Chicken Salad

Delicious chicken salad with chopped cooked chicken, celery, bell pepper, green olives, apple, iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise.

You can use any leftover cooked chicken meat for this salad, with or without the skin. Or you can poach some boneless skinless chicken breasts in salted water for this salad.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves four.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb (2-3 cups) of cooked chicken meat*, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4-6 green olives, pitted and minced
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1/2 to a whole apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/3 head of iceberg head lettuce, sliced and chopped

Dressing:

  • 5 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp plum preserves, or any sweet berry preserve (or a lesser amount of honey)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*To poach chicken for this recipe, start with a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large (2 to 3-inch) pieces. Bring a 2 quart pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Add the chicken to the boiling water, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the chicken pieces sit in the hot water for 15 minutes, then drain the water and chop the chicken pieces into smaller pieces for the salad.

Method

1 Prep all of the salad ingredients and toss them together in a large bowl.

2 Prepare the chicken salad dressing in a separate smaller bowl. Mix together the mayonnaise, preserves, and lemon juice. Taste for the proper balance of sweetness and acidity. The salad dressing should not be too sweet nor too sour. Add more preserves or lemon juice until you have reached the balance you want. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3 Gently stir the dressing in with the chicken salad ingredients. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

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Comments

  1. Ruth

    Wow, this one is so very different to the one my mother made. I will definitely have to give it a try. You can check mine out for something different. Ruth’s chicken salad

  2. Mina Yaroslavsky

    This looks great — I make a similar salad but I use plain greek yogurt in place of mayo — it’s very yummy.

  3. Nick

    I usually make the standard celery-mayo chicken salad, but once in a while I whip up one with diced cooked chicken, freshly shaved parmesan cheese, pomegranate seeds (or craisins) and pine nuts (or other nuts). Drizzle the whole thing with EVOO, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. You can put grapes in it too, or raisins, if that’s your thing. The unusual part of this one is the EVOO and parm, and they really make it delish. Enjoy!

  4. Alanna

    Love the idea of the preserves, will try soon with peach preserves that turned out “too sweet” for using plain. I do a main dish, no mayo Asian chicken salad that’s wonderful.

  5. Anita

    My absolute favorite chicken salad has chopped smokehouse almonds in it…mmmm!

  6. Kate

    Ooh, I love the idea of adding berry preserves. Yum-o!

    I’ve included a family recipe that is in The Stock Pot on my website. Our database is full of family recipes, and I have personally tested this recipe. It is very, very good.

    Field’s Chicken Salad

    Ingredients:
    2 1/2 cups chicken breast, cubed
    1 cup celery, finely sliced
    1 cup white grapes, sliced
    1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
    1 teaspoon salt
    4-6 ounces mayonnaise
    4 ounces heavy cream, whipped

    Directions:
    Combine all ingredients and toss gently. If you are entertaining buffet-style, garnish with bunches of grapes and toasted almonds for a divine dish.

    Note: All of the mayonnaise and cream may not be necessary. Do not drown the salad!

  7. Kari

    Would never thought to put green olives in chicken salad! I always use grapes, celery, green onion, mayo, celery salt & Pepper. Sometimes I put in waterchestnuts for extra crunch.

  8. Abby

    My mom makes the best chicken salad – people offer to pay her $10 and $20 for a quart of it! It’s very basic, but the secret is she makes it with pickles she makes herself – sweet ones, and she always adds some of the juice. Fantastic. Oh! She also makes it in a food processor – much better for sandwiches that way.

  9. Harriet

    We make chicken salad pretty much the same way we make every salad–with Miracle Whip and sweet pickle relish. The only other ingredient is ground or shredded chicken. It’s more like tuna salad, and not chunky at all. I do, however, also like the chunky chicken salads with fruit that I’ve encountered elsewhere.

