Basic Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad in a tomato cup with cracker on lettuce bed

Chicken salad is my go-to for using up any leftover chicken I have.  Sometimes when I am making chicken soup or chicken and dumpling, I go ahead and thrown in some extra chicken breasts just for chicken salad.  Rotisserie chicken meat is also really good in this recipe.

When I make this style of chicken salad, I prefer it pretty plain.  Celery is the only addition you will find here.  Feel free to add any number of ingredients you like in your chicken salad.  I prefer to eat mine on toast with some onions slices, stuffed inside of a tomato, or with crackers so fruit and nut addition just aren’t my thing.  I know a lot of people who it is their thing, so if that’s you, just add what you like, even feel free to leave out the celery.  I won’t hurt my feelings.  What will hurt my feelings is if you are a beginner cook and you don’t get into the kitchen and at least try.

I have 2 other chicken salad recipes I use; Dijon chicken salad and one with almonds and grapes.  I will make those at some point this summer and post those recipes as well.  My mood and weather usually determine which version I make.  My intended recipients sometimes sway my decision.  This one is a base recipe that beginning cooks can start with and adjust to their liking with minimal problems for most.




Basic Chicken Salad

Basic chicken salad recipe with mayonnaise and celery. Can be dressed up or down.

  • Author: Beth Mueller
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Sandwiches


  • 2 Bone-in Chicken Breasts, or 3 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise (not dressing)
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream
  • 4 stalks Celery, diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. If using precooked chicken skip the steps for cooking the chicken.
  2. Place chicken in a pan and fill with enough water to completely cover chicken.
  3. Place over high heat and heat until water boils.
  4. Turn heat own to medium-low and simmer until chicken is done. (30 to 60 minutes)
  5. Turn off heat and allow chicken to cool slightly in pan. (About an hour)
  6. Drain water from chicken.
  7. Removed skin and bones from chicken and discard.
  8. Cut chicken meat into small dice, or larger if you like.
  9. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  10. Chill until cold.
  11. Serve on crackers, bread, or stuffed in a tomato.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 288
  • Sugar: 2.7 g
  • Sodium: 726 mg
  • Fat: 17.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.4 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 21.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg
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