How do you make the best Chicken Salad? That’s easy. Start with a cooked and cubed chicken. Then add your favorite ingredients!
Yes. It really is that simple. If you make a chicken salad that has things you don’t like to eat, or are allergic to, then you cannot claim to make the ‘best’.
However, if you add things you love, mix them up together, then you not only have the ‘best’, but more than likely, fairly close to a one-of-a-kind.
The first ingredient to Chicken Salad is, of course, the chicken. You can buy a whole chicken pre-cooked, or even canned chicken, if you choose.
However, making the chicken at home is the best way to do it. This way, you can add the seasonings you love. And you have chicken broth for later!
To Cook a Chicken
- One whole chicken (you can also use a cut up chicken, or just chicken breasts, if you prefer)
- 1 Carrot, cut into chunks
- 1 Stalk of celery, cut into chunks
- 1 Onion, cut into pieces (these can be slices or large chunks)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Seasonings to Taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, Tony Chachere’s, etc.)
Wash the chicken in cool water. Place in a large stock pot. Add the remaining ingredients, including the spices. Cover with water.
Cook on high heat, until the water comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for an hour or two, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool thoroughly. Strain the broth and save in jars or bowls for later use.
The Rest of the Ingredients
Once your chicken is cooled, remove it from the bones and chop it into small pieces. Place in a bowl.
From here, you just need to determine what you want to add. A good chicken salad is a combination of vegetables and fruits, held together with a ‘moisturizer’, such as Mayonnaise.
Before we go any further, there is a lot of chopping to do when making chicken salad. To make it quicker and easier, I use an Ulu.
This is a curved blade with a handle. It comes with a ‘bowl’, which is a wooden board with a bowl-shaped indention. As far I am concerned, this is the best invention any cook could ask for.
If you have never used one, you should look into one. Some may seem expensive, but it is worth every penny.
Now that you have all that chopping covered, here is a list of ingredients you can add:
Basic Chicken Salad Ingredients
- Onion, chopped fine
- Celery, chopped fine
- Pickle Relish – choose between sweet or dill
- Hard Boiled Eggs – chopped
Take it A Step Further:
- Apples – chopped
- Grapes, sliced in two
- Pears – I use home canned pears, but you can easily use fresh
- Strawberries – chopped
- Peaches – chopped
- Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews, or other favorite Nuts – chopped
- Dried fruit
- Olives – black or green, chopped or sliced
- Green Onions, sliced or chopped
- Chili Peppers, chopped
Make it Moist:
- Ranch Dressing
- Bleu Cheese Dressing
- Miracle Whip
These aren’t all of your options, but just a few suggestions. Determine what you want to add to your salad, and add it to the chicken.
Add any seasonings you desire, such as salt, pepper or even a dash of Tony’s. Mix it up well. Then add your mayonnaise or salad dressing and mix again.
To serve your Chicken Salad, place a scoop on a fresh lettuce or spinach leaf. Serve it with crackers and tomato and avocado slices.
Now. Wasn’t that easy? And now that you have created your very own version of Chicken Salad, I am willing to bet it turned out to the ‘best’ after all!