Best Chicken Salad Ever ~ The Recipe Bandit (2024)

Light and creamy chicken salad made with cooked or canned chicken, red onion, crisp celery, and just the right amount of seasoning, Best Chicken Salad Ever is our version of this family favorite recipe!

I have been blessed to have had some really fantastic everyday recipes shared with me over the years and this is one of them. This recipe for the Best Chicken Salad Ever is in regular rotation in our house because it is so versatile!

Delicious as a sandwich, in a wrap, and even on it’s own right out of the bowl, this is less expensive than the deli version and super easy to make. If you haven’t tried it, you really should. It could become a new favorite in your house too.

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Weight Watchers Points = 3 per serving (Point Breakdown in Recipe Notes)

Best Chicken Salad Ever ~ The Recipe Bandit (1)

A NOTE ABOUT A Lighter Take on this Classic Favorite

We have made this recipe literally hundreds of times with great results. When we started making healthier changes to our eating habits, we lightened up the recipe buy making just two small changes, substituting light sour cream and light mayonnaise.

These changes didn’t seem to change the taste at all but they substantially changed the amount of calories and fat in the recipe. When counting Weight Watchers points, these small changes brought the points down from 11 points per serving to only 3 points per serving and it is still delicious!

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How to Make The Best Chicken Salad Ever

One day I was making Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip and the recipe called for pre-made chicken salad from the deli. When I arrived at the grocery store to pick some up the price was a LOT higher than I was expecting to pay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of pre-made, but since it is literally made up of leftover chicken and pantry staples I have a really hard time paying that much for it. So I didn’t.

This recipe for the Best Chicken Salad Ever came from a friend who answered the call when I put a plea out on Facebook for a good chicken salad recipe. She often used leftover rotisserie chicken when she made it but since I didn’t have any leftover chicken I thought I would try to make it with canned chicken from Costco. And it was amazing. Simple and so good. And a new favorite recipe was born.

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To make the BEST chicken salad ever – start with shredding or chopping three cups of cooked chicken.

If you are using the Costco canned chicken (two 12.5 ounce cans), drain, put into a bowl and shred with a fork.

Add 1/4 cup of chopped red onion and stir.

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Add celery, lemon juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and stir to combine well.

Chill until ready to use. That’s all there is to it!

As mentioned previously you can use this to make Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip or you can just make some pretty fantastic little sandwiches. You can also serve it with crackers, on a salad, or just eat it with a fork. It is THAT good without the crazy price tag at the grocery store deli. Enjoy!

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Other Favorite Recipes You May Like

Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip – The recipe that started it all! This Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip uses Deli chicken salad to add a delicious twist to a potluck favorite!

Bite Sized Sausage Rolls – the BEST bite sized sausage rolls that I have ever tasted. Yum.

Party Pretzel Bites – these delicious little bites are addictive and always welcomed at any gathering.

Quick and Easy Bruschetta – restaurant quality Bruschetta is hiding in the ingredients in your refrigerator!

Easy Homemade Ranch Dip – just seven simple pantry ingredients to create a delicious and easy Homemade Ranch Dip!

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Best Chicken Salad Ever ~ The Recipe Bandit (7)

Best Chicken Salad Ever

Light and creamy Best Chicken Salad Ever is made with chicken, red onion, crisp celery, and just the right amount of seasoning!

4.95 from 18 votes

Print Pin Rate

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes minutes

Servings: 3 cups

Calories: 639kcal


  • 3 cups cooked chicken (leftover shredded chicken, rotisserie chicken or 2 cans Costco canned chicken)
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 pieces of celery (including leafy tops) chopped, about one cup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste


  • Finely chop red onion and celery.

  • In a medium bowl, break up, finely chop or shred the chicken.

  • Add chopped onion and celery, lemon juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

  • Chill until ready to use. Enjoy!


This is delicious on it’s own – pecans or walnuts can be added if not using for the Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe. Also makes excellent sandwiches and cracker spread.

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Nutrition *

Calories: 639kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 27g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 853mg | Potassium: 381mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 157IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

* The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

Have you tried this recipe? Post a pic and mention @TheRecipeBandit or tag #therecipebandit!

