This Easy Chicken Salad is one of our new go-to meals. It’s filling for lunch during the week, but it doesn’t feel heavy in the hot spring and summer months. Plus, one you have a base recipe down, it’s pretty customizable!
I wasn’t always the biggest chicken salad fan. Something about it felt wrong to me. Maybe like, chicken shouldn’t be cold and smothered in mayonnaise (no hate toward mayo, though). In grad school, I made chicken salad fairly often, because it was easy to make in bulk and pack for lunch. That was the last time I’d eaten it regularly, until recently! My mother-in-law-to-be has made it a few times recently, and now I’m hooked all over again.
Chicken Salad is a pretty perfect lunch item, especially for those of us still working from home. You can make it into a sandwich—on a flaky croissant, a toasted bun, or freshly baked sourdough—scoop it onto crackers, or wrap it in some big butter lettuce leaves. Serve it with chips, fruit, or raw veggies, and you’ve got yourself a really nice meal, and it’s even kind of healthy!
How to make Easy Chicken Salad
Most recipes call for boiled or poached chicken. I can’t quite get behind boiled chicken, so, more often than not, I actually use rotisserie chicken from my grocery store or Costco. It adds an extra layer of flavor and saves me some prep work. Plus, you get a lot of meat from one of those rotisserie birds! Plenty for leftovers—or a double batch of this. And you can use the bones to make chicken stock.
Most chicken salad recipes are made with mayonnaise, sometimes with sour cream mixed in. I make mine with half mayo, half plain Greek yogurt, to balance out the mayo and add some tang. Greek yogurt also lightens it up a bit.
Once you have your base chicken salad recipe down, you can mix it up with whatever other additions you like. Some popular chicken salad ingredients are:
- Green onion
- Red onion
- Lemon juice
You can even get really creative and make an Asian-inspired chicken salad with cabbage, peanuts, ginger, and other Asian flavors. A Mexican-inspired chicken salad with bell peppers, beans, corn, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro would be tasty, too. Those are experiments for another day and post, though!
Once you’ve got all your ingredients, all you really have to do is shred the cooked chicken, mix everything together in a bowl, and then refrigerate it until you’re ready to eat. You can serve it immediately, but, as with many things, it tastes better when it’s refrigerated for a few hours—or even better, overnight—to let the flavors combine.
And that’s it! Chicken Salad really is that easy to make. I have a feeling it’ll be one of our go-to recipes this summer. If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Classic Southern Pimento Cheese
- Sausage & Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner
- Best Homemade Mac & Cheese
- One-Pot Turkey Chili
- How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Easy Chicken Salad
- 2 cups shredded chicken
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup diced apple
- 1/2 cup sliced red grapes
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp pickle juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Add chicken, mayo, yogurt, grapes, apples, pecans, and pickle juice to a mixing bowl. Mix until combined.
- Season to taste with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Best if made the night before serving.