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Everyone Will Say This is The Best Chicken Salad

Published: July 29, 2019 • 
Last Modified: July 3, 2024
Published: July 3, 2024

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So Versatile Serve It Five Different Ways

This is simply the best chicken salad ever. Years ago, our family ran a gift shop on the old tree-lined brick main street in my hometown.

The sturdy 1906 brick structure had charming nooks and crannies, interesting ledges, a curved glass showcase, high ceilings with art deco light fixtures, and the original cherry woodwork.

It was my piece of heaven and our palette for designing inviting vignettes that displayed our products. Some of the sweetest years of my life were spent in that store.

We rented a portion of the building that had once been a soda fountain to an insanely talented, creative woman who transformed it into a charming little eatery furnished with wonderful mismatched tables and chairs, vintage china and flatware, and fantastic food.

best chicken salad sandwich

The plain door leading to the pint-size kitchen was cleverly faux-painted to look like a screen door. The owner is an artist. She painted cheery flowering murals on each wall, making it look like a welcoming summery veranda.

Soon, people were flocking in for lunch. The most popular item on the menu was her chicken salad sandwich. The tea room closed almost 20 years ago, but the locals still drool about the memory of that sandwich. I am presenting you with a close copy of that coveted recipe!

How To Whip Up The Best Chicken Salad Ever

If you have a little time, start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can even start with frozen breasts! Simmering the chicken in bouillon-infused broth makes it tender and flavorful. Or do what I do these days: Instant Pot it!

Be sure to save any leftover broth for another day. It freezes well. Clever idea: why not simmer the whole bag of chicken breast this way and use the rest for another recipe or two?

If you don't have the time or prefer to spend your time doing something else, pick up a rotisserie chicken. Whatever you do, please don't miss out on this yummy sandwich.

I made a batch last weekend using rotisserie chicken because I was in a hurry. I removed the skin and chopped up every bit of meat. It was amazing.

You will need about two to three cups of cooked chicken for six sandwiches on buns or 10 cream puffs.

Chop about three ribs of celery pretty fine. You will need a cup of chopped celery. Next, put the chicken, celery, and the other ingredients in a bowl and add the mayonnaise and lemon juice.

If it seems dry, add a teeny bit of broth at a time until it's just right. Or, if you're using rotisserie chicken, add mayo or a little more lemon juice.

Did you want to add pecans? If so, now is the time to do so. If you like, you can toast them in the microwave in thirty-second increments for about a minute, stirring in between. If they're not toasty enough, add thirty more seconds until you're happy!

Make The Best Chicken Salad Sandwiches Ever

Stir everything together, nibbling as you go. (It's okay; no one is looking!) Heap the chicken salad on a good-quality bun like King's Hawaiian. Green leaf lettuce is the perfect touch!

The tea room served it on croissants. Before serving, they would stud the filling with 6 or 8 red grapes cut in half before adding the lettuce. The sweet, crisp grapes pair beautifully with the savory filling.

Now, get ready to enjoy the best chicken salad sandwich you ever had. This would also make a great wrap or stuffed in a nice big ripe tomato!

Yield: 8 sandwiches on buns or 10 cream puffs

Chicken Salad

chicken salad on a bun

A savory chicken salad with basil, lemon, and toasted pecans that great on buns, in a cream puff shell, a wrap, or stuffed in a ripe tomato.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 1/2 -2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • One heaping Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
  • OR meat from one whole rotisserie chicken, skin removed.
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 tsp dried basil, or better still, 2 Tbsp of fresh basil, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt, or to taste, Lawry's preferred
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned pepper, or to taste, Lawry's preferred
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley or 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, mainly for color, optional
  • Juice from 1/2 medium lemon
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise Hellman's or Duke's preferred
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecan pieces, optional
  • Leaf lettuce and red grapes optional, add to filling see note*


  1. In a pan, dissolve the bouillon with just enough water to cover the chicken. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Save the broth! You can also use an Instant Pot to cook the chicken!
  2. OR chop up all the meat from one whole rotisserie chicken with the skin removed.
  3. Chop or shred the chicken to the desired chunkiness. We like ours fairly finely chopped. You should have 2 to 3 cups of chopped chicken.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a little broth at a time until it reacheslittle broth at a time until you reach the right consistency.
  5. If you add pecans, toast them first by putting them in a single layer on a paper towel and microwave in thirty-second increments, stirring in between until the desired toastiness is achieved. I can't tell you how just long because every microwave is different.
  6. Pile on a high-quality bun like King's Hawaiian or serve in a wrap, a croissant, a cream puff, or stuff inside a plump, ripe tomato.


