Legend has it that chicken salad is a recipe that was developed on accident, and its popularity was unexpected. The Chinese are credited with creating the first versions of the salad, but there’s no doubt it was much different from the version we know and love today.
The first Americanized chicken salad is said to have been made in 1863 by a meat market owner named Liam Gray. Gray, who founded Town Meats in Wakefield, Rhode Island, mixed some leftover chicken with mayonnaise, grapes and the under-appreciated herb tarragon. The off-the-cuff recipe became so popular that Town Meats was converted into a deli. And the rest is history!
Town Meats went out of business roughly a decade ago, but their legendary brainchild has lived on in American food culture. Many variations of chicken salad exist, and the only thing most seem to have in common is that they include chicken, fruit, nuts and a creamy sauce. But the flavor possibilities are endless! Cranberries, apples, pineapple, and grapes are common fruit additions while pecans, almonds and walnuts often lend a nutty element to the salad.
We put together our favorite flavor combinations to create what we think is the best ever chicken salad recipe. Check it out below and let us know what you would add or take away to make your own version of a perfect chicken salad.
BEST EVER CHICKEN SALAD
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works great!)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped red grapes or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup real mayonnaise
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
13/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Stir together chicken, celery, onion, apple, grapes, and pecans in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Fold into chicken mixture until everything is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for one hour before serving.
***Check out one of our other favorite recipes from Country Rebel Recipes in the video below.