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Build Your Own Chicken Salad

Build Your Own Chicken Salad

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There are about as many Chicken Salad variations as there are episodes of Law and Order…approximately 1.5 million. You’ve got traditional Chicken Salad, Chicken Pasta Salad, Mexican Chicken Salad, Oriental Chicken Salad, Kitchen Sink Chicken Salad, Sweet Chicken Salad, Savory Chicken Salad, Hot Chicken Salad, and on and on and on.

But really, with the right ratios you can make your own chicken salad based on what you like or what you currently have about to die in the refrigerator. So today I’m going to give you a basic formula that you can use to make any chicken salad that floats your boat.

Build Your Own Chicken Salad

This Cooking Through Stacy’s Stash episode is brought you to by another lovely church cookbook. I got this one on a trip with my beautiful friend, Kim Anderson, when we went to a ladies retreat for the day. Like every other awesome church cookbook, it’s full of belly warming casseroles, cakes galore, and Velveeta. Y’all, pick you up some church cookbooks – for real.

Build Your Own Chicken Salad

I got the idea for this when grazing through the salad section. Most church cookbook salad sections should be renamed “Mayonnaise Zone.” But really, every church cookbook will have a few different chicken salad recipes – because Beulah and Mable want their own space. “They are NOT the same, as mine calls for only ½ teaspoon pepper while you use 1 teaspoon.” Bam. Get outta my pew.

Build Your Own Chicken Salad

The basis for chicken salad is…wait for it————————chicken. Now honestly, I don’t care what kind of chicken you use. Most of the time I use leftover chicken from my Crock Pot Whole Baked Chicken. You could boil some chicken and shred it – which is what I did this particular time. But hey, I ain’t gonna lie. Sometimes Mama breaks open a can of chicken from Sam’s Club. Boom.

I like about 3 cups…and because I love you, I measured to find that’s about 1 ½ pounds raw chicken breast. I’m awesome and I love my kitchen scale. It doesn’t work for measuring babies though – I tried it.

Build Your Own Chicken Salad

Then we need our veggies. Don’t be leaving the veggies out of your chicken salad. Then it’s not really a salad…it’s just MEAT AND MAYONNAISE. Leaving out the veggies takes away its salad status. Almost all chicken salad recipes call for chopped celery and onion. I like to use red onion because I have a love affair with it. And if Barry and I both eat it, it totally cancels out the breath.

Build Your Own Chicken Salad

And finally, we need dressing. Those are our basic components. All the other stuff is just extra and I’ll talk about that in a minute. I don’t like mayonnaise very much. Even the smell kinda makes me want to yak. I do use it in my salads…but here is my trick – I mix it with Greek yogurt. It really gives a creamy taste and reduces the mayonnaisey flavor that sometimes can happen. Too much mayo can sit like a heavy weight in the bottom of your stomach – kinda like how you feel after watching the news.

So, what else do you need? Well, whatever in the world you want. Nothing is out of limits with chicken salad. I almost always add nuts to mine – and either raisins, cranberries, or dried cherries. I do not like grapes in my salad, but Barry does.

Here are some optional add-ins:

-chopped cilantro or celery leaves

– ¼ to ½ cup dried fruit

– ½ to 1 cup chopped fruit (apples, grapes, pineapple, etc)

– ½ cup chopped carrots

– 2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

– ¼ cup chopped nuts

– 1 avocado, chopped

– chopped cooked bacon (YEAH BABY!)

So really, anything goes. Be creative now that you have a basic framework!

