Chicken Salad

All SeasonsQuickSaladQuick and EasyLow CarbChicken

Delicious Chicken Salad! How to make chicken salad with chopped cooked chicken, celery, bell pepper, green olives, apple, iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise, plus a secret family ingredient that makes all the difference!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Chicken Salad, A Family Affair

My mother and father make the best chicken salad. It’s a joint effort; my dad assembles the ingredients, while my mom makes the dressing.

It’s not exactly your standard chicken salad. They like to include chopped apple, for a sweet note, and also chopped green olives, for their tangy saltiness.

They’ll use leftover chicken from a roast chicken, or their favorite baked chicken dish, and even include some of the crispy skin for this chicken salad. You could also just poach some boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs in salted water for this salad.

What Makes this Chicken Salad Special

The “secret sauce” so to speak, of this chicken salad, is the tablespoon of plum preserves my mom adds to the mayo-based dressing. You could use any berry jelly or jam, but as we always have a lot of plum jam on hand (due to several plum trees), that’s what mom reaches for first.

Mom balances out the sweetness from the dab of jam with a bit of lemon juice.

The result? Wonderful!

Do you have a favorite chicken salad recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Updated July 2, 2018 : Introduction updated

Chicken Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

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.

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

2 Make dressing: 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 combine: Gently stir the dressing in with the chicken salad ingredients. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

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how to make chicken salad with secret ingredient: plum preserves

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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77 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Gerald

    I subbed in orange marmalade. EXCELLENT!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Tony

    Amazing. Are used apricot preserves since that’s what I had and it was absolutely delicious. My go to chicken salad recipe from now on.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Renee

    Absolutely delicious!! I was skeptical when I saw the dressing. Had never heard of adding preserves. Will definitely be serving this in the future. I used a rotisserie chicken and omitted olives since I did not have any on hand. Thank you so much for sharing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Aly

    I made it last night and placed it in the fridge overnight. Today it tasted delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jet Kin

    Delicious! I hate olives, so I left those out. And used sugar free strawberry jam to make it lower carb. At 5g net carb per serving, this is a keeper. Thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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