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Mayo mixture for chicken salad

I love chicken salad. To me it always tatstes better when you get it at a deli. I am at a loss when I make it at home as far as the mayo mixture goes. Some people use part mayo and part sour cream in the mixture. What else can be added to make it more flavorful to get that deli salad flavor? Last weekend I had a chicken salad wrap from a loca deli that had chicken, cranberries, cashews, and I think basil and it was very flavorful. Thanks!

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  1. My chicken salad is very basic, nothing like what you mention at the end of your post. I use kosher salt and fairly coarsely ground pepper, in proportion to the mayo a very small amount of Dijon mustard and a squeeze of two of lemon juice. I've even served it in a small bowl with crackers as an app.

    1. A local Jewish (emphasis on the "ISH" ;) deli makes their chicken salad with mayo and cream cheese, and it's amazing -- so creamy, with a little tang from the cream cheese. When I make it at home, I use mayo and lime juice or mayo and lemon juice, lots of freshly ground black pepper, cream cheese if I have it, celery, green onion, and walnuts or pecans. Apples, grapes, and/or dried cranberries are also a nice addition.

      c_oliver's suggestion of a little dijon mustard is a good one. A former roommate of mine used unsweetened whipped heavy cream in her chicken salad as well as mayo, and dill I think.

      1. Most home cooks do not adequately season their food. I expect that salt is the single greatest variable here. You need to season the salad itself, of course but more importantly you need to season the chicken as it is cooking. Also grate some shallot on the microplane and add it with the mayonnaise.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kater

          I'll disagree with you on the seasoned chicken part. I do a Frugal Gourmet kinda/sorta poach with no seasoning at all. Then I can add whatever I want for whatever use.

          1. re: Kater

            The OP is trying to duplicate a favorite deli's chicken salad. As c_oliver's is completely different from what the OP wants, I'm going to agree with Kater- most home cooks underseason. Salt is usually the culprit.

            That said, my deli adds finely grated parmesean as the secret savory ingredient that really brings it together. When I make chicken salad at home, I like to add curry powder (plenty of S&P) with walnuts, currants, cilantro and red onion, but again, that's probably not what you're going for either.

          2. For another variation on this theme, I add chopped celery, chopped green onions, a bit of pesto, and mayo...yum!

            3 Replies
            1. re: critter101

              Fresh tarragon is delish in chicken salad along with mayo, green onions, thinly sliced celery, salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Yum, I want some now!

              1. re: Rheta

                +1 tarragon is a good friend to chicken salad. and i agree also that a little grated hard cheese adds a rounder flavor. you know it's good but you don't quite identify it as cheese.

                1. re: Rheta

                  I'm another one for the fresh tarragon. I made it for my boyfriend *one* time, and now he won't let me fix it any other way. I use sea salt, garlic salt, minced, dried cranberries, and pepper as well.

                  I like the hard cheese and lemon ideas, if I leave out the cranberries. Next time, I may have to risk his wrath.

              2. Hey there, Richie:
                As I know you're also from the Land of Steady Habits, have you tried the chicken salad at Stew Leonard's? They've been passing samples out of it lately and makes me think you and I are in search of the same thing...WHAT IS IT "they" do that is so different? I even looked at the ingredients for a clue, but nothing jumped out at me. I have to go out that way. Will either pick some up or look very closely at the label so we can compare notes. I'm with you--there is SOMETHING different out there. I think theirs added celery seed or celery salt. I hope we can find it! By the way, I've also chopped up grapes to add to chicken salad. And if you like the savory and sweet combo, you could try diced apricots or tart Michigan cherries, too...I often add either of those to regular salads.


                13 Replies
                1. re: kattyeyes

                  HI Katty, I got this latest chicken at a local deli on the Post Rd in Milford right down from Whole Foods but before the old Linens n Things. I think it's called the Village Cafe and it's a good old standby when you are on the Post Rd. Also many years ago the corner store in my neighborhood used to get it from Hummel's in New Haven, it was very plain, no extra cranberries,nuts, or celery but it was oh so good! Never had Stew's yet though. I like the grapes idea, forgot about that but have had them before in chicken salad.

