Sometimes the best recipes are the simplest ones.
I don’t know what’s simpler than this easy chicken salad recipe that uses only three ingredients. (OK, 5, if you count salt and pepper. But I don’t!)
It makes a mighty good sandwich (served between two slices of toasted wheat bread or soft white bread).
And it’s also good scooped atop a bed of lettuce.
Go to the fridge right now, and you might have everything you need to make a batch: chicken, mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish. You don’t really need a recipe, but I’m including one anyway because that’s what bloggers do.
- 12 ounces cooked chicken breast
- ¼ cup (or slightly less) mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- Shred chicken with fork.
- Add pickle relish. Slowly add mayonnaise, stirring to combine. Be careful not to add more mayonnaise than is required to bind the chicken salad together or it could overpower the dish.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve on a bed of lettuce, on white bread or toasted wheat bread or in phyllo cups as an appetizer.
As you add mix-ins, you may want to add more mayonnaise to keep the chicken salad from drying out too much.
Now, I’m pretty sure chicken salad is eaten everywhere from east-to-west, north-to-south and everywhere in between. But in my mind, it’s a quintessentially southern food, the kind of thing you’ll find at summer picnics or church potlucks or baby showers, served out of a big Tupperware bowl alongside the sweet tea, potato salad and pimento cheese.
But no matter where y’all are from, I know you can appreciate a good meal, especially a simple one that can be fancied up depending on the occasion.
This easy chicken salad recipe is very versatile.
Besides the simple salad and sandwich route, you can serve it in phyllo cups as party appetizer or on croissants for an event like a bridal or baby shower.
And you can add things to it, as well, when you’re feeling a little fancy.
Starting with this basic recipe, you can create all kinds of chicken salad variations. Some popular mix-ins include dried cranberries, celery, red onion, red grapes, raisins and curry powder, pecans, sliced almonds, strawberries and other fresh and dried fruits.
As you add mix-ins, you may want to increase the mayonnaise just a bit to prevent the chicken salad from becoming too dry. I’m always cautious about not overdoing it with mayonnaise. I know I’m a southerner, and I should think Duke’s mayonnaise makes everything taste better.
But I’m not a big fan of mayo. Not since my Mama stuck a spoonful in my mouth when she was giving me a mayonnaise hair conditioning treatment.
See, all my food issues are my Mama’s fault! (But mayonnaise does work wonders on your hair!)
Oh, and when it comes to the three basic ingredients, you have flexibility there, too. You can poach a chicken breast or use leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken or open up a can of white-meat chicken. And it’s fine to use light mayonnaise. As for the pickle relish, I do recommend you use sweet relish, not dill pickle relish. But I bet some sweet and spicy pepper jelly used in place of the relish would be pretty tasty.
Experiment with this recipe and let me know what you discover.
Be sure to pin my 3-ingredient easy chicken salad recipe and make it for lunch one day.
I think you’ll like it.
Make it the next time you’re packing a picnic, and be sure to add these recipes, too.
And to make things extra special, why not whip up one of these cute picnic wreaths?
Click here for instructions to make the wreath.