Classic Chicken Salad

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Of all the summer salads, a classic chicken salad recipe is always a favorite at a picnic, a barbecue, or an office potluck! Just a few ingredients can be transformed into a cold, creamy salad or filling for a homemade chicken salad sandwich or wrap!

Keep this easy recipe on hand for last-minute sandwich prep when last-minute invitations come up! Serve this summer with a side of Italian pasta salad and crunchy grilled corn on the cob!

Classic Chicken Salad sandwich on a long roll

Ingredients in Chicken Salad

Chicken: 

  • Use leftovers from last night’s dinner or leftover rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken.
  • To Make Chicken for chicken salad I like to use either poached chicken or baked chicken breasts or thighs.
  • You can use canned chicken in a pinch but of course fresh is best when possible.
  • Ensure the chicken is cooled and shred or chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Add-ins:

  • As this is a classic chicken salad recipe, I’ve kept the additions to a minimum. Celery for crunch, green onions for flavor.
  • This recipe can be made with a variety of nuts, veggies, and fruit for added flavor and texture.
  • Chicken salad with grapes, avocado or dried cranberries is a favorite. Pecans or almonds pair well with this recipe.

Dressing:

  • Mayonnaise is the base of this recipe and it’s simply seasoned.
  • You can get creative and substitute some of the mayo for ranch dressing or your favorite salad dressing recipe.
  • Create an Avocado Chicken Salad by replacing some of the mayonnaise with mashed avocado.

Classic Chicken Salad ingredients in a bowl, before and after mixing together

How to Make Chicken Salad?

Prepare a classic chicken salad in 15 minutes with only a few simple ingredients.

  1. Chop cooked and cooled chicken and place into a large bowl with celery and onions.
  2. Mix dressing ingredients (per recipe below) in a bowl. Toss with chicken.
  3. Serve on rolls, bread or over a bead of lettuce.

For this chicken salad sandwich recipe, any bread will do, thick slices of a baguette or buns/rolls hold up well. This is naturally low carb and it’s great over a tossed salad as well.

Classic Chicken Salad on a long roll with greens and tomatoes

Got Leftovers?

REFRIGERATOR: In an airtight container, the chicken salad will last about a week in the refrigerator. Give it a stir and refresh the flavor with a little salt and pepper (or an extra dollop of Dijon mustard) and serve!

FREEZER: Chicken salad doesn’t freeze well. To prep ahead, simply dice the chicken and freeze. When ready to make, combine it with the ingredients below for a quick lunch!

Must-Try Sandwiches

Classic Chicken Salad sandwich on a long roll
4.99 from 518 votes
Review Recipe

Classic Chicken Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
A classic chicken salad recipe is always a favorite at a picnic, a barbecue, or an office potluck! Just a few ingredients can be transformed into a cold, creamy salad or filling for a homemade chicken salad sandwich or wrap!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 green onion diced (or chives or red onion)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill optional

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Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve as a sandwich or over salad.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 206, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 362mg, Potassium: 137mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 72IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword chicken salad
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Classic Chicken Salad sandwich with a title
Classic Chicken Salad served over greens and tomatoes with a title
Classic Chicken Salad with a title
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

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Comments

  1. I am going to make this recipe with canned chicken. (My husband bought a bunch of cans “on sale”)
    Does the recipe stay the same? Example, the amount of salt.
    Thank you

    1. Hi David, when not serving as a sandwich we love to serve over a bed of lettuce or as a great protein addition to our favorite salad.

  2. This is my recipe now! The your homemade seasoned salt was the clincher. I used a poached chicken breast (onion, bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns and lemon juice in the poaching water) so this was extra flavorful. Thank you for a great recipe.5 stars

  3. Yummy chicken salad! I used left over rotisserie chicken chunks, 1 hard boiled egg, cucumber (didn’t have celery) for crunch, toasted chopped pecans, craisins, green onion, lemon zest plus juice, Duke’s Mayo. Served on top of my summer home grown garden tomatoes. Sublime!5 stars

  4. Absolutely fabulous! I made chicken breasts in the instant pot; then made the eggs in the instant pot. I like eggs in mine; I also added dill diced pickles.5 stars

  5. This is the BEST chicken salad recipe ever!! I’ve made it so many times. I use rotisserie chicken and that makes it even better!! I also used red onions and add a bit more celery. Just love it.5 stars

  6. I just made this for lunch with leftover rotisserie chicken and my husband and I loved it. The flavor was excellent! I have to say I’ve tried several other recipes in the past but this is by far the best I’ve ever made! I will definitely be making this again. Thank you so much for sharing!5 stars

  7. Made this last night, followed the recipe exactly, and it was excellent! Great flavour and a great base so each of my family could add whatever they wanted – red grapes, dried cranberries, pecans, walnuts, shredded carrots, etc.. And we all loved it! Thank you for the recipe, this will go into the recipe box now.5 stars

  8. Is this per serving for the nutritional info and do you know what the measurement is? (1/2c? 1c?). Thank you! We had it tonight and it was delicious!

  9. How do you use frozen shredded chicken? Do you thaw it first and what is the best way to do it? In the fridge over night? What is the safest way?

    1. Hi Tamara, for this recipe, we usually use leftover chopped chicken, but if wanting to use frozen I would let it defrost overnight in the fridge.

  10. Made thus recipe using left over ready-made rotisserie chicken and it was delicious! I would make it again.

  11. Great recipe! Followed directions exactly. A little strong on the seasoned salt, so I added a splash of lemon juice and that seemed to balance it. Delicious!4 stars

  12. My family loves this recipe for an easy lunch when we travel. I can always count on you for a great recipe, thanks!5 stars

    1. You’re so welcome Esther! So happy to hear how much you love this chicken salad!

  13. This is really a great recipe. I didn’t have dijon mustard so I used yellow instead. Other than that, I made it as listed. What a great way to use up left over dry chicken breast. Next time, I’m going to throw some craisins in it. Thanks for sharing.5 stars