(what to try, cook and experience)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The. Best. Chicken Salad. Recipe. Ever. (Also, no cooking involved)

Ok, here it is.

My famous chicken salad recipe.
It's taken me awhile to truly perfect it.
I would make it too wet, or too lemon-y, or over-seasoned.

I once made chicken salad sandwiches for a party, and they were eaten in ten minutes. So I put out the leftover bowl of chicken salad with some crackers, and that was gone in another ten.

It's that good.

This isn't some fruit-filled crazy chicken salad recipe.
There are no apples or grapes in it.
Because I think that's gross.

However, you could add some walnuts to it.
I wouldn't mind that.
(But it's not necessary)

The best thing about this chicken salad is that it doesn't matter what kind of chicken you use, as long as it's fully cooked chicken. So I always make it the day after we have rotisserie chicken, or the day after I buy fried chicken from my grocery store. I have tried once or twice to use canned chicken (like tuna salad) but it's just too wet and this way, I get to use up my leftovers and not use my stove during this miserable heatwave. I use both dark and white meat, and I think the combination of the two makes the chicken salad more savory.
Also, it would seem that the amount of wet ingredients wouldn't be enough to really mix well, but I promise that if you add too much, you will get chicken salad soup.

And that's almost as gross as adding apples or grapes to chicken salad.


 Ok, ok. I know there is a whole platoon of people who just can't eat chicken salad without fruit in it.

No, I get it.

I have a girlfriend who ate a grape-laden chicken salad sandwich, from a particular restaurant, every single day for six months.
Sometimes, she ate two a day.
She ate them so much she made herself sick.
And while I wouldn't have gone to those extremes, I can say that when I make my particular chicken salad recipe, it never lasts more than two days.
And we're talking about three cups of chicken here.
(It's that good!)

The Best Dill Chicken Salad (without fruit)

For this particular batch of chicken salad, I used three cups of chicken, because that's how much chicken I had left from the day before. But you can easily divide this portion if you have less chicken, or double if you have more. For a half-portion, use about 1/4 cup of mayo, adjust other seasoning slightly.

3 cups of chilled, chopped cooked chicken (white and dark meat, skin and bones removed)
1/2 cup chopped red onion (about half of one red onion)
1/2 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks) 
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used light mayo, don't use fat-free because it tastes disgusting.)
A splash of bottled lemon juice (about 2 TBSP)
2 TBSP (or more) dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, in order, in a large bowl. Mix well, add a little more mayo if necessary, no more than 1-2TBSP more for consistency. Season well with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for an hour before serving over crusty French bread, crackers, sandwiches or eating directly out the bowl with a spoon.

Note to You: I know this sounds like a really simple recipe, but I swear that you don't need any other seasonings or ingredients. I have tried making this chicken salad about five hundred different ways and failed miserably each time. Sometimes, simple is really better.



  1. Sometimes simple is the best :) My sons love chicken salad and my youngest hates fruit and nut adds so I know he would like this :)

  2. Thank you for commenting! Your son should really like this, no fruit, and the dill isn't overpowering. Let me know how it turns out!

  3. Is it no more than 1 to 2 Tbsp of mayo additional or 1/2 a Tbsp? I'm interested in trying new recipes to change up the normal blah food we've been having & this looks good!

  4. Yes, I would only add 1-2 TBSP at first and check my consistency. If it's not wet enough, you can adjust again, but it's best to add mayo in small increments. You can't undo it once you've mixed it! Hope you like it!

  5. This is almost exactly like my chicken salad recipe. The lemon and dill and EXTREME lack of fruit are the most important part. I just add some dijon mustard to mine, the ratio varies every time depending on how much mayo is in the fridge. I am also very passionate about this type, the savory type, of chicken salad being the best ever.
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we're chicken salad soul mates.

    PS: Try the straight salad with kettle cooked chips instead of crackers some time. Wonderful.

    1. We DEFINITELY are chicken salad soulmates! I will try my next batch with dijon. Thanks for reading!

  6. Thank you for this recipe. I do not really have any problem with grapes and apples in my chicken salad, but like you, my son hates it so I guess this will be something great to try. I would also have to cut back a little with the red onions and just add white onions. He also hates the former! This post will surely delight other readers as well as shiva platters Fort Lauerdale providers out there who are looking for fresh ideas. Again, thank you for this recipe.

  7. I used fat free Greek yogurt instead of mayo, added 1 TB of mustard and Sriracha. YUM!

  8. I had no idea so many people felt the same way I do about chicken salad! I will definitely try the sriaccha and judging from the quality of these photos, it might be time for a new update. Thanks again for reading!

  9. I am going to try this. My daughter's partner hd a death in the family, and I am going to make them some chicken salad for sandwiches. I hope it turns out good. Thanks, with love, from joygoround.com :)

  10. Actually, green grapes are really good in chicken salad...and toasted walnuts. Try Chicken Salad at thesummerkitchenblog.blogspot.ca. Your lemon dill sounds excellent!