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Easy Chicken Salad Recipe

Updated on August 22, 2013
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Easy Chicken Salad
Easy Chicken Salad | Source

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Simple and satisfying, easy to prepare and versatile, chicken salad makes the perfect summertime meal. This recipe calls for fresh ingredients available year round in most U.S. grocery stores.

Chicken salad is also a great way to use up leftovers, whether it's grilled, baked or rotisserie chicken. Or you can buy chicken breasts and poach them, a fast and easy method that doesn't heat up the house during hot summer months.

What's so special about this recipe? Crisp celery perfectly complements tender chicken chunks. Tart apple contrasts nicely with the sweetness of dried cranberries. Almond slivers add a pleasant crunch. Fold in creamy seasoned mayonnaise and you have a cool salad that can be served on croissants, avocado halves, flour tortillas or pita pockets. Stick around after the recipe for more serving suggestions.


Tips

  • Use leftover chicken or poached chicken breasts.
  • Reduce salt if using seasoned chicken such as rotisserie.
  • If you have access to fresh herbs, try chives and dill.
  • During wintertime when fresh herbs are few and far in between, we use seasoning mixes. Our favorite is Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Seasoning (see right).
  • Try not to overwhelm the delicate flavors of this salad with too many dried herbs. Try sea salt instead of table salt, which has a metallic after-taste.
  • For lower fat chicken salad, purchase low fat real mayonnaise and plain yogurt.
  • Choose crisp apples such as Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Fuji or any variety common to your area.
  • Dried cranberries add sweetness to this salad while fresh lemon juice brightens it.
  • Chicken salad can be made ahead of time. The second day, after flavors have married, it is even tastier. Add a little more mayonnaise to freshen up the salad.


Chicken Salad Sandwich
Chicken Salad Sandwich | Source

Easy Chicken Salad

5 stars from 8 ratings of Garden Chicken Salad

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves 6-8
Poaching chicken breasts
Poaching chicken breasts

How to Poach Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon salt

Instructions

  1. Pour water, bay leaf and salt into a large dutch oven.
  2. Place chicken breasts in water and poach, over medium heat, for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
  3. Chop chicken. Should equal about 6 cups chopped.


Dice & season the chicken
Dice & season the chicken
Combine all ingredients
Combine all ingredients

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence, poultry seasoning or dill, if fresh herbs unavailable
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp apple such as Granny Smith, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons almond slivers
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • chopped fresh dill and chives, if available

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle onion powder, salt and dried herbs (if using) over hot, chopped chicken. Chill. Omit dried herbs if fresh herbs are available.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chilled chicken and remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve chicken salad on croissants or multi-grain bread for delicious sandwiches, or serve atop avocado or melon halves for a lower carb meal.

Serving Suggestions

  • Chicken Salad is especially refreshing when served with The Best Limeade or Tangy Mango Lemonade
  • Stuff Chewy Whole Grain Pita Bread with chicken salad
  • Make chicken salad lettuce cups by scooping it onto lettuce leaves
  • Heap chicken salad on avocado halves
  • Roll it in flour tortillas for chicken salad wraps
  • Spread chicken salad on croissants or fresh rolls dressed with fresh baby spinach, crisp lettuce or alfalfa sprouts
  • Spoon chicken salad over a green garden salad and drizzle with honey dijon dressing

Variations

  • Substitute grapes halves or pear chunks for the apples
  • Try dried sweet or tart cherries instead of cranberries
  • Pair dried sweet cherries with tart apples/dried tart cherries with sweet apples
  • Experiment with other fresh herbs like tarragon or sage
  • Switch it up with walnuts, pine nuts, pecans or cashews instead of almonds
  • Curry powder is another seasoning that will spruce up your chicken salad


Chicken Salad on Avocado Halves
Chicken Salad on Avocado Halves | Source

Comments

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  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

    I hope you can try this Merrci!

  • Merrci profile image

    Merry Citarella 2 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

    Yummy! I'd love this for dinner tonight. Apples sound good in a salad. Haven't tried it with chicken salad.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    CyberShelley, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this chicken salad! On avocado is my favorite.

  • CyberShelley profile image

    Shelley Watson 3 years ago

    I see I am quite late in chiming in here, but had to tell you this was a marvellous recipe and used it on top of avocado. Fabulous meal, thank you for sharing! 5*, up, interesting and useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Arthur L Hogge, thank you for the nice review. I really appreciate it. I'm happy your wife was pleased! : )

  • Arthur L Hogge profile image

    Arthur L Hogge 3 years ago from Huntersville, North Carolina

    Great recipe. Thank you Vespa. Was a big hit for dinner tonight and I got bonus points with my wife. :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    CraftytotheCore, I´m sorry to hear about your grandfather. Yes, this chicken salad is especially flavorful and beautiful served on croissants. We also like to serve it that way when we can find them. Thanks for your comment.

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

    This looks so good. Someone brought to my grandfather's memorial service chicken salad served with cranberries. But they were served on croissants. They were so beautiful. They were a big hit for the guests.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    JPSO138, thanks for your feedback on this chicken salad recipe! I hope it can become a regular in your home. Enjoy!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzettenaples, this is a great recipe for a year-round chicken salad eater! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thelma Alberts, thanks for the votes and your continual support.

