Classic Chicken Salad is the PERFECT combo of seasoned chicken, creamy mayonnaise, lemon juice, crunchy celery, and almonds, ready in minutes!
Classic Chicken Salad is the perfect thing to serve for lunch, as a salad or over a bed of lettuce. Made with lean chicken in mayo and lemon juice, with and celery (plus if you want you can add crunchy nutty almonds), it’s the PERFECT dish to bring to a picnic or get-together.
You can add other fresh ingredients to this recipe like green onion, red onion, fresh dill, or avocado. This is a great recipe to make-ahead at the beginning of the week for grab-and-go lunches, and my go-to when we have a busy schedule ahead. You’ll never want to go back to store-bought again!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can really add a lot of flavor to the dish depending on what you like. Here are a few suggestions to try: eggs, olives, pickles, dried fruit, bell peppers. Add grapes, raisins, apples, or craisins to add a sweet and savory flavor.
Serve chicken salad as a sandwich, on top of tomato slices, or over greens. You can also have it as an afternoon snack with crackers, or serve with cut up celery and bell peppers, or on a lettuce wrap for a low carb option.
Cook the chicken breasts in the crockpot, then use an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken for a shredded chicken salad recipe!
If you don’t have time to cook the chicken yourself you can use a Rotisserie Chicken. Just remove the skin and chop into pieces. You can also use fresh chicken or canned chicken for this recipe.
Add spices to this recipe to add different flavors like garlic, paprika, curry powder, or even mustard. Try chipotle seasoning and lime juice instead of lemon juice. Or a dash of cayenne pepper with pickled jalapeños for a spicy version.
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Tips for Making Chicken Salad
- This recipe calls for almonds but you can use other types of nuts like pecans, walnuts, or cashews.
- Replace the mayo with pureed avocado and sour cream for an avocado chicken salad.
- Cut the calories in this recipe by using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
- This recipe takes a total time of 5 minutes to throw together, but you’ll want to refrigerate it for at least an hour to give the flavors a chance to come together.
- Make BBQ chicken salad by adding 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce in place of some of the mayonnaise.
How to Store Chicken Salad
- Serve: Don’t leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours for food safety.
- Store: Chicken salad will last refrigerated for 3-4 days, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
- Freeze: It is not recommended that you freeze chicken salad because the mayonnaise will separate when defrosting. You can freeze the cooked chicken, then just defrost it in the refrigerator the day before you want to make the salad, and add the other fresh ingredients the day of.
- 4 cups cooked chicken breast , chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup celery , chopped finely
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
- Mix chicken, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice, celery, and almonds together in a large serving bowl.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Photo used in a previous version of this post.