Allow me to introduce you to the queen of light lunches, the well-loved classic, Chicken Salad with Grapes! There is a reason this dish has become the go-to for everything from wedding showers to busy day lunches. It's quick and easy to make, super versatile, and just downright delicious.
To make the ultimate chicken salad sandwich, you're going to need this recipe. While you don't have to have a food processor, using one will make this prep go by in a flash. But don't worry, we'll equip you with great tips for making it by hand as well, if that is the route you're taking.
For another Southern classic, try our Pimento Cheese recipe!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN SALAD WITH GRAPES
Making the perfect chicken salad really comes down to three things: the chicken, the add-ins, and the dressing. Let's begin with the dressing.
Chicken salad dressing comes together so fast and so very easily! You start with mayonnaise; you can use full-fat or low-fat. You'll find lots of chicken salad recipes out there calling for sour cream or even Greek yogurt, but our favorite addition for adding tang to chicken salad is Dijon mustard. It adds a welcomed complexity of flavor to this Chicken Salad with Grapes.
Granulated sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness, and of course, you'll need kosher salt and pepper for seasoning.
To make the dressing, all you have to do is mix these ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and set it off to the side. Time to move on to the next most important part – the chicken!
LOOKING FOR A HEALTHIER MAYO OPTION?
If you are on a health kick and would like to go without the mayonnaise and lower that saturated fat intake, feel free to turn this Chicken Salad with Grapes recipe into an avocado chicken salad!
All you have to do is mash up about half of a large avocado until very smooth and almost puréed in texture and sub it in for your mayonnaise. We really only recommend going this route if you genuinely love the flavor of avocado, as you will be able to taste it throughout the salad.
You should also note that if you use avocado in the place of mayonnaise, your chicken salad will not stay fresh looking as long.
If avocado is your thing, you'll also love our Fajita Salad!
Our go-to for chicken salad is our perfectly baked chicken recipe, but if you don't have time to season and bake your own chicken, there are certainly more options ready and waiting for you!
For instance, you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or if you happen to have leftovers from the night before, you can put those to good use in this Chicken Salad with Grapes recipe. We recommend avoiding canned chicken, as the texture is somewhat mushy.
IF YOU WANT TO BAKE YOUR OWN:
If you'd like to put our perfectly baked chicken recipe to good use, here's how you do it: Pat 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast dry with a paper towel. Then, place the chicken on the work surface and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 375°F.
Bake your chicken for 28 to 32 minutes, depending on whether your chicken breasts are on the smaller side or larger side. Larger chicken breasts will take longer to cook, and smaller chicken breasts will take less time in the oven.
Once your cooked chicken breasts have reached an internal temperature of 165°F, you can remove them from the oven and allow them to rest and cool. You don't want to add warm chicken to your chicken salad dressing.
WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR CHICKEN SALAD
Chicken salad is certainly more than just chicken and dressing. It's those crunchy little bits mixed in that add freshness and great flavor (and that loveable customizable element) to chicken salad!
Here are a few of our favorite add-ins for chicken salad:
- Yellow Onion
- Red Grapes
These are classic additions to Chicken Salad with Grapes, but you can easily swap out the grapes for dried cranberries or chopped pineapple, sub in pecans for almonds, or even leave out onion or celery if it's not your thing!
If you have a food processor, it will make serious ease out of this recipe! To begin our add-ins, we'll start with yellow onion and celery. If using the food processor, all you have to do is give these ingredients a rough chop, then add them to the food processor with the blade attachment, and pulse until minced. If you don't have a food processor, chop the onion and celery until very fine.
As for the grapes, rather than adding the grapes halved to the chicken salad, I'd prefer to cut them into thin slices using a serrated paring knife. This way, you get a perfect, sweet nibble of grape in every single bite.
For another brunchy treat, check out our Lox Spread!
HOW TO SHRED CHICKEN FOR CHICKEN SALAD
Once you've got your chicken of choice ready to go, you want to get on with the shredding. As mentioned above, the food processor is your best friend when it comes to whipping up a chicken salad at lightning speed, and you can use it to shred your chicken as well!
If using the food processor, cut your chicken into large 1-inch cubes and place it in the food processor. Once the chicken goes in the food processor, it only needs to be pulsed a few times and it should be ready to go from there!
If you don't have a food processor, cut the chicken into large chunks, hand shred it, and then run your knife through the shreds to chop the chicken nice and fine and achieve the perfect consistency for this Chicken Salad with Grapes.
BRING IT ALL TOGETHER AND SERVE
Once you have your add-ins and your chicken ready to go, add everything to the bowl and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve your chicken salad over a bed of lettuce or spinach, stuffed between two hearty slices of wheat bread, or spread across your favorite crackers for a quick-fix lunch.
6 MORE MAKE-AHEAD LUNCHES YOU’LL LOVE
- Tuna Egg Salad
- Veggie Quiche
- Tuna Pasta Salad
- Turkey Salad
- Bruschetta Chicken Salad
- Pesto Pasta Salad
An easy take on Chicken Salad with Grapes to fill up that perfect chicken salad sandwich and satisfy any Southern soul.
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ yellow onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 pound cooked chicken breasts
- 1 cup firm purple grapes sliced
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
If using a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, add roughly chopped onion and celery to the bowl, cover, and pulse until minced. If you do not have a food processor, finely mince the onion and celery and set it aside.
If using the food processor, cut the chicken into 1" chunks (should have between 3-4 cups), add to the food processor, and pulse briefly until the chicken is fine in texture and the mixture holds together when pinched. Otherwise, cut the chicken into large chunks, hand shred it, and finely chop the shredded chicken until it has reached the desired consistency.
Add the onion, celery, chicken, sliced grapes, and almonds to the dressing and stir to combine. Serve right away, or refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Makes about 3 cups.