Homemade Healthy Chicken Salad
Brent Hofacker - stock.adobe.com

A Classic Chicken Salad Recipe For A Refreshing and Delicious Meal

December 2, 2021
min read

A comforting meal can go a long way. This dish is loaded with protein and rich, filling ingredients, and it’s the perfect addition to your workday.

Chefs claim that the best meals contain a delicate balance of salt, fat, sweetness, and spice, and chicken salad has it all. Mayonnaise provides the creaminess, add-ins like grapes and nuts add sweet notes, and mustard brings a salty tang to this dish.

As if its flavor properties weren’t enough to make this the perfect meal, chicken salad is quite versatile. You can serve it alone, on toast or sandwiches, on a bed of lettuce, or in pasta dishes. Using the original flavour profile as a guide, you can put your own spin on the recipe.

If you don’t love grapes, you can give the dish a sweet touch with other ingredients like raisins or dried cranberries. If mustard isn’t for you, substitute the acidic component of this recipe with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Use your favourite easy chicken recipe to prepare the chicken ahead of time. Check out our recommendations below on how to vary this meal. Remember that the sky’s the limit, so let your culinary creativity soar.

Table of Contents

How to make chicken salad

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: None

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (preferably chicken breast meat)

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped

  • 1 red onion, finely diced (or sliced green onions)

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, plus more to taste

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • Fresh black pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill

Preparation instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the chicken salad ingredients. Stir well.

  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir again to incorporate the seasonings well.

Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.

Brent Hofacker – stock.adobe.com

Nutritional values per serving

  • Calories: 206
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 3 grams 
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Cholesterol: 48 milligrams
  • Sodium: 362 milligrams 
  • Fiber: 1 gram 
  • Sugar: 1 gram 

Creative ways to serve chicken salad

Sandwich: Most meals are better when served with bread, and chicken salad is no exception. It’s time to enjoy the best chicken salad sandwich ever. Toast up thick slices of pumpernickel or sourdough and smear them with mayonnaise and mustard. Place a layer of vegetables like sliced onion, tomato, avocado, and lettuce leaves on the top piece of bread, then add a layer of prepared chicken salad on the bottom. Press the two halves of the sandwich together, and serve with a hearty side of crispy kettle-cooked chips. You could stuff chicken salad into a tortilla or pita bread to change up the texture of your bread. If you’re feeling extra fancy, add a bit of Parisian luxury to this recipe by preparing your sandwich on a flaky, buttery croissant.

Salad on salad: Because chicken salad is rich and seasoned, it adds a lot of flavor to a traditional lettuce-based salad. Mix together a chopped variety of your favorite lettuces with halved cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, thinly cut red onions, and any other veggies you desire. You can toss in a bit of honey mustard or balsamic dressing before serving the greens with a heaping dollop of chicken salad on top for a perfect low-carb weekday lunch, or a weeknight appetizer for the main course.

Chicken salad variations

With grapes: There are many chicken salad sandwich recipes with grapes out there because this sweet, crisp, cold fruit makes the perfect addition to this dish, balancing out the sourness of the mustard and cutting the creaminess of the mayonnaise. If you do opt to toss in some red grapes, we’d also recommend mixing in walnuts, cashews, or pecans for an added crunch and complexity of flavor.

Mayo-free: Mayonnaise, especially traditional egg-based varieties, can be high in cholesterol. If you’re watching your cholesterol levels but want to enjoy a delicious scoop of chicken salad on your next sandwich, mix the dish up with a mustard-based vinaigrette or substitute mayonnaise for mashed avocado. Just keep in mind that avocado oxidizes quickly, so you’ll need to enjoy this variation the same day. Generally, you can swap out mayonnaise for thick greek yogurt or sour cream in cold recipes like salads, so try this substitution for a healthier option.

Pesto: Instead of using a regular chicken salad dressing recipe, this variety incorporates herby pesto for a Mediterranean touch. Follow the recipe above, but omit the mustard and reduce the mayonnaise quantity to two tablespoons. Then, mix in a quarter cup of prepared pesto sauce. Stay in the Mediterranean flavor profile by substituting the chopped celery for regional vegetables like crunchy cucumber, salty olives, and juicy cherry tomatoes. A squeeze of lemon juice won’t hurt either.

Turkey salad: The question on many people’s minds around Thanksgiving is what in the world to do with all of that leftover turkey. Simply chop up the cooked meat and use your family’s favorite chicken salad recipe for turkey salad.

rakratchada – stock.adobe.com


How long does chicken salad last?

Chicken salad keeps for 3 to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. There’s no specific serving size, so eat it as you please.

While we’re on the topic of refrigeration, when making the salad itself, be sure to let the cooked chicken come down to room temperature before mixing it up with the other ingredients. Resist the urge to speed up the cooling process by refrigerating hot chicken, as this can cause dangerous bacteria to grow in the meat.

Do I have to boil chicken to make this salad?

No, you can make chicken salad with any kind of cooked chicken. Yes, you can boil chicken breast for use in salads, but you can also grill it, roast it, and so on. If you’re short on time, you can even use leftover chicken from a previous meal or pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken.

If you’re out of mayonnaise, place an order with Gopuff and have it delivered to your door in minutes. In the meantime, start chopping the chicken for your salad so that you can finish mixing up this salad right when the mayo arrives and start eating just seconds later.  

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