Yes, this really is the BEST Chicken Salad! Toss it together in no time and enjoy it all by itself or as a sandwich for a satisfying lunch. It’s loaded with fresh veggies, vibrant lemon juice, creamy mayo and more. You’re going to love this classic, no-fail chicken salad recipe!

A halved chicken salad sandwich is placed on a plate.

The Best Chicken Salad

I think chicken salad might just be my favorite lunch recipe! It’s so easy to toss together in a few minutes, holds up well in the fridge and really hits the spot. I hate when I eat a skimpy lunch and just end up starving well before dinner. With something protein packed like chicken salad, I actually feel satisfied and it carries me all the way to dinner (which sometimes is just more chicken salad)!

The varying textures in this chicken salad recipe is probably my favorite thing about it. There are lots of crisp veggies like carrots, red onions and celery that pair perfectly with the tender bites of chicken. Plus, creamy mayo holds it all together in the very best way! What really seals the deal on that fresh flavor is lots of fresh lemon juice AND zest. It’s such a nice flavor on a hot spring or summer day.

Another wonderful thing about making your own chicken salad is that you can control exactly what goes into it. More or less salt and pepper, extra veggies, low fat mayo – you name it! You can easily customize this classic chicken salad recipe to best fit your own needs, which is something you can’t do when you buy it already made from a restaurant or grocery store.

All of the ingredients for chicken salad are placed on a round place mat.

How to Make Chicken Salad

Chicken salad might just be the easiest lunch you toss together – literally! Scroll down to the recipe card for more details about ingredients and step by step instructions.

  1. Shred the chicken. First things first – cook your chicken breasts and roughly chop them. Once it’s cooled off, you’ll use two forks to finely shred the chicken. If you have a food processor, that’ll also get the job done!
  2. Toss it all together. Add all of the ingredients, including the shredded chicken, to a large bowl. Toss it all together to thoroughly combine. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Variations to Try

This recipe is just your standard, classic chicken salad. There are plenty of ways you can change it up a little bit! Here are just a few fun ways you can make it your own:

  • Mix in some freshly chopped jalapeños for spice.
  • Add some chewy sweetness by tossing in some dried cranberries.
  • Make it a little healthier by using low-fat mayo.
  • Chopped grapes add a nice juicy texture and sweet flavor.
  • Feel free to add more herbs like tarragon, chives or basil.


In an airtight container in the fridge, chicken salad will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. Every time you scoop some out of the container, try to use a clean utensil! Any new bacteria will cause the chicken salad to spoil.

Chicken Salad Sandwich  made with whole wheat bread on a blue plaid plate.

Serving Suggestions

Here are just a few of the most popular ways to enjoy classic chicken salad:

  • Eat it all by itself with a fork! It’s a great protein packed, low carb meal option.
  • Use it as a filling for a sandwich or wrap.
  • Add a large dollop of it on top of a bed of leafy greens like spinach or arugula.
  • Double the recipe for a party and serve it as an appetizer with crackers or chips.

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A halved chicken salad sandwich is placed on a plate.

Get the Recipe: The Best Chicken Salad Recipe

The best Chicken Salad recipe is made with tender, shredded chicken breast, lightly seasoned mayonnaise, carrots, celery, lemon and little else for a flavor packed version of your childhood favorite.
4.67 from 3 votes


  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 kitchen knife


  • Place the chicken in a medium bowl and break up with a fork until finely shredded. (You can also do this in a mini food processor.)
  • Add the carrot, celery, onion, lemon zest, juice, parsley and mayonnaise to the shredded chicken. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately or cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Calories: 220kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 225mg, Potassium: 253mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1559IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg