Thursday, March 29, 2012

Classic Creamy Chicken Salad

When the weather starts to warm up, some of my favorite things to eat can be found right in any corner deli, chilling behind the glass counter. Specifically, I love classic, comforting deli salads, preferably of the sort that can be eaten alone or spread between two good slices of bread to make an all-American sandwich. Can't really beat an excellent sandwich for a spring picnic--at least in my opinion. But here's the thing: like so many other things in life, if you want a classic deli salad done right, you've really got to make that classic deli salad yourself. In your own kitchen. With your own fresh ingredients. Mixed down and dirty with your own two hands. They're just better that way. I'll even go out on a limb and say that that's pretty much an indisputable fact. Trust me on this one.

This classic creamy chicken salad tops my list of "best deli salads of all time." It's the perfect thing to whip up, stuff into a bell jar, and take with you anywhere you want to eat, whether that be a beach, a picnic blanket in a park, or just in front of your computer at work. It's so good (and so easy), that I'd be surprised if it didn't become your signature salad recipe after trying it out. So go ahead and make it--then let me know if I'm wrong in the comments. Seeing that reader comments are some of my favorite things in the entire world, this little experiment will be a win/win for both of us. All photos by Mark Iantosca. xo

Classic Creamy Chicken Salad
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
2 large, whole, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium celery ribs, cut into small dice
2 medium scallions, white and green parts diced
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons juice from 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Set breasts on small, foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Remove the skin and bones and discard. Shred the meat into bite-size pieces.

Place shredded chicken pieces into a large bowl. Mix the rest of the salad ingredients into the bowl and combine thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. This salad can also be covered and refrigerated overnight.


  1. This is a great recipe! But I think you should try it with kewpie mayo instead. It really is amazing!

    1. Ooh kewpie mayo sounds intriguing--I will look into! Thanks! x

  2. I made this tonight but used rotisserie chicken breasts as a short cut and it came out delicious! My husband said it was the best chicken salad I've ever made :) Thanks!

    1. So nice to hear! Thanks for trying the recipe out.xx

  3. i added celery salt to the chicken, along with the salt. I also covered it with foil.
    And my fiance requested pasta in I added penne.
    It was great! My older brother was very impressed...Thank you!


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