  • JPSO138 profile image

    JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

    I tried your recipe before posting here and I would like to tell.. They are great. I normally do not eat chicken but with this one, there was no problem. There was nothing left on the plate... Great hub!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

    Great recipe and suggestions for serving it! I love chicken salad and eat it year round. LOL. Very well presented and thanks for all your tips! Sounds and looks delicious!

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

    I love chicken salad. I have not made this food for a long time now. Thanks for reminding me. Voted this up and shared. Thanks for sharing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    oliversmum, I hope you enjoy this delicious and refreshing summer salad. Thanks for coming by!

  • oliversmum profile image

    oliversmum 3 years ago from australia

    Vespawoolf. Hi. Love the sound of your chicken salad. Thank you for sharing it with us, plus all the tips and variations, they are very helpful. Its coming up summer over here, so this recipe will go down a treat. Thanks again. Thumbs up and very Interesting. :) :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Kathryn, cranberries and apples are a great fall flavor combination. This chicken salad was inspired by my favorite flavors and textures, so enjoy! Thank you for paying me a visit. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    This chicken salad recipe looks spectacular! It reminds me of one I had at Cape Cod in Autumn. I always like to have food with apples and dried cranberries in the fall. I am definitely going to bookmark this for later use. I'm getting hungry just thinking of this! Thanks for sharing it with us, and have a great weekend!

    ~ Kathryn

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Happyboomernurse, thank you for your enthusiastic comment. This is such a light and cool salad for the summertime. I hope you enjoy it!

  • Happyboomernurse profile image

    Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

    Oh my, that first photo looks so mouthwatering I could almost taste the chicken salad just by looking at it!

    I've had chicken salad made with these ingredients at some fine restaurants but have never made it like this myself. Now that summer's here, it would be a great time to try it. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the different variations on it.

    Voted up across the board except for funny and given 5 stars.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Vacation Trip, I hope you can try this easy chicken salad soon. It's one of our favorite summertime dishes. Thanks for your comment.

  • Vacation Trip profile image

    Susan 4 years ago from India

    Great recipe. Looks very delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Careermommy, we also enjoy chicken salad in the summertime. So quick, easy and delicious! Thanks for coming by.

  • Careermommy profile image

    Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    I love chicken salad. It is so perfect for summer, and a perfect food to make for my kids. Excellent recipe!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    rajan jolly, chicken salad is a staple lunch for us during the summertime. Thanks for the votes, rating and share!

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe for chicken salad along with interesting variations. The salad looks very tempting.

    Voted up, interesting and shared. Rated 5 stars.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Deborah-Diane, chicken salad is a great summertime meal. We love it on soft bread or over avocado or melon halves. Enjoy and thanks for your comment.

  • Deborah-Diane profile image

    Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

    I love chicken salad, so I really appreciate this recipe! Thanks!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lindacee, enjoy the chicken salad! It makes a quick but delicious lunch that's also easy to dress up for company. Thanks for your comment.

  • lindacee profile image

    lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

    Another one of my lunchtime favorites, vespawoolf! I love that you use yogurt instead of mayo and the combination of seasonings/ingredients sounds perfect. Can't wait to try it! :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Alocsin, I hope you and your partner can try it sometime. It really is delicious and makes a quick and easy summertime lunch or light dinner. We also love to serve it on avocado halves or even with cantelope. Enjoy and thanks for the votes!

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

    Can't believe I missed this when it first came out. Sounds delicious. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Insightful Tiger, I'm glad you're going to try this chicken salad! It's one of our favorites. Thank you for your comment.

  • Insightful Tiger profile image

    Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

    I love Chicken salad. This recipe looks yummy. I will definitely try it. Thanks!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    DDE, we also love chicken salad. Enjoy!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Wow! Incredible idea for a salad my one of my best is chicken fillets and this recipe looks so scrumptious!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Faythef, enjoy the chicken salad! It really is delicious and easy to make, too. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Valerie T, thanks for coming by! Enjoy the chicken salad.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Hi Suzanne, I'm glad you like the sound of this combination. It really is delicious and so cool and refreshing on a hot day. It's always nice to hear from you. Thanks for the votes, share and pin!

  • faythef profile image

    Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

    I voted up..I will be trying this ..I love chicken salad..

  • Valerie T profile image

    Valerie Tapia 4 years ago from Nashua, NH

    Looks and sounds yummy! Definitely will try these ingredients

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi vespa,

    I am feeling the urge of downing this NOW!! How delicious it looks and sounds.I love chicken, celery, mayo, apple not to mention herbs . . . .a definite winner!! Thanks so much for another gem of cuisine from your kitchen delights vespa!!

    Votse,shares and pinned!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    KoffeeKlatchGals, enjoy the chicken salad! It really is delicious, fast and easy. It's always nice to hear from you. : )

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I love the sound of your recipe. I love chicken salad. I'll have to try it. Thank you.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Eileen Goodall, we especially love this salad on croissants for something extra special. I'm glad you're going to make it for your daughter's lunchbox. Thanks for coming by!

