad recipe your own.

How to Store Chicken Salad

Store chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored properly, chicken salad should last for three to five days. If you served chicken salad over salad greens, try to store the greens separately to prevent them from getting soggy and wilted.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?

We do not recommend freezing chicken salad because the mayonnaise will separate as it thaws.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"My favorite chicken salad recipe," says Allrecipes community member ggknitter. "Made as is except substituted sour cream for half of the mayonnaise. Can also use Greek yogurt for half of the mayonnaise. Have also added a little chopped onion at times."

"Great, simple recipe! I added curry powder (about 2 teaspoons) and diced grapes, and it was delicious!" —r2d2therc

Kathy Bezemes Walstrom says, "I have used this recipe for years. You can do so many variations. I have added bacon bits, various herbs (tarragon is our favorite), grapes, and different types of nuts. The lemon juice is a must! It's so nice to have it at my finger tips on my favorite site now!"

Editorial contributions by Vanessa Greaves

Ingredients

2
Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place almonds in a frying pan. Toast over medium-high heat, shaking frequently. Watch carefully, as they burn easily.

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  • Mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss with chicken, toasted almonds, and celery.

Nutrition Facts

779 calories; protein 44.3g; carbohydrates 8.4g; fat 63.1g; cholesterol 125.9mg; sodium 403mg. Full Nutrition
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