If you’ve made roasted chicken and have leftovers, or picked up a rotisserie chicken from the store, chances are, chicken salad is in your immediate future. Lucky you! But don’t settle for the same-old, same-old. These non-boring chicken salad recipes go way beyond the basic mayo and celery formula.
Some of them even stretch the definition of what you probably picture when you think chicken salad—but there are plenty of mayo-bound versions with more interesting mix-ins and bolder flavors than you may be used to.
And these are all delicious.
Because life’s just a bowl of cherries, right? This classic recipe pairs chicken salad with tart cherries, crunchy almonds, and just a hint of diced shallot for a sweet-meets-savory combo that is perfect on focaccia or raisin walnut bread. Get our Chicken Salad with Cherries recipe.
This dairy-free chicken salad is perfect for a picnic since there’s nothing in it that can spoil. Use leftover roasted chicken or store bought rotisserie chicken and don’t be scared of adding the chile paste – it makes the dressing spicy but not lip-burning. Get our Chinese-y Chicken Salad recipe.
Bring on the margaritas to pair with this one. Traditional chicken salad gets tossed with jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice for a Mexican flair. Try it stuffed in avocados for a gluten-free treat. Get our Mexican Chicken Salad recipe.
Enjoy the most elegant chicken salad you’ve ever tasted with this French-inspired version. Fresh tarragon lends a distinctive anise flavor (that’s not overpowering) and tart apples and red onions lend crunch. Get our Tarragon Chicken Salad recipe.
Curry powder is only the beginning with this flavor-packed chicken salad. The warm, savory spices are simultaneously complemented and contrasted by crisp diced Granny Smith apples, tender dried currants and raisins, and fruity mango chutney. Toasted almonds lend nutty notes and even more crunch in this dynamic dish. Get our Curry Chicken Salad recipe.
Mayo-haters and picnickers, take note: This technically-still-a-chicken-salad tosses fresh greens with cucumber, green onion, Savoy cabbage, and shredded rotisserie chicken in a deliciously piquant tahini dressing. Get our Chicken and Greens Salad with Tahini recipe.
In a similar vein, this mayo-free chicken salad is dynamite—largely thanks to Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil; ginger, garlic, spring onions, and soy sauce also figure in, and it’s served over crunchy cucumbers for an incredibly refreshing dish that will cool you down but might also make you sweat. Get the Sichuan Bang Bang Chicken Salad recipe.
You know it, you love it, you can feel virtuous while still basically eating nachos. Fresh tomatoes and corn elevate this way above the Sad Salad Hall of Shame version that’s all too common (also, there are no canned black olives here). And best of all, there’s not one but two dressings: a cumin-lime vinaigrette with a kicky secret ingredient, and a spicy jalapeño sour cream. Get our Chicken Taco Salad recipe.
This is probably the farthest you can get from whatever image pops into your head at the words “chicken salad”—but it’s delicious. With bacon, ranch dressing, and fried chicken, how could it not be? Get the Weekender Salad with Fried Chicken recipe.