Classic Chicken Salad Recipe

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This Classic Chicken Salad Recipe is a must-have for an easy lunch, picnic, potluck, or all of your summer gatherings. 

titled collage for classic chicken salad recipe

Made with a beautifully seasoned creamy sauce, juicy shredded chicken, zesty lemon juice, and toasted almonds, it’s bound to be a family favorite.

Starting with a rotisserie chicken saves you time and gives you lots of vibrant flavor. It doesn’t matter if you are in the mood to be lazy or just need a quick meal, rotisserie chicken will always save the day.

Looking for more salads? We have everything from pasta salads to fresh veggie salads, and my famous cheesecake salads.

chicken salad recipe ingredients on counter

Classic Chicken Salad Recipe – Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • No rotisserie chicken? No problem! Swap it for 2 large cooked chicken breasts instead. It will still be tender and delicious.
  • Don’t forget the dark meat. I know it’s tempting to just use white meat, but the leg and thigh are where most of the flavor is. Shred it off the bones and add it in!
  • In a hurry? If you don’t have time to chill the chicken salad, you can eat it right away. The flavor will be more robust if you do have time to put it in the fridge, but it’s not required.
  • Toasting the almonds. To give the almonds an extra crunch and deeper flavor, toast them. Bake for 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees or toss in the microwave for 30 second intervals for a total of 2 – 2 ½ minutes.
  • Slice the celery thin. Keeping the celery small will give you a nice crunch, but it won’t be overwhelming.
  • Add some variety! You can easily swap the dijon mustard for yellow mustard. You can add extra scallions for some added heat, or leave the almonds out completely. Try out new flavors if desired.
combining creamy chicken salad in bowl

Serving Suggestions

While this recipe is amazing as a chicken salad sandwich, there are plenty of other amazing ways you can serve it.

If you do serve it as a sandwich, it’s great when topped with lettuce and tomatoes.

Put it on a platter with mini bell peppers, crackers, pretzels, or crunchy breadsticks. Eat it like a dip!

Place a dollop of the chicken salad in the center of a large piece of lettuce or tortilla then roll it into a wrap.

It also makes a really tasty topper to a veggie salad!

making chicken salad sandwich

FAQ – Common Recipe Questions

Do I have to shred the chicken?

While I typically shred it, you can certainly chop it if you prefer. The way you cut the chicken won’t affect the flavor, just the texture.

Can I add additional seasonings?

Sure! Adding more seasonings is a great way to add some extra pizzazz. Paprika, onion powder, and anything else you like will work.

Fresh herbs are a great addition as well. Freshly chopped chives or dill are pretty delicious options.

How do you store leftovers?

It should be kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. It will last 3-4 days


bowl of classic chicken salad

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Classic Chicken Salad Recipe

Donna Elick
This classic chicken salad recipe is a must-have for an easy lunch, picnic, potluck, or all of your summer gatherings.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 2 – 4


  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers, optional
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallion, optional


  • Add all of the ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and mix until combined.
  • Chill for 1 hours for best flavor.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1020cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 86g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 312mg | Sodium: 2036mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for homemade chicken salad recipe

Originally published August 2021

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