Build Your Own Chicken Salad


*This post is linked at Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes, at Random Recipe Roundup at My Mixing Spoon, at Making Monday at A Bright and Beautiful Life, at Inspiration Monday at I Should Be Mopping the Floor, at Clever Chicks at The Chicken Chick, at Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands, at Marvelous Mondays at This Gal Cooks, at Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, at Mix It Up Monday at Flour Me With Love, at A Round Tuit at Creating My Way to Success, at Homemade Mondays at Being Frugal By Choice, at Homestead Barn Hop at Homestead Revival, at Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy’s Recipe Box, at Show Me What You Got at Our Delightful Home, at In and Out of the Kitchen at Feeding Big, at Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, at Share Your Stuff Tuesdays at Our Table for Seven, at Tuesday’s Table at Love in the Kitchen, at Tasty Tuesdays at Anyonita Nibbles, at Domestically Divine at Far Above Rubies, at Growing Homemakers Link Up at Growing Home, at Gluten Free Tuesday at Easy Green Mama, at Share It Link Party at The Winthrop Chronicles, at Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings, at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, at Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, at Gluten Free Wednesday at Gluten Free Homemaker, at Wonderfully Creative Wednesday at All She Cooks, at Fresh Foods Wednesday at She Eats, at Wednesday Whatsits at White Lights on Wednesday, at Welcome Home Wednesday at Raising Arrows, at Allergy Free Wednesdays at Whole New Mom, at Works for Me Wednesday at We are That Family, at Wow Me Wednesday at Ginger Snap Crafts, at Wonderful Wednesdays at Ducks in a Row, at Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain, at Fabulously Frugal Thursday at A Life in Balance, at Pin It Thursday at Sweet Bella Roos, at Thriving on Thursday at Domesblissity, at The Project Stash at Seven Alive, at Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, at Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs, at Thrive at Home Thursday at Live Called, at Proverbs 31 Thursday Linkup at Raising Mighty Arrows, at Simple Lives Thursday at My Humble Kitchen, at Let’s Get Real Link Party at 365ish Pins, at The Weekend Re-Treat at The Best Blog Recipes, at Family Fun Friday at Happy and Blessed Home, at Creative Connection Party at Chase the Star, at Friday Pin Fest at A Peek Into My Paradise, at Crafty Friday at Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, at Inspiration Gallery at Craftberry Bush, at Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, at Gluten Free Fridays at Vegetarian Mamma, at Pin Junkie Link Party at The Pin Junkie, at Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, at Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home, at Freedom Fridays at My Turn For Us, at Foodie Friday at Simple Living Eating, at That’s Fresh Friday at Fabulous Mom Blog, at Catch as Catch Can at My Repurposed Life, at The Party Bunch at Thirty Handmade Days, at Simple Meals Friday at Nourishing Simplicity, at Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club, at Friday Frenzy at Mostly Food and Crafts, at Best of the Weekend at The Mandatory Mooch, at Get Schooled Saturday at Too Much Time, at Check Me Out Saturday at A Vision to Remember, at Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal, at Super Saturday Link Party at Made from Pinterest, at Serenity Saturday at Serenity You, at Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters’ Stuff.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. My favorite chicken salad is a curry chicken salad – yum! I love this idea : )

  2. That looks yummy! But how about a recipe for the broccoli salad next to the sandwich? That looks yummy too :)

  3. Kate Schat says:

    I’ve never made chicken salad…GASP. I don’t like mayo either…only exception is homemade mayo on a BLT. Maybe. Anyhow, Chicken is a hot comodity around here seeing as we can only raise so many and we eat way more venison because of it. Ain’t nobody wantin’ a venison salad sandwich. I do buy the odd can of fish from the local fish shop to make into salmon salad sandwhich…they get their own canned and it’s the

  4. Anita Reese Barker says:

    I absolutely love chicken salad and tuna salad. I was wondering why all the recipes call for boiled eggs? I made up my own version and never used eggs until I started looking at other recipes. I found the ingredient that really enhances the sandwich is lemon pepper. It really makes the difference in taste. I liked the Arby’s chicken salad sandwich which is very pricey and decided to make my own version. I added to the chicken, onion, celery, grapes, apples, walnuts, homemade mayonnaise and lemon pepper on toasted bread. I also ate one at a local restaurant and they used toasted raisin cinnamon bread that was incredible. I am fairly new to your posts, Stacey, and love your blogs and website!

  5. Donna Gibson says:

    That’s a great idea! My only difference of opinion is that I don’t use any mayo. I used mashed up avocado instead! Sometimes mixed with yogurt, but mostly just the avocado. YUMMMM! And NO mayo! YAYYY

  6. We use part mayo, part Greek yogurt as well and my kids think that a little garlic powder makes it. Go bacon!

  7. Here’s another post about a food I’ve been wanting to make recently! This looks wonderful. Thank you! =) (Oh, I like grapes and apples in chicken salad, too… My husband thinks I’m weird. lol)

  8. Rose Cole says:

    Thanks for the add – in ideas Stacy! We eat chicken and tuna salad a lot at our house and I am always looking for new ways to serve it. I personally use plain greek yogurt a lot as a binder mixed with a spoon full of mayo .You can even make the yogurt thicker by pre – straining it through a couple of coffee filters.

  9. Pink Kitty says:

    thanks…. this is the only thing i use mayo in….I like the idea of using yogurt instead… I’m going to try it. You have great ideas 😉

  10. I haven’t had Chicken Salad in forever… I may have to give this a go sometime!

  11. Uhm, how about a recipe for the broccoli salad on the side?! I LOVE that stuff! :)

  12. Funny you posted this, I have just recently had a desire to make chicken salad but had no idea how to make it. I looked at a bunch of recipes, but I’m very particular about my chicken salad, so it’s nice to see the basics. Thanks for the post.

  13. LOVE those church cookbooks! Aren’t they just the best? Great recipe – and I love the options!

  14. I love chicken salad, but I can be rather picky about them. This is perfect for me! Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you next week.

  15. What a fun idea, I love chicken salad.

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  16. homemaidsimple says:

    hmmm, chicken salad sounds good for dinner (since I can’t make the maple bacon wrapped chicken tonight). I’ve got celery and onions and chicken…time to go through the rest of the cupboard!

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