Classic Chicken Salad

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Classic Chicken Salad is the PERFECT combo of seasoned chicken breast, creamy mayonnaise, lemon juice and crunchy celery, ready in just minutes!

We love great lunch and picnic options, and this recipe is perfect for a potluck or picnic along with other favorites like Macaroni Salad, Easy Cole Slaw (Coleslaw), and Best EVER Baked Beans!

Classic Chicken SaladCLASSIC CHICKEN SALAD

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!

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU ADD TO THIS CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE?

You can really add a lot of flavor to the dish depending on what you like. Here are a few suggestions that I’ve tried and liked.

  • Eggs
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Dried fruit
  • Bell Peppers

HOW LONG DOES CHICKEN SALAD LAST?

Chicken salad will last refrigerated for 3-4 days, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Don’t leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours for food safety.

CAN CHICKEN SALAD WITH MAYO BE FROZEN?

I don’t recommend 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.

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HOW TO SERVE CHICKEN SALAD

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.

TIPS FOR MAKING CHICKEN SALAD

  • Add grapes, raisins, apples, or craisins to add a sweet and savory flavor.
  • 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 I like to refrigerate it for at least an hour to give the flavors a chance to come together.
  • 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 use fresh chicken or canned chicken for this recipe.
  • Make BBQ chicken salad by adding 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce in place of some of the mayonnaise.
  • 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 jalapenos for a spicy version.
  • Cook the chicken breasts in the crockpot, then use an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken for a shredded chicken salad recipe!

Easy Chicken Salad

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Classic Chicken Salad

5 from 6 votes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Course: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Classic Chicken Salad is the PERFECT combo of seasoned chicken breast, creamy mayonnaise, lemon juice, crunchy celery, and almonds, ready in just minutes!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked chicken breast chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Mix all the ingredients together well in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 servings, Amount per serving: 435 calories, Calories: 435g, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 405mg, Potassium: 286mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1.2g, Vitamin C: 2.3g, Calcium: 2.9g, Iron: 6.8g

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Keyword: chicken salad recipe
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Easy Chicken Salad for Sandwiches

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

See more posts by Sabrina

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

Categories:

Chicken Recipes Main Course Main Dishes Meat & Seafood Recipe Soups & Salads

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Comments

  1. Made this for my daughter’s baby shower and it was a huge hit. Many requests for the recipe, which I followed exactly without any modifications.

  2. Great basic recipe. I didn`t have lemon juice so I substituted pickle juice. I also added a green onion thinly sliced. Yum yum! Thank you!

  3. The carb,protein,fat ratio is perfect for what I was looking for & it’s great because you can add on & change ingredients

  4. Going to try this with leftover thighs. None of that mess in pickle relish I’m not even sure what half the ingredients are. My family is hesitant to try chicken salad with out the pickle relish but we’re doing it anyway I’m not eating anymore red yellow and blue dyes.

  5. I had left over spatchcock chicken and tried this recipe, using green peppers, instead of celery. Now I know what to do with my leftover chicken. This was wonderful! Thank you so much.

  6. This was a super easy recipe and you can easily add or take away elements! I got a rotisserie chicken from the store to make it easier and then just added my own elements (like relish) for my personal taste! This recipe made plenty for me to store and save for lunch throughout the week too 🙂

    1. I bake it personally, 350 for 20-25 minutes with a bit of salt and pepper does the trick. In a pinch or when I am making this for a big crowd I’ll add them to a slow cooker on low for 4 hours or I’ll buy the bagged costco rotisserie chicken white meat that they sell packaged.

  7. Thank you for a chicken salad that doesn’t have weird stuff in it and pickle relish. Just plain ole chicken salad, perfect.

    1. I love the classic recipes. There’s a place for fun mix-in ideas, and that’s up in the post where you can get ideas but down in the recipe I want you to have the classic recipe. 🙂