  10. Amy Kilpack

    One of my favorite chicken salads is to take some cooked chicken and shred it. Add some lite mayo and lite sour cream, just enough to moisten it, then add some craisins, apples, celery, curry powder (just a little goes a long way), and some fresh pressed garlic. I enjoy mine wrapped up in lettuce cups. Who doesn’t love chicken salad!!! :)

  11. Lou

    An old recipe given to me by my college roommate, Chicken Pecan Salad in Cranberry Orange Ring makes a pretty presentation and a tasty combination while peaches are still available.

    Cranberry Ring:
    Ingredients:
    • 2 pkg. (3 oz.) lemon Jello plus 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup orange juice, plus 1 cup cold
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce

    Dissolve the jello and gelatin in 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup water and the salt. Heat to boiling.

    Stir in 1 cup cold orange juice. Chill until partially set. Then stir in the cranberry sauce. Pour into a 6 1/2 cup ring mold. Chill until firm.

    Chicken Pecan Salad
    Combine:
    • 3 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
    • 3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
    • 1 cup diced celery
    Mix and Add:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/3 cup honey mustard
    • 1/ 3 tsp. salt

    • 1/2 cup broken pecans
    • peach slices for garnish

    Just before serving, toss with the nuts. Serve in cranberry ring and garnish with additional peach slices.

  12. Elise

    Wow. There are some great chicken salad ideas posted here. Thank you everyone!

  13. Mame

    My all time favorite chicken salad is Sonoma Chicken Salad made by Whole Foods. They sell it for an absolute fortune and would love to try and make it myself. Has anyone here had this great salad? If so, could you advise on how to make it?

    I buy it in the summmer for a special treat and savor it.

    • Deidre kidwell

      SONOMA CHICKEN SALAD From Whole foods

      Dressing:
      Ingredients: 
      Dressing
      1 cup mayonnaise
      4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
      5 teaspoons honey
      2 teaspoons poppy seeds
      Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
      Salad
      2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
      3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
      2 cups red seedless grapes
      3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

  14. Melissa S.

    I tried your recipe and we loved it! It’s different than what I grew up with and our two favorite restaurant versions (Fairfield Grocery and Rollin’ N the Dough.) We didn’t use lettuce, just watched CSI: Miami and dipped it with crackers! My husband totally loved it! Thanks for sharing.

  15. beth

    As requested, the Sonoma Chicken Salad recipe from Whole Foods – you can register on their site for free, and get all sorts of recipes! This one is filed under salad, not chicken, so I originally thought it wasn’t there. :)

    1 cup mayonnaise
    4 tsp apple cider vinegar
    5 tsp honey
    2 tsp poppy seeds
    sea salt, to taste
    ground pepper, to taste

    Salad

    2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
    2 cups red seedless grapes
    3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
    Prepare the dressing by thoroughly mixing together all dressing ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from baking pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

    When the breasts are completely chilled (at least 2 hours refrigerated), dice into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pecans, grapes, celery and dressing.

  16. Mikael

    My favorite Chicken Salad Recipe is the one from MyChickenRecipes.com. When I made it at my resent housewarming the guest gave me lots of positive comments. Here it is:

    3 c Cooked rice; cooled
    1 1/2 c Cooked chicken breast cubes (about 1 whole breast)
    1 c Sliced celery
    8 oz Sliced water chestnuts (drained)
    1/2 c Sliced fresh mushrooms
    1/4 c Sliced green onion
    1/4 c Diced red bell pepper
    1/4 c Sliced black olives
    2 tb Vegetable oil
    2 tb Lemon juice
    1 tb Soy sauce
    1/2 ts Ground ginger
    1/2 ts Ground white pepper
    Lettuce leaves

  17. Paula D. Ward

    I really enjoyed reading the many chicken salad recipes. In a nutshell, it’s all in the taste – if you like it “sweet” or not. I don’t. So, I always add the green olives, green and red AND yellow peppers, dried mustard, a touch of lemon pepper, and a teaspoon of capers and Kraft’s Mayonnaise. Coupled with rice vinegar, red vinegar, a little olive oil and HUNGARIAN paprika plus some walnuts or pecans, mixing well – and served cold – you’ve got the best chicken salad this side of the Mississippi. I always surround mine with watermelon, cantelope, and other melons and fruit. On the side – cheeses and you MUST have some cheese/garlic/parmasean toast. Take slices of wheat or white bread, dip in melted butter, sprinkle with garlic powder and Monterey Jack or Colby cheese and place under the broiler of your stove. When the bread sides are brown, or the cheese completely melted, remove from oven and sprinkle parmasean cheese on top. What a luncb or dinner!

