Best-Ever Chicken Salad

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This really is the perfect go-to salad for sandwiches or on top of a green salad.

You could easily add crumbled bacon, or raisins, or cashews, or even mix in a little curry powder to the mayo.  Of course, homemade mayo puts this salad over the top.  But again, a good quality store-bought mayonnaise works perfectly well, too.  After cooking the chicken, the salad comes together in only about 15 minutes!

best-ever chicken salad recipe

How To Make Chicken Salad

EXPERT TIP: Cook the chicken up to 3 days before assembling and serving. You can also make the homemade mayonnaise several days in advance, too!

Although chilling the salad after it’s mixed is recommended, we think to let the salad return to room temperature is great for taste when serving.

Watch us show you how easy it is to make this truly incredible recipe!

Other “Best-Ever” Salads to Try

What Makes It So Delicious?

So many folks have made this salad and asked us in complete sincerity: “What makes this chicken salad recipe so darn delicious?”

Well, there are several reasons, we believe:  Here are some of the main ones:

  • Roasting the chicken ensures flavorful, juicy chicken for the salad. In a pinch, you could certainly use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.
  • The addition of seedless grapes, almonds, and fresh dill are part of what makes this dish so wonderful.
  • A mix of mayonnaise, Dijon, and lemon juice adds a freshness that is just so very delicious.  It all adds up to the best chicken salad sandwich you can imagine!

Homemade Mayonnaise Adds More Freshness

If you really are in the mood to make this truly the BEST-EVER chicken salad…make your mayonnaise from scratch.

There’s nothing better than homemade classic mayonnaise (click for recipe).

Of course, good-quality store-bought mayonnaise will work just fine, but we absolutely LOVE making it from scratch! One thing to keep in mind, though, homemade mayo has raw egg in it, which could be an issue with the very young, the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

An immersion blender in a jar of homemade mayonnaise.

It’s all about using fresh ingredients.

Fresh dill and parsley add a layer of flavor that we think puts this salad over the top.

If you can’t get fresh, dried will work, just use half the amount that you would be using if fresh.

Best-Ever Chicken Salad

And it’s even better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight!  This chicken salad sandwich recipe is really about as good as they come!

I mean, just look how delicious this looks!

Wait until you taste it!! You and those around you will love it!

best-ever chicken salad recipe

If you are looking for an easy chicken salad recipe that tastes like something you’d get at an amazing restaurant, you need to look no further!

You can almost taste how good this is just by looking at it.

There is a reason this is hands down the most popular recipe on How To Feed a Loon!

best-ever chicken salad recipe

Best-Ever Chicken Salad FAQs

  • How far advance can it be made? We recommend serving soon after the salad is assembled. However, you can prepare the chicken and the dressing up to several days in advance. We will say the salad is even tastier after it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours. We just suggest bringing the salad back to room temp before serving. But that’s just a suggestion!
  • Is a rotisserie chicken okay to use? Absolutely! We feel pretty strongly that the roasted chicken pieces yield an even tastier salad, but a good-quality rotisserie chicken will work, too. Just please don’t use canned chicken. Please.
  • What other ingredients could I include? The sky is practically the limit: We love dried cranberries, sliced apples, cashews or peanuts, even capers! Fresh oregano, rosemary and/or thyme is great, too!
  • Can the salad be frozen? Yes! Freeze for up to 1 month in an air-tight container. Let thaw completely and return to room temperature. You may need to make a small batch of the dressing just to stir in before serving after it’s been frozen, but that’s not 100% necessary.

Ready to make the best lunch dish in town? Go for it!

And when you make it, take a picture and post to Instagram and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and #HowToFeedaLoon

chicken salad recipe

Best-Ever Chicken Salad

This Best-Ever Chicken Salad is really wonderful.  Perfect for incredible chicken salad sandwiches (croissants are great!), or ton top of a lovely bed of green.  Either way, you're just going to love this Best-Ever Chicken Salad!    Using our Homemade Mayo recipe makes it even better!
4.92 from 246 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken salad, easy chicken salad, homemade mayonnaise, Roasted Chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 273kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs chicken parts (bone-in, skin-on thighs and breasts work well) (You'll need about 4 cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup grapes seedless, halved (red and green varieties are great)
  • 1 cup almonds thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery finely diced
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 2 tbsp dill fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon, then add more, to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Rub the olive oil all over the chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 165°F using an instant-read thermometer.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and let cool.  Remove the skin then pull the meat from the bones and roughly chop.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, grapes, almonds, celery, scallions, dill, & parsley.
  • In a small-medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon, mustard, salt, and pepper. 
  • Add the mayo/mustard mixture to the chicken mixture and gently stir until well mixed.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  
  • Serve on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes and avocado.  Or, serve on bread with green leaf lettuce.  Add more toppings to your taste!

Video

Notes

You can prepare the chicken for up to two days in advance.  The dressing can be made 1 or 2 days in advance.  Assemble all ingredients day of serving.  We feel for best flavor, place assemble the salad in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or overnight), and then set out one hour before serving.
The salad is best served fresh but can be frozen.  Simply let thaw and then come to room temp.  To freshen the salad up, make a small batch of the dressing and stir in before serving.
We love serving this salad in croissants, although it's so delicious (and beautiful) over a bed of lettuce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

 

722 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Delish! I have to tell you that I was really feeling lazy and used two cans of chicken breast. I followed the rest of the recipe and it was absolutely fabulous. What a delicious flavor with the Dijon mustard and parsley that I don’t normally add in to chicken salad. What a fresh take on a simple chicken salad. I can just imagine what it would be like with fresh chicken thighs. Thank you over and over for making me look like a much better chef than I really am. On to making your brownies next.

