Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad Recipe

This classic Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad Recipe is the best way to use up leftover chicken!

chicken salad on a piece of bread with lettuce
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Every good cook should have a chicken salad recipe in their back pocket for using up leftover chicken, but not only that, chicken salad is the go-to sandwich salad for every occasion, from a family lunch to a larger gathering. I must admit however that homemade Caesar salad is definitely another firm favorite staple!

some Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad on a marble background

Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad Recipe

Of course, there are lots of amazing chicken salad recipes to choose from, but this old fashioned chicken salad recipe is definitely my favorite. It’s been passed down from generation to generation in my family and it’s still as good as it ever was.

The wonderful thing about this chicken salad is that you can easily add slight variations in seasoning and texture to suit your tastes and serve it in any way you’d like depending on the occasion. It’s perfect for adding to a green salad or sandwiches with some homemade mayo to give it that extra kick. I like to serve this with my buttery garlicky homemade croutons for a bit of extra crunch too.

2 servings of Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad with lettuce leaf wrap

How To Make Chicken Salad  

This recipe really is so easy to put together, it won’t take any time at all.

  1. Get all of your salad ingredients and place them in a bowl. I find that a medium-sized bowl is a perfect size.
  2. Stir the ingredients together. This is super quick and easy, as you can see! After you’ve finished stirring the dressing, add it to the salad ingredients and stir until all of the ingredients are combined. When you’re stirring the dressing don’t forget that you can always adjust the lemon according to taste (it’ll probably be a bit of trial and error ‘til you get it exactly how you like it!).
  3. Serve how you wish! There are so many ways to serve this chicken salad – from a simple lettuce leaf wrap to more filling sandwiches or even croissants. Or just serve it by itself!
close up Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad on a marble background

Old Fashioned Chicken Salad Tips and Tricks

I really love how easy it is to customize this old fashioned chicken salad to your own preferences! Here are a few ideas for you to try out with yours.

  • If you’d like a low-carb variation, try serving this old fashioned chicken salad on a bed of salad leaves with some avocado and tomatoes. It’s an easy and delicious alternative to bread or a wrap! The lettuce leaf wrap I mentioned earlier is also a great way to make this a low-carb wrap.
  • Take your time with the seasoning and add it bit by bit. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it out once it’s there! Add your seasoning little by little and have a taste each time until you get the flavour you love best.
  • If you want to add a bit of extra flavor, try adding some mustard to the mayonnaise!
  • Add some sweet fruity goodness with a few red grapes quartered or halved.
  • For some extra crunch, add some chopped-up toasted pecans to finish.
  • Use rotisserie chicken for the BEST flavor – and a super easy cheat!
  • More Sandwich Recipes

    I love a good sandwich! Try my:

More Chicken Recipes

Whether you want something a bit more filling or need to use up some leftovers, here are a few more chicken recipes I love!

Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad Recipe

This classic Old-Fashioned Chicken Salad Recipe is the best way to use up leftover chicken!
5 from 34 votes
chicken salad on a piece of bread with lettuce
Prep Time
10 minutes
Total Time
10 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


Salad Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice this is to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  • Place the salad ingredients into a medium sized bowl.
  • Stir together the dressing ingredients in a bowl, adjusting the lemon to taste. Add to the salad ingredients and gently stir them until the ingredients are well combined.
  • Use in lettuce leaf wraps, in sandwiches or just by itself!

Recipe Notes

Optional ingredients:
  1. diced apples
  2. diced hard boiled eggs
  3. sliced grapes 
Use light mayo to keep the fat and calories down.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 167kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 493mg, Potassium: 203mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 139IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Lorraine says

    This takes me back to roast chicken Sunday dinners with the left overs being made into sandwiches the next day. If anyone is an olive lover, trying chopping up some olives into the chicken salad. Gives it an extra zing.


    I followed your recipe. The only thing I changed was that I substituted 1 tsp Dijon Mustard for the lemon juice (didn’t have any lemons) and used 1/4 tsp celery seed (didn’t have celery salt). I just added a bit more salt. Served it on rye toast with iceberg lettuce. I used leftover store bought rotisserie chicken (breasts only).5 stars

  3. Nadine says

    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Thank you for creating this simple, bang on chicken salad recipe!!! We don’t like tuna so this was a SLAM DUNK in our fam! Thank you!5 stars

    • Cindy R says

      Simply and satisfying.. the perfect lunch
      I also wrapped the chicken salad in Radicchio leaves. The bitterness of the Radicchio and chicken salad seems to go great together 😋

  4. Tammy says

    This old fashion chicken salad is awesome my husband loves it thanks for the recipe

    • Cindy R says

      Simply and satisfying.. the perfect lunch
      I also wrapped the chicken salad in Radicchio leaves. The bitterness of the Radicchio and chicken salad seems to go great together 😋5 stars

  5. Louise L Chowanski says

    Great made with a rotisserie chicken, saves a step. Also I like to use dried cranberry and walnuts (almonds or oecadlbs will do).5 stars

  6. goody says

    A long time ago, A&W used to have a really good chicken salad sandwich on a sesame seed bun; this recipe sounds similar. 🙂

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