Lemon Chicken Salad

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This lemon chicken salad includes fresh basil and citrus for a unique twist on the classic recipe. Make some today for a quick lunch or easy dinner!

Not much brightens up a dish more than the flavor of sweet citrus fruits. Fresh oranges, limes and lemons are available all year long, so be sure to stock up and add their tangy flavor to your favorite dishes. They’re a great source of vitamin C!

titled collage for lemon chicken salad recipe

Lemon Chicken Salad

Brighten up your favorite chicken salad sandwich with a burst of citrus! Italian herbs and seasoning round out the flavor, and every bite has the right amount of crunch from a handful of chopped celery.

If you’re looking for more chicken salad recipes, I have plenty of options that include greens or noodles!

There’s a homemade version of Panera’s popular Green Goddess or a barbecue favorite that makes enough to feed the whole family.

For something more filling, try a bowl of my bacon ranch pasta salad or this refreshing pesto version with chopped tomatoes and mozzarella.

How to Make the Best Citrus Chicken Salad

  1. First, prepare two boneless, skinless breasts however is easiest. Chicken breast varies in size, but on average, they weigh about 6 ounces each.

  2. Shred the meat once it is cooked, then add it to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix everything with a fork until well combined and enjoy – it’s that simple!
chicken breasts with lemon and fresh herbs

Serving Suggestions

There are so many different ways to enjoy the bright flavors of lemon chicken salad!

  • Pile it on your favorite sandwich bread or lettuce wraps.
  • Use it as a dip for crackers or pita chips.
  • Add a scoop to some greens with a drizzle of vinaigrette.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Time Saving Tip
I often make a big batch of shredded chicken in the crockpot to have on hand for recipes like this one. Even using a rotisserie bird from the store would cut down on prep time! 

Want extra lemon flavor?
Use this easy baked lemon chicken recipe so the meat is infused with citrus as well. 

Lower Fat Option
Swap the mayo for plain yogurt, and use a Greek variety if you prefer a thicker texture.

Add a little spice.
A few cranks of a pepper mill or a dash of red chili flakes will kick things up a notch!

Tip for easy shredding 
Toss the cooked poultry into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and turn it on low for a few minutes. You can also do this with a hand mixer, but it’s a little more work.

chicken salad ingredients in a bowl

Lemon Chicken Salad FAQ

Can I make chicken salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! I recommend preparing it no more than a day in advance if you will be serving it to guests.

Otherwise, it should stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days if you store it in a sealed container.

You could also cook and shred the chicken beforehand. Then all you will need to do is mix it up when you are ready to eat.

chicken salad prepared in a bowl

What else can I add to chicken salad?

Popular mix-ins include green onion, chopped walnuts or pecans, apples, pickles, and even halved grapes!

Veggies like bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado are delicious options for this chicken salad recipe.

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lemon chicken salad on bread


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lemon chicken salad on bread

Lemon Chicken Salad

Donna Elick
This lemon chicken salad includes fresh basil and citrus for a unique twist on the classic recipe. Make some today for a quick lunch or easy dinner!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Method Mixed
Servings 3 – 4


  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, I used my Baked Lemon Chicken
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon


  • Shred the chicken breast with two forks. Place in a large bowl.
  • Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  • Garnish with additional basil, if desired.
  • Serve alone, as a sandwich, or in lettuce wraps.
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 700cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 561mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg

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 chicken salad sandwich recipe

Originally published August 2021

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This was simple and easy, but so tasty. I had not thought about a citrus flavor like this on chicken before but it is so good.

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