The Best Chicken Salad Recipe - House of Nash Eats (2024)

This easy, classic Chicken Salad recipe with grapes and sliced almonds is the best I've ever had and makes the most amazing sandwich on a croissant ever. Perfect for a graduation parties, a ladies luncheon, brunches, bridal or wedding showers, baptisms, and pretty much any event you can think of!

If you love cold salads as much as we do, be sure to check out some of our other favorites like Curried Chicken Salad, BLT Pasta Salad, Tex-Mex Doritos Taco Salad, Zucchini Salad, and Grilled Corn Summer Salad.

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We recently had a gathering at our house where we served these chicken salad sandwiches to 60 family and friends who came into town for our daughter's baptism.

Clara just turned eight, which is a big deal in our family because one of our beliefsis that children are old enough by that age to understand the covenant that they are making at baptism. Which is why we wait, rather than baptizing our children as infants.

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I figured this easy chicken salad recipe would be perfect for the occasion since we could make it in advance (I feel like the flavor is always better the second day anyway!) and just assemble the morning of. Plus, I had three of my nieces (ages 9, 7, and 6) in town, so between them and my two girls (ages 8 and 5) I had some pretty fantastic helpers on hand to make a quadruple batch of this chicken salad with grapes and almonds.

The girls each had a cutting board and knives and after some knife safety tips they went to work slicing grapes in half and chopping celery for me, then adding it to the biggest mixing bowl I have (and even then I had to split the batch between my two largest bowls to make it work). I chopped the chicken and prepped the dressing and we all had a lovely afternoon in the kitchen together!

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We rounded out the party menu with a that my amazing friend Blake kept refilled, multigrain chips, lots of fruit and fizzy drinks, and Clara's raspberry chocolate chunk cookies for dessert.

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe for Sandwiches

I remember this chicken salad recipe being one of my favorites when I was growing up. I mix it up every now and then by adding apples or using pecans, but most often I make chicken salad the same way my mom did; with celery and red grapes in it (but you could use green if you prefer).

I just love the crunch of the celery and the bursts of sweetness from the grapes! Be sure that the grapes you are using are crunchy because soft grapes are less than ideal for the best chicken salad.

I'll let you in on my dirty little secret: I always try a grape at the store before I buy them. Is that bad? I just hate coming home only to realize that the grapes are bitter or soft because I really, really only like firm grapes!

Also, the thing that I think sets my chicken salad apart from other recipes is the fresh dill. I absolutely love it and when we served these at the party I had so many people comment on how much they liked the fresh dill in my chicken salad recipe.

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This is one of my go-to summer meals because it's cool and refreshing, AND you can make one big batch and it will stay good in the fridge for 5 days. Which means less time cooking and more time at the pool having fun. It's perfect for picnics as well and makes such a nice change from regular lunch meat or boring PB&J's that my kids want every. single. day.

Some of my other favorite summer meals are BLT pasta salad,Doritos taco salad, grilled veggie quesadillas, and bbq chicken cobb salad. All of them are fairly quick and easy and don't leave you feeling heavy and sluggish on hot days.

How to prep chicken for this Chicken Salad Recipe

I prefer a rough chop on my chicken for chicken salad sandwiches, but some people prefer the meat to be shredded. Either approach works so go with what you like best!

Also, when it comes to what chicken to use for this recipe, you have a few options.

  1. Pre-cooked rotisserie chicken: We love the rotisserie chickens from Costco and they make my life so much easier some nights. It totally works for chicken salad.
  2. Oven-roasted chicken breasts: This is my favorite method and I've included instructions in the recipe on how I do this. Simply seasoned with salt & pepper, it doesn't take much time and like I mentioned earlier, I've quadrupled the batch of chicken when making this recipe for a crowd, which is easier for me than breaking down multiple whole chickens.
  3. Poached chicken breasts: When my mom would make this while I was growing up, she would always just poach the chicken breasts in a large pot of water until they were cooked through, then shred the meat. I think this might be a Southern approach to chicken salad, but I don't know for sure.
  4. Canned chicken: Okay, so this is not my favorite, but it's not terrible and it definitely works if you have canned chicken in food storage that you want to use up or you are looking for the easiest chicken salad option.

Best Chicken Salad Recipe ingredients

  • cooked chicken
  • celery
  • grapes
  • green onions
  • almonds
  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • fresh dill
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

How to make this Chicken Salad Recipe

  1. Cook the chicken (or use a precooked option) and roughly chop or shred.
  2. Combine the chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, almonds, and dill in a large bowl, then gently toss to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour the mayo mixture over the chicken mixture and gently stir until everything is evenly coated. You can control how much dressing you want to use, so if you prefer your chicken salad to be more dry, just start with ¾ of the may mixture, stir it in, taste, then add more as needed.
  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or even overnight.
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If making chicken salad sandwiches, slice each croissant in half and layer a piece of green leaf lettuce and a scoop of chicken salad on each roll. Or you can just use regular bread. I think it's especially good with a whole grain bread with seeds on the crust. Or serve the chicken salad over a bed of mixed greens with sliced tomato and avocado.