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    By the way Katty, I was at Stew's in Danbury today after the Elephants Trunk fleamarket and they use corn styrup in their chicken salad. Maybe the key is a bit of sweetness.

                    1. re: javaandjazz

                      Oh, noooo! But it really is sooooo good, isn't it? Did you have a bite? :)

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        They weren't giving any samples today, only samples of apple crisp!

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          But HFCS and "regular" corn syrup are quite different, aren't they?

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I was just surprised to see sugar or a form of sugar used as one of the ingredients. Never dawned on me that sugar would be in chicken salad.

                            1. re: javaandjazz

                              I think other people here have mentioned things like honey. *I* wouldn't like it but I'm the ultimate savory not sweet eater.

                              1. re: javaandjazz

                                Me, either, but would be interested if you get to try a bite next time. They usually serve it on those tasty little toast crackers...yum!

                                1. re: javaandjazz

                                  A pinch of sugar can really help to bring flavors together...it doesn't take too much, not enough to add a ton of calories. You'd be surprised at he number of things that have a little sugar added to round things out (including savory dishes).
                                  In small quanitities, it's not evil. Hell, for some things, it's fine in large quantities too (unless you are restricted).

                                  1. re: The Professor

                                    I discovered the secret to homemade Chinese food is a spoonful of sugar. Also tried leaving it out of coleslaw but it needs that spoonful to balance the lemon. The honey in the chicken salad is key, but it is just a small drizzle. It's like not putting enough salt in a recipe because you think it's bad for you, you will never get it to taste just right.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      Yes years ago when learning to cook Chinese food, my teacher Mrs Yu when instructing us to make Beef with Broccoli Sauce, instructed us to put a teaspoon of sugar on the broccoli (and vegetables) druring the stir fry process. I've never noticed a sugary taste at all. Sweet, salty, spicy, it's not even noticed.

                                      There is this wonderful Thai salad that I just adore, and the dressing is sweet and spicy hot, I sure wish I could figure that one out. 1 tsp of sugar is not enough considering the whole dish, it really does do magic.

                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        This is sort of like the equivalent of adding a bit of salt in chocolate chip cookies (or any dessert). It balances the flavors and actually accentuates the sweetness factor.

                                        Same thing with sugar in savory Chinese dishes.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          or a little pinch of cayenne in brownies!

                        2. Plain yogurt, along with mayo and sour cream, about 1:2:1 ratio, plus whatever seasonings.

                          Wasabi adds a nice surprise.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: puzzler

                            What about Greek yogurt? I get it at TJs for a good price. I probably wouldn't use sour cream in that case.

                            1. re: puzzler

                              I second the wasabi suggestion.
                              The little cafe at Takashimaya in NYC offers a chicken sandwhich which includes mayo/wasabi sauce that is delicious, and which I have been meaning to try at home.

                              I regularly add mustard OR tarragon to mine...depending on whether I am looking for a sharper or softer flavor accent.

                              1. re: maria_nyc

                                Mayo with some prepared Chinese hot mustard mixed in is also good.

                            2. Equal parts mayo and plain yogurt. Then add some sweet relish, paprika, dijon (or regular) mustard, and s&p to taste. Wasabi or horseradish if you prefer your chicken salad on the spicy side.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Yes, equal parts mayo and plain yogurt (prefer Trader Joe's organic "European-style" yogurt which has great tang). Plus curry powder, chopped toasted almonds, celery, and s+p. Sometimes add chives or green onion. Delicious on wheat bread, excellent for using up leftover chicken.

                                1. re: cakewhole

                                  I really like this. Much prefer the savory take. Thanks.

