My quick and easy, classic chicken salad recipe made healthier and lighter to make the perfect homemade chicken salad sandwich. The perfect cold lunch for meal prep!
Easy Chicken Salad Recipe
This traditional Chicken Salad recipe, made with simple ingredients is perfect for make-ahead lunches. There’s so many ways to eat it, like as a chicken salad sandwich, on a bagel, over a salad or in lettuce wraps. It’s is my go-to lunch to keep on hand in the refrigerator to eat throughout the week, or to bring to potlucks and it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, high protein, and low-carb. Some more of my favorite healthy chicken salad recipes are Cilantro Chicken Salad, Ranch Chicken Salad, and Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill. You may also enjoy my classic Egg Salad.
Classic Chicken Salad Ingredients
- Chicken: Chop 12 ounces of cooked chicken breasts from 1 whole roasted chicken. You can also use rotisserie chicken to save time.
- Mayonnaise: I use light mayo to reduce the calories, but feel free to use your favorite mayo.
- Celery: Chop celery for some crunch and veggies.
- Red Onion: Swap red onion for scallions or chives.
- Chicken Broth: If the chicken salad is a little dry, stir in two tablespoons of broth.
- Dijon Mustard for a little tang
- Seasoned Salt and Black Pepper for flavor
How to Make Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is really easy to make and a great way to use up leftover chicken breast from a whole roasted chicken. You can also poach the chicken in chicken broth (see below) or use my air fryer chicken breast recipe to make this salad.
To make the salad, remove the chicken breast from the roasted chicken and chop it fine with the veggies, then combine with mayonnaise, celery, onions, Dijon mustard, a little chicken broth if needed and season with salt and pepper.
How to Poach Chicken Breast:
If you want to poach your chicken breast, follow these simple steps:
- Cover chicken breast in broth in a small pot, add water if it doesn’t cover the chicken.
- Add salt and pepper, a piece of celery and it’s leaves (you could add herbs like parsley, garlic, onion, or whatever you want) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover tight and let it sit for 15-20 minutes or until thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees.
- Chicken will be cooked through. Let it cool and chop.
How to Serve with Chicken Salad
Here are some ways to serve this chicken salad.
- Wraps using whole wheat or grain-free tortillas
- Bagels: I love everything bagels with chicken salad!
- Bread, like these High-Protein Oat Rolls or your favorite sandwich bread
- Lettuce wraps for a low-carb option.
- Collard Green Wraps are another healthy low-carb option.
- Salad: Eat the chicken salad over lettuce, and add other veggies, like avocado, cucumber, or cherry tomatoes.
How long does homemade chicken salad last?
Homemade chicken salad lasts about 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Chicken Salad Variations
- Mayo Swap: Substitute Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise or use half yogurt, half mayo.
- Add some diced apples or grapes for sweetness and crunch.
- You can add nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans.
- Mix in dried cranberries or cherries for a pop of sweetness.
- Add some chopped pickles for a sour bite.
- Herbs: Sprinkle in fresh dill, green onions or parsley.
- Curry Salad Version: Add some powdered curry seasoning and chopped cilantro, swap the mayo for yougurt.
- Chicken Salad Pasta: Mix the chicken salad with some elbow macaroni and a little more mayo to make it a meal.
- Add more seasoning like everything bagel seasoning, onion powder or garlic powder.
What do I do if my chicken salad is too dry?
Since I use less mayo than most traditional Chicken Salad recipes to keep it light, I like to add a little chicken broth to keep it moist without needing more mayo or yogurt. This is a great dairy-free option.
Another option is to add some fat-free Greek yogurt along with the mayo which also adds more protein.
More Chicken Salad Recipes You’ll Love
- Chicken Salad with Avocado
- Chicken Waldorf Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Cilantro Chicken Salad
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Avocado Salad
Chicken Salad Recipe
- 12 ounces cooked chicken breast, finely chopped (from 2 breasts of rotisserie chicken)
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion, diced (or scallions or chives)
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth, optional
- 1 teaspoon Dijon
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- black pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over salad, in a wrap, or in a sandwich
Last Step:Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.
Cover chicken breast in broth in a small pot, add water if it doesn’t cover the chicken.
Add salt and pepper, a piece of celery and it’s leaves (you could add herbs like parsley, garlic, onion, or whatever you want) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
54 comments on “Classic Chicken Salad Recipe”
Absolutely delicious. I did use the 2 tablespoons of chicken broth, added more celery, used red onion bc no green onion at home, and 2 teaspoons sweet relish. This was excellent to bring to work for a high protein lunch!
Great recipe. Added dried crazins for addition sweetness.
I love chicken salad and this looks delish. Has anyone made it with canned chicken?
You certainly can!
i did and it was delicious!
Ooh, this sounds delish! It’s pretty similar to my usual, but definitely lighter, and I love the idea of dijon. Will definitely be trying it soon! Though I find raw red onion too strong for my tastes, so usually use sweet onion or shallots (my personal preference) instead.
Very yummy, I added a few low sugar cranberries,so good!
Hi, looks great! What is the serving size/cup?
I have high chances and high sugar levels. Is there a way to reduce the cholesterol in this???
You offer free recipes and do the calculations for dieters along with weekly plans and a grocery list. No one else offers that much convenience that I know of.
I have used your recipes for a long time and I always have great results.
A very grateful follower.
Delicious! And super easy. Always appreciate your recipes. I didn’t have celery but I did have grapes so I swapped for those. Still great.
Awesome on a piece of dry rye toast. Moist and the flavor is there!
What is the serving size
Basically just used light mayo, diced celery, salt, and pepper., and Italian spices. I diced it in small cubes that were probably quarter of an inch. Simple but very flavorful. I let it chill for about 4 hours then used it in a wrap with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber. and red onion. It was awesome. Thank you for a recipe that was flavorful and healthy.
I’ve been using a 1/2 non-fat greek yogurt and 1/2 regular mayo for the dressing. I also use a bit of lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon.
If I use unsalted veggie or chicken broth will it be the same points
can I do 1/2 with mayo and 1/2 with yogurt or sour cream? And then add dill ?? I am not the world’s best cook so not sure about the flavors! thanks
Gina I can’t thank you enough for creating this web site everything is so delicious. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next!! Well done!!@
Wonderful and simple chicken salad. Love eating over baby spinach and with other veggies.
Gina – how many ounces did you use for chicken breasts? Thanks.
I’m sorry Kerri, as this is an older recipe, I don’t have it down in ounces.