  18. Angelina

    I’ll try chicken salad just about any way you can fix it. I love it with fruit too. A friend of mine made some a while back that was quite different. I don’t have exact measurements of the ingredients, but you can basically ‘guesstimate’ according to how much you want to make. I always just throw mine together and taste as I go anyway. So here is something different:

    INGREDIENTS:

    *Chicken Breast (Cooked, cut up or shredded- however you like) Set broth aside to cool.

    *MEXICAN sour cream (There is a difference between regular sour cream and the ‘Mexican’ sour cream-The mexican sour cream is more creamy and smoother in consistency-I’ve never substituted it for the regular kind, so I don’t know how that would work)

    *Mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, etc.) You can go the easy route by using canned mixed veggies and of course, you can also cook your veggies fresh. I’ve always used fresh veggies because I think it always tastes a little better when you use fresh ingredients. I use baby carrots, potatoes, peas, onion, & garlic (to taste), all chopped or diced, however your pallete prefers. I also cook all of the vegetables separate, except for my onion and garlic and let them cool before mixing them in with the salad.

    With your cooked chicken in a mixing bowl, add onion and garlic to taste. Add enough broth to saturate chicken to help make it easier to mix. Be careful not to add too much, you don’t want it floating or you’ll have soup. You can also add just a tiny bit at a time throughout preparation to make sure you don’t add too much.

    Mix in carrots, peas and potatoes. As you’re adding your veggies, you can pour in small amounts of the sour cream before adding each one. I find this helps mixing it all together a little smoother and your veggies don’t get all mooshy. You can add the sour cream to your desired consistency and as always, salt and pepper to taste.

    You can eat this salad warm or cold. With crackers, by itself, or even on a sandwich is great. I hope someone can enjoy this recipe!

  19. candy

    Made this last night following recipe closely and used huckleberry syrup (bought from roadside stand one summer) in place of plum preserves. Tasty! This recipe is a keeper.

    Thanks….Candy

  20. Cin

    I enjoyed your recipe and look forward to making it sometime soon.
    I use the boiled chicken breast that is created when I make my chicken stock, to make my chicken salad.
    Yogurt-Oregano Chicken Salad
    2 diced chicken breasts (they are big because they are from a whole chicken, I would use 3 frozen chicken breasts if I were to go that way)
    1/2 cup fat free plain Yogurt
    1 peeled cucumber diced
    1 yellow onion diced
    1/3 cup chopped garlic stuffed green olives
    2 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp oregano dried
    A pinch of dried mint
    Salt and ground pepper to taste
    Combine and enjoy in a pita or on a bed of lettuce. It’s best served cold and better the 2nd day so the flavors can marry.

  21. Cin

    Oops…forgot the 1/2 cup of crumbled feta in my salad. It’s a must.
    Thanks!

  22. Gary

    A great recipe. I would suggest when making any kind of chicken salad you don’t add all the dressing at once but a little at a time. I have made the mistake with other salad recipes of adding all the dressing only to find it was too much.

  23. mary lynne

    Am thinking about chicken salad for an upcoming 50th birthday party and have enjoyed all the recipes and comments here. Can anyone tell me how to figure out how much salad I need? Do you figure on one-half breast for each serving or more or less? Also, I’ve been wanting to serve something in endive “boats” – would that work with the chicken/grape/nut type salad? I will probably have fresh fruits with it and liked the idea of some cheeses and toasted parmesan “points”.