                              2. I think that, unfortunately, a lot of deli chicken salads have sugar in them, at least they taste sweet to me. I use mayo, live oil, lemon juice, chopped shallot, Dijon, S&P. If I'm feeling wild and crazy, I might add some chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  HA HA, you're a wild 'n crazy gal, pikawikka! I was actually thinking of this thread when I saw an ad for Miracle Whip today...that would certainly explain some of the sweetness, wouldn't it? Could THAT be the dirty little secret of deli chicken salads? Hmmmm.

                                  BTW, I'm sure your fingers slipped and you meant "olive oil" and not "live oil" (which sounds rather Zimmern-esque). ;)

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Speaking of the Miracle Whip, this corner store down the street form me when Kevin owned it he made the best potato salad ever! He would never give out the recipe and when he sold the store I thought I would get it but then new people bought the store and they made it but I knew the owner and I didn't like his cleanliness habits so I never had it again. I think his secret was the mayo, I think it was some institutional brand.

                                2. Can't remember where I picked this recipe up but it makes a really nice, if very unconventional, chicken salad. I like to do it as a composed salad with slices of cold chicken arranged on baby greens with slices of apple or pear and a couple red grapes halved all drizzled with this dressing.

                                  Chutney Mayonnaise Dressing

                                  Delicious as a dressing on cold chicken or fish or as a spread for a sandwich.

                                  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
                                  • 10 ounce mayonnaise
                                  • 1 small onion, minced
                                  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
                                  • 5 ounce chicken stock
                                  • 1 rounded teaspoon tomato paste
                                  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
                                  • 2 rounded tablespoons chutney

                                  Heat oil in saute pan. Add onion and saute gently about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder. Cook a few more minutes. Stir in stock and tomato paste. Add lemon juice and chutney. Increase heat. Stir until boiling then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

                                  Mix mayonnaise into cooled sauce.

                                  1. Avocados stuffed with chicken salad is one of those Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers perfect combos. I usually pick the meat from a rotisserie chicken and if it is a little dry I spritz it with a little orange or mango juice and let it chill and rest. Later, I add a careful blend of ancho and chipotle powders to Dukes mayo until I like the taste, then mix with the chicken and serve in salted avocado halves. You can hold back part of the picked chicken for another meal and go with curry, or tarragon, or grapes & pecans or walnuts, and get quite a variety of tastes and flavors from one chicken.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      That sounds really good - I've never had mango juice in the house, but sometimes I have orange. Thanks Veggo!

                                    2. I know I'm probably an oddball here, but I use chicken, mayo, frozen peas, minced water chestnuts (for that hidden crunch), diced celery, diced onion and just a touch of McCormick's Salad Supreme - then salt and pepper to taste. It works alone, as a dip or fantastic on a croissant or in a sandwich.

                                      1. I like chicken salad to be relatively simple...chicken (a mix of white and dark) coarsely cut, some may, a little chopped onion (or chive) and a bit of finely chopped celery (with some green leafy tops in there) and some salt and pepper.

                                        Having said that, I will say that a chicken salad that I had at a friend's party many years ago which contained grapes was practically a life changing experience. Apparently it's a classic combination but I never had it before, and it was fantastic.

                                        The European methods of utilizing fruit in dishes like this and in roasting as well seems to be a lost art in the USA.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: The Professor

                                          Last Friday I made a wonderful chicken salad for a late lunch. The chicken itself had been roasted with tomatoes, olives and shallots earlier in the week. Took what remained of the chicken and mixed it with mayo and dijon (as C. Oliver suggests above). I had some red grapes in the house in prep for Easter and sliced those up, and yes Professor...it was heavenly.

                                          I think a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper put it over the top.

                                          I was really glad I'd just had a small snack while out. Making and eating something so great out of a few simple ingredients was very satisfying.

                                          Just made that roasted chicken again so that cycle begins anew!

