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Creamy classic chicken salad is a combination of juicy chicken, crunchy celery, white onions and mayonnaise. The addition of fresh herbs turn this simple classic into an elevated & refreshing main meal.

Chicken salad has always been one of my favorite meal-prep lunches. It comes together quickly, stores well in the refrigerator and can be served a variety of different ways.

This recipe is my new favorite way to make chicken salad!

Chicken salad goes well with any of these Top 50 Chicken Salad Sides.


  • Contains fresh veggies
  • Fresh herbs provide maximum flavor
  • Classic & well-loved recipe
  • Minimal prep time
  • Minimal to no cook time
  • Easily customizable to be gluten free and low carb

Ingredients needed

Ingredients in chicken salad displayed on a surface. The ingredients are all labeled.
  • Poached chicken – Poaching is a gentle cooking method. When poaching chicken, the chicken breast is submerged in water or broth that is kept at a low, constant temperature. The chicken cooks slowly, resulting in tender and juicy meat. Poaching is not the same as simmering or boiling. You can learn more about the difference between poaching, simmering and boiling here. I explain how to poach chicken breast for chicken salad in my instructions below.
  • Celery– Celery is crunchy, watery and a little bit salty. Celery adds fiber, bulk and lots of texture to creamy chicken salad.
  • Onion – I always use white onion when making chicken salad.
  • Fresh parsley – You can use either flat leaf or curly parsley. There are distinct taste and texture differences between the two varieties. However, my local grocery stores usually only have one or the other, so I just use whatever the grocery store has on hand that week.
  • Fresh dill – Fresh dill weed is sometimes used as a substitute for parsley. In this recipe, we are using it in addition to parsley! When chopping dill weed you can chop both the stems and the long fronds/leaves.
  • Fresh green onion – Chop the long green ends of the green onion and discard the white bottoms for this recipe.
  • Mayonnaise – I always choose Hellman’s Low-Fat Mayonnaise. You can choose low-fat or full-fat.
  • Vinegar – I used rice vinegar for this recipe. Rice vinegar is a slightly sweet, mild vinegar and tends to be my #1 choice when choosing a vinegar for a recipe.
  • Salt & pepper – I like course salt and it is what I primarily use when cooking and creating recipes. Go ahead and use whatever salt you prefer.
  • Croissant rolls – Buttery, flakey croissant rolls are my favorite way to eat chicken salad.

Equipment needed

  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Large mixing bowl

How to make

  1. Chop – Chop the poached chicken breast (see instructions for poaching chicken below), celery and onion.
  2. Dice – Dice the fresh parsley, dill and green onion.
  3. Measure – Measure out your remaining ingredients. This includes the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix – Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Serve – Serve your classic chicken salad on a fresh, buttery croissant and enjoy!
Chicken salad ingredients chopped and in a bowl ready to mix.

How to poach chicken

  1. Place your chicken breast in a single layer in the bottom of a saucepan.
  2. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and add some aromatics. Aromatics are any food item that will enhance the flavor of a dish. Examples include herbs, spices, vegetables, fruit, wine and vinegar. Pick your aromatics based on the flavors of your dish. For example, I used a few sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, slices of onion and a bay leaf.
  3. Add cool water to the saucepan. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken by at least an inch.
  4. Bring the water to a boil.
  5. As soon as the water comes to boil, reduce the heat to low (just below a simmer), cover the pot and let the chicken cook.
  6. The chicken will typically finish cooking in 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. The chicken is fully cooked once it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
  7. Transfer the cooked chicken from the saucepan to a cutting board. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

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Recipe Variations

  • Serving alternatives – Try your chicken salad on a croissant, brioche bun, whole wheat wrap, fresh-baked sourdough bread, over greens or stuffed in a tomato!
  • Optional add-ins – Add in walnuts for extra crunch and purple grapes for a hint of sweetness.
  • Flavor options – Try out curried chicken salad or Waldorf style chicken salad.

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Up close view of a classic chicken salad sandwich on a croissant bun,

Classic Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Creamy classic chicken salad is a combination of juicy chicken, crunchy celery, white onions and mayonnaise. The addition of fresh herbs turn this simple classic into an elevated & refreshing main meal.


  • 1.5 pounds poached chicken breast – chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh green onion
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 croissant rolls


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken breast, celery, onion, parsley, dill and green onion.  Mix together until well combined.
  2. Add the mayonnaise into the chicken, vegetable and herb mixture and mix together. 
  3. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper to the chicken salad mixture. Mix well.  
  4. Slice the 4 croissant rolls open lengthwise. Evenly distribute the chicken salad onto the rolls.  Serve & enjoy! 


  • See my instructions in the post to learn how to poach chicken breast.
  • You can substitute roasted or rotisserie chicken for poached chicken.
  • To make the recipe low-carb and/or gluten free, simply eliminate the croissant rolls. 
  • Category: lunch, dinner
  • Method: poaching, mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: classic chicken salad

Frequently Asked Questions about Classic Chicken Salad

Is classic chicken salad low carb and gluten free?

Yes it can be. A typical chicken salad recipe is naturally low-carb and gluten free. However, if you serve your chicken salad on a croissant roll like I have suggested, then it will not be gluten free or low carb. Eliminate the roll to make it low-carb. Substitute the croissant with gluten free bread/wrap/roll to make it gluten free.

How long does chicken salad keep in the refrigerator?

If creamy chicken salad is stored in the refrigerator in a sealed, air-tight container, then it should last 3-4 days.

How can I serve chicken salad as an appetizer at a party?

I would serve the chicken salad with hearty crackers (that won’t break easily), mini croissant rolls or with cucumber slices.

What are creative ways to serve chicken salad without using carbohydrates?

Low carb ways to serve chicken salad include cucumber slices, sliced endive, in romaine lettuce “boats,” or in hollowed out tomatoes.

Leave me comments and questions below! I can’t wait to hear your feedback on this recipe!