Tasty classic chicken salad ready in just 10 minutes. Put that leftover rotisserie chicken to good use with just a few ingredients. Great for a picnic, party, or just your lunch.
Most people think of chicken salad as a summer salad, but we eat it year-round for light meals. It is a great way to use up that leftover chicken and other things you have around.
With just a little work and a few ingredients, you have a tasty and creamy filling for a wrap, sandwich, or just eat it straight. Just follow these easy step by step photo instructions for a quick and delicious meal.
Inspired by Martha Stewart's Classic Chicken Salad with a few minor changes
A high 4 to low 5 but I really love chicken salad.
The most common way to get your chicken these days is leftover rotisserie chicken. But any leftover or pre-cooked chicken will work.
A cup of cubed chicken weighs about 4-5 oz. A cooked medium-size skinless boneless chicken breast will get you about 1 ½ to 2 cups. So just toss a raw chicken great in the oven for 30 minutes or so to bake to 165°.
Or even canned chicken will be fine. It is usually packed in fluid, drain that, and measure the volume then adjust the recipe to what you have.
Most chicken salad is made with a ratio of 2 cups of chicken to ½ cup of mayonnaise. But there is some room for personal preference. So adjust the volume of mayo to the dryness of the salad you like.
You can use Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise. It can be low fat or regular.
Some people will use Greek yogurt to replace the mayonnaise, but I personally like mayonnaise.
Basic chicken salad is just chicken, mayonnaise, and celery. But that is fairly plain.
We will start with the celery. One medium rib of celery will make about ½ cup of diced celery. While the recipe calls for that amount with 2 cups of chicken, it is a little heavy for some. Adjust to your taste.
The lemon juice can be fresh if you have it. A medium lemon will have about 2 tablespoons of juice.
Almost all chicken salad has some onion. General diced green or red onion is usually used. I include mustard and parsley, also.
Nuts: Almonds. Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews.
Spices: Garlic, Paprika, Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper
Fruits: Grapes, Raisins, Craisins, Apples
Other: Bell Peppers, Olives, Eggs, Pickles, Pickled Jalapenos
❄️Storage and Safety
Chicken salad will last refrigerated for 3-4 days if sealed well. The mayo and the vegetables do not freeze well, so freezing is not recommended.
A food safety note. Like all foods, if left at room temperature for 2 hours or more, discard it. Also, since this is made with leftover chicken, the 3-4 days that it is good for starts with the cooking of the chicken, NOT the making of the chicken salad.
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🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Any shredded or cubed chicken will do.
Dice 1 stalk of celery and half a small red onion finely then combine 2 cups diced or shredded chicken, ½ cup mayo, ½ teaspoon parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Mix well. Refrigerate it for at least an hour to give the flavors a chance to come together. Then serve on a sandwich, salad, or in a wrap.
Easy Chicken Salad
- 2 cup chicken - cooked, cubed or shredded
- ½ cup mayonnaise - or Miracle Whip
- ½ cup diced celery - about one medium rib
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ red onion - small diced
- ½ teaspoon parsley dry
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Nuts - Almonds. Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews.
- Spices - Garlic, Paprika, Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper
- Fruits - Grapes, Raisins, Craisins, Apples
- Other - Bell Peppers, Olives, Eggs, Pickles, Pickled Jalapenos
- Use pre-cooked chicken.
- Dice 1 stalk of celery and half a small red onion finely then combine 2 cups diced or shredded chicken, ½ cup mayo, ½ teaspoon parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Mix well. Refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors combine if you have time. Then serve in a wrap, sandwich, or just on a plate.
My Private Notes
- The general ratio is 2 cups of diced or shredded chicken per ½ cup of dressing. You can vary that for your taste.
- Adjust the ingredients for the amount of chicken you have.
- One medium chicken breast will make about 1 ½ to 2 cups of diced chicken.
- A medium celery rib will make about ½ cup of chopped celery.
- One lemon will yield about 2 tablespoons of juice.
- Regular or low-fat versions of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip will be fine.
-Nuts: Almonds. Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews. (generally ¼ cup)
-Spices: Garlic, Paprika, Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper (Go light with this)
-Fruits: Grapes, Raisins, Craisins, Apples (about ¼ cup to start)
-Other: Bell Peppers, Olives, Eggs, Pickles, Pickled Jalapenos
- Chicken salad will last refrigerated for 3-4 days if sealed well. The mayo and the vegetables do not freeze well so freezing is not recommended.
- A food safety note. Like all foods, if left at room temperature for 2 hours or more, discard it. Also, since this is made with leftover chicken, the 3-4 days that it is good refrigerated starts with the cooking of the chicken NOT the making of the chicken salad.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published December 16, 2012. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.