How to make a Chicken Salad Sandwich from the best chicken salad recipe made of all-white-meat shredded chicken, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, dried herbs, and cheese! This chicken salad sandwich is always a hit at gatherings, dinner, or lunch!

chicken salad in sandwich bread
Image: Alyona Demyanchuk

This is one of my favorite chicken salad recipes! You can eat these hot or cold and fill them into any type of bread, wrap, or lettuce! Here are more chicken salad recipes for sandwiches like this Buffalo Chicken Salad, Chinese Chicken Salad in lettuce Wraps,  Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwiches, and Canned Chicken Salad that works as a spread! 

What Is Chicken Salad?

Chicken salad is a mixture of cooked chicken meat, mayonnaise, pickles, and mustard and is similar to tuna salad or egg salad. It’s either served on top of lettuce or used in sandwiches and sometimes includes hard-boiled eggs, celery, onion, or grapes.

I discovered this chicken salad recipe at a ladies’ tea party and since it’s been popular at gatherings for its easy cleanup, frugal way to serve crowds, and amazingly tasty chicken! It’s the best recipe for chicken salad! Literally, when I make these chicken salad sandwiches I can eat the filling straight out of the bowl! Thanks to Susanna and Evelyn who served these super amazing sandwiches at the tea party, I added yet another family favorite recipe to my collection! You will LOVE these!

These hot chicken salad sandwiches are terrific served hot or cold and are a super-easy way to serve crowds. We love them wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven but fill this cold into croissants, sandwich bread, or tortillas! They are incredible even my brother-in-law raved after trying these and kept saying “WOW”! People need to know how good they are”!

Which Cut of Chicken Should I Use?

The best kind of chicken meat to use for chicken salad with mayo is a meaty chicken breast. Chicken breasts stretch the servings and are easy to shred. I only make this chicken breast salad with that kind of meat. However, you can use any cut of chicken to make this salad, just keep in mind that bone-in cuts will take longer to cook. Another option is to de-bone rotisserie chicken.

Ingredients for Chicken Salad:

What goes into a chicken salad? Traditional chicken salad recipes sometimes include celery, hard-boiled eggs, and onion but always chicken meat and some kind of binding ingredient like mayonnaise or salad dressing to moisten the chicken. This homemade chicken salad was originally made from dill pickle juice and pickles however, I took the shortcut of using sweet relish (already minced pickles in pickle juice.) That and lemon juice will make the juiciest and most flavorful chicken filling that is eat-out-of-the-spoon-delicious!

ingredients for chicken salad sandwich

  • Chicken Meat- I made my instant pot shredded chicken for these however, poached, grilled, fried, or cooked chicken breast meat will work. Just make sure it’s either cubed or shredded.
  • Mayonnaise- is like the base of the salad dressing and works as a binder.
  • Dressing- a simple combination of yellow prepared mustard, lemon juice, relish, dried dill, dried parsley, dried basil, and black pepper make the most flavorful chicken salad along with mayo!
  • Bread- I like to use big and fluffy French Bread rolls from Walmart, they’re cheap and are crowd-friendly.
  • Cheese- my favorite type of cheese for hot chicken salad sandwiches is melted Velveeta or American cheese however, use shredded Monterey Jack and Colby cheese when in a hurry. I like to melt the processed cheeses for a spreadable consistency.

Tip: melt 6 slices of American cheese and 1/4 cup of milk to make an easy cheese sauce like Velveeta!

How To Cook Chicken For Chicken Salad Sandwich?

Chicken salad chicken can be cooked in many different ways. The best chicken of choice is chicken breast. It’s meaty and goes a long way when cooked (stretches the servings too.) My favorite way to cook chicken for this is inside the instant pot! It’s easy cleanup, you don’t need to run the stove (super helpful in the summertime), and it makes tender meat fast, all in one pot!  

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can easily poach the chicken in a saucepan or slow cooker for easy shredding. The chicken breasts can also be sauteed in seasonings and butter or grilled, just make sure to finely dice the chicken meat if going that way since it won’t be as easy to shred.

