In food

Chicken Salad

A bowl of chicken salad on a bed of spinach, garnished with strawberries.

Classic chicken salad is so versatile. There’s a reason it’s on nearly every buffet table at a baby or wedding shower. It’s simple, yet a crowd pleaser. But this isn’t just a recipe reserved for easy entertaining. Add it to a bed of greens, put it between two slices of good wheat bread, top it on your favorite crackers. One of my favorite ways to eat it is with plantain chips.

A bowl of chicken salad on top of spinach. A blue striped cloth is in the background.

Really good chicken salad needs a couple things: a little sweetness to balance the salty chicken & mayo combination, a little crunch to give some texture, and absolutely no soggy chicken salad allowed.

For this version, red grapes lend their sweetness. Dried cherries or craisins would be nice variations, as well.

The crunch comes from celery, about 2 ribs of it, that we’ll dice up into smallish pieces.

Here’s where we have to discuss the sogginess factor. I think chicken salad that is overly dressed with mayonnaise, or (gasp) Miracle Whip, is truly terrible. It’s the reason I believed for a long time that I didn’t like chicken salad. Side note here: please don’t substitute Miracle Whip in this recipe for mayonnaise. They are not interchangeable. Despite what my husband thinks.

To keep this recipe from getting soggy, be sure to drain the canned chicken thoroughly, and don’t overdo the mayo.

Once you’ve whipped up a batch, you can store it in the refrigerator for several days. I usually double the recipe and it is enough to feed two or three of us lunch for the week.

Chicken Salad


  • 25 ounces canned chicken breast
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 cup celery about 2 ribs
  • 3 tbsp mayo
  • ¼ tsp celery salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans optional


  1. Drain canned chicken well.

  2. In a large bowl, break up the chicken with a fork.

  3. Halve the grapes, (or quarter, if they are large), and add them to the chicken.

  4. Dice the celery and add it to the bowl.

  5. Add mayo, celery salt, and black pepper, (and pecans, if desired).

  6. Mix thoroughly.

  7. Store in an airtight container.

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