This easy, classic Chicken Salad recipe with grapes and sliced almonds is the best I’ve ever had and makes the most amazing sandwich on a croissant ever. Perfect for a graduation parties, a ladies luncheon, brunches, bridal or wedding showers, baptisms, and pretty much any event you can think of!
We recently had a gathering at our house where we served these chicken salad sandwiches to 60 family and friends who came into town for our daughter’s baptism.
Clara just turned eight, which is a big deal in our family because one of our beliefs is that children are old enough by that age to understand the covenant that they are making at baptism. Which is why we wait, rather than baptizing our children as infants.
I figured this easy chicken salad recipe would be perfect for the occasion since we could make it in advance (I feel like the flavor is always better the second day anyway!) and just assemble the morning of. Plus, I had three of my nieces (ages 9, 7, and 6) in town, so between them and my two girls (ages 8 and 5) I had some pretty fantastic helpers on hand to make a quadruple batch of this chicken salad with grapes and almonds.
The girls each had a cutting board and knives and after some knife safety tips they went to work slicing grapes in half and chopping celery for me, then adding it to the biggest mixing bowl I have (and even then I had to split the batch between my two largest bowls to make it work). I chopped the chicken and prepped the dressing and we all had a lovely afternoon in the kitchen together!
We rounded out the party menu with a fruit & cheese platter that my amazing friend Blake kept refilled, multigrain chips, lots of fruit and fizzy drinks, and Clara’s raspberry chocolate chunk cookies for dessert.
Best Chicken Salad Recipe for Sandwiches
I remember this chicken salad recipe being one of my favorites when I was growing up. I mix it up every now and then by adding apples or using pecans, but most often I make chicken salad the same way my mom did; with celery and red grapes in it (but you could use green if you prefer).
I just love the crunch of the celery and the bursts of sweetness from the grapes! Be sure that the grapes you are using are crunchy because soft grapes are less than ideal for the best chicken salad.
I’ll let you in on my dirty little secret: I always try a grape at the store before I buy them. Is that bad? I just hate coming home only to realize that the grapes are bitter or soft because I really, really only like firm grapes!
Also, the thing that I think sets my chicken salad apart from other recipes is the fresh dill. I absolutely love it and when we served these at the party I had so many people comment on how much they liked the fresh dill in my chicken salad recipe.
This is one of my go-to summer meals because it’s cool and refreshing, AND you can make one big batch and it will stay good in the fridge for 5 days. Which means less time cooking and more time at the pool having fun. It’s perfect for picnics as well and makes such a nice change from regular lunch meat or boring PB&J’s that my kids want every. single. day.
Some of my other favorite summer meals are BLT pasta salad, Doritos taco salad, grilled veggie quesadillas, and bbq chicken cobb salad. All of them are fairly quick and easy and don’t leave you feeling heavy and sluggish on hot days.
How to Prep the Chicken for Chicken Salad
I prefer a rough chop on my chicken for chicken salad sandwiches, but some people prefer the meat to be shredded. Either approach works so go with what you like best!
Also, when it comes to what chicken to use for this recipe, you have a few options.
- Pre-cooked rotisserie chicken: We love the rotisserie chickens from Costco and they make my life so much easier some nights. It totally works for chicken salad.
- Oven-roasted chicken breasts: This is my favorite method and I’ve included instructions in the recipe on how I do this. Simply seasoned with salt & pepper, it doesn’t take much time and like I mentioned earlier, I’ve quadrupled the batch of chicken when making this recipe for a crowd, which is easier for me than breaking down multiple whole chickens.
- Poached chicken breasts: When my mom would make this while I was growing up, she would always just poach the chicken breasts in a large pot of water until they were cooked through, then shred the meat. I think this might be a Southern approach to chicken salad, but I don’t know for sure.
- Canned chicken: Okay, so this is not my favorite, but it’s not terrible and it definitely works if you have canned chicken in food storage that you want to use up or you are looking for the easiest chicken salad option.
Ingredients in My Favorite Chicken Salad
- cooked chicken
- green onions
- sour cream
- fresh dill
- lemon juice
- salt & pepper
How to Make Chicken Salad
- Cook the chicken (or use a precooked option) and roughly chop or shred.
- Combine the chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, almonds, and dill in a large bowl, then gently toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the mayo mixture over the chicken mixture and gently stir until everything is evenly coated. You can control how much dressing you want to use, so if you prefer your chicken salad to be more dry, just start with 3/4 of the may mixture, stir it in, taste, then add more as needed.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or even overnight.
If making chicken salad sandwiches, slice each croissant in half and layer a piece of green leaf lettuce and a scoop of chicken salad on each roll. Or you can just use regular bread. I think it’s especially good with a whole grain bread with seeds on the crust. Or serve the chicken salad over a bed of mixed greens with sliced tomato and avocado.
Chicken Salad Variations
One of the great things about chicken salad and why I love this recipe so much is that it is easily customizable. You can change it with the seasons or just use ingredients you have on hand.
Sometimes I change things up and make chicken salad with apples or cranberries instead of with grapes, especially in the fall.
Or instead of making my chicken salad with sliced almonds, which I don’t always have on hand, I will use chopped pecans. And of course you can omit the nuts altogether if you have food allergies or just don’t care for nuts in your chicken salad.
Use chopped red onions instead of green onions.
You could also lighten up the chicken salad a bit by replacing part of the mayonnaise and sour cream called for in the recipe with Greek yogurt. I wouldn’t replace all of it because that would significantly affect the taste of the final chicken salad, but replacing half of the mayonnaise works pretty well for a healthy chicken salad recipe.
Add diced avocado. Because honestly, what isn’t better with a little avocado?
More Sandwich Recipes You’ll Love
- Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Sandwiches
- Grilled Caprese Panini
- Cubanos [Cuban Sandwiches]
- Turkey Bacon Avocado Sandwich with Kneaders Sauce
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- Grilled Cajun Chicken Sandwiches
- Grilled Summer Veggie Quesadilla
- Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- or see my salad recipes here!
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 cups cooked, roughly chopped or shredded chicken)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups halved red grapes
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery (about 2-3 celery ribs)
- 1 cup thinly sliced almonds
- 3 thinly sliced green onions (both the white and green part)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 croissant rolls (optional for sandwiches)
- Green leaf lettuce (optional for sandwiches)
- If using uncooked chicken breasts, preheat oven to 400°F. Rub chicken breasts with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 22-26 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F when tested with an instant read meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast. Roughly chop or shred the cooked chicken.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, green onions, almonds, and dill, then gently toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Add the dressing mixture to the chicken mixture and gently stir until everything is evenly coated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or even overnight.
- If making chicken salad sandwiches, slice each croissant in half and layer a piece of green leaf lettuce and a scoop of chicken salad on each roll. Or serve the chicken salad over a bed of mixed greens with sliced tomato and avocado.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 729 Total Fat: 49g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 32g Cholesterol: 120mg Sodium: 847mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 14g Protein: 31g
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