Easy Homemade Chicken Salad

Leftover chicken? Use that leftover chicken to make an Easy Homemade Chicken Salad. Add a few ingredients and you have a flavourful quick lunch for work, a picnic, or at the beach. It’s also a great way to prep a few lunches on Sunday night before the week starts.

chicken salad on a poppyseed bun with lettuce

We cook and eat a lot of chicken. It’s one of the easiest things to cook. But sometimes we make too much and have leftovers sitting in the fridge. And other times we cook extra so we can make this chicken salad for lunches.

How To Serve Easy Homemade Chicken Salad

There are a number of ways to serve this chicken salad.

It can be served in a sandwich on bread, buns or in a wrap. We like to add a slice of cheese, lettuce and tomato slices to the sandwich.

Serve it with crackers for a snack or as part of a potluck. It is really good on canapes or Melba Toast.

For fewer carbs, serve it on a lettuce leaf or even on top of a garden salad.


The chicken used in this salad can be the leftover chicken that you have cooked yourself or a rotisserie chicken from the deli. Chicken breasts, thighs, or whole chicken can be used. It is whatever is easiest and what you have on hand.

Real mayonnaise is the binder, but if you prefer Miracle Whip or similar salad dressing, that can be used as well.

Broccoli Slaw is used for crunch and colour. If broccoli slaw is not available, I shred carrots into the salad.

Hot Sauce is optional but it really does add a little extra flavour. Frank’s Red Hot is our go-to hot sauce for this salad because it adds flavour without a lot of heat. If you want heat, you can use any hot sauce you have on hand.

A Granny Smith Apple is diced into this salad. This not only adds crunch but also just the right amount of tartness to the chicken salad.

Optional Ingredients

Dried Cranberries add colour and sweetness.

Shredded Cheese: Old cheddar adds sharpness. Parmesan adds a little nutty flavour.

Walnuts can also add a bit of flavour and crunch to the salad.

Celery is an add-in we use in the summer. It adds crunch without added calories.

What Kind Of Chicken Is Used?

Any type of chicken can be used. We use leftover chicken from our meals. And it doesn’t need to be plain chicken.

We have used Tequila Lime Chicken Thighs and Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Breasts. These are two of our favourite chicken recipes and when we are making one of these recipes for dinner, we make extras to make this chicken salad for lunches.

A chicken from the deli also works or even the packages of chicken breast strips that are already cooked.

Chicken salad in a bowl with poppy seed buns and hot sauce in the background

How To Store Chicken Salad

Once made, this dish needs to be covered and refrigerated. It will last for 3 days in the fridge. It is best not to leave the chicken out at room temperature for too long to avoid bacteria growth.

If taking chicken salad to the beach or a picnic, it is best to place it in an air-tight container in a cooler. If it has been out of the fridge for 2 hours, it should be discarded.

During summer months, I place the bowl in a container of ice if I have to leave it out for more than 30 minutes. And I never leave it out for longer than 1 hour, and never in direct sunlight.

Chicken salad in a bowl with poppy seed buns and hot sauce in the background

Easy Homemade Chicken Salad

A great way to use leftover chicken. Use as a snack or for lunch.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Lunch, Snack
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 cups diced chicken, cooked
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise, more if you like it creamier
  • ½ cup broccoli slaw or shredded carrots
  • 1 medium-sized Granny Smith apple diced
  • ½-1 tsp hot sauce
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt, if using unseasoned chicken
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, optional
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese, optional


  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl
  • Stir to combine
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve
  • Serve with crackers, in a wrap or a sandwich
  • Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Keyword Chicken

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