This Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe with subtle hints of fresh lemon will make any lunch break a bit brighter.

Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

Years ago before we had children I worked in downtown Winston Salem, North Carolina. I remember walking across the street to a cute little sandwich shop that served the best chicken salad ever. It was nothing fancy or overly done, it was just really good chicken salad served on simple rye bread, toasted. It became my benchmark for chicken salad. I still think of it every time I have chicken salad.

I’ve given this chicken salad thing a lot of thought. While I do enjoy a variety of chicken salad flavor combinations, like an Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad, my favorite is a basic good chicken salad with the perfect ratio of chicken to mayonnaise and other ingredients. It has to strike a perfect balance of moist enough but not too mayonnaise-y, with a balance of seasonings that doesn’t have anything over powering. I recently ordered a chicken salad sandwich from a restaurant. Fennel had been added to the chicken salad. Way too much fennel. It was all I could do to eat most of the sandwich. So a balance of flavors is always nice.

Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

This Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe makes my list of favorite chicken salads. This recipe has just enough lemon zest and juice to add a brightness without overwhelming the goodness that is chicken salad. With a hint of red onion, which, in my opinion, is always a good addition, and a bit of crunch from celery, this Lemon Chicken Salad is more than worthy of a work day lunch and even more perfect for a special occasion luncheon or picnic.

A few tasty side dishes to compliment this chicken salad recipe:

Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A delicious chicken salad made with fresh lemon zest and juice.


  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise*
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped roasted chicken


  1. In a bowl whisk together mayonnaise, red onion, celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken and combine until incorporated.


*If needed, add additional mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Adapted from Better Home and Gardens September 2006.

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Originally published May 11, 2015.