                                        2. Yes on grapes. But even better is diced apple -- I like Jonathans. Use a small bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice in it to store the cut apple while you slice and dice to keep it from browning. Once the diced apple is drained and mixed with the dressing it won't brown.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: puzzler

                                            I actually do like apple, my choice is Granny Smith. But I don't think I'd make a sandwich (or a wrap) with it if it had things like that in it. Don't know why.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              The curry chicken salad you commented on above is spectacular with the addition of crisp apples. I like cashews instead of almonds, but I add those as I serve, otherwise the nuts lose their crunch.

                                          2. with cranberries and cashes in the mix, it might have had curry in it. This recipe from Epicurious for curried turkey salad is TO DIE FOR. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                            Other than that, for a basic chicken salad, I agree with those who think you may have under-seasoned your salad at home. Don't skimp on the good mayo. My basic recipe is really basic: minced scallion, diced celery, a grating of dill pickle or a sprinkle of dill, mayo, chicken and salt and freshly ground pepper. Maybe a touch of lemon juice if it needs a little brightness. Check for seasoning, and if it's bland, try a bit more salt and pepper.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: DanaB

                                              I am so bookmarking that Epi link! I've got a bottle of mango chutney in the cabinet crying out to be used. Thanks for sharing it.

                                            2. Deli salad as I made it for many years: boiled chicken, chopped relatively fine, with lots of kosher salt, good amount of white pepper, little honey drizzled over, then mix with chopped celery and Hellmanns mayo. That's how the German delis in New York make it anyway, the honey is the big secret.

                                              Sorry just noticed your example, basil and cashews and whatnot...is that what delis are making nowadays? I must be getting old ;-)

                                              1. Now check out this recipe that I just found. It calls for sugar or sugar substitute. It also uses equal parts of mayo and sour cream with a bit of mustard and lemon juice.


                                                1. Do you think if I use sweetened dried cranberries that will be ok? It was the only kind I could find in my local Stop & Shop tonight. I used to find unsweetened but of course not tonight. Thanks!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: javaandjazz

                                                    Take a spoonful of salad and toss a few dried crans in to see how you like it first. It sounds good to me, but you may as well make sure before you commit the idea to the whole salad.

                                                  2. I find that when I'm trying to recreate something with mayo from a restaurant/deli, picking up some heavy duty mayonnaise from the local cash and carry makes a huge difference.

                                                    That said, the secret ingredient in my chicken salad is celery salt and chopped pickles.

                                                    1. Ok, I made it! I used light mayo, light sour cream and greek style yogurt, along with a little dijon mustard, salt & pepper, dried cranberries, cashews,lemon juice, about 1 tbl of sugar, some bacon bits I found in the fridge and the chicken. It may not be the deli version I am looking but it sure is good! I think the bacon bits were a bit too much and next time won't put them in. It was kinda like making meatloaf, I just put in what I had available and it came out very tasty. Thanks everyone for your input!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: javaandjazz

                                                        Hey there, when you have a sec, could you please drop me a line? I have a question for you. My addy is in my profile. Thanks, guy. :)

                                                      2. I use mayo, dijon, chopped homemade pickles(sweet w/ celery seeds), cayenne, s+p.

                                                        1. In my most recent chicken salad, I used equal parts mayonnaise and plain yoghurt as binder. In addition to chicken, I added chopped Granny Smith apples and dried cranberries (Craisins). Seasoning consisted of lime juice, lime zest, cumin, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Delicious.

                                                          1. Grapes? Oh, my, yes! This is fabulous on those nights it's too unbearably hot to cook.

                                                            **Summer Nights Chicken Salad**

                                                            (Put dinner plates in refrigerator to chill.)

                                                            3 large split chicken breasts
                                                            bay leaf

                                                            1 1/2 cups Hellmann's Mayonnaise
                                                            5 red apples (cold)
                                                            lemon juice
                                                            1 cup golden raisins (cold)
                                                            1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
                                                            1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes (cold)
                                                            2-3 Tbsp. curry powder (or to taste)

                                                            Put chicken in heavy large pot, cover with salted water. Add chopped carrot, celery, onion and a bay leaf. Boil. Reduce to slow simmer, cover. Cook 30 minutes.

