Chicken Salad

Chef's notes:

Chicken salad is kind of like tuna salad in that it is has a mayonnaise base. You start out with poached chicken, mix it with mayonnaise, herbs, salt, and some sort of acid. Chicken salad is really quite simple to make and therefore many variations exist. I bet there are even a few recipes that don’t use mayo—weirdos.

The key to a tasty chicken salad, at least in my book, is that the chicken is properly poached. By you. Avoid the canned chicken. Poaching chicken is ridiculously easy. Besides, why eat meat from a can when you can buy fresh and poach it yourself? Canned meat is nasty.


  • 15 ounces of chicken breasts (three breasts)
  • ½ cup shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup celery, minced
  • ¾ cup heavy mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • 2 tsp parsley, minced
  • Sea salt to taste

Chicken Salad Recipe made with Poached Chicken Breasts, Mayo, Shallot, Honey, Mustard, and Lemon

  1. Buy some fresh and healthy chicken breasts. I have the tendency to get preachy when I talk about what meat you should buy. But all I ask is that you find out where your meat comes from and buy the stuff that you are comfortable with eating and serving to others. I grew up on a hobby farm, and we raised delicious chickens. And that is what I am used to. So I buy the “expensive” chicken. And it’s worth it to me.
  2. Poach the chicken breasts for the chicken salad recipe. Poaching is done traditionally in a liquid called court bouillon, which is a quick broth made from mirepoix, herbs, and an acid-like wine or lemon. You may also use a mixture of chicken stock and wine for poaching liquid. Even a simple mixture of water and lemon juice will suffice. For more information on poaching, read Poached Chicken Breasts.
  3. Chop the poached chicken breasts. Cool the poached chicken breasts and chop them into a small dice. Put the chopped chicken meat into a bowl and add the minced shallots, celery, and parsley. Then add the mayo, mustard, honey, and lemon to the bowl and mix everything together. Add salt to taste.
  4. Refrigerate the chicken salad. You can eat the chicken salad right away. But it will be even better the next day. I like to put roasted cashews and dried cherries on top of my chicken salad. It gives it a very nice contrast. You may also try grapes, apricots, raisins, or almonds. There are many options. The chicken salad should be good for a week, but I doubt it will last that long.

Tips & Tricks

  • Buy good-looking and good-smelling chicken breasts for this recipe. Don’t skimp on this one!
  • Poaching the chicken breasts is the easiest and best way to cook them for chicken salad. When poached properly, chicken breasts are quite tender and juicy—even when fully cooked.
  • Make sure you mince the shallot finely. The flavor is strong and you want it mixed into the salad evenly. If you don’t have shallot, add some red onion.
  • Refrigerating the chicken salad overnight will boost the flavor of the chicken and the sauce too. It really is much better the next day.


Roasted cashews, toasted almond slivers, pistachios, dried cherries, raisins, grapes, apricots, potato straws, tomato slices, lettuce, jams and jellies