    • Hi Diane!! No worries what’s so ever about the canned chicken! When you get a chance, try it with cut up chicken from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store!! And you are a GREAT home cook!!! Don’t ever think any less than that!! And let us know how the brownies turn out!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Best recipe! I use rotisserie chicken as substitute. I used lemon juice from half a lemon instead of recipe guidelines of 2. Didn’t have fresh dill so I followed recipe on using dried dill in half amount.
    Fantastic and highly recommend this recipe.

    • HI Katie!! Woo hoo!! Sounds like you executed this chicken salad perfectly!! We are thrilled you enjoyed it so much and thank you thank you thank you for letting us know and for the awesome review! That just means so much to us!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

      • 5 stars
        My favorite chicken salad recipe! Have made this a dozen times! Have also used dried cranberries when grapes arent looking too good in the store.

      • Hi Jeana!! Woo hoo!! You fill our hearts with joy!! Dried cranberries are so good, too!! We often include them in our tuna salad recipe!! We are so happy you are loving our chicken salad recipe and thank you SO VERY MUCH for letting us know and for the wonderful review!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This is absolutely fabulous! I can’t stop eating it! The lemon in with the mayonnaise was uplifting, the dill gave it freshness, the celery and almonds crunch, the grapes a sweetness, perfection! I bought some croissants to eat with it but just ending up eating it straight, so good!

    • Hi Cindy! Woo hoo!! So So So glad you are loving our chicken salad recipe! Thank you so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review!! We appreciate that very, very much!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Husband is raving about this chicken salad. Says it’s the BEST he has ever had. I did not have grapes or onions or celery for that matter. I did have the slivered almonds and I felt I was going to be missing out on some crunch… so, when putting the chicken salad on the croissant I added a layer of French’s crispy onions (not just for green bean casserole). My new secret ingredient. Very delicious.

    • Hi Joni!!! That’s what we LOVE to hear!! Sounds like you made the perfect modifications, and we’re super thrilled that your hubby loved it so much!! WIN/WIN!!! And we love the addition of crispy onions!! Delicious! Thanks so much for letting us and for the great review! Means the world to us!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • This is AMAZING and it IS the best ever chicken salad!! SO happy that I found this recipe. I used chicken salad that was already cooked and cutup from the deli.
    Thank you for sharing! It is definitely in my favorite recipes list!!

    • 5 stars
      This is AMAZING and it IS the best ever chicken salad!! SO happy that I found this recipe. I used chicken salad that was already cooked and cutup from the deli.
      Thank you for sharing! It is definitely in my favorite recipes list!!

      • Hi Suzie!! Woo hoo!!! So so so happy to hear you loved our chicken salad recipe! And thank you so very much for letting us know and for the wonderful review. We just express enough how much that means to us! Stay in touch!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Sasha! It’s actually even better the following day, we think. It will keep just fine in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. Let us know if you make it and what you think!!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I’m very touchy when it comes to mayo. This is by far the tastiest and best received recipe for any poultry salad I have ever made. I haven’t and won’t use another recipe again. It’s that good.

    • HI Raquel!! This makes us so happy to hear! We love that you had such great success with our chicken salad recipe! And thank you so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review. We appreciate that very, very much!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I used leftover fried chicken thighs in this recipe as well as Light Mayo …everything else was your recipe and it is absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing it.

  • Guys….made this for my partner who is just too picky…(I don’t like mustard…got it anyway…)….next time I’ll try the homemade mayonnaise….followed the recipe closely but added granny Smith apple bits and pecans instead of almond (because, why not?)…the result was as we used to say “to die for, for days”! Some day I’ll tell him about the mustard! Thanks, Dan

  • Ok, I tried your chicken salad. I didn’t have all the ingredients or were allergic to a few. I didn’t use the olive oil, black pepper, but I put a little me quite seasoning on instead. I used half a lemon since it was a lemon pepper rotisserie chicken and I wasn’t sure if it would be to much. I didn’t use as much dill because I used dry and thought that might be to overpowering too. I also used brown mustard instead of dejon. The verdict was … It was delicious! My hubby said I could use more dill. But other then that it was perfect. Next time ill put in the full amount of dill and lemon. He also said it was the perfect amount of mayo to chicken. You were right! Thanks! I love it even with the tweaks!

    • Hi Sherry! That is really so amazing! We’ve always said that this chicken salad recipe was easily adaptable to one’s own tastes, and you proved that perfectly! Your modifications sound great! We do agree that dill is one of the secret ingredients that make this chicken salad so special! Thanks so much for letting us! We truly appreciate that! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This is indeed the best EVER chicken salad. I use rotisserie chicken instead of cooking chicken breasts. Follow the rest to a T! Serve it on crescent rolls or croissants. Delicious !!!

    • Hi there! That is awesome to hear! We are so so so happy you loved the chicken salad!! And thank you so very much for letting us know and for the GREAT review! That means the world to us!! Stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Ever since I found this recipe a couple months ago, it has become apart of the lunch meal prep rotation through out the month for my family. We all love it! 🙂 Even our boys (13 & 15) had made the request for it to go into the rotation, lol. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious and beautiful recipe! Winner in this house!

  • 5 stars
    Ever since I found this recipe a couple months ago, it has become apart of the lunch meal prep rotation through out the month for my family. We all love it! 🙂 Even our boys (13 & 15) had made the request for it to go into the rotation, lol. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious and beautiful recipe! Winner in this house!

    • Hi there!! Yay!! We are so happy you enjoyed the chicken salad. That’s one of our most favorite recipes of all time and we’re thrilled you loved it, too. And thank you so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

    • That’s so great to hear! We are so glad you had success with the chicken salad! And thank you so much for letting us know and for the GREAT review! That means the world to us!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This is FABULOUS! Making this again. Will be my “forever” chicken salad recipe! Thank you so much for sharing.

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