Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe


If you don't make anything else from this blog, find time to make this Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe! And then make a whole bunch of chicken salad sandwiches! In this chicken salad recipe, lean, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are poached in a "secret" ingredient, then pulsed in a food processor with seasonings, crisp vegetables, pickle relish, and hard boiled eggs to make the ultimate chicken salad sandwich spread. It's delicious on whole grain bread, crackers, or even eaten with spoon!

Southern Style Chicken salad recipe in white bowl in background with a chicken salad recipe sandwich on whole grain with lettuce in the foreground

scroll down for printable recipe

A few years back, I helped out my neighbors by working at their family owned Chick-fil-A restaurant for a short time. I handed out freebies and chicken samples for just a few months. It was fun! And, of course, I got to sample all of the goods myself.

One of the items I really enjoyed was their chicken salad. I heard the chicken salad sandwich isn't available at Chick-fil-A anymore. All good things come to an end, I suppose.

I've always been a huge fan of chicken salad. One of my all time favorite recipes for chicken salad is this Waldorf Style Chicken Salad. It's full of big crunch from apples and walnuts! And, I do love this not-so-ordinary Blueberry Pecan Chicken Salad too!

But, neither of these chicken salad recipes, as good as they are, are really suited for sandwiches. They are chunky and crunchy, not smooth and homogeneous.

This chicken salad recipe I'm sharing today, is perfectly suited for sandwiches. It reminds me a lot of the chicken salad recipe I enjoyed at Chick-fil-A. I wouldn't say it's a copycat recipe, but I would say it's pretty darn close!

It's a southern style chicken salad, full of crisp celery and onion, pickle relish, and yes, eggs! That's right, this Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe has eggs in it! Have you ever had chicken salad with eggs? 

If not, you are in for a treat! 

southern style chicken salad recipe in white bowl to the left and a sandwich cut diagonally on a board with Southern style chicken salad and lettuce on whole grain bread to the right

But first things first, let's talk about cooking chicken breasts for this chicken salad recipe.


How to cook chicken breasts for salad recipes:



My favorite method for cooking chicken breasts for salad recipes is poaching. By definition, "poach" means to cook something by simmering it in a small amount of liquid. I find this method is best because it leaves the entire chicken breast soft and moist.

This is the texture you want for chicken salad recipes like this one. This method works well for boneless and bone in chicken breasts. But I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts when I make chicken salad.


What kind of liquid can I use to poach chicken breasts for chicken salad? 




You can use just about any liquid you like to poach chicken breasts. Water is fine, but chicken broth is better. Even fruit juices and milk make great poaching liquids! You can also add aromatics to the poaching liquid to give the chicken different flavor profiles. Sliced lemons, black peppercorns, and bay leaves are popular additions.

My secret ingredient is Sprite! I love poaching chicken breasts in Sprite! The lemon lime soda leaves a slightly sweet citrus flavor to the chicken which I think is just perfect in this chicken salad recipe!


How to poach chicken breasts for chicken salad recipes:


  1. Add chicken breasts to skillet with a lid. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Add enough poaching liquid to the pan to completely cover the chicken breasts. 
  3. Turn on heat and bring liquid up to just boiling. 
  4. Cover pan and turn heat down to simmer. 
  5. Simmer until internal temperature of chicken breasts reach 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the meat. 
  6. Remove chicken from poaching liquid and allow to cool enough to handle. If poaching for this chicken salad recipe, let cool completely before turning them into chicken salad.  

Of course, if you don't want to or feel like poaching the chicken for this recipe any diced leftover chicken breast would work in any chicken salad recipe here on my blog.


Southern Style Chicken salad recipe inside the food processor after being mixed.

How do you make homemade chicken salad?


Once the chicken breasts are completely cooled the food processor will make easy work of combining everything. For best results, cube cooled chicken, hard boiled egg, celery, and onion to about the same size before adding to the food processor.

Make sure you use a large capacity food processor (6 cup or bigger) for this chicken salad recipe. This recipe does make a lot of chicken salad! But, this recipe is also suitable to be halved to make a smaller amount if you like. 


Can chicken salad be frozen?



Chicken Salad cannot be frozen. The mayonnaise in the salad will not hold up and will break. The salad will be slimy and unappealing when defrosted.






chicken salad recipe, chicken salad with egg, southern chicken salad
Main Course
American
Yield: 12 servings

Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe

prep time: 10 minscook time: 15 minstotal time: 25 mins
Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe is boneless, skinless chicken breasts are poached Sprite, then pulsed in a food processor with seasonings, crisp vegetables, pickle relish, and hard boiled eggs to make the ultimate chicken salad sandwich spread.

ingredients:

  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached, cooled and diced into 2" cubes (see poaching instructions in text above)
  • 2 large stalks of celery, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish  
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup Mayonnaise (light made with Olive Oil is what I used!)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

instructions:

  1. In 6 quart food processor or larger fitted with blade, add all ingredients. Process for several seconds, then scrape down sides and process until desired consistency. 
  2. Store covered, in refrigerator. 
  3. I served this Southern Style Chicken Salad on 12 grain bread with crispy lettuce.

NOTES:

Nutritional Information is an estimate.
Serving size is approximately 1/4 cup

Directions for no food processor: Cut chicken, celery, onion, and egg up into 1/2" to 1" pieces and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. 
calories
142
fat (grams)
5
carbs (grams)
4
protein (grams)
19
Created using The Recipes Generator

Don't forget to pin Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe to your Pinterest boards!

Southern Style Chicken Salad Recipe pin for Pinterest with photo and title text

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6 comments:

  1. Hi! I use the exact same ingredients in my chicken salad! We’ve always used eggs, too. I’m glad to see a southern chicken salad posted. Good stuff! Thanks Renee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for dropping in! I love that you make your chicken salad like this. It really is a great salad, especially for chicken salad sandwiches!

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  2. How much Sprite do you add to the poaching liquid?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Enough sprite to cover the chicken breasts. Depends on the size of the chicken and the pan. If you use Sprite, it is the poaching liquid. You can also go half water or chicken broth and half sprite. Hope this helps!

      Delete
  3. Renee - since you post southern recipes have this request for you. My GMIL used to make a wonderful dressing with homemade cornbread and eggs - I lost the recipe. Can you help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Genera! Thanks for your question. I do have a few Southern type recipes here (because I love them), but I'm a northerner and I've never heard of that dressing. Sounds wonderful though! Should I stumble across something like that, I'll let you know here. Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day!

      Delete

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