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Does Your Chicken Salad Have This in it? Ingredient Questions & Answers

If you are ready to make a batch of chicken salad, you may have a few questions. You are in the right place because after making more than a handful of chicken salad recipes, I have lots of answers to share.

chicken salad on a bun

Although there are dozens of varieties of chicken salad, most share some common traits. What is chicken salad made of?

  • Chicken salad is made with moist shredded or cubed chicken.
  • A dressing is mixed in to give flavor and keep the chicken from drying out.
  • Most recipes have additional add-ins like celery, onions, and nuts. But there are hundreds of ingredient options.

So, since nothing is set in stone, you do you. Add whatever you like and skip over those ingredients that are “meh.”

Here are some of the most common chicken salad questions you may have.

Does Chicken Salad Have Eggs?

Not all chicken salad recipes have eggs. The earliest chicken salad recipe I could find did not have eggs. It was a simple salad with chicken, celery, mayo, salt, and pepper.

If the salad does have eggs, they are hard-boiled eggs. To get the best moist, creamy hard-boiled eggs, check out my tips for boiling eggs.

Need some ideas on how to serve chicken salad at a party? Read the post and get your creative juices flowing.

Does Chicken Salad Have Onions?

Many chicken salad recipes have some type of onion. What kind of onions are in chicken salad? Red onions or scallions (green onions) are the most popular onions in chicken salad.

Red onions have more of a kick, and green onions are milder. You may prefer green onions when making a chicken salad recipe for a crowd. Check out this recipe for chicken sandwiches for a crowd using Costco canned chicken.

You can also use minced white or yellow onions. However, many people find them a bit overpowering in the salad. Cooking the onions is one way to tone their bite down.

If you don’t want to add onions but still want the flavor, consider onion powder in the dressing. For the best taste, use only fresh onion powder.

Wondering if you can make chicken salad ahead? Follow my tips and it is a breeze.

Does Chicken Salad Have Mustard?

chicken salad sandwich with arugula

Mustard is a common addition in many chicken salad recipes.

What kind of mustard do you put in chicken salad? Generally, Dijon mustard is the most popular mustard in chicken salad. However, regular yellow mustard or even mustard powder is typical in the dish.

How do you make chicken salad without mustard? To make the salad without mustard, flavor the dressing with other ingredients. Vinaigrettes and ranch dressing are options that don’t require mustard.

Does Chicken Salad Have Nuts?

Many chicken salad recipes have nuts in them. But many do not. Chicken salad prepared for a large group may be nut-free since many people have nut allergies.

However, if you love nuts, you will love them in the salad.

What nuts do you use in chicken salad? The three most common nuts in chicken salad recipes are walnuts, pecans, and almonds. However, peanuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts are all excellent nut options too.

Wondering how long chicken salad lasts? Check out this post on the shelf-life of chicken salad and how to tell when it goes bad early.

Does Chicken Salad Have Pickles?

Savory chicken salad recipes may contain dill pickles, sweet pickles, pickle relish, or pickle juice. All have their place in the recipe.

Sweet chicken salad recipes seldom mix fruit with pickles. If your salad has grapes, apples, or cranberries, you probably won’t see pickles on the ingredients list.

Find out what else you can skip in chicken salad, even if it is on the ingredient list.

Does Chicken Salad Have Celery?

bowl of chicken salad made the day before

The earliest chicken salad recipe I found had celery, even when other common ingredients were missing. There is seldom a reason to skip the celery. Unless you are out of it or don’t like it.

Celery pairs just as well with pickles and hard-boiled eggs as it does with apples and grapes. But what if you are out of celery?

What is a substitute for celery in chicken salad? Water chestnuts, jicama, radishes, and even apples are excellent substitutes for celery. They offer the same type of crunch, and most have a similar enough flavor (except the apples, which are sweeter).

Does Chicken Salad Have Grapes?

Many popular chicken salad recipes have grapes. Can you use red grapes in chicken salad? Red, green, or purple grapes are all commonly added to chicken salad. Be sure to use seedless grapes though.

Check out my delicious Instant Pot chicken salad recipe with grapes. You will love it.

Can You Use Sour Cream Instead of Yogurt in Chicken Salad?

Sour cream is a fantastic substitute for yogurt in chicken salad. It is thicker and creamier than yogurt, so the salad dressing may have a different texture than the original recipe.

Why is Chicken Salad Called Salad?

There are many types of salads. A chicken salad is a type of salad referred to as a bound salad.

A bound salad is held together with a thick sauce, like mayonnaise or cream cheese. When you scoop the chicken salad out and plop it on a sandwich, it will hold its shape.

In fact, many bound salads are sandwich fillings. Think tuna salad and egg salad.

What Spices Go in Chicken Salad?

Chicken salad recipes are usually seasoned very simply. Many times, with only salt and pepper.

However, several other herbs and spices give the chicken salad a delicious flavor. Here are a few favorites.

  • Dill weed. Dill may be the most common seasoning for chicken salad besides salt. This is common in savory varieties.
  • Parsley. Fresh parsley is the best and is found in both sweet and savory salad recipes.
  • Onion and garlic powder. These flavorings can season the cooked chicken and the salad dressing.
  • Curry. Specifically for curry-flavored chicken salad.
  • Paprika. Use paprika when there are hard-boiled eggs in the salad.

Need some chicken salad sandwich toppings? I’ve got you covered. You will love the list!


Does chicken salad have to be refrigerated?

All recipes with chicken must be refrigerated. The FDA guidelines state that perishable food should be refrigerated within two hours of preparation. This ensures that harmful bacteria do not grow in the food.

Is egg salad still chicken salad?

Since a chicken comes from an egg, some may argue that an egg salad is a chicken salad. However, when the egg is boiled, there is no chance that the egg will ever mature into a chicken.

Can you eat chicken salad every day?

The FDA recommends eating a variety of foods in your diet. The more varied the food you eat, the greater your chance of getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be healthy.

Nothing in plain chicken salad is harmful when eaten every day. However, you may be missing out on certain nutrients of foods you aren’t eating.

As with everything, eat in moderation. And add a variety of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and a limited amount of healthy fats.

What is Chicken Salad Good On?

A variety of bread, including croissants, whole wheat bread, and sourdough bread, taste great with chicken salad piled on top. For more ideas, check out my post on the best breads for chicken salad.

Chicken salad is also good on other things besides bread. It is good on crackers, a bed of lettuce, or in a raw pepper. See all the other suggestions for what to serve with chicken salad instead of bread.

You can also read up on the best crackers to eat with chicken salad. There are quite a variety.

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