  24. MarCya Mooney

    My Best Friend, Mayo-Mathers, chicken salad recipe. It’s awesome
    Pick a roasted chicken clean off the bone.
    Cube the chicken.
    In a mixing bowel mix 3/4 c mayo or (more to taste)
    2 TBS dijon mustard
    3 TBS sweet relish
    1/2 C (your choice) drained mandrine oranges or pineapple or grape halves
    toasted pine nuts
    salt pepper to taste
    diced green onions
    diced celery

    Mix wet ing. with chicken – enjoy

  25. dana

    Great chicken salad! I added pomegranate seeds, parsley and garlic to the mix.

  26. Sharee

    This was delicious! I used leftover seasoned baked breasts, celery, various colored bell peps, green onions, green and yellow zucchini, and strawberries. I would have used green olives, but the ones in my fridge were no good. Basically whatever I had in the fridge. For the dressing I used lime juice instead of lemon since thats what I had and I added some fresh parsley, mint, basil and lots of ground pepper. My Mom happens to make excellent plum jelly, so that was perfect. Excellent, crunchy and satisfying ! Regarding leftovers, it got a bit watery, so I just drained it. yum…

  27. Kyle

    All sounds good people.
    I like to marinate chicken breasts in my best marinade. Grill them they next day. After cooling, they are diced up and mixed with the traditional type ingredients. It has never failed yet.

  28. Emily

    I know I’m a little late on this discussion, but I just wanted to thank Angelina for her recipe for Mexican chicken salad. I remember eating this while in Mexico and I’ve been wanting to make it for a while, but I hadn’t been able to remember the ingredients or find a recipe remotely like it. Thanks!

    Oh yeah… we always ate ours on tostadas.

  29. Margie Lenoir

    Great recipes but I just have to tell you about mine – chopped chicken breasts, finely chopped walnuts, chopped gala apples, finely chopped celery. My best ingredient – finely chopped mandarin oranges Half mayo and half miracle whip, blended together. I never cook by measurements, but I’m sure you can decipher how to make this fabulous chicken salad.

  30. Bris

    I found this salad a bit too sweet. Fun to make though. Ended up adding way more olives to improve the flavor and I used homemade raspberry preserves.

  31. Bris

    I have to qualify my last comment to be fair: my sister came home and loved the salad so I guess it’s just for some people and not for others :)

  32. Karena

    I thought perhaps you might enjoy one of my fave chick salad recipes- measurements are pretty much by preference

    dressing:
    equal parts mayonnaise (not salad dressing) and sour cream
    tarragon
    salt and pepper
    lemon zest in the mood

    cooked chicken
    halved seedless grapes
    cooked pasta of some sort

    - toss all together.

    sorry wasn’t more specific in directions but my hands have nerve damage and typing has become more than a bit challenging

    Sounds delicious Karena, thank you for sharing. ~Elise

  33. Clarice Lott

    I boil a fryer, for extra flavor I add garlic powder to taste,and 1/2 chopped onion to water when boiling chicken.

    I don’t add celery, or chopped boiled eggs. Boil chicken,cool chicken, debone chicken. Add a couple tablespoons of broth to chicken, add mayonnaise, a dot of yellow mustard, sweet relish, and about half as much dill relish. We do not like ours too sweet, this helps.

    Mix well, seedless grapes, or mandarin oranges are very good also added. Served on lettuce leaves, with crackers, a fruit or veg.salad and you have a great meal.

    I cater and everyone loves my chicken salad. They think it is very hard, so simple. But usually don’t give recipe out, that would take away my business.

    Thanks,

    Clarice

  34. Candy

    I just made this. It was good!

    Thanks,
    Candy

  35. Tomoko

    This chicken salad was great! Family ate it up — no left overs!

    Thanks again, your recipes never fail me!

  36. janna

    I added too much lemon juice to my chicken salad. How do I fix this?

    Add a little more mayonnaise and a little sugar. ~Elise

  37. mcbyrd

    The best chicken salad I’ve ever had came from a greek owned family; chicken, carrots, unknown seasonings, and sauce of maybe yogurt or mayo.

    I have started using yogurt in place of mayo.

