Cool, creamy, classic, and easy-to-make chicken salad is the perfect lunch or snack! Make this recipe with rotisserie chicken or leftovers, fresh crunchy veggies, and a flavorful seasoned mayo.
The addition of red grapes and slivered almonds make this the best chicken salad recipe ever!
One of my favorite lunchtime meals is a homemade chicken salad sandwich. Ideally, It’s made like exactly like I’m showing you in this image, stuffed into a buttery, flaky croissant, but I’ve been known to enjoy it on white toast or with a handful of crackers too!
Chicken salad is a variety of cold sandwich spread that is classic, and loved by everyone. Just like in ham salad and tuna salad, a creamy dressing and tasty add-ins turn common and inexpensive proteins into a fabulous meal.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Chicken salad is such a versatile recipe! The ingredients in this recipe are balanced and work perfectly, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t switch things up to make endless variations on this classic.
Try adding making a more savory chicken salad by adding some curry powder, garlic powder, or chopped bacon.
Or if you’re making chicken salad for kids, skip any ingredients they won’t enjoy. Stir in a bit of shredded cheddar cheese – they’ll love that special addition!
You’ll love that you can make homemade chicken salad ahead of time too. Mix this up, and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you like to meal prep lunches, chicken salad is an excellent option.
One more thing – and this might be the best reason ever to love this chicken salad recipe: It only takes a few minutes to make! Use already-cooked chicken, and your salad will be ready in no time at all.
If you’re looking for more recipes to make with cooked chicken, be sure to check out my super easy Creamy Chicken Orzo recipe. It’s made in one pan and makes the best quick weeknight dinner.
Chicken Tater Tot Casserole is also pretty amazing!
Key Ingredients in Chicken Salad
Here’s what you need to make this tasty chicken sandwich filling:
- Cooked Chicken: I prefer breast meat for chicken salad, but you can use any cooked chicken that you like. Use a rotisserie chicken, leftovers from last night’s Instant Pot whole chicken, or try this recipe with Smoked Chicken for a whole new flavor.
- Dressing: Mix mayonnaise with Dijon Mustard, a little bit of honey, and a splash of lemon juice. It’s so easy and so flavorful!
- Add-Ins: The best chicken salad recipe includes crunchy vegetables and mix-ins like diced onion, diced celery, red grapes, and slivered almonds.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How To Make The Best Chicken Salad
Making chicken salad is really as simple as mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl! Here’s a quick step-by-step:
- Make the Dressing: Add mayo, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and honey, to a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to stir it all together well.
- Add the Rest of the Ingredients: Toss the chicken, celery, onion, fresh parsley, halved grapes, and almonds in the same bowl, and stir gently until everything is well coated.
- Chill Before Serving: cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes so that the flavors meld and the chicken soaks up the flavor from the dressing. Enjoy on a sandwich or with crackers!
Grapes and almonds are optional, but I highly suggest that you try them in your chicken salad! The grapes are juicy and the nuts give a lovely crunch to this recipe.
- Any pre-cooked chicken will do. I like to use white meat chicken breast, but if you have leftover chicken thighs, use dark meat instead! Fresh chicken is best, but in a pinch you can even make this with canned chicken breast.
- Dice the chicken into small pieces so that the salad is easy to eat. You can also shred chicken breast if you prefer that texture.
- Instead of almonds, try adding toasted pecans or walnuts. You can also mix in sunflower seeds or pepitas, or just leave the nuts out altogether if you prefer.
- Instead of grapes, stir in dried cranberries, chopped apples, or mandarin oranges.
- Add More Veggies: Bell peppers, artichoke hearts, shredded carrot, and diced cucumber have all made it into my chicken salad at one point or another!
- Fresh herbs make everything more flavorful. This recipe calls for parsley, but green onion, dill, basil, or chives will also work well.
- For a really amazing, creamy texture, make your own mayonnaise from scratch.
Keep homemade chicken salad in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for up to 3 days that way.
When you’re ready to eat the salad you’ve stored in the fridge, stir in a little bit of mayo to make it fresh and creamy again.
Since this recipe is made with mayonnaise, you shouldn’t leave it unrefrigerated for any length of time.
What To Serve With Chicken Salad
Enjoy chicken salad on a croissant, or as a sandwich on freshly baked bread machine wheat bread.
It also makes a wonderful wrap on tortillas or homemade flatbread.
On the side, have some potato chips or homemade french fries.
If I’m packing a lunch to go, I love to take a container of chicken salad with crackers on the side.
I don’t recommend freezing this recipe for chicken salad. It becomes watery and unpleasant after it’s thawed. You can make chicken salad with frozen chicken though! Freeze diced leftover chicken and keep it in the freezer to use in this recipe.
If you’re using fresh ingredients, the homemade chicken salad will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This depends on what you’re looking for in your diet, but homemade chicken salad is made with wholesome ingredients like chicken and vegetables, so I do consider it a healthy meal. You can adjust the ingredients as needed to make them fit your needs. Try replacing some of the mayonnaise with unsweetened greek yogurt, or use vegan mayo to make this recipe egg-free. Reduce the salt to make a low-sodium option. If you’re watching carbs, skip the grapes, and wrap your chicken salad in a crunchy lettuce leaf instead of bread.
Sure! Feel free to halve or double this recipe, or adjust it however you need to so that you make enough for you and your family.
Make a batch of chicken salad today! It’s the perfect easy lunch or snack, no matter if you’re packing lunchboxes, meal prepping, or just making a tasty meal for yourself. You should try my Tarragon Chicken Salad and Curry Chicken Salad Recipes too!
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey or granulated sugar
- 3 cups cooked chicken breast diced into ½ inch cubes or shredded
- ½ medium red onion finely diced
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 cup red seedless grapes sliced in half, optional
- ½ cup sliced almonds optional
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or dill
- In a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients (mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper) and whisk until well combined.
- To the same bowl, add the diced chicken, celery, onion, grapes and almonds if using, and fresh parsley.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve on lettuce, toasted bread, crackers, or use chicken salad to stuff croissants.
- Cooked diced turkey can be used in place of the chicken in this recipe. You may also use dark meat instead of breast meat if you prefer.
- This is an excellent way to use a rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken you may have.
- I find the salad easier to eat when the chicken is diced into smaller pieces. I dice into ½-¼ inch cubes.
- Grapes and almonds are optional, but they add wonderful flavor and texture to the salad. Other nuts such as toasted pecans or walnuts can also be used.
- Other vegetables that you can add: Bell peppers, artichoke hearts, shredded or finely diced carrot, and peeled and diced cucumber.
- Other herbs that you can add: I used parsley but you can also do green onions, dill, fresh basil, or chives.
- Spices: Another popular variation of this salad contains curry powder, you can also add smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder if you like.
- Storing: Store the chicken salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this salad, it becomes watery and unpleasant when thawed. However, you can freeze leftover chicken, thaw it, and use it to make the salad.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen