Home > Salads > The BEST Chicken Salad Recipe The BEST Chicken Salad Recipe November 24, 2020 | 10 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. The absolute best-ever Chicken Salad recipe, perfect for upgrading your lunchtime, enjoying on the go, or when hosting! This is the ultimate make-ahead meal — it only gets more and more flavorful as it sits! Among the more than 1500 recipes featured on this site, this is the one that I reach for time and again—yes, truly! It is my lunchtime favorite, my reliable go-to when hosting, and my top pick for meals when I’m on the go. Looking for more crave-worthy sandwich recipes? Check out our favorite Tuna Salad, Chickpea Salad Sandwich, or Cucumber Sandwich. The Best Chicken Salad Recipe Introducing our go-to classic Chicken Salad recipe! Perfect for a quick and satisfying cold lunch on the go, this dish is known for its unbeatable flavor, speedy preparation, and reliability. Here’s why I love this recipe so much: Chicken salad fanatic? Me too! Tried ’em all, and this one continues to be my favorite. Hands down, best ever! Party favorite: Whip up a double or triple batch ahead of time. Come party time, pop it on mini croissants, and watch everyone go nuts for it. Boom, instant hero! Great outdoors, great food: Picnic, camping—you name it. Toss it in a cooler, grab some bread, and you’re golden. Way better than mushy PB&J! Easy-peasy: Quick to make? Check. Tastes amazing? Double-check. No-fuss, no problem. Taste level: Up! Let it chill–it just gets tastier as it sits. The ultimate make-ahead meal! QUICK TIP The secret to great chicken salad? Tender and flavorful chicken. We achieve this by using a pre-made rotisserie chicken, taking about 2 cups of meat, and saving the rest for other recipes. (Check them out here, here, and here!) Chicken Salad Recipe Ingredients There are only four ingredients in this chicken salad recipe! Chicken Salad: Rotisserie chicken: Provides a savory and protein-rich base for the salad. Toasted pecans: Add a delicious crunch and a rich, nutty flavor. Dried cranberries: Introduces a sweet and slightly tart flavor. Celery: Adds a refreshing and crunchy texture with a mild, vegetable-like taste. The dressing for this Chicken Salad recipe requires only a few ingredients as well. Dressing: Mayonnaise and sour cream: They offer creaminess, bring the ingredients together, and add a tangy note. Honey: Sweetens the chicken salad recipe, complementing the savory and tart components. Dijon mustard: Dijon contributes a bit of sharpness and depth of flavor. Be sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard Poppy seeds: Bring a subtle, nutty crunch. If you don’t have ’em, no need to make a special trip to the store! Freshly squeezed lemon juice: Provides a fresh, bright flavor to balance the richness of other ingredients. VARIATIONS Variations Mexican Street Corn Chicken Salad: Toss chicken with red pepper, cilantro, green onions, avocado, and a mayo-lime dressing. Pesto Chicken Salad: Chicken, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, all in a creamy pesto. Jalapeño Chicken Salad Sandwiches: Chicken meets jalapeños, cilantro, red onion, avocado, and red pepper. Healthy Chicken Salad: Chicken, celery, grapes, almonds, and cranberries in a light dressing. Curry Chicken Salad: Chicken, cashews, raisins, celery, and cilantro, in a curried mayo mix. Pineapple Chicken Salad: Chicken, pineapple, honey almonds, celery, and red onion, in a sweet ‘n’ tangy mix. Honey Mustard Chicken Salad Sandwiches: Chicken, cranberries, celery, all in a sweet mustard mix. Chickpea Salad Sandwich: Veggie alert! Avocado, lemon, olive oil, green onions, cilantro, spices, and chickpeas How To Make This Chicken Salad Recipe You can whip it all together in 10-15 minutes and serve it right away! Toast the pecans: In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans until fragrant and lightly browned. Be attentive to avoid burning them! Set aside. Combine ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the chopped rotisserie chicken, toasted and chopped pecans, dried cranberries, and thinly sliced celery. Mix dressing: Add the mayo, sour cream, honey, Dijon mustard, poppy seeds, lemon juice, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir and adjust: Gently stir all the ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to your preference. Serve: Enjoy this Chicken Salad recipe with crackers, apples, and celery sticks, or layer it on a croissant with lettuce. Serve immediately. Chicken Salad FAQs1How do you store Chicken Salad?Here’s how to store Chicken Salad: Refrigerate chicken salad in an airtight container. Consume it within 3-4 days for maximum freshness. 