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  • Best Chicken Salad Ever ~ The Recipe Bandit (10)

    Michelle Mundy

    As a busy working mom with kids on the go, I know how important it is to be able to make simple and delicious meals using everyday ingredients. The recipes shared here are family friendly with easy to understand step by step instructions. Tried and true, from our family to yours. Welcome to The Recipe Bandit! Click here to read more about me.


Best Chicken Salad Ever ~ The Recipe Bandit (2024)


Where is the chicken salad from TikTok? ›

E. 81st Street Deli booming thanks to Lizzo, TikTok and viral chicken salad.

How good is chicken salad after you make it? ›

Stored properly, chicken salad should last for three to five days. If you served chicken salad over salad greens, try to store the greens separately to prevent them from getting soggy and wilted.

How many days must the chicken salad be served? ›

Generally, chicken salad will only last three to five days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). You must store the chicken salad in the fridge to maintain its freshness. As a refresher, the fridge should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below per the USDA.

How many types of salad are there? ›

Salad is any of a wide variety of dishes including green salads; vegetable salads; long beans; salads of pasta, legumes, or grains; mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood; and fruit salads. They often include vegetables and fruits.

Who is the girl who said its a chicken salad? ›

Her voice helped her neighborhood deli's chicken salad go viral. Now, Tanisha Godfrey is promoting her own recipe for success after securing brand deals. Tanisha Godfrey is the voice behind the sound that has everyone running to E. 81st Deli in Cleveland.

Does KFC have TikTok? ›

KFC (@kentuckyfriedchicken) Official | TikTok.

Is it okay to eat chicken salad every day? ›

Absolutely — chicken salad can be healthy. Just how healthy comes down to the ingredients used, the portion eaten, and the other foods it's paired with to make a meal.

Can you eat chicken salad left out overnight? ›

Leaving cooked chicken out for more than two hours, whether it is covered or not, is not safe. There may be enough bacteria present to give you food poisoning.

Can I eat chicken salad after 7 days? ›

Be extra careful with mayo-based foods, such as chicken salad or potato salad. They're only safe to eat for 3 to 4 days after they're prepared.

What not to do when preparing chicken salad? ›

Overcooked or dry chicken

To ensure that your chicken salad tastes the way that it should, you should avoid using overcooked or dry chicken in your recipe. Unfortunately, as we cook chicken, the moisture of the bird slowly evaporates.

How do you know if chicken salad has gone bad? ›

If you see mold or any kind of growth on your chicken salad, or it has an off color, it's probably safest to throw it away. The most prominent sign of trash-ready salad will be the smell; Chicken salad that has gone bad will smell off and should be discarded immediately, per eHow.

Can you freeze chicken salad? ›

The good news is that yes, chicken salad can be frozen. Once you've thawed it, however, it's never going to be quite the same as it was before it was frozen.

What's in a millionaire salad? ›

  1. 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling.
  2. 1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip.
  3. 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk.
  4. 1 (16 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained.
  5. 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges.
  6. 1 cup seedless grapes (optional)
  7. 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  8. 1 cup mini marshmallows.

What are 5 components of a satisfying salad? ›

5 Steps to a More Satisfying Salad
  • Use fresh ingredients. ...
  • Use ingredients that add different textures. ...
  • Create balanced flavors. ...
  • Skip the greens. ...
  • Include protein to make salad more filling.
May 1, 2019

Why is chicken salad called salad? ›

So you might be surprised to learn that the origin of the word "salad" has nothing to do with vegetables and its accoutrements and everything to do with salt. Originating from the word "sal," meaning salt, salads refer to any number of ingredients that can be mixed or covered with dressings that contain salt.

What country is chicken salad from? ›

We can thank the Chinese for being the first to serve variations of “chicken salad.” Of course, these versions were far from what we are familiar with today, but the general idea was pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils, always tied together by a binding substance.

Where did Chicken Salad Chick come from? ›

Stacy Brown and her husband Kevin Brown founded Chicken Salad Chick in 2008 in Auburn, AL. The business idea came out of her love for making and serving chicken salad, a recipe that was passed down from her grandmother.

How many locations is Chicken Salad Chick? ›

Chicken Salad Chick
IndustryFast casual restaurant chain and franchise
FoundersStacy and Kevin Brown
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia
Number of locations286 (2022)
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Where was chicken salad invented? ›

One of the first American forms of chicken salad was served by Town Meats in Wakefield, Rhode Island, in 1863. The original owner, Liam Gray, mixed his leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. This became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.

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