                                                            Cut cantaloupes in half, remove pulp. Cut grapes in half. Chop TWO apples into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle apple with a little lemon juice. Return all to fridge to keep cold. May as well go ahead and put the raisins in there, too.

                                                            Place cooked chicken in large bowl of ice water to cool, about 10 minutes. Remove skin & bone. Cut or tear into chunky bite-sized pieces.

                                                            In large mixing bowl combine chicken, chopped apple, nuts, raisins, grapes, mayonnaise and curry powder. Mix well. Taste for salt.

                                                            Spoon salad into cold cantaloupe halves, place each on a chilled plate. Slice remaining 3 apples into wedges. Garnish each plate by arranging apple wedges, 2 strawberries & more grapes on lettuce. Serve w/ crackers and iced tea.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: jeannebab

                                                              Thanks for this...it looks fantastic!

                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                Very pretty, too! I must tell you the measurements are inexact. This is something I made up years ago and I just toss things in. Just go easy on the mayo & curry...you can always add more. Curry will intensify slightly overnight.

                                                                We like Captains Wafer type crackers with it.

                                                            2. A deli in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY, gave away their "secret" to me. Finely chopped boiled egg (or just boiled egg yolk) enriches a chicken salad like nothing else. And of course there should be a little sugar and a little vinegar, and the thickest mayonnaise you can make (or buy).

                                                              1. Hi there! Well, Richie, inspired by your post and my new love for Stew Leonard's chicken salad, I wanted to figure out a mayo mixture to make my own great chicken salad at home. I used golden raisins and chopped pecans, but cranberries and cashews, or grapes would be great, too...I'd say the possibilities are endless once you get the dressing to your liking.

                                                                I used my grandmother's potato salad/cole slaw recipe, changed it from white vinegar to rice vinegar, added celery seed, sesame oil and a little bit more sugar and have made this recipe over and over during the last week or so. In fact, it's what's for lunch yet again today, served over an avocado with greens on the side for good measure.

                                                                Veggo (Fred!), you were right about the avocado, even though my avocado fanning skills are not quite as Ginger-esque as I'd like them to be. I'm working on it. Oh, and YES, I definitely salt my avocado, too.

                                                                Kater and cheesemonger, I agree with you on salt and seasoning. I used Penzey's California seasoned pepper, crushed rosemary and coarse ground salt to season my chicken. I'm not a fan of boiled chicken, so I baked mine in the oven. Chicken tenders were on sale and provided a nice quick fix in less than 15 minutes.

                                                                Details and pics (see "Dressing for Chicken Salad, Slaw, Potato Salad") here:

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                  I have seen fanned avocados that required more skill than re-attaching a hand. My dexterity is better suited for guacamole. Your growing archive of kitchen achievements continues to impress...

                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                    Crushed rosemary? Is this something you make or buy?

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      You can certainly make it. If you are starting with fresh rosemary, leave a stalk out on the counter for a couple of hours. The leaves will start to get brittle. At this point, you can remove the leaves and crush in a mortar/pestle. If you are going to use salt in the final product, it does help to add a touch to the rosemary to add some friction.

                                                                      I have never tried this with dried rosemary, but I can only imagine that it is even easier since you are not dealing with residual moisture.

                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        I never buy dried rosemary but your idea sounds doable and I like the idea of the salt. Even minced, rosemary is pretty strong so the thought of it being crushed/powdery appeals to me. Just a teensy bit of flavor.

                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                        I have Penzeys Spain Powdered rosemary and it serves useful purposes.

                                                                    2. Here's a chicken salad recipe that's a little different... I'm from the South and we love our Miracle Whip! :-)

                                                                      3 cups chicken (chopped, pulled, shredded or diced)
                                                                      1 bunch green onions, chopped
                                                                      1 cup red or green grapes, sliced in half lengthwise
                                                                      1 small can mandarin oranges, drained (but reserve 1 T juice)
                                                                      2 oz slivered or sliced almonds

                                                                      Toss/mix above ingredients until evenly distributed.

