This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosure form more information.

The BEST easy chicken salad recipe made with simple ingredients is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner and makes delicious sandwiches. You’ll love this classic way to use up leftover chicken!

easy chicken salad in bowl with parsley on top.

Classic Chicken Salad Recipe

This classic chicken salad is one of my go-to meals in warm weather. It’s a super easy recipe and comes together quickly using leftover chicken and a few simple ingredients. Since we almost always have cooked chicken leftovers in the fridge or freezer for meal prep, I can throw this easy chicken dinner together in no time.

chopped chicken, celery, mayo, yogurt, mustard and spices.


You only need 5 basic ingredients plus a few spices in this classic recipe. Full ingredient amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Cooked chicken — I usually use leftover rotisserie chicken or leftover roast chicken. In a pinch, you can bake chicken breasts and chop them up once they are cool. I use chicken breast meat, but use what you have.
  • Mayonnaise — A must for that classic creamy taste. I use regular mayo as Miracle whip will change the flavor.
  • Yogurt — Plain yogurt combined with mayo adds delicious flavor. You can definitely use plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, but the flavor will be slightly different.
  • Mustard — I like Dijon mustard or deli mustard.
  • Celery — Crunchy celery adds texture and crunch, as well as flavor
  • Seasonings — sea salt, black pepper, dried parsley and a hint of paprika on top for color

How to Make Chicken Salad

The first step is to make the simple dressing. Just add the mayo and yogurt to a large bowl. Add the mustard and seasonings, and stir until well combined.

stir dressing ingredients in medium bowl.

Next, add the chicken and celery, and mix until well blended.

mix chicken and celery into dressing.

Cover with plastic wrap, and place chicken salad in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat. I recommend making the salad at least 2 hours ahead of time so the flavors can develop. But, you can eat it sooner if needed.

simple chicken salad bowl with croissants and grapes on the table.

Best Way to Serve Chicken Salad

The best way to serve chicken salad is in a sandwich on croissant rolls with fresh lettuce or baby spinach or arugula. I buy the large croissants from Costco, and they work great for this recipe. Serve sandwiches with juicy grapes, other fresh fruit or salty potato chips on the side.

You can use your favorite sliced bread to make a chicken salad sandwich or serve over a bed of lettuce or fresh greens or in lettuce wraps or in tortillas. My aunt used to serve chicken salad stuffed in tomatoes for a light lunch!


Store leftover chicken salad in an airtight container for 3-4 days. While you can freeze it, the dressing gets rather watery when you defrost the salad.

creamy chicken salad on a fork.

Variations and Substitutions

You can omit the yogurt and use all mayo in the dressing. Try tarragon in place of parsley or add curry powder for a different flavor. Add fresh parsley, dill or other fresh herbs before serving.

If you’re not a fan of mustard, skip it. You can also use plain yellow mustard in place of Dijon.

Add diced green onion or red onion for extra flavor or diced green pepper in place of the celery. Add chopped nuts for extra protein.

Different Chicken Salad Recipes

For something completely different, try my lemon chicken salad with apples or ranch chicken salad with bacon or Chinese chicken salad or chicken salad with cranberries — perfect for fall. Check out more easy salad recipes your family will love!

5 from 5 votes

The Best Easy Chicken Salad Recipe

By: Dee
The BEST easy chicken salad recipe made with simple ingredients is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner and makes delicious sandwiches. You'll love this classic way to use up leftover chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 4 cups cooked chicken breast meat diced
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch paprika optional
Save this recipe!
Enter your email and get this recipe sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • In a medium bowl, stir the yogurt, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and parsley until well combined
  • Add the chicken and celery, and mix well
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with a pinch of paprika for color, if desired.



I recommend refrigerating the salad for 2 hours to allow time for the flavors to blend, but you can eat it sooner if needed.
Store covered in refrigerator for 3-4 days and refrigerate within 2 hours of serving.
You can use all mayo for the dressing if desired. See blog post for variations.


Calories: 294kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 400mg, Potassium: 278mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 54IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!

For more easy recipes, sign up for the newsletter and follow me on social media.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Lisa says:

    Love the yogurt added instead of so much mayo! Taste is light and summery! Will make it this way from now on!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you liked the chicken salad, Lisa. Thanks!

  2. Ann says:

    This makes a really good chicken salad. Love eating this on a warm summer day!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      So glad you liked the recipe, Ann. Thanks!

  3. Herald says:

    Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! The flavor was amazing, and it paired beautifully with the croissants.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      That’s wonderful, Herald. Thank you so much!