15 Unique and Delicious Chicken Salad Recipes
Transform plain cooked chicken into a fresh and lively salad ideal for a picnic, an elegant luncheon, or even dinner by whipping up one of our creamy recipes. Whether you prefer a Classic Chicken Salad wrapped in mayonnaise, as pictured here, or a mesclun mix adorned with chicken coated in Greek yogurt and lemon, there's no denying that the protein-packed salad has become a mealtime staple. All of the techniques mentioned here taste great atop a bed of lettuce or in a sandwich using the bread of your choice. Ahead, discover the perfect mouthwatering recipes to make for yourself or for your next lunchtime soirée.
You'll be surprised by just how versatile chicken salad is. Here, age-old favorites that get a modern update; our quick and easy Roasted Chicken Salad is the perfect example. The toasted pecans and tangy sour cream dressing make this salad especially delicious. For a unique take on the classic dish, whip up a batch of our Apricot-Basil Chicken Salad, which uses dried apricots, fresh basil, slivered almonds, and Greek yogurt for a lip-smacking meal. You can even spice things up with an Indian-inspired Mango Chicken Salad, which celebrates tropical flavors and utilizes yogurt instead of typical mayonnaise for a more health-conscious take.
Looking for something a bit more filling? Opt for our Chicken Salad Pitas, which mix shredded chicken with Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, oranges, slivered almonds, and lemon juice for a refreshing sweet and savory choice. For a delicious mayonnaise-free option, try our Chicken, Chickpea, and Pesto Salad, which has a base of pesto, cucumber, and lemon.
From sweet and fruity to the nutty and aromatic, there are so many different ways to make chicken salad at home; ahead, we're sharing some of our favorite recipes here.
Chicken Club Salad
Chunks of baked chicken, crumbled bacon, and chopped tomato and red onion mingle with light mayonnaise and white-wine vinegar in this deconstructed club sandwich. Pile the chicken salad on lettuce leaves or toasted sourdough bread. Prepare the components for this satisfying main-course salad ahead of time and arrange just before serving.
Chicken Salad with Apples and Walnuts
Apples and walnuts add a satisfying crunch when paired with tender chicken and a tangy, reduced-fat mayonnaise-based dressing.
Apricot-Basil Chicken Salad
Dried apricots, fresh basil, and slivered almonds make this chicken salad worthy of an elegant shower luncheon or a pretty picnic basket. Combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, paprika, minced garlic, and champagne vinegar to make the tangy and flavorful dressing.
Chicken Salad Pitas
Poach chicken breasts, then shred the cooled meat to make this sweet-and-savory chicken salad. Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, slivered almonds, canned mandarin orange segments, and celery with the shredded chicken, then stuff the mixture in pita pockets with lettuce leaves.
Chicken Salad with Scallions and Yogurt
Substitute plain low-fat yogurt for the usual mayonnaise to make this light and flavorful chicken salad. Mix in chopped celery, scallions, and basil, and serve on fresh rolls or salad greens.
Tandoori Chicken Salad
This Indian-inspired chicken salad, which comes courtesy of cookbook author Padma Lakshmi, features yogurt-marinated chicken breasts seasoned with garam masala, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and jalapeño. Toss the sautéed chicken with iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, plum tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, scallions, jicama, and cilantro, then dress with lemon juice and the chicken pan juices.
Lighter Chicken Salad
Buttermilk, light mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and hot sauce create the creamy, zesty dressing for this light version of classic chicken salad. Stir the dressing into chopped celery, onion, parsley, and shredded poached chicken.
Chicken, Chickpea, and Pesto Salad
Toss chickpeas, sliced English cucumber, celery, and shredded chicken breasts in homemade or purchased basil pesto to make this hearty chicken salad. Chopped tomatoes and bell peppers would also be wonderful additions.
Curried Chicken Salad on Whole-Wheat Pitas
Mix nonfat Greek yogurt with curry powder, lemon juice, and just a touch of mayonnaise to make the light and spicy dressing for these open-faced chicken salad sandwiches. Stir in sliced almonds, cubed Granny Smith apple, and poached chicken breast, and serve on toasted whole-wheat pita breads.
Chutney Chicken Salad
Major Grey's mango chutney—a compelling combination of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors—adds zing to the sour cream-mayonnaise dressing for this easy chicken salad. Stir raisins and sliced scallions in and serve on toast or a bed of greens.
Roasted Chicken Salad
It's quick and easy to make this sophisticated chicken salad when you start with a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Add toasted pecans, sliced celery and scallions, raisins, oregano, and chopped Fuji or lady apples, and coat with a tangy sour cream dressing. If you'd like to bring this chicken salad on a picnic, be sure to pack it in an airtight container and keep it fresh in a cooler.
Tarragon Chicken Salad
To cook chicken breasts with no added fat, gently poach them in simmering salted water. Shred the cooled chicken and combine with celery, fresh tarragon, white-wine vinegar, and olive oil to make this light and refreshing herbed chicken salad.
Mango Chicken Salad
Indian-inspired, this chicken salad combines shredded chicken and diced mango in a spicy yogurt dressing seasoned with Major Grey's mango chutney, lime juice, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and fresh cilantro. Serve the chicken salad on a bed of spinach, sprinkled with toasted coconut.
Fennel and Apple Chicken Salad Sandwich
Diced fennel bulb, Granny Smith apple, celery, and red grapes add a wonderfully fresh, sweet crunch to chicken salad sandwiches. Dress the mixture in a light yogurt dressing and pile on slices of pumpernickel bread topped with watercress.