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 247 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!

 

724 Comments

  • 5 stars
    I’ve just now tucked my gorgeous chicken salad in the fridge. Mission accomplished. And of course I did take a taste. Absolutely heavenly! There is such a great combination of flavors and textures going on. I did use a rotisserie chicken to save some time and instead of grapes I used dried cranberries. This recipe truly elevates an ordinary chicken salad to something worthy of serving at an afternoon wedding. It’s just THAT good. I try to eat low-carb so I’ll be plating mine on a bed of lettuce. And wouldn’t it be lovely on a section of cantaloupe? Perfection!

    • Hi Deb!! So sorry for the delayed response here but you have no idea how happy this has made us!! We are THRILLED you are loving our chicken salad! Rotisserie chicken and dried cranberries are great!!! And YES!! This would be AMAZING paired with cantaloupe!! YUM!! Thank you so much letting us know and for the wonderful review! That honestly means the world to us!! xoxoxo Kris & Wesley

    • I love this recipe! I use pecans instead of almonds because my husband prefers them. one thing I add that I don’t see in many recipes is 1/2 of a chopped honeycrisp apple. It gives a sweet crunchiness that complements the celery crunch really well. I use a whole rotisserie chicken, I like the blend of white and dark meat for full flavor. I shred mine because I don’t like chunks of chicken, but to each their own. But try the honeycrisp apple, I promise it sets this salad off!

      • Hi Julia! This all sounds wonderful! This recipe really is so adaptable to one’s own tastes. Your modifications sound fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Hello boys! So I was looking for a different recipe than what I usually make for chicken salad. I stumbled across your site and fell in love with this one y’all created. And I LOVE your site! I just got back from the store with all the ingredients to make. I have a rotisserie chicken and a good store bought mayo. Other than that, I aim to make this as is, no subs. I absolutely adore fresh dill so when I saw that, I knew I had to make this. Props on such a creative spin on chick salad! Now my dilemma. Today is 6/15/21, I’m making this for a weekend getaway with my BF at the beach this weekend. We leave Friday. I’ve boned and skinned the chicken and chopped celery for some of the prep as I still have loads to do before we leave. I was going to assemble Thursday, but now think I want to assemble on Wednesday. Is that too far in advance? Will grapes get mushy if made either today, tomorrow or Thursday? What about the scallions? When I use them for a gumbo, I add the day of, as I’ve found they are better tasting/texture used the day of. Same goes for the parsley. I bough Italian parsley as you didn’t specify which variety. Since I use a lot of dill, I’ve found it’s fine to add a few days in advance to a dressing as it just infuses it that dilly flavor that much more. Any tips you can give me would be much appreciated and thanks for a wonderful interesting recipe.

    • Hi Lucy!! First of all, we are so happy you are loving our chicken salad recipe!! Yay!! You could certainly prepare the salad several days in advance. We’ve enjoyed the salad days after we’ve made a big batch. Maybe stir in the scallions and parsley the night before you leave? And Italian parsley is correct!! Have a GREAT time on your weekend getaway with the BF! And let us know if you have any other questions, and how it all turns out!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I make the Chicken Salad probably twice a month. Just me and Hubby, so I’ve perfected the 1/2 recipe so we don’t waste any… Heaven forbid!!! I made it this week and wouldn’t you know I did not have grapes – I substituted dried cranberries and for a bind it was an okay substitute – won’t do that by choice, but it was okay.

    Another tip: I made these for a luncheon and made the sandwiches on raisin bread… they were delicious… not for a lunch; but good for the baby shower. I took your website and handed it out to several people who wanted the recipe.

    • Melba! Sorry for the delayed response here! We are THRILLED you and your hubby are loving our chicken salad recipe so much! And on raisin bread sounds heavenly!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing our recipe and thank you so much for letting us know! That absolutely means so so much to us!! Please stay in touch!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I’m in love with this chicken salad!! It’s oh so delicious and the flavors just combine into a symphony in your mouth.

    • Hi Yvonne!! That is music to our ears!!! We are THRILLED you loved our chicken salad recipe and we are so grateful that you let us know and for the wonderful review!! THANK YOU!!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • Can I use organic dill weed? I’m visiting family out of state and the store didn’t have fresh dill. I’M ADDICTED TO THIS CHICKEN SALAD ❤. Make it weekly!!