Cooks Tip: use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken instead for a quick shortcut.  

How to Make Chicken Salad:

How do you make chicken salad? This hot chicken salad sandwich recipe is so easy to make! You can totally make this chicken salad with canned chicken too. We love to warm it up in the oven but you can serve this salad filling cold into your favorite type of bread! Use a large loaf of bread to use up all the chicken salad filling or fill it into multiple hoagie rolls.

  1. Cook the chicken first, and shred.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for chicken salad.
  3. Slice and hollow out the french bread loaf.
  4. Fill with the chicken salad mixture.
  5. Top with melted American cheese (or Velveeta.)
  6. Wrap in foil and bake until warmed (20-25 minutes.)
  7. Slice and serve!

how to make chicken salad

Chicken Salad Variations:

Chicken Salad Chick is a restaurant that only specializes in a chicken salad! They have interesting add-ins and seasoning for chicken salad ideas, like the Lemon Basil (almost like a Pesto chicken salad), BBQ chicken salad, Fruity Cranberry chicken salad, or even spicy variations!

  • Chicken Salad With Grapes- add 1 cup of halved red seedless grapes.
  • Healthy Chicken Salad recipe- make greek yogurt chicken salad by using yogurt for the mayo and scooping chicken salad into lettuce wraps instead. (Keto Chicken Salad approved that is low-carb and low-calorie!)
  • Avocado Chicken Salad- add 2 chopped avocados into the mix. The lemon juice can help this chicken salad with avocado not brown so quickly.
  • Chicken Salad with Apples- dice one apple into the chicken mixture for a fruity flavor.
  • Mediterranean Chicken Salad- add 1/4 cup of roasted red bell peppers and a can of chickpeas.
  • Pecan Chicken Salad- add 1/2 cup of roasted pecans.
  • Southwest Chicken Salad-  sort of like a chicken taco salad, add 2 T of taco seasoning, 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes and red bell peppers, and 1 can of black beans and corn for southwestern flavors.
  • Spicy Chicken Salad: add diced jalapenos or buffalo hot sauce for a kick.
  • Chicken Bacon, Ranch, and Cheese- omit the mayo and use ranch dressing, bacon bits, and cheddar cheese.

Note: Make chicken salad wrap or chicken salad croissant by using lettuce or your favorite bread.

What To Eat With Chicken Salad:

Homemade chicken salad tastes fresh and is so flavorful to fill into lettuce, bread, or croissants. When turning it into sandwiches it’s best with a side of potato chips, French fries, dill pickles, or some kind of cheese crackers. Another option would be a fresh green salad (like cobb salad) on the side of these sandwiches.

FAQ

Can I Make Chicken Salad In the Crockpot?

Yes! Cooking chicken breasts in a slow cooker will take about 8 hours to cook over low heat. This works great if planning an event ahead of time and if you want to get some prep done.

My friend Susanna originally used 5 large chicken breasts that she put in a crockpot almost covered with water and salt to taste. She started on Hi then turned the crockpot down to low overnight. Then in the morning she cooled and shredded (and chopped) the chicken into smaller pieces. This amount of chicken serves 4-5 French bread rolls so, multiply the other chicken salad ingredients by 5 to serve 40-50 people.

Best Bread for Chicken Salad Sandwiches?

A soft French bread roll from Walmart is my favorite bread to use for this easy chicken salad recipe. It can easily be hollowed out and doesn’t get too high but yet holds its shape well. Use any soft bread with a sturdy crust that can hold a creamy chicken filling well, sandwich bread might be too soft and sog up rather quickly. Here are some sturdy bread choices to choose from;

How To Store Chicken Salad?

How Long is Chicken Salad Good For? Chicken salad will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. It’s best to store the wet filling separately from the sandwich bread until serving so the bread doesn’t get soggy. However, assembled chicken salad sandwiches reheat well too if you use a sturdy bread roll. Simply wrap leftover sandwiches in aluminum foil and bake them in the oven until warm.

