Chicken salad with pickles is an extra-savory take on a classic American recipe. Here's how to make it the very best version of itself.
Why we love this recipe
Our umami-packed chicken salad takes a good thing and makes it even better. We've kept all the best elements of classic chicken salad gently amped up the savory flavors to make it really shine. This salad:
- Uses sous-vide or other gently cooked chicken breast because it's super-easy and incredibly tender
- Uses Japanese mayo if you like for extra umami, or regular mayo if you prefer
- Accommodates my favorite style of pickles — or yours
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- You can use any cooking method for the chicken breast. Start with leftover roast chicken, or rotisserie from the grocery store. Poach it, bake it, or use your Instant Pot. My favorite method for this recipe is sous vide. It's so tender and so easy.
- I like to use my favorite full-sour pickles, but you can use any style that you like, from dill to bread and butter.
- I often use Japanese-style Kewpie mayo in this salad, but you use regular store-bought or homemade mayo.
- I've used our homemade herb salt here for extra flavor, but you can use regular salt instead.
How to make it
Here's what you'll do to make this recipe great. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Dice the chicken or shred it with two forks, whichever you prefer. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, pickle brine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in the pickle, celery, and scallion. I like to dice the celery very small.
- Add the chicken.
- Stir it all together gently to coat. Serve alone, scooped onto a salad, on Romaine lettuce leaves, or in sandwiches.
Expert tips and FAQs
Don't we always? You can make this recipe with leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken. Or, for a fabulous vegetarian version, rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, mash them partway with a potato masher, and use substitute them for the chicken.
Yes! Chicken salad keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, making it a great contender for meal prep.
It's great on its own, scooped over a green salad, spooned into Romaine lettuce "boats" as pictured, or in a sandwich.
More favorite savory salad recipes with protein
- 1 pound (454 grams) cooked chicken breast
- 6 tablespoons (90 grams) mayo
- 1 tablespoon pickle brine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 celery stalks, diced small
- 3 ounces full-sour or dill pickle, minced
- 3 scallions, sliced
- Dice the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces, or shred it with two forks. Let cool completely before continuing.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, pickle brine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in the celery, pickle, and scallion.
- Gently fold in the chicken. Salad is ready to serve.
- I love to use sous vide chicken for this recipe since it's incredibly easy, tender, and consistent. But if you're not into sous vide, you can use any cooked chicken breast that you like, from poached to baked to rotisserie to Instant Pot shredded.
- Use your favorite mayo. I love to use Japanese-style Kewpie — or here's how to make mayo yourself.
- Here I used my favorite herb salt.
- Chicken salad is great alone, with greens, or in a sandwich.
- You can make this recipe in advance. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 488mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g