This recipe is a light and easy-to-make version of a traditional Chicken Salad with stunning colors, taste, and texture!
It's a medley of tender chicken, crisp green apples, and juicy red grapes coated in a creamy dressing. Adding red onions, celery, and parsley provides fresh, sharp notes that round up the salad nicely.
It's perfect for barbecues, picnics, and potlucks but also makes a delicious weekday lunch.
The recipe has only 10 simple ingredients. Yet each mouthful is filled with tangy, sweet, and fresh flavors with a hint of spice.
Like our famous Shrimp Salad, this salad is perfect as a side dish, an appetizer, a buffet table staple, or as a sandwich.
Classic Chicken Salad is often made with green leafy vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, onions, and celery, and mayo salad dressing.
It can be made in many different ways depending on what you prefer. This recipe skips the eggs and uses fruits to keep it light and easy. I love how they jazz up the salad with their tart-sweet notes and refreshing mouthfeel.
While recipe testing to find the perfect chicken salad dressing, I initially used a combination of Greek yogurt with mayonnaise. Then I added lemon juice and sugar.
But it was not quite what I was looking for.
My taste-testing team (aka my family) were great judges. They are 'brutally honest, and I love that.
After they didn't love the mayonnaise Greek yogurt combination, I decided to simplify the recipe.
And I tried it with Dijon mustard and got the exact flavor that I wanted! Dijon mustard’s robust flavor with a hint of spiciness adds another flavor dimension to the dish. Everybody agreed; it was a clear winner.
Why You Need To Try This Recipe
TIME: It’ll only take you 15 minutes to get this on the table.
EFFICIENCY: Once you have all the ingredients prepared, all you need to do is make the dressing. And if you are using left-over chicken, there is no need even to turn on your stovetop.
VERSATILITY: This recipe is also quite versatile. It is flavorful and substantial enough to be enjoyed as a standalone dish. And there's room to customize the recipe easily!
SIDE DISH: It provides a great side dish to any grilled and fried entrees. Or you can pack it up and enjoy it as a side salad on your next picnic or potluck.
APPETIZER: Serve it with some crackers, carrots, celery, and pita bread as an appetizer.
SANDWICH: Or my personal favorite- makes a delicious croissant sandwich stacked with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.
LETTUCE WRAPS: If you prefer a low-carb alternative, wrap it into a chicken sandwich lettuce. Serve the salad on a bed of lettuce.
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
Chicken - You can use cooked, grilled, or rotisserie chicken. And if you're looking for a healthy alternative, poached chicken breast works well, too. It’s a perfect opportunity to make something amazing with leftover baked chicken. If you're in a bind, the canned chicken will also do.
Vegetables - Celery and red onions provide a bold and earthy taste and extra crunch to the salad. Garnished with parsley for some added aroma and freshness.
Fruit – the tartness and sweetness of green apples and red grapes work so well with the savory chicken. Make sure to buy seedless grapes, as deseeding them takes time and makes them less pretty.
Dressing - a mayonnaise-based dressing with a dollop of Dijon mustard, a splash of lemon juice, and a dash of sugar. It makes a perfectly creamy, tangy mixture with a bit of a bite. I use Miracle Whip for this recipe. It has that extra bit of tanginess that works so well here.
Variations and Additions
Nuts - Toasted pecans. Especially if you’re thinking about serving this salad as a side on Thanksgiving or Christmas, walnuts work well, too.
Dried Cranberries - I like the texture of cranberries and their hint of tartness. Perfect to make a delicious holiday Chicken Salad Sandwich.
Mandarin Oranges and Peaches - If you want to make your chicken salad with a tropical flair for the summer.
Green Olives - If you want to add a salty tone and meaty texture.
Fresh Dill - can also be used instead of parsley for a fresh and citrusy finish.
How To Make This Chicken Salad Recipe
Make sure that you use a large bowl. One that can accommodate all ingredients and allows you room to toss them around without making a mess.
- Mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice using a large wooden spoon or a whisk. Add a little sugar and whisk until everything is well combined.
- Add chicken, celery, red onion, green apple, and red grapes into the bowl with the dressing. Toss until the meat, veggies, and fruits are fully coated.
- Add in small amounts until you are satisfied with it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish it with fresh parsley.
You can serve it at room temperature or chilled.
Recipe Success Tips
If you are adding nuts, add them after tossing. Pecans and walnuts are heavy enough to sink if you toss them with the rest of the ingredients.
If you are making the chicken salad beforehand, do not add celery. Celery is made of 95% water, so it can make the salad watery.
Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure it is stored in an airtight container, or you can cover the bowl with cling wrap instead.
More Recipes Like
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BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD - Perfect healthy, high-protein lunch salad bowl.
CURRY CHICKEN SALAD - This unique, homemade Curry Chicken Salad is creamy, sweet, and savory. It's quite literally one of the best chicken salad recipes.
DILL PICKLE PASTA SALAD - This easy recipe can be a delicious everyday side dish or a hit on a buffet table.
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- In a large bowl whisk mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice until creamy.
- Add chicken, celery, green apple, and red grapes. Toss to coat well.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Enjoy.