                                                                      Dressing (mix in separate bowl):
                                                                      1/2 cup Miracle Whip
                                                                      1 T. mandarin orange juice
                                                                      1/2 tsp salt
                                                                      1/4 tsp pepper
                                                                      1 tsp sugar (optional)

                                                                      Mix dressing until smooth and creamy, add to chicken and stir gently.
                                                                      If salad seems a bit dry, mix a little more Miracle Whip w/juice and add, as required.
                                                                      Refrigerate an hour, serve on croissants, in puff pastry shells, or on crackers.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: rjhallstrom

                                                                        After I read your post, it rang a little bell for me. My grandparents (Nanny and Poppy) had a deli. And so many times, I'd go shopping with Nanny with a shopping cart loaded with Miracle Whip. People would ask us if we were having a party!

                                                                        So today I asked my mom..."Nanny always bought Miracle Whip for the store. Do you think she used that or Hellman's when she made her dressing?" My mom said Miracle Whip for sure. So, HCFS be damned, I'm picking some up and making my next batch of dressing with Miracle Whip...I'll bet that extra sweetness is what made Nanny's dressing so good. Not that I dislike the dressing with mayo...just for ol' times sake, I want to try it her way and see what I think. Thank you for ringing that bell for me, rjhallstrom! :)

                                                                      2. Great Tasting " CHICKEN SALAD"
                                                                        6 to 8 cups chicken torn into small pieces( I buy rotisserie chicken)
                                                                        1/2 cup diced onion( cut into 1/4 inch size)
                                                                        2 cups diced celery ,cut the same size as the onions
                                                                        3/4 cup chopped walnuts(size of a pea)
                                                                        1 cup diced red pepper
                                                                        1 15oz jar Hellman's mayonnaise
                                                                        1/4 cup sugar
                                                                        11/2 Tablespoon of Lawry"s Season salt
                                                                        pepper to your taste

                                                                        Place chicken, onions,celery,walnuts and red pepper in a large bowl, set aside.

                                                                        In another bowl,combine mayo, sugar,seasoning salt and pepper, stir off and on until sugar dissolves. I usally make this first so the sugar has a chance to dissolve some.
                                                                        Add to bowl with chicken and vegetables, folding gentle so it doesn't break apart the chicken more.
                                                                        Refrigerate until well chilled, use for sandwiches or a small amount on crisp lettuce just before a nice meal.
                                                                        Keeps well in refrig. for a few days.

                                                                        George from Wisconsin

                                                                        1. The absolutely best chicken salad I ever had was on a sandwich, served by some auxiliary group of highly privileged Southern horse-loving ladies at an honest-to-god Grand Prix jumping contest outside of Franklin, Tennessee. It was on a good homemade-style white bread, and it consisted of more or less uniformly (1/4") chopped chicken, both white and dark, celery, and mayonnaise. No apple, no nuts, no curry powder or onion. Just that, plus whatever salt and pepper were required to make things right. That and a glass of white wine ate the ten bucks I'd brought along, and left me happy about money well spent. The Big Secret was that the chicken had, I suspect, been disjointed and put into simmering salted water, as opposed to cold water, and then taken out as each piece tested JUST done. Thus we ensure that the flavor stays with the meat instead of migrating to the broth, and the various pieces cook just long enough, instead of being tied to parts requiring more or less time.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            I don't even put in celery but, yes, to me it's all about the chicken. And don't those women riders have great,little butts?!? Got to to wear those britches.

                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                              IMO, the best chicken for salad is roasted: no loss of flavor to liquid.

                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                Put the chicken in simmering salted water and I guarantee you'll notice no flavor loss. Poaching, REALLY poaching, is one of the most delicious things you can do to chicken (even the breast becomes moist and delicious, a thing I seldom encounter). Roast is okay for salad, but it makes a different kind, less traditional and "genteel". Starting with a good free-range bird helps, too, since Mr. Perdue's poor victims are about as interesting as wet cotton.

