This delicious chicken salad recipe is quick and easy to make, with creamy mayonnaise dressing, crunchy celery, and tender chicken perfectly seasoned for a quick lunch or picnic spread! 

This recipe for chicken salad is quick and easy, taking less than 15 minutes to prepare. The best part is that you can customize it to your liking with a variety of add-ins. I will provide you with some great ideas to elevate this simple recipe and create your own unique version.

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Chicken salad stuffed into heirloom tomatoes with almond chips on top

Preparing chicken salad in advance is perfect for meal prep or large gatherings. Discover creative ways to serve it for family meals or events.

If you are looking for yummy fillings for sandwiches, be sure to try my famous Pimento Cheese Sandwich, Masters Chicken Salad, Spicy Pimento Cheese, and Masters Egg Salad.

Easy Chicken Salad Recipe for Quick Meals or Gatherings

  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is simple and can be prepared in under 15 minutes, making it perfect for a quick lunch or picnic spread.
  • Versatile: The recipe allows for customization with various add-ins such as grapes, toasted almonds, apples, or nuts, creating a unique flavor that suits individual tastes.
  • Quality Ingredients: It uses high-quality ingredients such as chicken breast, creamy mayonnaise, and flavorful seasonings.
  • Make-Ahead Meal: Chicken salad can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, making it a convenient option for meal prep or a quick grab-and-go meal.
  • Suitable for Parties: It can be adapted for large gatherings, such as parties and picnics, and served in various ways, such as sandwiches, lettuce wraps, or as a dip.

Ingredients For The Best Chicken Salad

Ingredients for chicken salad Mayo sour cream to John Lemon celery seeds celery onion salt and pepper and shredded chicken

Chicken: Chicken breast is the best choice for chicken salad because it has a mild flavor and tender texture, making it ideal for shredding or dicing. It also readily absorbs the flavors of the creamy dressing.

I have several easy recipes that will help you make the perfect chicken for this recipe. If you are short on time,  pick up a whole rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store. 

Vegetables: Celery and onion. Choose a sweet onion that does not over power the chicken salad. Also, be sure your onion and celery are chopped very small, so they blend into the flavor of the chicken salad. 

Creamy Dressing: Mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard and lemon juice

Seasoning:  salt, pepper, and a pinch of poultry seasoning for a classic chicken salad. 

Chicken Salad Dressing Tip: A great chicken salad is built on quality mayonnaise. I like to use Dukes, but any other high-quality mayo is great. Do not use a sandwich spread such as Miracle Whip. It’s too sweet. 

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Step By Step Instructions For Creamy Chicken Salad

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, lemon juice, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine and create a creamy mixture.
  1. Add shredded chicken, diced onions, and celery. Gently stir to combine the creamy dressing with the veggies and chicken. 
Creamy chicken salad in a bowl ready to serve

Chicken Salad Variations

What’s great about this classic chicken salad recipe is its versatility. You can start with the basic recipe and then customize it with your favorite add-ins to create a unique flavor that suits your taste. Everyone will think you make the best chicken salad recipe! 

  • Grapes:  Choose your favorite seedless grapes, halved or quartered
  • Apples: Mix in your favorite diced apple variety.
  • Onions: Toss in some green onions or red onion 
  • Nuts:  For a nice nutty crunch, add in some toasted and chopped pecans, cashews, walnuts, or sliced almonds.
  • Sweetness: Dried cranberries or raisins.
Chicken salad sandwiches on a plate with cheese crackers

How to Store Chicken Salad

It is important to store chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent it from drying out and spoiling quickly. The salad can be stored for up to 5 days, after which it should be discarded.

How long does homemade chicken salad last?

According to the USDA, homemade chicken salad typically lasts for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. It’s important to ensure proper refrigeration to maintain its freshness and quality.

Can Chicken Salad Be Frozen?

Yes, chicken salad can be frozen, but it’s important to note that the texture of the mayonnaise-based salad may change upon thawing. When freezing, it’s recommended to store the chicken salad without the mayonnaise or creamy dressing. After thawing, you can add the dressing just before serving to maintain the best taste and texture.

Chicken salad sandwiches on rye with creamy dressing and celery around the chicken

How Much Chicken Salad For A Party

Chicken salad is great for serving at a party, wedding reception or baby shower.  It’s easy to make a big batch several days before the big event, which saves you time and energy on party day. 

– For 10 people: about 4-5 cups of chicken salad
– For 25 people: around 10-12 cups of chicken salad
– For 50 people: approximately 20-25 cups of chicken salad

As for making sandwiches, a general guideline is 1 scoop (about 1/2 cup) of chicken salad per sandwich. Keep in mind that these are just estimates and can vary based on individual serving sizes and appetites.

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

How long can chicken salad set out?

When serving chicken salad on a party buffet table or picnic, it’s crucial to keep it chilled. If your mayonnaise-based chicken salad is not refrigerated, it should not be left out for more than 2 hours to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.

To serve chicken salad chilled at a buffet table, use chilled serving dishes placed on ice to keep it cold. Regularly monitor the temperature and consider serving in smaller portions to maintain freshness throughout the event.

Great Ways To Serve Chicken Salad

If you need to serve chicken salad to a large group or for a quick family dinner, here are some serving ideas.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches: Serve the chicken salad between slices of bread, croissants, or in wraps for a classic and convenient party option.
Lettuce Wraps: Provide large lettuce leaves for guests to fill with the chicken salad, offering a lighter and low-carb alternative.
Slider Buns: Prepare mini chicken salad sandwiches using slider buns for a bite-sized party treat.
Stuffed Tomatoes or Avocados:
Hollow out tomatoes or avocados, fill them with chicken salad, and serve them on a bed of lettuce for an elegant and unique presentation.
Dip with Crackers or Vegetable Sticks: Offer the chicken salad as a dip, accompanied by an assortment of crackers, breadsticks, or fresh vegetable sticks for a creative and refreshing party snack.

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Do you have a question about this recipe❓ I will answer in the comment form below👇🏼 the recipe card. Did you make this recipe? If so, could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy 😋 recipes to make for their family and friends.

Chicken salad sandwich on rye
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The Easiest Creamy Chicken Salad Recipe (With Mayo)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 1/2 cup
This delicious chicken salad recipe is quick and easy to make, with creamy mayonnaise dressing, crunchy celery, and tender chicken perfectly seasoned for a quick lunch or picnic spread! Ready in 15 minutes!

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • In a medium-sized bowl, add mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, lemon juice, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and create a creamy mixture.
    1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 sour cream, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Add shredded chicken, diced onions, and celery. Gently stir to combine the creamy dressing with the veggies and chicken.
    4 cups cooked chicken breast, 1/2 cup celery, 1/3 onion

Notes

Chicken Salad Dressing Tip: A great chicken salad is built on quality mayonnaise. I like to use Dukes, but any other high-quality mayo is great. Do not use a sandwich spread such as Miracle Whip. It’s too sweet.
Serving: 0.5g, Calories: 215kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 298mg, Potassium: 210mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 0.4g, Vitamin A: 55IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American Classic
Course: Salad
Author: Gina Dickson

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