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Variations for this Recipe: Chicken Salad

One of the great things about chicken salad and why I love this recipe so much is that it is easily customizable. You can change it with the seasons or just use ingredients you have on hand.

Sometimes I change things up and make chicken salad with apples or cranberries instead of with grapes, especially in the fall.

Or instead of making my chicken salad with sliced almonds, which I don't always have on hand, I will use chopped pecans. And of course you can omit the nuts altogether if you have food allergies or just don't care for nuts in your chicken salad.

Use chopped red onions instead of green onions.

You could also lighten up the chicken salad a bit by replacing part of the mayonnaise and sour cream called for in the recipe with Greek yogurt. I wouldn't replace all of it because that would significantly affect the taste of the final chicken salad, but replacing half of the mayonnaise works pretty well for a healthy chicken salad recipe.

Add diced avocado. Because honestly, what isn't better with a little avocado?

Creative ways to serve Chicken Salad

Traditionally, when chicken salad is being served it’s between two slices of bread. But it can be enjoyed in many different ways!

We love getting nice big romaine lettuce leaves and stuffing it with the best chicken salad. It makes a nice finger food while also creating a delicious snack. You can also serve it on top of crackers, in a wrap, or in a pita. Make a chicken melt or make a quesadilla with the chicken salad. Mix it up with lettuce and make an actual salad with it! Use it as a dip, put it in an omelet, and eat it with avocado. So many fun ways to enjoy this amazing chicken salad!

What goes with Chicken Salad?

With the protein in the chicken salad, I would treat this as more of a main dish than a side dish. I do love eating it with a nice buttery croissant and a side of potato chips. Such a good sweet and salty combo. But a side salad or even a pasta salad with chopped fruit would be great. A light soup, giant pickle spears, roasted red potatoes, jello salad, a cheese or veggie platter would be excellent choices as well!

How to store the Best Chicken Salad

Store the chicken salad in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

How long is homemade chicken salad good?

For the best quality of chicken, consume within four days! This is the recommendation from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. You don’t want to second guess any type of meat, fish, or chicken. If in doubt, throw it out!

Recipe for Chicken Salad FAQs

What makes chicken salad spoil?

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a chicken salad gone bad. Always transport or store the chicken salad in a chilled tote or the refrigerator. Never let it sit at room temperature. The danger zone for bacteria to start growing it between 40 - 140!

Why is my chicken salad mushy?

Some factors that could lead to mushy chicken salad could be watery produce, too much dressing, or just natural settling of the chicken salad that may end up a bit watery by day two or three. You will definitely want to wash your produce like the grapes, celery, green onions but just make sure they are completely DRY before mixing it all in. You don’t want any excess water. Also, try not to add too much mayo. It can get too saucy! Just stick to the recipe and it will turn out delicious!

More Sandwich Recipes You'll Love

  • Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwiches
  • Grilled Caprese Panini
  • Cubanos [Cuban Sandwiches]
  • Turkey Bacon Avocado Sandwich with Kneaders Sauce
  • Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
  • Grilled Cajun Chicken Sandwiches
  • Grilled Summer Veggie Quesadilla
  • Chicken Parmesan Sliders
  • or see my salad recipes here!

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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PrintPinRate

Best Chicken Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins

Total Time 45 minutes mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine Southern

Servings 8 servings

This easy, classic Chicken Salad recipe with grapes and sliced almonds is the best I've ever had and makes the most amazing sandwich on a croissant ever.Perfect for a graduation parties, a ladies luncheon, brunches, bridal or wedding showers, baptisms, and pretty much any event you can think of!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 cups cooked, roughly chopped or shredded chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups halved red grapes
  • 1 ½ cups chopped celery about 2-3 celery ribs
  • 1 cup thinly sliced almonds
  • 3 thinly sliced green onions both the white and green part
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 croissant rolls optional for sandwiches
  • Green leaf lettuce optional for sandwiches

Instructions

  • If using uncooked chicken breasts, preheat oven to 400°F. Rub chicken breasts with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 22-26 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F when tested with an instant read meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast. Roughly chop or shred the cooked chicken.

  • In a large bowl, add the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, almonds, and dill, then gently toss to combine.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

  • Add the dressing mixture to the chicken mixture and gently stir until everything is evenly coated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or even overnight.

  • If making chicken salad sandwiches, slice each croissant in half and layer a piece of green leaf lettuce and a scoop of chicken salad on each roll. Or serve the chicken salad over a bed of mixed greens with sliced tomato and avocado.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 657mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 2mg

Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

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Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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