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Classic Chicken Salad Recipe

If you have leftover chicken that you don’t know what to do with, or if you are looking for a refreshing meal, you are going to love this Classic Chicken Salad recipe!

Every Sunday we make a whole chicken in our Instant Pot or Air Fryer.

bowl of chicken salad
Chicken salad ready to be served.

We slice and eat the chicken for our family meal that night. Or we use the meat throughout the week in other recipes.

And to be quite honest, when life gets too busy, we will buy a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

We use the meat in a variety of recipes to make weeknight meals get on the table a little faster.

Chicken fajitas, chicken soup, shredded chicken sandwiches and buffalo chicken wraps are some of our favorite recipes to make with the leftover chicken.

diced chicken
Leftover diced chicken makes for fantastic chicken salad!

However, especially in the summer months, we add Classic Chicken Salad to the menu rotation as well!

There is just something refreshing taking a bite into cold chicken salad spread between two pieces of bread on a hot summer day.

The Ingredients

However, depending on where you live and who makes it, chicken salad can look and taste much different.

We have all seen the version that includes halved grapes in the mix. And sometimes even diced apples.

diced celery
The diced celery provides a nice crunch to the chicken salad.

But sometimes chicken salad will include not only the classic mayonnaise dressing, but one mixed with mustard as well.

Are looking to add a little extra protein to your diet? Some people add in a couple of diced hard boiled eggs to the mixture.

For those that are striving to eat a little healthier, you can make this chicken salad using Greek Yogurt instead!

And if are are trying (or needing) to avoid eating eggs or dairy, Helman’s makes a fantastic Vegan Mayonnaise so that you can still enjoy this recipe!

mayo in measuring cup
If you have a hard time getting the mayo out of the measuring cup, try an adjustable push measuring cup.

Not only can you mix up the diced ingredients, but you can also adjust the spices as well.

If you are looking for a great chicken salad recipe to go along with a barbecue, add in a little smoked paprika.

The slight smokey flavor pairs perfectly with the chicken, but also with the mayo.

chicken salad ingredients
Simply mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate.

However, our absolute favorite way to adjust this recipe is to add in a little of our Chinese 5 Color pepper powder.

The slight heat of the powder gives the chicken salad great flavor without making it too spicy.

Serving Chicken Salad

Before serving classic chicken salad it is vital that you let it sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Although I actually prefer to let it sit overnight whenever possible.

This time not only allows the flavors to meld together, it also gives time for the acid in the lemon juice to penetrate and break down the fibers in the diced chicken.

Now that the chicken salad has become super tender, it is time to serve it to your family and friends.

chicken salad
Chicken Salad mixed and ready to go into the refrigerator.

Of course, you can serve it between two slices of bread for a hearty meal.

Or serve a large scoop on top of a bed of lettuce for a healthier meal. Place it on a plate with some fresh fruit for a classic summer time meal.

We also like to serve it as an appetizer by using it as a spread. Simply serve it alongside crackers or baguettes.

But our absolute favorite way to serve this classic chicken salad is on mini-buns.

Serve it along side of Ham Salad and Egg Salad mini-sandwiches and you have the perfect sandwich platter for any party or pot luck!


Mary and Jim

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Classic Chicken Salad

Classic Chicken Salad is the perfect combination of diced chicken tossed in a creamy dressing and lemon juice with just the right amount of crunch from diced celery and sliced almonds.


  • 4 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Recipe Notes

Optional additional ingredients: grapes, diced apples, diced jalapenos, eggs, olives, pickles, relish.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

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