How To Cook Chicken Breasts on the Stovetop?

The best way to make shredded chicken without an instant pot is to poach the chicken breasts in water on the stovetop. All you need is some water, chicken meat, salt, and a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil; add the chicken and salt and simmer over medium-low until tender (about 20 minutes.)

Chicken Salad Calories?

These chicken salad sandwiches are made from one large French Bread Baguette (the Walmart kind) that can be cut into 8 equal pieces. One slice of this sandwich is 356 calories, which would be about a 2-inch sandwich.

Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?

It’s best to avoid freezing mayonnaise-based chicken salads. The filling for this chicken salad is so fresh from the lemon juice and salad dressing, that I’d be careful to ruin it by freezing it. However, cooked chicken meat freezes well. So, if you do want to prep in advance freeze the meat until needed then thaw the night before and add all the dressing and seasonings then.

Best Chicken Salad Tips:

  1. The best chicken salad is with mustard, lemon juice, and pickles!
  2. This salad with chicken can be topped over lettuce, bread, croissants, or tortilla chips!
  3. These chicken salad sandwich recipes can be made easy for crowds! Multiply this recipe by five and use 5 French Bread loaves for this.
  4. Use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken for a simple chicken salad recipe!
  5. Make a creamy grilled chicken salad by chopping up leftover grilled chicken!
  6. My friend’s dill chicken salad was originally made with chopped-up dill pickles and their juice, I took a shortcut and use relish. 

More Chicken Recipes To Make:

 More Chicken Salad Recipes: 

How To Make Chicken Salad Sandwich:

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
How to make a Chicken Salad Sandwich from the best chicken salad recipe made of all-white-meat shredded chicken, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, dried herbs, and cheese! This chicken salad is always a hit at gatherings, dinner, or lunch!

Equipment

  • 1 18x13" sheet pan
  • 1 Aluminum foil

Ingredients

Chicken Salad

  • 2/3 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp relish
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

  • 1 French Bread Roll (from Walmart)
  • 4 oz American cheese (6 slices)
  • 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

How to make Chicken Salad Sandwiches

  • chicken salad sandwich bread
    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice French bread rolls in half lengthwise. Hollow out insides (save for breadcrumbs or feed the birds.) Set aside.
  • chicken salad filling for hot sandwiches
    Combine all the chicken salad ingredients and gently toss together (don't over mix you'll want chicken chunks.)
  • assembled chicken salad sandwich
    Meanwhile, melt the cheese with milk in a small saucepan. Scoop the chicken mixture into the French bread rolls and top with melted cheese sauce.
  • Wrap the chicken salad sandwich with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • sliced chicken salad sandwich
    Slice into 10-12 pieces. Serve!

Notes

  • Cheese Substitutes: can melt 4 oz of Velveeta cheese with a splash of milk or use 1 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack Colby cheese.
  • We love these with the Italian Herb French Bread or use regular French bread from Walmart. The filling fits perfectly into one Walmart 14-inch French bread loaf.  
  • Pickles: Evelyn chops dill pickles and will use their juice for the relish. 
  • Chicken Salad for crowds of 50: times this recipe by 5. 
  • This is how I made my Shredded Chicken Recipe

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1sliceSodium: 608mgCalcium: 160mgVitamin C: 6mgVitamin A: 161IUSugar: 3gFiber: 1gPotassium: 224mgCholesterol: 60mgCalories: 356kcalTrans Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gFat: 20gProtein: 21gCarbohydrates: 23gIron: 3mg

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4 comments

    • Tolii

    Let me tell you, These quick & easy sandwiches slap! Great recipe!

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Haha, thanks Toli glad you enjoyed the sandwiches:)

    • Sonie

    I look forward to trying this. Your website is wonderful.✨

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Thank you, Sonie! Come back and let me know how they turned out for you!

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