                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                  WO - if you put the chicken in the poaching poaching liquid in the fridge, the broth will congeal. Chop the cooled chicken with some of the congealed broth and add to the basic chicken-mayonnaise-celery. Yep it's messy but that's how my Virginia-Louisville KY grandmother made hers.

                                                                            2. Last night I whipped up some chicken salad using a dressing of equal parts full-fat mayo (Duke's) and light sour cream (Daisy), plus a little dijon and a little red wine vinegar. I threw in the usual onion, egg, and sweet pickle relish, then added chopped pecans and craisins for fun. Nice.

                                                                              1. There used to be a BBQ restaurant on the UES that had the most amazing chicken salad. Their "secret" was adding BBQ sauce to the mayo mixture. Just enough to give it some sweetness and kick. If I've got a good bottled BBQ sauce in the fridge when I make chicken salad, I'll usually add a little.

                                                                                1. WHICH CAME FIRST THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG (SALAD)

                                                                                  4 chicken breasts and 4 chicken thighs, skins and bones removed
                                                                                  6 eggs, boiled and chilled
                                                                                  a quarter cup of diced pickled cocktail onions
                                                                                  a quarter cup of diced stuffed green olives
                                                                                  2 Tbs. dijon mustard
                                                                                  minced celery to taste
                                                                                  a cup or more of Hellman's mayonnaise
                                                                                  1 Tbs. sugar
                                                                                  2 Tbs. white vinegar

                                                                                  Poach the chicken, chill it and cut into very large chunks. Cut the eggs into quarters then halve the quarters. Mix the remaining ingredients to make a sauce, and toss with the chicken and eggs.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: shaogo

                                                                                    oh my you just rang an appy-family food alarm! chicken and egg in the same dish is not tolerated. i will defend to the death your right to serve it. as much as we all like mayo based salads with egg (i know, i know mayo contains egg >_< ) additional, verifiable egg with chicken will. not. be. allowed. wrong. wrong. warning.

                                                                                    1. re: appycamper

                                                                                      Aw, appy. I hope, someday, you'll be able to forgive me.

                                                                                      We stuffed this mixture into tomatoes, and topped with cheap Romanoff "caviar."

                                                                                      Please believe me, it was just wonderful.

                                                                                    2. re: shaogo

                                                                                      Except for that sugar, this sounds fantastic!

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        Then try honey. Chicken salad really needs a little sweetening.

                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                          I TOTALLY disagree with you. It does not need sweetening - IMO of course.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            I agree. I've never thought that chicken salad needed sweetening.

                                                                                            1. re: cackalackie

                                                                                              It's not just about the sweetening. It's about the combination of vinegar with sugar that gives the mayonnaise-based sauce a punch. Sour cream in a recipe gives a similar kind of punch; if it's balanced with a sweeter ingredient (dill, although not really "sweet" has a "sweet" flavor and makes the combination w/ sour cream really irresistable). Honey and cider vinegar were meant for one another. Some people get by with the sweetness of Vidalia onions. But it's important to remember that foods sometimes need a little yin/yang going on to taste really interesting.

                                                                                    3. I also make a curried chicken salad w/apples and golden raisins that we love. But I'm typing below another long-time favorite that features dried apricots and cranberries; it is easily doubled or tripled. I just love this on whole grain bread w/good lettuce or spinach. I usually use leftover roast chicken, white and dark, but it's good with all breast meat, too.