*The tea room used to cut 6 or 8 red grapes in half and press it right into the filling. You may love it! Add lettuce and enjoy!!

Easy Cream Puffs Make The Best Chicken Salad Fancy

Want to make an elegant statement with the best chicken salad? Cream puffs are a beautiful and unique way to serve this incredibly delicious chicken salad. They are deceptively easy to make and fun to do! You can make them any size you want.

(They also make a perfect dessert when you fill them with mousse, pudding, lemon curd, or whipped cream! Make mini-size cream puffs for irresistible little bite-size sandwiches or desserts!)

Here's how easy it is to do.

Melt a stick of butter in a cup of boiling water. Add a cup of flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt all at once. Keep stirring until it forms a creamy ball of dough.

Then, you'll add four eggs, one at a time. Stir the dough vigorously to blend until you have a lovely golden dough. My batter is deep yellow because of the gorgeous "farm eggs" I get from my egg lady, Steph. Her chickens are happy eating greens, and they lay beautiful eggs with sunny yolks.

I used an ice cream scoop to plop blobs of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. The cream puffs bake for 15 minutes in a hot 450-degree oven, then slowly in a 325-degree oven for about 25 minutes until they turn a lovely golden brown shade of deliciousness.

The next step is to remove the cream puffs from the oven and split them open, leaving a hinge. Turn off the heat and return the cream puffs to the oven for 20 minutes to let the inside dry. Finish cooling them on a rack. Then, they are ready to fill!

Yield: 10 cream puffs

Cream Puffs

stacked cream puffs

Easy puffy pastry shells you can fill with savory chicken or seafood salad or with pudding, mousse, lemon curd, or whipped cream for an elegant dessert.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs


  1. Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Melt one stick of butter in the boiling water.
  3. Add the flour and salt all at once and stir until a ball of dough forms.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.
  5. Beat in four eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Drop batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets three inches apart.
  7. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue baking for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove cream puffs from the oven and split open, leaving a hinge.
  9. Turn the oven off and return the cream puffs to the oven for about twenty minutes to allow the inside to dry out slightly.
  10. Remove the cream puffs from the oven and fishing cooling them on a rack.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

Best Chicken Salad Is Fancy Enough For An Elegant Luncheon

My daughter Karen served the chicken salad and the cream puffs individually on her lovely spring table to let each guest decide how much to take. It was up to them to add grapes! My advice? Go for the grapes!

Wait! Are you wondering about the five ways you can serve this yummy salad? You'll probably come up with more of your own, but here you go!

  1. Serve it on a deliciously sweet Hawaiian bun or slider bun with lettuce and plain potato chips! Casual and so yummy!
  2. Stuff it inside a plump, ripe tomato!
  3. Roll it up in a tortilla and make it a wrap!
  4. Pile it into a croissant for an elegant touch like it was served in the tea room!
  5. Spoon it inside a light and airy, crispy cream puff shell! The textures play beautifully together!
  6. Bonus! Scoop it onto a bed of lettuce for a light lunch!

Do you have any luncheons or bridal showers coming up? What are you planning to serve? I'd love to hear your ideas! Here is a great ham salad recipe that's delicious and also Southern as can be!

If you liked this recipe, you are my people! If you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!

If you haven't already, please look for me on Facebook and Pinterest, where I will share easy, delicious, family-friendly recipes every week!

If you enjoyed a post, I'd love it if you would leave a review or a comment. It really helps my little business. ❤❤

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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