You can buy chicken salad at the deli, but nothing beats the homemade version made with fresh, top-quality ingredients. It all starts with good chicken. There are many options:
Cut Up the Chicken into Bite-Size Pieces
Once your chicken is cooked (or purchased), use a sharp knife to cut it into cubes, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size, depending on your recipe or preference.
How to Prepare the Dressing
Mayonnaise is the classic base for chicken salad dressing, but purchased creamy salad dressing has its fans, too. You can also use half mayo and half sour cream or plain yogurt. Figure about 1/3 to 1/2 cup dressing for 2 cups of chicken. A pinch of salt, a teaspoon of snipped herb such as basil or tarragon, and a squeeze of lemon juice help to boost the flavor of the dressing.
What to Mix In
Chicken salad is as versatile as the little black dress. You can keep it simple with a few classic add-ins or transform it into a trendy ethnic dish. Regardless of what mix-ins you choose, check the salt level -- you may need to add a little. Here are some of our favorite variations:
Once you've mixed up the chicken salad, cover and chill it for at least 1 hour to let the flavors blend and to thoroughly chill the ingredients. There are countless ways to serve your chicken creation: