The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (2024)

This is not your average chicken salad recipe! Creamy chicken salad is mixed with sour cream, bacon, chives and cheddar for all of the decadent flavors of a loaded baked potato. It is perfect for keeping your lunch box interesting for the week days or makes a great dish to take along to a potluck or barbecue. Make sure and bring enough though, because this has a tendancy to be the first empty dish where ever you take it!

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (1)

Loaded Chicken Salad Recipe

I have to admit… I have quite a lot of crazy ideas for new recipes. Some don’t work out so well. Most of them turn out good, but sometimes it turns out like really, really good. This, my friends, is one of those times!

When I think of my favorite comfort foods, baked potatoes are on the top of the list. Not just plain boring baked potatoes, but baked potatoes loaded with all the good stuff. I am talking sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, baaaaaaacoooooon, and of course chives.

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Everything You Love About a Baked Potato in a Chicken Salad

If I can have it on a potato, I thought, why can’t I just take the flavors right over to one of my other favorites, chicken salad?

Well… it turns out you can. And you definitely should. And since it is just SO GOOD and I have never seen anything like it before, I just decided I would go ahead and dub it the World’s Best Loaded Chicken Salad. Okay?

The Chicken Salad That Started It All

This is one of my personal favorite chicken salad recipes, as well as my reader’s favorites, but it isn’t a traditional chicken salad. In the United States, chicken salad can refer to either a green salad or a creamy salad where chicken is mixed with a few other ingredients in a mayonnaise-based dressing.

The very first chicken salad was made in 1863 with leftover chicken, mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes and served by a meat market right near our new home, in Wakefield, RI. It was so popular that the meat market eventually converted into a deli.

In modern times you can find many different flavors and ingredients other than the traditional mayo and grapes in chicken salad recipes. Bases can include things besides mayonnaise, like sour cream, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, or greek yogurt, or any combination of them. You will also find all sorts of flavors from Ranch Chicken Salad to Fajita Chicken Salad and more!

I am a huge chicken salad fan and have made quite a few recipes of my own. You can find all of my BestChicken Salad Recipes here!

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The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (4)

How to Serve Loaded Chicken Salad

So now that you know about my new favorite, let’s chat about a few things you can do with this delicious loaded chicken salad. You can go with my old favorite, which is toast. Chicken salad is always great on toast. You can go with crackers or pita chips. If you want to get fancy with it for a baby shower or bridal shower, you can hallow out baked potatoes into shells and fill it with this.

But if you want to make it a little lighter or appreciate low carb options, then there are plenty! Try it stuffed in a hallowed avocado or tomato. You can slice up cucumbers, squash, or zucchini and serve it on slices. Or a super fun way to serve it for a bite sized appetizer is to use snacking peppers or cherry tomatoes cut in half and hollowed. All of these are delicious and you can use this or any other of my chicken salad recipes you see below (if you try one, go for the Ranch. SO GOOD!)

Tips for Preparing & Cooking the Chicken

When you are ready to make this chicken salad, you can follow the recipe below, but I get some questions on how I prefer to cook my chicken that I use in chicken salad. I do a few different things depending on how much time I have and what I have on hand at the moment. Here are my most used methods:

  • Rotisserie– Using rotisserie chicken is probably my favorite way to make chicken salad. I love that it is tender and full of flavor and it is a bonus that you can easily grab one at the store, or use the leftovers from another meal and just pull it off and chop it up without having to spend the time and mess cooking it.
  • Oven baked – If I do decided to cook my own chicken for the chicken salad recipe, I usually bake it. To bake chicken for chicken salad, I preheat the oven to 375˚F and then line a cookie sheet with foil. Lay the chicken breast flat and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on each side. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚F. Once it is done, shred or chop to your liking.
  • Boiled chicken– Some people really like to use boiled chicken in chicken salad. It is an easy way to cook multiple chicken breasts quickly. To boil chicken, bring a pot of lightly salted water or chicken stock to a boil. Then place the chicken breasts in the pot and allow them to boil for 15-20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165˚F.

World’s Best Loaded Chicken Salad Recipe – Step by Step

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (5)

Loaded Chicken Salad – Ingredients:

You need just a few simple ingredients for this recipe. I say this on every chicken salad I make, but this is no exception, I love to load chicken salad up with veggies. This lowers the calorie density per serving, as well as up the nutrients and fiber. Plus, you get more texture and flavor so it is a super great little trick. If you don’t like any of the veggies below you can eliminate, or substitute them for ones you prefer. If you want it to be even healthier… add more veggies! Chicken salad is a very forgiving dish, so it is a great one to add little extras to make it suit your tastes. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Cups chicken breast, shredded or cubed
  • 1/4 Cup mayonnaise (I love this Avocado Oil Mayo!!)
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 Cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup bacon crumbles (try this method for quick, easy, mess free bacon!)
  • Salt & Pepper

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How to make this Loaded Chicken Salad Even Better

To start out grab some shredded or cubed chicken breast. I love to use leftover rotisserie chicken because the flavor is so amazing, You can also use baked, boiled, or even canned chicken. The better the chicken, the more flavor you will have through.

Place the chicken in a large bowl with the mayo, sour cream (this is the secret ingredient that really puts it over the top!!), celery, cheese, onions, and bacon. Mix it well and then add salt and pepper to taste.

You can eat it right away, but it is even better if you have a couple of hours to let it sit in the fridge to let the flavors really meld together.

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (7)

Delicious, right?! If you make this recipe, it would really make my day if you would leave a comment below, and let me know what you thought! I read every single commentand would love to hear from you!

Check Out Our 10 Other Chicken Salad Varieties

Also, if you need easy dinner recipes, check out my easy chicken bake dinner recipes. They are easy to get on the table fast and tried and approved by literally millions of people!

Creamy Chicken Salads

Green Chicken Salads

  • Loaded Greek Chicken Salad
  • Asian Chopped Chicken Salad
  • Southwest Chicken Salad

Hungry for more family-friendly recipes? Sign up for my free recipe club to get new family-friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing daily meal-time inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (8)

4.96 from 22 votes

Loaded Chicken Salad

This chicken salad recipe is loaded with bold and delicious flavors. It can be made into a chicken salad sandwich, or served on greens, inside an avocado, tomato or with crackers.

Prep Time: 20 minutes minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes minutes

Serves:6 servings

Hover over "serves" value to reveal recipe scaler



Print Pin This Review Recipe


  • 2 Cups chicken breast shredded or cubed
  • ¼ Cup mayonnaise
  • ½ Cup sour cream
  • 1 Cup celery finely chopped
  • 1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • ¼ Cup yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 Green onions sliced
  • ½ Cup bacon crumbles
  • Salt & Pepper


  • Place the chicken, celery, onions, bacon, and cheese in a large bowl and top with the mayonnaise and sour cream.

  • Mix well until everything is evenly coated and distributed throughout.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. I usually use between ½-1 tsp of each.

  • Serve on toast, in an avocado, tomato, in a lettuce wrap, with crackers or your favorite way to eat chicken salad.

  • ENJOY!


Recipe Notes:

©2016 The Pinning Mama-

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 114kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 3g (1%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 9g (14%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mg (8%)Sodium: 492mg (21%)Fiber: 1g (4%)

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)



Keyword:chicken salad, creamy, gluten free, keto, low carb, mayo, quick

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The Best Chicken Salad Recipe • The Pinning Mama (2024)
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