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Chicken Salad

This chicken salad recipe is truly the best chicken salad ever! It’s creamy, perfectly seasoned and I promise everyone will be wanting you to share the recipe!

A SUPER FLAVORFUL CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE

I’m pretty picky when it comes to chicken salad. Actually I am VERY picky when it comes to chicken salad. I’m particularly picky about the texture and taste of the chicken itself. I prefer a simple chicken salad with seasoned and roasted chicken (this helps ensure that the chicken is the star of the show and no weird texture issues). For me, a good chicken salad has to have a nice balance of being able to taste the chicken along with it being perfectly creamy and not dry or stringy. I think it’s easy to get a little crazy with chicken salad and overdo it with the number of ingredients but sometimes simple really is best!

A bowl of homemade Chicken Salad.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make the chicken in the air fryer instead of the oven?

If you want a faster option, try using your air fryer! My Air Fryer Chicken Breast recipe is a great substitute here.

What other things can I add?

I will tell you, this recipe is amazing all by itself. It really is all you could want in a chicken salad. But if you want it more of a ‘Napa style’ you could try my Grape Chicken Salad. Other times people will put apple chunks or pineapple chunks. Some people like to swap the mayo out for Greek yogurt or flavored Greek yogurt and add other crunchy textures like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or coconut flakes. Pecans and almonds are also nice to add additional crunch.

Do I have to use bone-in chicken breasts?

If you can’t find the bone-in chicken breasts then just use boneless. You could even use chicken thighs. Some people like to use grilled chicken breast as well. Bone-in chicken breasts really help keep the chicken super moist and less of a chance of drying out (plus many times, they end up being cheaper than the boneless.)

How should I store leftover Chicken Salad?

Keep leftovers refrigerated. Will last 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing it.

An open faced Chicken Salad sandwich on a plate.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • whole chicken breasts (bone-in, with skin)– when chopping up the chicken, I left it chunky, but you can cut it up smaller if that’s what you prefer.
  • lemon pepper seasoning – this seasoning goes so well with the chicken. It doesn’t overpower the other flavors but really compliments the flavor of the chicken.
  • mayonnaise – I prefer Hellman’s, JFG or Duke’s. I absolutely do not like Miracle Whip (sorry Miracle Whip lovers!) It is not mayonnaise, it is a dressing but if that is your thing then go for it!
  • sour cream – this chicken salad does not taste “sour” and even if you don’t like sour cream, I still recommend using it. You won’t taste this as a separate ingredient. It helps with the overall creaminess and adds depth of flavor.
  • celery and red onion – if you don’t like celery or onion, just leave them out. I like to dice them up really small. I don’t like to bite into a huge piece of onion or celery. Also, if you like red onion but sometimes find it too pungent, try soaking it in some ice water first. This removes the stronger taste but you’ll still get the essence of the onion in your chicken salad.
  • salt and pepper – After a lot of testing, I think I have the amounts measured out really well here but obviously, if you like more or less, then please make any adjustment you need.
Olive oil, bone in skin on chicken breasts, sour cream, mayo, red onion, celery, salt pepper, and lemon pepper seasoning.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHICKEN SALAD

Preheat oven to 350f degrees. On a baking sheet, place chicken breasts skin side up. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning.

Cook for about 35-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Allow chicken to cool before continuing. Once chicken is cool, remove meat. You can save the bones and skin for chicken stock later, if you prefer. Cut the chicken up into bite size chunks. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, onion and salt & pepper.

Diced cooked chicken breast on a cutting board and a bowl with ingredients for Chicken Salad.

I usually add about 2 teaspoons of salt and maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add in diced chicken and stir. 

Chicken sitting on top of the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and a bowl of freshly mixed Chicken Salad.

Serve on your favorite bread or just a bed of lettuce or eat it all by itself!

A spoon scooping some Chicken Salad out of the bowl.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: August 2011
Updated photos and republished: May 2024

Close up looking at a sandwich with homemade Chicken Salad.

The Best Chicken Salad

This chicken salad recipe is truly the best chicken salad ever! It's creamy, perfectly seasoned and I promise everyone will be wanting you to share the recipe!
4.94 from 33 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in whole chicken breasts (with skin)
  • 1 Tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • olive oil
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • ½ cup small red onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup )
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. On a baking sheet, place chicken breasts skin side up.
  • Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning.
  • Cook for about 35-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Allow chicken to cool before continuing.
    Chicken breast on a baking sheet.
  • Once chicken is cool, remove meat. Discard skin and bones and cut the chicken up into bite size chunks.
    Diced chicken on a cutting board.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, onion and salt and pepper.
    Glass bowl with celery, red onion, sour cream, salt, pepper, and mayo.
  • Add in diced chicken and stir.
  • Serve on your favorite bread or on a bed of lettuce or eat it all by itself!
    A spoon scooping some Chicken Salad out of the bowl.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 42g | Sodium: 343mg | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




39 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just made this and it really is very very good. All the amounts of everything are spot on. My husband told me to definitely make this again. He really loved it

  2. 5 stars
    Beautiful recipe! I am picky about chicken salad too and I took this to a church event (with women who are some of the best cooks I know) and they all raved at how good this was. Why change a good thing! I wouldn’t add anything else to this recipe. Perfect just the way it is

  3. 5 stars
    I love this chicken salad recipe. I usually use rotisserie chicken but whoa – this had way more flavor and the chicken was perfectly seasoned and tender. I think that made a huge difference in how I usually make it. I am only using your recipe from now on

  4. 5 stars
    Very very good. I am 85 years old and always love trying new recipes. People have always complimented me on my chicken salad but when I took this one to church, they all asked for the recipe so sometimes it’s good to give a new recipe a try and I am happy I did. Thank you honey, you sure seem like a sweetheart.

  5. 5 stars
    Hands down best chicken salad ever! I have been cooking for over 60 years and I know a thing or two about a good chicken salad. I threw my old recipe out! This one is truly the best. I have never used lemon pepper seasoning before so bought it just to make this. Wow oh wow! It is so good and we really loved it on this chicken.

  6. 5 stars
    My whole family agreed that this was better than my the usual way I make it. You are right, we can sometimes complicate a good thing. Roasting the chicken breast along with the other flavors was so good.

  7. 5 stars
    Oh, I love this chicken salad. Using the bone-in chicken breast with that lemon pepper seasoning was brilliant.

  8. 5 stars
    Well you weren’t lying when you said it was the best lol hubby says I have to use this one from now on!

  9. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. I didn’t change anything and there isn’t a need to. I hate when people add grapes and nuts and all that other stuff. Why mess up a perfectly good chicken salad lol

  10. 5 stars
    Husband says this is the only way we are allowed to make it now – ha! Thank you so much! I thought everyone loved my chciken salad recipe but it turns out this one was much better and I have no problem changing