    • Hi Tiffany! So sorry for the delayed response! Organic is great and you’ll get the same wonderful taste. Hope everyone loves it!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Hi. Usually when I buy Dill it’s fresh. But had to buy organic Dill weed because I am out of state visiting family and that all I could find. Is that the same?

  • Where to begin? This stuff hits your mouth and you hear the sweet sound of heaven’s gates open as every perfectly proportioned ingredient dances in harmony with the others in an explosion of best-freakin-chicken-salad-EVER deliciousness. And then you and your partner smash the whole bowl in one sitting. So. Amazingly. Awesome.

    (I tried the homemade mayo twice with avocado oil, and both were fails…but I shall climb back on the horse and try again with safflower. I can’t imagine how this gets better, but I bet it IS with the homemade mayo!)

    • We can’t even begin to tell you how much joy reading this comment has given us!! We are THRILLED you and your partner loved our chicken salad recipe! And thank you so much for the beautifully written comment and the great review! Definitely try the safflower oil. We have heard from many folks that they have the most success with it. Keep us posted!!! All the very best! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I rarely leave ratings on recipes, I complile so many for upcoming meals that I usually don’t remember. However, this recipe is so fantastic I had to comment. I was looking for a chicken salad recipe with the intent of using a rotisserie chicken, so I subbed that for the uncooked chicken in this recipe. Otherwise, I followed it to a tee. I made it before a busy work-from-home day this morning, and on my first break I put some on a croissant and WOW, heaven is real and it was in my mouth. On my second break, I had some on an onion roll which made a nice compliment. I really applaud you for this recipe. Thank you for allowing me to eat gourmet food while fielding hectic work responsibilities!

    • I always use the store bought rotisserie chicken. And, I use my hand-held mixer to “shred” the chicken…works great every time. JMO

    • Hi Matt! Woo hoo!! So so so happy you loved our chicken salad recipe, and adding a little kick is awesome!! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the awesome review! That means the world to us! Stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Thank you for this!! Second time I made it (with the homemade mayo of course — SO worth the little bit of extra time) and I was nervous to serve it to my foodie family. My MIL said “This is the best lunch I’ve had in a LONG time,” which is saying something. My husband doesn’t really like sandwiches and he had seconds. THANK YOU!

    • Kirsten! You have no idea how happy this makes us!! And way to go making the mayo from scratch!! Woo hoo!!! And congrats on impressing your foodie family! I think it’s time to start calling yourself a ‘foodie home chef!’ Thank you so much for letting us know and for the fabulous review! That honestly means the world to us!! Please stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • You know it’s good when the roommate’s boyfriend asks me to make a batch for him to take home I swear, the homemade mayonnaise is an aphrodisiac.

    • Okay, Star…you hands-down win the best comment of the month award! That is music to our ears! And so glad you and your roommate and the roomie’s bf loved the chicken salad so much! And thanks so much for letting us know! And we LOVE that you make the mayo from scratch! The bomb, right? xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Hi Kris and Wesley, I just made this salad for myself today, I am a southern girl and love a good Chicken Salad but wanted to try making my own. I came across your video and recipe and tried it with rotisserie chicken breast, some grapes, pecans, sliced almonds and dried cranberries along with all your other ingredients. It was awesome and I just loved you both on the video, too funny. Very simple recipe and very tasty. Thank you and I also used the crescent rolls to boot, man you talk about good eating.

    Thank you for making it fun to make. My family loves how I like to do things from scratch, this will be another hit on the list.

    • Hi Ms. Bobbi!! You have no idea how happy you have just made us!! We are THRILLED that you loved the chicken salad and your modifications sound delicious!! Thank you so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review! That means the world to us!!! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This is hands down the best Chicken Salad I’ve ever made. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Next I’ll make the tuna… cannot wait to explore your other recipes. I’m a cookbook “nut”; any chance y’all have assembled a cookbook?

    • Hi Melba! We are THRILLED you loved the chicken salad so much!! We’re kind of partial to it, and couldn’t be happier that you had such great success with it! And we’re pretty sure you’ll love the tuna salad recipe, too!! We’ve got a cookbook in the works and it’s on the horizon! We’ll shout it from the rooftops as soon as we get closer to publication! Thanks so much for your support and please stay in touch!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Mike, 1 serving is going to be about 1 cup. Enough to make 1 sandwich. And we are thrilled that you loved our chicken salad recipe. And thank you so much for letting us know and for the GREAT review!! That really means a lot to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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