This simple, 7-ingredient chicken salad recipe is the classic favorite with a subtle (but oh-so-tasty) twist. I’ve been making it this way for years and once you try it, you will, too! It tastes great it in a chicken salad sandwich, with a side of crackers, or on top of a salad!
My Favorite Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipe
This super easy chicken salad recipe is a long overdue addition to my collection of indulgent salads.
While this recipe is new to the blog, I’ve actually been making it at home for the past 20+ years. It contains just 7 ingredients, including diced apples (a fun addition I picked up from my aunt!). The apples add an interesting sweet/tart pop of flavor in every bite, and I can’t even fathom making my salad without them now.
Not only does this recipe taste better than anything you’ll pick up at a deli, but it’s also perfect for making in advance (and tastes better that way!). It stands proud among its companions here on the blog (shrimp pasta salad, corn salad, and potato salad–to name a few) and is equally as simple and satisfying. Also, I’m sharing it just in time for summer lunches or picnics–yay!
Why you’ll love it:
- Classic flavor bolstered with crunchy celery, crisp apples, and diced onions.
- Can be served any way you like; on bread, with crackers, or over a salad.
- Takes just minutes to prepare and can be made in advance.
What You Need
This 7 ingredient recipe is full of flavor and texture. While the ingredients are simple, they create a craveable final product when combined. Here’s what you need:
- Chicken. You can use leftover chicken, a picked rotisserie chicken, drained canned chicken, or pre-cooked chopped chicken from the store. My slow-cooker shredded chicken would work nicely here too!
- Apples. Personally, I like to use a tart-sweet apple, like Gala or Fuji, but you can use whatever you like. I don’t peel my apples before adding them; however, you can certainly do so if you prefer.
- Celery and onion. You can dice your veggies larger for a heartier salad or keep everything small for a finer salad.
- Mayo. You can always use an olive oil mayo to lighten things up a bit–I do this in my broccoli salad and macaroni salad.
- Seasoning. Always add salt and pepper to taste. I include a small amount in the recipe, but you’ll likely need more if your chicken is unseasoned (rotisserie chicken or store-bought chicken is often pre-seasoned).
SAM’S TIP: Don’t like apples? Feel free to substitute sliced red grapes instead (or toss them in with the apples). My chicken salad recipe is pretty forgiving, so if you want to swap the add-ins out for something similar or adjust the seasonings to your liking, that will work just fine.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make It
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Taste test for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavor develop (I usually put mine in the freezer for this step, I like mine to be very cold/chilled).
- Serve cold on bread, a bed of lettuce, or with crackers.
SAM’S TIP: This salad is a wonderful addition to potlucks, baby or bridal showers (don’t forget the petit fours!), brunches, or as a fast, yet filling lunch or dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! In fact, a bit of time in the fridge allows the flavors to develop, too. Just prepare it and let it chill in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Make sure to enjoy your salad within 3 days of preparing it though.
Yes! Feel free to add some chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, cranberries, etc. to this chicken salad recipe.
The most common way to serve this salad is in a chicken salad sandwich. Toasted wheat bread, hamburger buns, croissants, homemade bread, wraps, or even (especially?) sourdough bread would all work nicely for this option.
You can also scoop it up with crackers, like my sourdough crackers, serve it on a bed of lettuce, or use it as a topping for a salad instead of grilled chicken.
What do you like on your chicken salad sandwich? I typically just add lettuce, but I know some people like sprouts, tomatoes, sliced onion, etc.
- 1 lb (453 g) cooked chopped chicken
- ⅔ cup (85 g) chopped apple see note
- ⅓ cup (48 g) finely diced yellow onion
- 1 (53 g) celery stalk chopped
- ¾ cup (160 g) mayo
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper plus more to taste
- Bread or croissants for making sandwiches
- Lettuce for sandwiches optional
- Combine chicken, apple, onion, celery, mayo, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and stir until ingredients are well-combined. Taste-test and add additional salt and pepper as needed.1 lb (453 g) cooked, ⅔ cup (85 g) chopped apple, ⅓ cup (48 g) finely diced yellow onion, 1 (53 g) celery stalk, ¾ cup (160 g) mayo, ⅛ teaspoon table salt, ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- For best results, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve cold on sliced bread, buns, or croissants (or scoop it with crackers).Bread or croissants for making sandwiches, Lettuce for sandwiches
ChickenI will either buy pre-grilled cubed chicken then chop it finer or cook my own chicken and chop it small. This is also great with leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken meat.
Alternatively you can use 1 lb of canned, drained white meat chicken or follow my instructions for making shredded chicken in the slow cooker.
ApplesFor the apples I recommend using Gala or Fuji or a similar firm, sweet-tart apple, however whatever you have on hand will work. I do not peel the apple before using, but you may.
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.