Chicken Salad the Way You Like It

man pouring olive oil into healthy chicken salad on kitchen

Chicken salad, like minestrone or meatloaf, comes with personalized variations. But the secret to an easy chicken salad, or any of the other dishes, is to make good use of prepared ingredients and skip the time-consuming steps. The good news is that the quality of prepared foods means that your chicken salad will still be delicious.


The biggest time-saver in making chicken salad is having easy access to cooked chicken. Cook your own chicken breasts the night before you plan on making the salad, use a rotisserie chicken with the skin and visible fat removed, use canned chicken chunks or buy cooked chicken from either the deli case or the frozen food case at your local grocery.

Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red or white onion, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Save time by slicing off the parsley leaves from their stalks after you wash the herb instead of carefully picking off each leaf. A few pieces of chopped parsley stems will not make any difference in the salad. If you don't have fresh parsley on hand, leave it out rather than using dried parsley, which will not have time to flavor the salad as it does in soups and stews.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir all the ingredients together.
  2. Taste the salad and adjust the salt and pepper as needed for flavor, and add more mayonnaise if the salad seems dry.


If your preparation time is limited to less than 15 minutes, omit the parsley from the salad. If you have more preparation time, add 1 cup of grapes that you have sliced in half to make them easier to eat, and add 1/2 cup of toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans.

Variations: Add curry chicken salad with currants and curry powder to the basic recipe or make chicken-garbanzo salad with garbanzo beans, cucumber, yogurt, spinach and garlic.