A Chicken Salad Where You Can Actually Taste the Chicken

May  1, 2018

Chicken salad is a people pleaser. It caters to so many different tastes—sweet, crisp apples and raisins, tangy mayonnaise bulked up with hard-boiled eggs, or spicy Dijon mixed with crunchy celery. But how often do you find a chicken salad that tastes and feels like, well, chicken?

Winner, winner! Photo by Ty Mecham

Chef Stephanie Izard of TopChef-fame has explored all manor of meals and flavors in her three award-winning Chicago restaurants, Girl and the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat. And when dreaming up a chicken salad for her latest cookbook, Gather & Graze, she created a dish that embraces the whole bird.

“Instead of dicing cooked chicken breast for a salad, I like to brine a whole chicken, roast it, then pick the meat off the bones—tasty skin bits and all,” she writes. “You end up with tons more flavor.”

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Brining and roasting the chicken takes some time—it needs at least 8 hours—so it’s a good idea to start this meal a day in advance. But once you shred the meat, it keeps in the refrigerator for four days.

For the dressing, Izard freshened up the creamy classic, Green Goddess, with tarragon, basil, and scallions. Simply blend the ingredients in your food processor until everything is combined, then fold into your chicken.

Looks like, once again, chicken salad knows how to win a crowd.

What's your favorite type of chicken salad? Share in the comments below!

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The Dynamite Chicken cookbook is here! Get ready for 60 brand-new ways to love your favorite bird. Inside this clever collection by Food52 and chef Tyler Kord, you'll find everything from lightning-quick weeknight dinners to the coziest of comfort foods.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • M
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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


M May 1, 2018
Obviously whole-chicken imparts more flavour than skinless chicken breast, but it doesn't have to be brined to give a salad more chicken flavour. Either roast a chicken or buy a roast chicken, and you have multiple meals. To give that chickeny boost, take the skins and fry them crisp in a frying pan. On a smaller scale, quickly roast some chicken thighs, crisp the skin, and you'll have tons of flavour and texture.
Saffron3 May 1, 2018
Oh good. I never thought about frying some bits of chicken skin to flavor up some chicken salad. I'm going to try that, thanks.
HalfPint May 1, 2018
There's a tea shop in Marble Falls, TX, called Tea-licious. They make my favorite chicken salad. There are no bells and whistles in this chicken salad, only chicken, scallions (?) and mayo. I've been trying to recreate this salad for years now. I don't know how they make it so light and flavorful yet it is not drowning in mayo. If anything, there is a lot of restraint in this chicken salad.

BTW, they also make sweet pickles that are to die for (and I rarely use that expression).