  • Eileen Goodall profile image

    Eileen Goodall 4 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

    This looks delicious, and I know my daughter will love it in her lunchbox, thanks for posting.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Denise Handlon, one of my favorite things about chicken salad is that it can be varied to suit each cook's taste. I'm glad you enjoyed my verson and the photos, too. Thanks so much for everything and have a great Friday and weekend. : )

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

    I love chicken salad and had to take a peek at what you put in yours, since there are so many variations. I loved the explanation and description you offer here with each ingredient. Photos are nice and clearly present the information. I rated your recipe a 5 star. Hope your holidays were relaxing. :) Rated up/interesting and Useful...thanks for sharing. I'm pinning it.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    CyberShelley, I really appreciate your review. I'm glad the croissant chicken salad sandwiches were a hit. Thanks so much for the review, vote and share! Have a great day. : )

  • CyberShelley profile image

    Shelley Watson 4 years ago

    Loved this salad recipe which I tried using your suggestion of croissants as the base. Everyone absolutely loved it plus my son's girlfriend wanted the recipe! Voted up and shared!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, lol! Everyone I know has their own special way of making chicken salad. Some like onions, others red pepper, etc. I like this mix of sweet and tangy, crisp and creamy. Thanks so much for the vote and pin! I appreciate your support.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    This sounds good. I gave a friend chicken salad one time not knowing she didn't like onions in it, now she tells me! Your salad sounds very good. Voted up and pinned.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thank you, DeborahNeyens! Funny you should say that. I was just telling my husband how frustrated I am with my food photos! I do read tips on the internet but have more to learn about lighting, composition and staging. Thanks for coming by!

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

    Another great-looking recipe, vespawoolf. You really photograph food like a pro. Have you taken lessons?

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Learner365, I'm glad you enjoyed this hub. Enjoy the chicken salad! It is easy to prepare and delicious. Thank you for coming by.

  • learner365 profile image

    Saadia A 4 years ago

    Looks very nice and easy. I am surely going to try your recipe out. Your Hub presentation is great as well with nice photos and very easy to understand the steps of the recipe.Thank you for sharing.

    My vote up and awesome !!!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Kris Heeter, I'm glad you've found you enjoy chicken salad. It's so simple and refreshing. Thank you for coming by!

  • Kris Heeter profile image

    Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

    This sounds very tasty. I never like chicken salad as a child but have recently found that I really like it as an adult and have been looking for some recipes. Thanks!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Peggy W, I do enjoy curry powder but haven't used it for a long time. Great suggestion! I'll add it to the variations. : ) Thanks for the ingredient ideas, too. I really appreciate the vote and comment. Have a great day!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Gave this chicken salad recipe of yours another 5 star rating. I make one that is very similar. It is so easy to adjust the ingredients to whatever is on hand. Other ingredients that I sometimes use to vary it is some grated carrot, diced red or orange peppers, even dried raisins. And if one wishes to spice it up a bit...add some curry powder to the mayo. Yum! Rated useful and up and will share your good recipe with others.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    GlimmerTwinFan, I'm glad you're going to try this recipe! Of course, we all know how to make chicken salad but it's nice to have ideas to switch things up. I love that it's light, easy to make and yummy.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

    Boy does this look awesome. Pinned and will be trying this since I am so sick of all of the heavy holiday food. I have some chicken breasts in the freezer right now. Thanks vespa!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lemonkerdz, it was a very memorable lunch with good friends. : ) It is a quick and healthy lunch! Thanks!

  • lemonkerdz profile image

    lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

    Hi looks like you had a great lunch with this chicken salad. It may be easy, but good for a quick healthy lunch.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Randomcreative, chicken salad is an American classic. Thank you for coming by!

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Chicken salad is one of my favorites! Your recipe looks mouth watering, and I love all of your tips.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    RajanJolly, chicken salad is a common summer dish of North America. It's quick and easy to make which makes it popular. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    The chicken salad looks very appealing. Seems simple to make with these clear instructions. Thanks for sharing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Yes, simplicity is the beauty of chicken salad. I hope you enjoy this combination of flavors, tammyswallow, and thanks for coming by!

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

    This is one of my most favorite foods. This looks like a wonderful recipe. When it is overseasoned it isn't as good. I am definatley going to try this!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Why thank you, Mhatter! I hope you enjoy it.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Your serving suggestions put this delicious recipe over the top.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Carol, chicken salad is a nice standby for a quick and easy meal. I hope you have a chance to try the interesting ingredients! I really appreciate your comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thank you, Billybuc! No wonder everyone loves you. I hope you and yours have a wonderful week and don't spend too much money. : )

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    I make a lot of chicken salad and I found some interesting ingredients here to try. Very good

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I just wanted to stop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas!

  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Peachpurple, I'm glad you enjoyed this hub! I really appreciate your visit.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    well constructed recipe with useful bright photos. Well written, instructions clear and precise. Wonderful hub