2Can you freeze Chicken Salad?Avoid freezing, as mayonnaise-based dressings can change in texture when thawed. 3How do you poach chicken breast?While we love using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken in this recipe for its convenience and flavor, here’s a quick overview of how to poach chicken breasts: Simmer chicken in seasoned liquid (water or broth). Cook for 15-20 mins until internal temp reaches 165°F (74°C). Rest, then slice or use as desired. How To Serve This Chicken Salad Recipe On croissants: Create a perfectly satisfying lunch with full-size croissants orappetizers using miniature croissants. As a dip: Place the Chicken Salad in a bowl and surround it with chips, veggies, and thinly sliced apples. On top of thinly sliced apples: Create a low-carb “sandwich” with apples serving as the bread. With crackers: Serve alongside a variety of crackers for a simple and tasty snack. Inside pita pockets: Stuff it into pita bread for a portable and convenient meal option. Over a green salad: Add a scoop of this chicken salad recipe to a bed of mixed greens or scoop in lettuce boats! More Delicious Lunches Ham and Cheese Hoagies using deli ham BBQ Chicken Sandwich Recipe with mashed avocado Ham and Cheese Sliders with poppy seeds Cucumber Sandwich with a three-ingredient spread Bulgur Salad vegetarian FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Chicken Salad Recipe 5 from 6 votes - Review this recipe The absolute best-ever Chicken Salad recipe, perfect for upgrading your lunchtime, enjoying on the go, or when hosting! This is the ultimate make-ahead meal -- it only gets more and more flavorful as it sits! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Chicken Salad Recipe 5 from 6 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe The absolute best-ever Chicken Salad recipe, perfect for upgrading your lunchtime, enjoying on the go, or when hosting! This is the ultimate make-ahead meal -- it only gets more and more flavorful as it sits! Course Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, Snack Cuisine American Keyword chicken salad, chicken salad recipe Prep Time 10 minutes minutes Cook Time 10 minutes minutes Total Time 20 minutes minutes Servings 6 -8 people Chelsea Lords Calories 312kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $12.10 IngredientsSalad▢ 2 cups prepared rotisserie chicken, diced▢ ½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped (Note 1)▢ ⅓ cup dried cranberries (or try cherry-infused cranberries!)▢ 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (½ cup)▢ ¼ cup mayonnaise full-fat ▢ 2 tablespoons sour cream (fat-free or light is great!)▢ 1 tablespoon honey▢ 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard▢ 1½ teaspoons poppyseeds, optional▢ 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice▢ Salt and pepper, to tasteEnjoy With:▢ Croissants or other sandwich rolls (add some lettuce for a sandwich)▢ Thinly sliced apples, celery sticks, crackers (like wheat thins!)US - Metric USMetric InstructionsOPTIONAL, TOAST PECANS: Place pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally (keep an eye on them - they can burn fast). Set aside to cool then finely chop.SALAD: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients listed under "salad." Season to taste. I start with ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper. Stir gently until everything is well coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.ENJOY: Dish it up with your choice of sides — great on a croissant with lettuce or served with apples, celery sticks, and crackers. Enjoy! Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Pecans: Feel free to swap out the pecans. Sliced almonds, chopped pistachios, or diced walnuts are all tasty options. Leftovers: Put any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Eat within 3 to 5 days. Check for any off smells or colors first—if something seems off, better safe than sorry--toss it! Nutritional information is for Chicken Salad without bread or tossed salad. Nutrition FactsServing: 1servingg | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 96IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.4mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.