                                                                                      Mustardy Chicken Salad w/Apricots and Cranberries

                                                                                      1 1/2 lbs. cooked chicken meat, in bite-size pieces
                                                                                      1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped
                                                                                      1/4 c. dried cranberries
                                                                                      1/4 c. sherry (or just water)
                                                                                      2 T. chopped celery
                                                                                      2 T. chopped onion, preferably a sweet variety
                                                                                      1/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
                                                                                      1 T. very finely chopped fresh rosemary

                                                                                      Mustardy dressing:
                                                                                      generous 3/4 c. mayonnaise
                                                                                      1 T. grainy mustard (I use creole)
                                                                                      2 T. dijon mustard
                                                                                      1 T. honey

                                                                                      salt & pepper to taste

                                                                                      Put chicken in large bowl. In small saucepan, put apricots, cranberries, and sherry (or water) and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes. Add fruit and liquid to chicken in bowl. Add celery, onion, almonds, and rosemary. Toss ingredients to combine. In separate, small bowl, make dressing by whisking mayonaisse with mustards and honey. Add dressing to chicken mixture and mix gently, adding salt and pepper to taste.

                                                                                      1. I would give an arm for Cirello's (Italian NYC, Grand Central Market) chicken salad. I asked (or begged, rather) for a hint of the recipe and was shut out. I love the texture and taste. Anyone know what I'm talking about? I tried duplicating the recipe by my senses but not the same, of course. I poached the chicken in chicken stock and finely shredded in to mushy like texture, added some tarragon, hellmans mayo, finely chopped carrots...

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: sexyLAMBCHOPx

                                                                                          No clue what you're talking about re Cirello's, but are you TRYING to achieve a "mushy like texture?" I am not a poached chicken fan. That said, I love how my chicken salad comes out when I bake the bird. Add the spices you like as you bake--it works for me. :) Oh, and since you're in CT, try Stew Leonard's buffalo chicken salad and see how you like it. It is among my new favorite things! Willing to bet they don't poach, either, but I don't know for sure.

                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                            I use the old Frugal Gourmet technique. Bring the water to a boil, put in the chicken breast, cover, remove from heat, approx. 10 minutes and it's done and moist. I don't like the baking option. To each his/her own.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              CORRECTION! I was obviously having a senior moment. Put the chicken breast in the water and THEN bring to a boil.

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                skinless chicken or do you poach with skin. silly question but i dont know.

                                                                                                1. re: sexyLAMBCHOPx

                                                                                                  Usually I use boneless, skinless but not always. Bone-in takes a little longer. In both cases I take one out of the water, cut into to check for doneness and, if necessary, put back in the water for another few minutes.

                                                                                                  1. re: sexyLAMBCHOPx

                                                                                                    Hey there, one more thing. My friend Patty just shared a recipe featuring poached (!) chicken...here's why it got my attention: POACHED IN WINE. Yeah, baby! The grape could convert me. :)

                                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                i have a friends husband who works for stews, so maybe i can find out. IMHO and tastebuds, Cirello's chicken salad is the best and often dont seek out this didh otherwise because of the texture of the chicken and other ingrediants. i will try out the buffalo though, ty! i have also tried baking but will try again!

                                                                                                1. re: sexyLAMBCHOPx

                                                                                                  Oooh, inside info from Stew's! NICE! I am on my 4th (?!) container of it since discovering the buffalo twist a few weeks ago.

                                                                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                  I tried the Stew Leonard's Buffalo Chicken...and it is really good. I bought some. I think they use their left over (still fresh) roasted chicken, not poached because I got a good chunk of chicken in the spread and it was of roasted chicken, not poached because the skin was brown. Also they call it a salad, but it is a spread. Delicious if you buy their long french bread, slice it and baste some olive oil on both side, then bake it until slightly brown, but not burn. THEN spread some of the chicken salad....oh! it is yummy! I use it as a snack or appetizer.Does anyone know what Stew might use to make their "Buffalo spices"?

                                                                                              3. Add a tablespoon or two of canned crushed pineapple to your chicken salad recipe in the event it is dry. This new sweet addition might be a nice contrast for some recipes as well. Enjoy.

                                                                                                1. I concur with Tarragon BUT the REAL secret to amazing chicken salad is to make your own mayo. It is super easy and you'll never by mayo in a jar again. In fact store bought mayo makes me sick to even smell. Homeade mayo all the way. Also add some grapes, raisins, nuts.