This easy chicken salad recipe is delicious as-is, but you can also add other ingredients to personalize it. Whether you make it for sandwiches or scoop some onto a bed of lettuce, you’ll want to make it often.
You can pack chicken salad sandwiches in your kids’ lunches or have some ready for an after-school snack. It’s also good for workday lunches.
Versatility of Basic Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is one of the first things I think of when I get to the last of a rotisserie chicken. After all, I hate the idea of wasting a single bit of such deliciousness.
Make it with whatever leftover chicken you have. Any part of the chicken is good, but we typically use either the breast or thigh … or a combination of both.
You can also make it with canned chicken. In fact, I keep a couple of cans of chicken around for those times when I don’t have the rotisserie chicken.
Chicken salad sandwiches are perfect for lunch, dinner, game night, and parties. When you set up a buffet for guests, include a selection of sandwiches.
Your guests will love these as well as the southern style pimento cheese sandwiches. You can serve both on whatever bread you prefer.
And when we’re in the mood for something extra spicy, I make chicken creole with rice. There are so many other wonderful dishes you can make from one rotisserie chicken.
Any Cooked Chicken is Good
I’ve always enjoyed the Costco chickens because they’re almost double the size of the ones from other stores.
Plus they’re quite a bit less expensive. I typically get at least three—sometimes four—meals out of one chicken.
You can also use home-cooked chicken for this recipe. However, you’ll probably spend more money and definitely spend more time making it, unless you get it on sale.
Last time I went to the grocery store, they had large family packs of chicken thighs at a deeply discounted price. Since it’s just my husband and me, I had quite a bit of leftover chicken.
So I cut up some of it to make chicken salad. I also left the skin on because it has so much extra flavor from the seasonings I added.
Basic Ingredients for Chicken Salad
There are so many different ways you can make a chicken salad sandwich. For example, you can do the basic recipe, which is what I’m sharing here. Or you can add seasonings and other ingredients for more flavors.
The basic ingredients I typically start with are pieces of the cut-up chicken, mayonnaise, and pickle relish.
I prefer sweet relish, but if I don’t have it, I use whatever type of pickles I have on hand.
Chicken Salad Add-Ons
Although this sandwich is delectable as is, try adding something different.
Here are some of our favorites:
Nuts and seeds – Crushed peanuts, pecans, almonds, and sunflower seeds add flavor and nutrition.
Vegetables – My husband and I enjoy adding chopped celery, onions, carrots, and even diced bell peppers in our chicken salad.
Fruit – If you like a hint of sweetness, you’ll probably enjoy the taste of chopped apples or raisins.
Spices – Some of the spices that will enhance the flavor of your chicken salad sandwich include cinnamon, curry, or basil.
Sauces and Dressings – If you want to venture out beyond mayonnaise, tryWorcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce, sweet Vidalia salad dressing or ranch. Others you might enjoy include French or Catalina dressings.
Roasted Tomatoes – These add an element of surprise flavor that’ll make you want to keep these in the fridge at all times.
Breads and Wraps
If you’d like to try something different, besides sandwich bread, there are many other options. You can basically use anything that holds the filling.
Some bread options include hamburger buns, hoagie rolls, bagels, English muffins, cornbread, and gluten-free breads.
Also try large leaf lettuce or cabbage to wrap the chicken salad. If you choose cabbage, it’s more pliable if you steam it for a few seconds, making it much easier to wrap.
Add the chopped chicken, pickle relish, and mayonnaise in a bowl large enough for the amount you’re making.
You can add salt and pepper, but I normally don’t. It has enough flavor without it.
However, it’s your chicken salad, so make it the way you like it.
Mix all three ingredients well.
If you decide to include some add-ins, stir them into the mixture too.
Next, spread the mixture on bread or the wrap of your choice.
I like to pile on the mixture really thick.
Finally, add lettuce for extra nutrition and texture.
You’ll love the crunch with the lettuce.
This sandwich is delicious when served with soup or a side of chips.
Chicken salad sandwiches are the ideal party food. You can cut it into quarters, with or without the crust, and stack them on plates.
Or you can put them on a three-tiered platter to make it the food table visually interesting. Make sure you have plenty of sandwiches to refill the platter because your friends will love them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is a favorite food among many Americans. However, you may have some questions about how to store it and how long it lasts.
How Long Does Chicken Salad Last?
If you store chicken salad properly in the refrigerator, it can last at least three days. Don’t leave it at room temperature for more than two hours.
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
You can freeze chicken salad for as long as three months. After thawing it, you’ll need to stir it to help restore it close to its original texture.
How Can You Tell if Chicken Salad Has Gone Bad?
There are several ways you may be able to tell if it is bad. First, if it smells bad, don’t eat it.
Secondly, if it is discolored, it’s probably no longer good. Finally, if you’ve left it out longer than the recommended time, toss it.
Fortunately, this delicious food doesn’t have a chance to go bad in our home. We enjoy it so much we typically eat every last bite within a day or two.
Will Chicken Salad Sandwiches Get Soggy?
Unfortunately, if you make chicken salad sandwiches in the morning, they’re likely to get soggy before lunchtime. But don’t worry. There’s a remedy for that.
The solution is to pack the chicken salad and bread separately. When I bring my lunch that contains chicken salad for sandwiches, I put the bread in a plastic sandwich bag and the chicken salad in an airtight container.
What to Serve with Chicken Salad
Air Fryer Corn Tortilla Chips – These homemade chips are super easy and absolutely delicious!
Baked Sweet Potato Chips – Add a hint of sweetness to your meal with these yummy and nutritious chips.
For more ideas, check out these things to serve with chicken salad for some ideas: What to Serve with Chicken Salad.
More Easy Meals and Lunches
Another recipe we enjoy is this lemon chicken and orzo. Serve it with a side salad or green vegetable, and you have a balanced meal.
- 1 cup of chopped cooked chicken
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
- 4 slices of bread
- 1/2 cup of lettuce leaves
- In a medium-size bowl, mix the chopped chicken, mayonnaise, and pickle relish. Make sure it is well coated
- Place two slices of bread on each of two plates. Spread the chicken salad mixture on one slice of bread on each plate.
- Add the lettuce leaves on top of the mixture. Put the other slice of bread on top and cut the sandwich in half to make it easier to handle.
- Enjoy with soup or chips.
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Nutrition InformationYield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 429Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 69mgSodium 564mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 22g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.