Classic Chicken Salad

Classic Chicken Salad is the PERFECT combo of seasoned chicken breast, creamy mayonnaise, lemon juice and crunchy celery, ready in just minutes!

We love great lunch and picnic options, and this recipe is perfect for a potluck or picnic along with other favorites like Macaroni Salad, Easy Cole Slaw (Coleslaw), and Best EVER Baked Beans!

Classic Chicken Salad

Classic Chicken Salad is the perfect thing to serve for lunch, as a salad or over a bed of lettuce. Made with lean chicken in mayo and lemon juice, with  and celery (plus if you want you can add crunchy nutty almonds), it’s the PERFECT dish to bring to a picnic or get-together.

You can add other fresh ingredients to this recipe like green onion, red onion, fresh dill, or avocado. This is a great recipe to make-ahead at the beginning of the week for grab-and-go lunches, and my go-to when we have a busy schedule ahead. You’ll never want to go back to store-bought again!


You can really add a lot of flavor to the dish depending on what you like. Here are a few suggestions that I’ve tried and liked.

  • Eggs
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Dried fruit
  • Bell Peppers


Chicken salad will last refrigerated for 3-4 days, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Don’t leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours for food safety.


I don’t recommend that you freeze chicken salad because the mayonnaise will separate when defrosting. You can freeze the cooked chicken, then just defrost it in the refrigerator the day before you want to make the salad, and add the other fresh ingredients the day of.



Serve chicken salad as a sandwich, on top of tomato slices, or over greens. You can also have it as an afternoon snack with crackers, or serve with cut up celery and bell peppers, or on a lettuce wrap for a low carb option.


  • Add grapes, raisins, apples, or craisins to add a sweet and savory flavor.
  • This recipe calls for almonds but you can use other types of nuts like pecans, walnuts, or cashews.
  • Replace the mayo with pureed avocado and sour cream for an avocado chicken salad.
  • Cut the calories in this recipe by using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
  • This recipe takes a total time of 5 minutes to throw together, but I like to refrigerate it for at least an hour to give the flavors a chance to come together.
  • If you don’t have time to cook the chicken yourself you can use a rotisserie chicken. Just remove the skin and chop into pieces.
  • You can use fresh chicken or canned chicken for this recipe.
  • Make BBQ chicken salad by adding 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce in place of some of the mayonnaise.
  • Add spices to this recipe to add different flavors like garlic, paprika, curry powder, or even mustard. Try chipotle seasoning and lime juice instead of lemon juice. Or a dash of cayenne pepper with pickled jalapenos for a spicy version.
  • Cook the chicken breasts in the crockpot, then use an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken for a shredded chicken salad recipe!

Easy Chicken Salad

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Classic Chicken Salad
5 from 16 votes

Classic Chicken Salad

Classic Chicken Salad is the PERFECT combo of seasoned chicken breast, creamy mayonnaise, lemon juice, crunchy celery, and almonds, ready in just minutes!

Course Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken salad recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 435 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 4 cups cooked chicken breast chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)


  1. Mix all the ingredients together well in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Chicken Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 435 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 95mg32%
Sodium 405mg18%
Potassium 286mg8%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 60IU1%
Vitamin C 1.9mg2%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Easy Chicken Salad for Sandwiches

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

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  1. This was my first attempt at chicken salad. I used what was left of a “smokehouse” rotisserie chicken after a few meals (not really smokey tasting, just basic seasoning) so had only 2 1/2 cups of chicken. I stuck to the recipe but scaled it back and am glad I did. It made a lot for one person. It’s real delicious and I love it! It’s very easy to make so I’m sure to add this to my repertoire. I might experiment with a few additions.

  2. I’ve tried many chicken salad recipes but this one is the best and the only one I make now!! Easy and delicious.

  3. Hello I want to make this but I was wondering if anyone made it without the celery, but with eggs and relish in it

    1. I’ve made this for the last 3 weeks for my husband and I for different lunches for the week and it’s amazing and so easy! I bet it would be wonderful this way! Also I just put the chicken in the Crock-Pot

  4. I added 1/2 of a fresh chopped jalapeño, 1 chopped green onion, 1/4 cups raisins, 1/2 cup chopped apple, and 1/4 chopped walnuts- yummy! Thanks! Also, I made my chicken in the Instapot so it was super tender.

    1. It depends on how big each breast is but I would say about 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast will give you 4 cups chopped.

  5. Do you know how many servings this would yield if I was to make sandwiches with them? Would 1 serving equate to 1 sandwich?

    1. No, I think you’d get a lot more servings when made into sandwiches, depending on how big they are. I would say probably between 8-10.

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