    The closet I’ve seen so far to the greek is the one posted here with yogurt-oregano.
    Plan to try.

    Any other suggestions out there?

  38. Liz

    This recipe looks tasty, and I may have to try it tomorrow as I have a cooked chicken in the fridge and don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet.

    Right now my favorite chicken salad recipe is from epicurious.com. It’s their curried chicken salad (http://tinyurl.com/67xy58). I’ve never used the full amount of curry that the recipe calls for and I always get rave reviews.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

  39. JillA

    I just ate this for lunch and it was delicious! I didn’t have plum jelly so I substituted Red Current Jelly. Fabulous! Thank you.

  40. Peter Jensen

    I have just tried this recipe – and I must say that I like it very much. Simple to make and still so delicios. Thanks for the recipe.

  41. Chris Cardinal

    Just whipped this up, but we were missing onions, peppers, olives, and celery. We used shallots instead, and ended up using elderberry jam for the dressing. Then we added some chopped roasted almonds. Very good!

  42. anna

    I’ve been using this recipe for awhile: http://iowagirleats.com/2010/04/27/my-rookie-mistake-mayo-free-chicken-salad-recipe/

    I love the use of Greek yogurt instead of mayo, and the curry (I often substitute straight cumin) gives it a surprising savoriness.

  43. Laura Reesor

    The author wrote that the chicken could be poached in salted water. I have a quicker, easier suggestion. Microwave them. Simply spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray (very sparingly), place the chicken in and add whatever seasoning you prefer (crushed rosemary is very good) and turn it on. Depending on the microwave itself and the size of the piece(s) of chicken, the time would vary. One chicken breast cooked on high cooks through in four or five minutes and it is juicy. Cooked that way and then cut up would be perfect for this salad.

  44. briefcandle

    Lol…I luv everyone else’s recipes, but I’d luv to take the opportunity to comment on this one. Elise, I adore your site…you have introduced me to more recipes in my standing rotation than any other site or cookbook.

    This is definitely a keeper. The brilliance in it is the perfect poaching recipe and the restraint on seasonings. I added a little Tarragon, which I liked, but didn’t improve things much. I am curious, have you tried this with a dash of good curry paste? I may try next time I make it!

  45. The Healthy Apple

    Love this recipe, Elise! Looks beautiful. I make chicken salad every weekend and I’m going to try your recipe for 4th of July this week. My favorite way to make chicken salad is:
    -Red Grapes
    -Greek Yogurt
    -Chopped Chicken Breast
    -Fresh Basil
    -Sea Salt and Pepper
    It’s delish!

  46. Sara Johnson

    Try substituting non-fat plain greek yogurt for mayonaise, you cannot tell the difference. Takes out fat and adds lots of protein. I love substituting Greek Yogurt for anything that calls for sour cream or mayo. Excellent in tuna salad as well!

  47. Sylvia

    Thanks for the instructions on poaching the chicken! I saved the poaching liquid to make soup a couple days later.

  48. Lindielee

    Ah…I’ve never even seen plum preserves however I do use Plum wine for baking Asian Chicken or adding a splash to strawberry preserves for dipping egg rolls.
    The Brand I use is Kinsen Plum that is readily available in southern California markets.
    Hope this helps someone. I’m going to add it to this recipe.
    12 Alcohol content – tastes more like a liquor

  49. gramina

    This is embarrassingly basic, but it’s wonderful — my step-father made some last time I was home to visit, and I got the procedure from him:

    Cooked chicken
    Dried cranberries
    Mayonnaise

    Combine to taste.

    I add a little black pepper sometimes, but then, I grew up in the south.

    Seriously, try it — I never would have believed it was that simple.

  50. Valerie at The Year of Living Healthfully

    I like to add red or green grapes and a few lightly salted cashews in my chicken salad. I love your idea of adding olives! I am going to try that.

  51. yoko

    i’m going to make this except with leftover turkey in place of chicken and cranberry sauce/relish in place of plum jam :) used your recipes to make all three!