Classic Chicken Salad

Tested & Perfected Recipes

A great basic recipe, this classic chicken salad is similar to the version served at many delis.

I have shared several of my favorite chicken salad recipes over the years, from Curried Chicken Salad to Chicken Salad with Grapes & Almonds, but this is this classic version is the one I make most often for my family. It is simple, creamy, and flavorful — similar to the chicken salad served at many delis, with “no weird stuff in it,” as my kids would say. The key to success is starting with tender chicken. I use my simple 15-minute poached chicken recipe, but oven-roasted chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken work well too. Serve the salad over greens or in a wrap or sandwich.

What You’ll Need Yo Make Classic Chicken Salad

chicken salad ingredients

As mentioned above, I use poached chicken for this recipe — it’s easy. If you’d prefer to use roasted chicken, you’ll need 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the chicken breasts skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet, and coat them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done, and then let cool.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, salt, sugar, and pepper.
dressing ingredients in bowl

Whisk well to combine.

whisked dressing ingredients

To the dressing, add the chicken, scallions, celery, dill, and parsley.

chicken salad components in bowl

Toss until evenly combined. (If using a rotisserie chicken, be careful when mixing so that it doesn’t fall apart too much.) Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

mixed chicken salad

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Classic Chicken Salad

A great basic recipe, this classic chicken salad is similar to the version served at many delis.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken (see note)
  • 3 scallions, light and dark green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, salt, sugar, and pepper.
  2. To the dressing, add the chicken, scallions, celery, dill, and parsley. Toss until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Note: I use poached chicken for this recipe. If you'd like to use roasted chicken, you'll need 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the chicken breasts skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet. Coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done. Let cool. (You may also use a rotisserie chicken.)
  4. Make-Ahead Instructions: This salad can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 431
  • Fat: 38 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Sodium: 393 mg
  • Cholesterol: 94 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hey Jen: Another WINNER big-time. I had never used chicken tenders before nor had I poached chicken. SO EASY and even though I halved the recipe (just us two seniors) there is LOTS for a few meals. I can’t wait to try your other recipes using the tenders and will likely make a full recipe next time.

    Your recipes ALWAYS turn out perfectly and I am constantly returning to your cookbook for ideas. Keep doing exactly what you are doing. You are helping save our sanity and everybody enjoys a wonderful meal! Take care. Stay safe.

    • — Judi Gibbs on April 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on April 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • I see no need to search for a chicken salad recipe ever again. I can’t imagine finding anything better than this. My whole family loved it!

    • — Stacy on April 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • How does this taste in relation to ur cookbook chicken salad recipe?

    • — Laura on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • There are a lot of similarities, but the one in the cookbook has a slightly different flavor due to the cooking method (grilling versus poaching the chicken). Hope you enjoy if you try either one!

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • “This may be the best chicken salad you ever made!!” That quote is from my sweet husband who loves all my chicken salads, true, and I also make many different recipes. What a fabulous chicken salad!!

    I happened to use leftover chicken from my freshly made batch of chicken soup. (I omitted the sugar, and loved it as is. I’m sure it’s even better with the sugar I’m just trying to be conscientious where I add it.)

    Thanks Jenn!!! I love your recipe so much and add my voice to the chorus that I would love to watch you on Food Network TV. Thanks again for adding a new recipe to my rotation.

    • — Barrie on March 27, 2021
    • Reply

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