The Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad Recipe
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The Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad Recipe – Our homemade chicken salad recipe is easy to make and loaded with celery, apples, relish, and almonds. Enjoy this classic southern staple on sandwiches, in salads, or scooped with crackers!
Best Chicken Salad Recipe Ever
Bless my soul, I love chicken salad.
Served cold for lunch on a hot spring or summer day, there is just nothing more refreshing and filling than a helping of chunky, creamy chicken salad made from scratch.
I can’t help but try a chicken salad dish whenever I see it offered on a menu. Some recipes feature walnuts or grapes, or even include vinegar or Greek yogurt in the base. Like unique, beautiful snowflakes there are just so many different takes on this traditional salad staple… And I simply must sample them all!
At this point in my life I do consider myself somewhat of a chicken salad aficionado, and after many trials with different ingredients and ratios – and lots of great feedback from family and friends – I believe I have created The Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad Recipe to share with you today.
My version has just the right balance of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, with great textures from chopped fruits, veggies, and toasted almonds. It is bright with just a bit of crunch; savory, slightly sweet, and utterly perfect, in my humble opinion.
Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad Recipe
Chicken salad is a classic American dish that every cook should have in their arsenal of go-to recipes. If your family doesn’t have a signature recipe, I highly suggest you use this one as your own!
What makes this a classic Southern Chicken Salad recipe?
While most chicken salad recipes have a similar base of chopped chicken and mayo, the little details are what make some recipes *ahem* so much better than others.
Our homemade chicken salad recipe is light with fresh produce and herbs like most traditional southern versions but packs a punch with big flavors and lots of different textures. You will love the blend of chicken, celery, apples, sweet pickle relish, almonds, scallions, and fresh dill.
It’s perfect for sandwiches, to top green salads, or just to scoop up with crackers or veggies.
You’ve just got to try this recipe for your next picnic or potluck!
What Ingredients You Need
Using a combination of sweet, salty, and savory elements makes otherwise basic roasted chicken pop with flavor. I highly recommend you include all of our suggested ingredients to make this truly the Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad recipe.
Here is what you need:
- Rotisserie chicken – store-bought or homemade roast chicken (Chicken Breasts are also an option.)
- Celery – chopped
- Apple – diced
- Sweet pickle relish
- Almonds – freshly toasted nuts (or try with pecans)
- Scallion Onions – chopped green onions
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh dill – chopped (fresh herbs are the best)
- Salt and pepper
How to Make the Best Chicken Salad
- First, toast the almonds to provide just the right smokiness and crunch. Place the almonds in a small dry skillet and set over medium heat. Toss and brown for about 3-5 minutes, until golden. Take the skillet off of the heat and set it aside to cool.
- Next, remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken and pull the cooked meat off the bones. Discard the skin and bones. Place all of the chicken meat on a cutting board and roughly chop.
- Place the chopped chicken in a large bowl. Then add the mayonnaise, chopped celery, diced apple, sweet pickle relish, toasted almonds, diced scallions, Dijon mustard, and chopped fresh dill. Note: If you are not sure how creamy you want your chicken salad, add only 1 ¼ cup of mayonnaise at first. You can always add more if desired.
- Lastly, stir well to evenly mix all of the ingredients together. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.
Cover and chill until you are ready to serve. The flavors get even better as the ingredients all sit together and become cold.
Like many southern-style chilled salads, this chicken salad recipe tastes even better on day two. When possible make it the day before serving.
Get the Complete (Printable) Ultimate Southern Easy Chicken Salad Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Make a Healthier Classic Chicken Salad Recipe?
You can use low-calorie, paleo, or keto-friendly mayonnaise to make a lighter version of this recipe.
How Long Does This Recipe Last?
Homemade chicken salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container. Prep this recipe beforehand for meal prepping for chicken salad sandwiches.
What Goes Well with Chicken Salad?
Enjoy Southern Chicken Salad on sandwiches by itself, or dress it up with lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Croissants are a great bread medium to make sandwiches with.
Top your favorite fresh greens with a hearty scoop for a Chicken Salad … Salad!
Or just eat by the scoopful with crackers, potato chips, or veggies like carrots and sliced cucumbers. If looking for a low-carb option you can use our Low Carb Cauliflower Crackers.
Looking for More Classic Southern Recipes?
- Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe (Oven Fried!)
- Best Ever Potato Salad
- Perky Pimento Cheese
- Buffalo Cowboy Caviar
- Crock Pot Brisket Sandwiches (Texas BBQ Beef)
- Southern Tomato Pie Recipe
- Oven Baked “Fried” Pickles with Garlic Sauce
Check the printable recipe card below for the nutritional information including calories, carbohydrates, protein, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, fiber, vitamin c, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, trans fat, and calcium percentages.
The Ultimate Southern Chicken Salad Recipe
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken, about 5 cups chopped chicken
- 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup diced apple, a firm variety
- ½ cup sweet pickle relish
- ½ cup toasted almonds
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- salt and pepper
- Place the almonds in a small dry skillet. Set over medium heat. Toss and brown for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Turn off the heat. Meanwhile, chop all the procduce.
- Remove the skin from the chicken and pull the cooked meat off the bones. Place all the chicken meat on a cutting board and roughly chop. Discard the skin and bones.
- Set out a large mixing bowl. Place the chicken in the bowl. Then add the mayonnaise, celery, diced apple, sweet pickle relish, toasted almonds, scallions, Dijon mustard, and dill.
- Stir well to evenly mix all the ingredients. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve. (Chicken salad always tastes better after it has time to rest and chill. If possible, make a day ahead.)
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
If made a day in advance is there any issues with apples browning? Are granny smith too tart, maybe fuji is better?
No, the apples will be well coated with dressing, so they will be just fine. I like to select a tangy-sweet apple, so Fujis are a great choice. :)
Oh wow, this recipe for chicken salad is so good, so solid. Even if you have to tweak the recipe a tad (didn’t have everything on hand), the result is delicious! My tweaks were as follows: no apples, no almonds. Added a TBL of half-n-half (cuts the mayo flavor, makes it creamy), 1/4 slice of lemon squeezed, dried dill, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley. So darn good!
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My husband is a big fan of chicken. I cook chicken dishes every week so I need many different chicken recipe ideas. Yesterday, I found this chicken salad recipe and decided to make it. I just wanna say: “Wowww!”. The taste was really really incredible. Thanks for the recipe!
Love how simple this is to make and how tasty it was! The relish is a nice touch!
This takes chicken salad to an all new level! I love the flavors and the combinations of sweet and savory. Perfect lunch!
This is such an amazing salad recipe!! A huge hit at my house!
I am looking for a salad recipe at dinner tonight, then I find this ultimate southern chicken salad recipe. It looks so yummy. I will make it for my family tonight. Thank you for the recipe.
I especially love the apples and almonds in this chicken salad recipe! So delicious!!
AMAZING ,EASY TO DO AND VERY HEALTHY !