Cooking Basics

How to make chicken salad

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chicken salad on lettuce
Give your chicken salad a fresh flavor
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If you know how to make chicken salad, it won't be cafeteria chicken salad!

Chicken salad is not just for leftover chicken. Once you learn how to make chicken salad with a creative twist, you'll start buying chicken just to make a salad! 

Here are three very different chicken salad recipes, each one simple enough for someone who didn't know how to make chicken salad.  And each one delicious enough to please those who have made it many times.

Tangy Simple Chicken Salad


2 cups diced cooked chicken (white or dark, depending on your taste)
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1/2 cup diced red peppers
2 small tomatoes,diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 tsp dried marjoram or lemon basil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil-based mayonnaise
1/4 cup low fat or non-fat plain yogurt


Put chicken into a large bowl
Add pepper, onion and seasonings
Toss to blend
Add mayonnaise and yogurt
Toss again to coat well
Adjust seasoning
Serve or store in fridge for up to 2 days

Curried Chicken Salad

If you like a little more of a kick in your sandwich or salad, this curried version of chicken salad might be the right recipe for you.

The addition of apples, cranberries and walnuts boosts the nutritional value, too.

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped (or equal amount of dark chicken meat)
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons well-chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped dried sweetened cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated
5 to 7 tablespoons real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
 salt and pepper, to taste


In a small pan, lightly toast curry powder for 1-2 minutes over medium low heat.
Pour into small glass bowl and set aside.

  • In a bowl, combine chicken, celery, onion, nuts, cranberries, and apple.
  • Toss to blend.
  • Stir in the mayonnaise and toasted curry powder, 
  • Stir to blend well
  • Adjust seasonings
  • Serve on lettuce, tucked into pita or on warm croissants

Lemony Summer Chicken Salad

This last idea for how to make chicken salad that tastes restaurant-good comes from Elizabeth LaBau's Oh Nuts blog.


    2 cups chopped cooked chicken, light or dark
    1/3 cup mayonnaise
    1 medium lemon
    Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
    2 green onions, chopped
    1 cup green or purple grapes, halved (or quartered if large)
    1/3 cup slivered almonds
    salt and pepper to taste

  • Put slivered almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast them for a few minutes, until they're golden brown and fragrant
  • Set them aside
  • Zest the lemon into the mayonnaise mixture until you have about 2 teaspoons of zest...
  • Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze in 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
  • Add a few shakes of the salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill, then stir everything together.
  • Add your chopped cooked chicken...
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  • Serve immediately on fresh bread, greens or over a rice or pasta salad

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