This classic chicken salad recipe with grapes and nuts is a catch-all idea for any potluck lunch or duty-calls bridal or baby shower that’s oh-so-divine.


The Best Chicken Salad Recipe

I don’t know if I’ve been to a bridal or wedding shower where chicken salad stuffed in croissants wasn’t served. Don’t tell the bride but those little chicken sandwich pockets might be my favorite part of the party.

I’ve shared my healthified chicken salad with Greek yogurt and avocado dressing with a few ingredients twists and turns, but this is my take on the classic chicken salad recipe. First, my fave chicken salad has to have tender, shreddy lean white chicken breast with plenty of crunchy celery and toasted almonds. Just like in Whole Foods Market’s Sonoma Chicken Salad, red grapes add plump bites of sweetness with a touch of red onion for added heat. Finally, add dollops of my super simple lemon-spiked mayo dressing are mixed in and this chicken salad party is good to go.


What’s In Classic Chicken Salad

There’s nothing complicated about this chicken salad, just a few basic ingredients that when combined together, make THE BESTu chicken salad recipe. Just ask my daughter, she’ll say it’s so.

  • Cooked chicken breast
  • Celery
  • Red onion
  • Red grapes
  • Sliced or slivered almonds
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make Chicken Salad

Cook a rotisserie chicken, pick one up from the grocery store, or poach or bake a few chicken breasts. Instead of chunks, I like my chicken to be super shredded in chicken salad. Rotisserie chickens seems to shred the easiest for me and always tastes moist.

Chop the vegetables into small pieces to get more in each bite. You can leave the grapes whole, but I like to cut them in half so they go further and look pretty in the salad.

Toast the almonds for more flavor. Add the nuts to a dry pan, heat to medium-high, and toast the nuts while tossing often until fragrant and golden.


Keep the Dressing Simple

There are plenty of different ways to make the dressing for chicken salad —use Greek yogurt or Miracle Whip, add vinegar or mustard, try it with herbs and spices—but I’m keeping this recipe super simple.

For this dressing, mix a good quality mayonnaise with fresh lemon juice and kosher salt with freshly ground black pepper. That’s it.

If you are a fan of Miracle Whip, add 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar to the mayo to sweeten things up.


How to Serve Chicken Salad

There’s plenty of ways to serve chicken salad to delight every eater:

  • Serve in croissants or on toasted thick cuts of whole wheat bread
  • Mound chicken salad on top of fresh greens or cooked rotini pasta (or both!) for an easy ladies-who-lunch salad
  • Nestle a scoop of chicken salad in avocado halves
  • Scoop out the center of a large tomato or cooked artichoke and stuff with chicken salad

How Long Does Chicken Salad Last

One of the many things I like about this recipe is it doesn’t get watery when made ahead of time then stored in the refrigerator. Made ahead of time, this salad lasts for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, or as long as you feel your chicken will stay fresh.

Recipe Substitutions and Additions

  • Add dried curry powder or poppy seeds
  • Try adding fresh herbs like chopped tarragon or dill
  • Use dried cranberries or pomegranates instead of grapes
  • Add chopped egg
  • Substitute Greek yogurt or Miracle Whip for the mayonnaise
  • Add 1 tablespoon rice or champagne vinegar to thin the dressing
  • Try toasted pecans or walnuts instead of almonds
  • Use a good quality canned chicken breast if needed

More Easy Chicken Salad Recipe Ideas

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